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Sharing the Good News

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on June 18th.

Romans 10:8-17 8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach: 9 because if thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus `as' Lord, and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved: 10 for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be put to shame. 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek: for the same `Lord' is Lord of all, and is rich unto all that call upon him: 13 for, Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 and how shall they preach, except they be sent? even as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that bring glad tidings of good things! 16 But they did not all hearken to the glad tidings. For Isaiah saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? 17 So belief `cometh' of hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

Can you imagine filling a ship with precious cargo and launching it into the sea, only to watch it repeatedly dock without offloading anything? I imagine silent Christians are much like this ship. God has personally blessed believers with salvation and eternal life and entrusted to them the message of the gospel, yet too few of His children are willing to share with others the good news of salvation in Christ.

What causes us to stay silent? We know that Jesus has commanded us to go and make disciples (Matt. 28:18-20). Furthermore, He has assured us that we will be empowered by His authority and presence with us. God is offering the invitation of salvation to “whoever will call on the name of the Lord.” He has even made it clear that our communicating the good news is the means by which people will come to saving faith (Rom. 10:13-14).

Sometimes Christians who don’t share their faith defend that choice by saying, “My faith is private. It’s between me and my God.” But that is not the model we see in Scripture. Genuine faith is confessed with the mouth and shared with the world.

Every believer has been entrusted with the good news of salvation through Christ. It is unquestionably the single most important piece of information we have, because it offers the only door to heaven. In John 14:6 6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no one cometh unto the Father, but by me. , Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” We have to courageously step forward in faith, be willing to set aside worldly concerns, obey God, and tell someone about Jesus.

Bible in One Year: Psalms 44-49 Chapter 44 1 We have heard with our ears, O God, Our fathers have told us, What work thou didst in their days, In the days of old. 2 Thou didst drive out the nations with thy hand; But them thou didst plant: Thou didst afflict the peoples; But them thou didst spread abroad. 3 For they gat not the land in possession by their own sword, Neither did their own arm save them; But thy right hand, and thine arm, and the light of thy countenance, Because thou wast favorable unto them. 4 Thou art my King, O God: Command deliverance for Jacob. 5 Through thee will we push down our adversaries: Through thy name will we tread them under that rise up against us. 6 For I will not trust in my bow, Neither shall my sword save me. 7 But thou hast saved us from our adversaries, And hast put them to shame that hate us. 8 In God have we made our boast all the day long, And we will give thanks unto thy name for ever. Selah 9 But now thou hast cast `us' off, and brought us to dishonor, And goest not forth with our hosts. 10 Thou makest us to turn back from the adversary; And they that hate us take spoil for themselves. 11 Thou hast made us like sheep `appointed' for food, And hast scattered us among the nations. 12 Thou sellest thy people for nought, And hast not increased `thy wealth' by their price. 13 Thou makest us a reproach to our neighbors, A scoffing and a derision to them that are round about us. 14 Thou makest us a byword among the nations, A shaking of the head among the peoples. 15 All the day long is my dishonor before me, And the shame of my face hath covered me, 16 For the voice of him that reproacheth and blasphemeth, By reason of the enemy and the avenger. 17 All this is come upon us; Yet have we not forgotten thee, Neither have we dealt falsely in thy covenant. 18 Our heart is not turned back, Neither have our steps declined from thy way, 19 That thou hast sore broken us in the place of jackals, And covered us with the shadow of death. 20 If we have forgotten the name of our God, Or spread forth our hands to a strange god; 21 Will not God search this out? For he knoweth the secrets of the heart. 22 Yea, for thy sake are we killed all the day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 23 Awake, why sleepest thou, O Lord? Arise, cast `us' not off for ever. 24 Wherefore hidest thou thy face, And forgettest our affliction and our oppression? 25 For our soul is bowed down to the dust: Our body cleaveth unto the earth. 26 Rise up for our help, And redeem us for thy lovingkindness' sake. Psalm 45 For the Chief Musician; set to Shoshannim. `A Psalm' of the sons of Korah. Maschil. A Song of loves. Chapter 45 1 My heart overfloweth with a goodly matter; I speak the things which I have made touching the king: My tongue is the pen of a ready writer. 2 Thou art fairer than the children of men; Grace is poured into thy lips: Therefore God hath blessed thee for ever. 3 Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O mighty one, Thy glory and thy majesty. 4 And in thy majesty ride on prosperously, Because of truth and meekness `and' righteousness: And thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things. 5 Thine arrows are sharp; The peoples fall under thee; `They are' in the heart of the king's enemies. 6 Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: A sceptre of equity is the sceptre of thy kingdom. 7 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated wickedness: Therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee With the oil of gladness above thy fellows. 8 All thy garments `smell of' myrrh, and aloes, `and' cassia; Out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made thee glad. 9 Kings' daughters are among thy honorable women: At thy right hand doth stand the queen in gold of Ophir. 10 Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; Forget also thine own people, and thy father's house: 11 So will the king desire thy beauty; For he is thy lord; and reverence thou him. 12 And the daughter of Tyre `shall be there' with a gift; The rich among the people shall entreat thy favor. 13 The king's daughter within `the palace' is all glorious: Her clothing is inwrought with gold. 14 She shall be led unto the king in broidered work: The virgins her companions that follow her Shall be brought unto thee. 15 With gladness and rejoicing shall they be led: They shall enter into the king's palace. 16 Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, Whom thou shalt make princes in all the earth. 17 I will make thy name to be remembered in all generations: Therefore shall the peoples give thee thanks for ever and ever. Psalm 46 For the Chief Musician. `A Psalm' of the sons of Korah; set to Alamoth. A Song. Chapter 46 1 God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore will we not fear, though the earth do change, And though the mountains be shaken into the heart of the seas; 3 Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, Though the mountains tremble with the swelling thereof. Selah 4 There is a river, the streams whereof make glad the city of God, The holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High. 5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God will help her, and that right early. 6 The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved: He uttered his voice, the earth melted. 7 Jehovah of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah 8 Come, behold the works of Jehovah, What desolations he hath made in the earth. 9 He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; He breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; He burneth the chariots in the fire. 10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. 11 Jehovah of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah Psalm 47 For the Chief Musician. A Psalm of the sons of Korah. Chapter 47 1 Oh clap your hands, all ye peoples; Shout unto God with the voice of triumph. 2 For Jehovah Most High is terrible; He is a great King over all the earth. 3 He subdueth peoples under us, And nations under our feet. 4 He chooseth our inheritance for us, The glory of Jacob whom he loved. Selah 5 God is gone up with a shout, Jehovah with the sound of a trumpet. 6 Sing praise to God, sing praises: Sing praises unto our King, sing praises. 7 For God is the King of all the earth: Sing ye praises with understanding. 8 God reigneth over the nations: God sitteth upon his holy throne. 9 The princes of the peoples are gathered together `To be' the people of the God of Abraham: For the shields of the earth belong unto God; He is greatly exalted. Psalm 48 A Song; a Psalm of the sons of Korah. Chapter 48 1 Great is Jehovah, and greatly to be praised, In the city of our God, in his holy mountain. 2 Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth, Is mount Zion, `on' the sides of the north, The city of the great King. 3 God hath made himself known in her palaces for a refuge. 4 For, lo, the kings assembled themselves, They passed by together. 5 They saw it, then were they amazed; They were dismayed, they hasted away. 6 Trembling took hold of them there, Pain, as of a woman in travail. 7 With the east wind Thou breakest the ships of Tarshish. 8 As we have heard, so have we seen In the city of Jehovah of hosts, in the city of our God: God will establish it for ever. Selah 9 We have thought on thy lovingkindness, O God, In the midst of thy temple. 10 As is thy name, O God, So is thy praise unto the ends of the earth: Thy right hand is full of righteousness. 11 Let mount Zion be glad, Let the daughters of Judah rejoice, Because of thy judgments. 12 Walk about Zion, and go round about her; Number the towers thereof; 13 Mark ye well her bulwarks; Consider her palaces: That ye may tell it to the generation following. 14 For this God is our God for ever and ever: He will be our guide `even' unto death. Psalm 49 For the Chief Musician. A Psalm of the sons of Korah. Chapter 49 1 Hear this, all ye peoples; Give ear, all ye inhabitants of the world, 2 Both low and high, Rich and poor together. 3 My mouth shall speak wisdom; And the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding. 4 I will incline mine ear to a parable: I will open my dark saying upon the harp. 5 Wherefore should I fear in the days of evil, When iniquity at my heels compasseth me about? 6 They that trust in their wealth, And boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; 7 None `of them' can by any means redeem his brother, Nor give to God a ransom for him; 8 (For the redemption of their life is costly, And it faileth for ever;) 9 That he should still live alway, That he should not see corruption. 10 For he shall see it. Wise men die; The fool and the brutish alike perish, And leave their wealth to others. 11 Their inward thought is, `that' their houses `shall continue' for ever, `And' their dwelling-places to all generations; They call their lands after their own names. 12 But man `being' in honor abideth not: He is like the beasts that perish. 13 This their way is their folly: Yet after them men approve their sayings. Selah 14 They are appointed as a flock for Sheol; Death shall be their shepherd; And the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; And their beauty shall be for Sheol to consume, That there be no habitation for it. 15 But God will redeem my soul from the power of Sheol; For he will receive me. Selah 16 Be not thou afraid when one is made rich, When the glory of his house is increased. 17 For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away; His glory shall not descend after him. 18 Though while he lived he blessed his soul (And men praise thee, when thou doest well to thyself,) 19 He shall go to the generation of his fathers; They shall never see the light. 20 Man that is in honor, and understandeth not, Is like the beasts that perish. Psalm 50 A Psalm of Asaph.




Look for the Good Way

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on June 18th.

Jeremiah 6:16-17 16 Thus saith Jehovah, Stand ye in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way; and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls: but they said, We will not walk `therein'. 17 And I set watchmen over you, `saying', Hearken to the sound of the trumpet; but they said, We will not hearken.

If you’re a hiker, you know how important it is to stick to the marked trails in unfamiliar territory. To venture off on your own could lead to disaster if you get lost and can’t find your way back to safety.

This is similar to what happened to the nation of Judah. They veered from the Lord to make their own way by adopting foreign gods. As a result, God told the prophet Jeremiah to point them back to Him. Sadly, they refused to listen and continued in the wrong direction.

But we don’t have to follow in their footsteps. The Lord will lead us onto His path if we’ll heed these commands from Jeremiah 6:16 16 Thus saith Jehovah, Stand ye in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way; and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls: but they said, We will not walk `therein'. (NIV):

“Stand at the crossroads and look.” God sometimes uses trouble to open our eyes and let us see we’re at an intersection. This is the time to stop and immerse ourselves in God’s Word so we can discern His way.

“Ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is.” Saints from the past have left footprints for us to follow. After meditating on psalms or prayers offered by people in the Bible, we should ponder how their petitions reveal trust in God. It’s also helpful to notice what happened next in the scriptural accounts.

“Walk in it, and ... find rest for your souls.” With eyes firmly fixed on Jesus and with full reliance on the Holy Spirit’s strength, we can walk the road of obedience and follow Christ to sweet, soul-satisfying rest.

If you’re uncertain regarding God’s will, avoid the tendency to run faster. Pause, follow Jeremiah’s instructions, and trust the Lord to show you the good way. Then start walking.

Bible in One Year: Psalms 44-49 Chapter 44 1 We have heard with our ears, O God, Our fathers have told us, What work thou didst in their days, In the days of old. 2 Thou didst drive out the nations with thy hand; But them thou didst plant: Thou didst afflict the peoples; But them thou didst spread abroad. 3 For they gat not the land in possession by their own sword, Neither did their own arm save them; But thy right hand, and thine arm, and the light of thy countenance, Because thou wast favorable unto them. 4 Thou art my King, O God: Command deliverance for Jacob. 5 Through thee will we push down our adversaries: Through thy name will we tread them under that rise up against us. 6 For I will not trust in my bow, Neither shall my sword save me. 7 But thou hast saved us from our adversaries, And hast put them to shame that hate us. 8 In God have we made our boast all the day long, And we will give thanks unto thy name for ever. Selah 9 But now thou hast cast `us' off, and brought us to dishonor, And goest not forth with our hosts. 10 Thou makest us to turn back from the adversary; And they that hate us take spoil for themselves. 11 Thou hast made us like sheep `appointed' for food, And hast scattered us among the nations. 12 Thou sellest thy people for nought, And hast not increased `thy wealth' by their price. 13 Thou makest us a reproach to our neighbors, A scoffing and a derision to them that are round about us. 14 Thou makest us a byword among the nations, A shaking of the head among the peoples. 15 All the day long is my dishonor before me, And the shame of my face hath covered me, 16 For the voice of him that reproacheth and blasphemeth, By reason of the enemy and the avenger. 17 All this is come upon us; Yet have we not forgotten thee, Neither have we dealt falsely in thy covenant. 18 Our heart is not turned back, Neither have our steps declined from thy way, 19 That thou hast sore broken us in the place of jackals, And covered us with the shadow of death. 20 If we have forgotten the name of our God, Or spread forth our hands to a strange god; 21 Will not God search this out? For he knoweth the secrets of the heart. 22 Yea, for thy sake are we killed all the day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 23 Awake, why sleepest thou, O Lord? Arise, cast `us' not off for ever. 24 Wherefore hidest thou thy face, And forgettest our affliction and our oppression? 25 For our soul is bowed down to the dust: Our body cleaveth unto the earth. 26 Rise up for our help, And redeem us for thy lovingkindness' sake. Psalm 45 For the Chief Musician; set to Shoshannim. `A Psalm' of the sons of Korah. Maschil. A Song of loves. Chapter 45 1 My heart overfloweth with a goodly matter; I speak the things which I have made touching the king: My tongue is the pen of a ready writer. 2 Thou art fairer than the children of men; Grace is poured into thy lips: Therefore God hath blessed thee for ever. 3 Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O mighty one, Thy glory and thy majesty. 4 And in thy majesty ride on prosperously, Because of truth and meekness `and' righteousness: And thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things. 5 Thine arrows are sharp; The peoples fall under thee; `They are' in the heart of the king's enemies. 6 Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: A sceptre of equity is the sceptre of thy kingdom. 7 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated wickedness: Therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee With the oil of gladness above thy fellows. 8 All thy garments `smell of' myrrh, and aloes, `and' cassia; Out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made thee glad. 9 Kings' daughters are among thy honorable women: At thy right hand doth stand the queen in gold of Ophir. 10 Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; Forget also thine own people, and thy father's house: 11 So will the king desire thy beauty; For he is thy lord; and reverence thou him. 12 And the daughter of Tyre `shall be there' with a gift; The rich among the people shall entreat thy favor. 13 The king's daughter within `the palace' is all glorious: Her clothing is inwrought with gold. 14 She shall be led unto the king in broidered work: The virgins her companions that follow her Shall be brought unto thee. 15 With gladness and rejoicing shall they be led: They shall enter into the king's palace. 16 Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, Whom thou shalt make princes in all the earth. 17 I will make thy name to be remembered in all generations: Therefore shall the peoples give thee thanks for ever and ever. Psalm 46 For the Chief Musician. `A Psalm' of the sons of Korah; set to Alamoth. A Song. Chapter 46 1 God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore will we not fear, though the earth do change, And though the mountains be shaken into the heart of the seas; 3 Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, Though the mountains tremble with the swelling thereof. Selah 4 There is a river, the streams whereof make glad the city of God, The holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High. 5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God will help her, and that right early. 6 The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved: He uttered his voice, the earth melted. 7 Jehovah of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah 8 Come, behold the works of Jehovah, What desolations he hath made in the earth. 9 He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; He breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; He burneth the chariots in the fire. 10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. 11 Jehovah of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah Psalm 47 For the Chief Musician. A Psalm of the sons of Korah. Chapter 47 1 Oh clap your hands, all ye peoples; Shout unto God with the voice of triumph. 2 For Jehovah Most High is terrible; He is a great King over all the earth. 3 He subdueth peoples under us, And nations under our feet. 4 He chooseth our inheritance for us, The glory of Jacob whom he loved. Selah 5 God is gone up with a shout, Jehovah with the sound of a trumpet. 6 Sing praise to God, sing praises: Sing praises unto our King, sing praises. 7 For God is the King of all the earth: Sing ye praises with understanding. 8 God reigneth over the nations: God sitteth upon his holy throne. 9 The princes of the peoples are gathered together `To be' the people of the God of Abraham: For the shields of the earth belong unto God; He is greatly exalted. Psalm 48 A Song; a Psalm of the sons of Korah. Chapter 48 1 Great is Jehovah, and greatly to be praised, In the city of our God, in his holy mountain. 2 Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth, Is mount Zion, `on' the sides of the north, The city of the great King. 3 God hath made himself known in her palaces for a refuge. 4 For, lo, the kings assembled themselves, They passed by together. 5 They saw it, then were they amazed; They were dismayed, they hasted away. 6 Trembling took hold of them there, Pain, as of a woman in travail. 7 With the east wind Thou breakest the ships of Tarshish. 8 As we have heard, so have we seen In the city of Jehovah of hosts, in the city of our God: God will establish it for ever. Selah 9 We have thought on thy lovingkindness, O God, In the midst of thy temple. 10 As is thy name, O God, So is thy praise unto the ends of the earth: Thy right hand is full of righteousness. 11 Let mount Zion be glad, Let the daughters of Judah rejoice, Because of thy judgments. 12 Walk about Zion, and go round about her; Number the towers thereof; 13 Mark ye well her bulwarks; Consider her palaces: That ye may tell it to the generation following. 14 For this God is our God for ever and ever: He will be our guide `even' unto death. Psalm 49 For the Chief Musician. A Psalm of the sons of Korah. Chapter 49 1 Hear this, all ye peoples; Give ear, all ye inhabitants of the world, 2 Both low and high, Rich and poor together. 3 My mouth shall speak wisdom; And the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding. 4 I will incline mine ear to a parable: I will open my dark saying upon the harp. 5 Wherefore should I fear in the days of evil, When iniquity at my heels compasseth me about? 6 They that trust in their wealth, And boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; 7 None `of them' can by any means redeem his brother, Nor give to God a ransom for him; 8 (For the redemption of their life is costly, And it faileth for ever;) 9 That he should still live alway, That he should not see corruption. 10 For he shall see it. Wise men die; The fool and the brutish alike perish, And leave their wealth to others. 11 Their inward thought is, `that' their houses `shall continue' for ever, `And' their dwelling-places to all generations; They call their lands after their own names. 12 But man `being' in honor abideth not: He is like the beasts that perish. 13 This their way is their folly: Yet after them men approve their sayings. Selah 14 They are appointed as a flock for Sheol; Death shall be their shepherd; And the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; And their beauty shall be for Sheol to consume, That there be no habitation for it. 15 But God will redeem my soul from the power of Sheol; For he will receive me. Selah 16 Be not thou afraid when one is made rich, When the glory of his house is increased. 17 For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away; His glory shall not descend after him. 18 Though while he lived he blessed his soul (And men praise thee, when thou doest well to thyself,) 19 He shall go to the generation of his fathers; They shall never see the light. 20 Man that is in honor, and understandeth not, Is like the beasts that perish. Psalm 50 A Psalm of Asaph.




The Testing of Our Commitment

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on June 19th.

Hebrews 11:8-9 8 By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed to go out unto a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. 9 By faith he became a sojourner in the land of promise, as in a `land' not his own, dwelling in tents, with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:

In situations when God is testing us, He will teach us new and deeper truths about Himself, His purposes, and His promises. Though we feel stretched in painful seasons, such difficulties are always designed to be beneficial.

From a human perspective, times of testing can be baffling because we don’t understand how anything good could result. Consider God’s command that Abraham sacrifice his long-awaited son Isaac. Abraham’s earthly viewpoint could have regarded this order as:

Unreasonable. “I cherish my son above all else. How could You ask this?”

Untimely. “Why now, Lord? My son is still young. He is the one through whom my descendants are to come.”

Unfair. “It’s not right that You ask this. Haven’t I left home to follow You?”

Unbearable. “This is too hard for me. I cannot take this pain.”

Abraham rejected that kind of thinking. Instead, he trusted God. The trial revealed Abraham’s unshakable commitment to the Lord’s plan.

Knowing which circumstances will help us grow, our Father asks us to exercise faith and choose His way. Recalling His unending love and wholehearted commitment to His children will help us do this. Be assured that God makes no mistakes in His dealings with us.

Imagine Abraham’s joy when the Lord provided a ram as a sacrifice in Isaac’s place. We will receive the same reward of spiritual joy when we remain steadfast. Won’t you respond to times of testing as Abraham did—by trusting and obeying God?

Bible in One Year: Psalms 44-49 Chapter 44 1 We have heard with our ears, O God, Our fathers have told us, What work thou didst in their days, In the days of old. 2 Thou didst drive out the nations with thy hand; But them thou didst plant: Thou didst afflict the peoples; But them thou didst spread abroad. 3 For they gat not the land in possession by their own sword, Neither did their own arm save them; But thy right hand, and thine arm, and the light of thy countenance, Because thou wast favorable unto them. 4 Thou art my King, O God: Command deliverance for Jacob. 5 Through thee will we push down our adversaries: Through thy name will we tread them under that rise up against us. 6 For I will not trust in my bow, Neither shall my sword save me. 7 But thou hast saved us from our adversaries, And hast put them to shame that hate us. 8 In God have we made our boast all the day long, And we will give thanks unto thy name for ever. Selah 9 But now thou hast cast `us' off, and brought us to dishonor, And goest not forth with our hosts. 10 Thou makest us to turn back from the adversary; And they that hate us take spoil for themselves. 11 Thou hast made us like sheep `appointed' for food, And hast scattered us among the nations. 12 Thou sellest thy people for nought, And hast not increased `thy wealth' by their price. 13 Thou makest us a reproach to our neighbors, A scoffing and a derision to them that are round about us. 14 Thou makest us a byword among the nations, A shaking of the head among the peoples. 15 All the day long is my dishonor before me, And the shame of my face hath covered me, 16 For the voice of him that reproacheth and blasphemeth, By reason of the enemy and the avenger. 17 All this is come upon us; Yet have we not forgotten thee, Neither have we dealt falsely in thy covenant. 18 Our heart is not turned back, Neither have our steps declined from thy way, 19 That thou hast sore broken us in the place of jackals, And covered us with the shadow of death. 20 If we have forgotten the name of our God, Or spread forth our hands to a strange god; 21 Will not God search this out? For he knoweth the secrets of the heart. 22 Yea, for thy sake are we killed all the day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 23 Awake, why sleepest thou, O Lord? Arise, cast `us' not off for ever. 24 Wherefore hidest thou thy face, And forgettest our affliction and our oppression? 25 For our soul is bowed down to the dust: Our body cleaveth unto the earth. 26 Rise up for our help, And redeem us for thy lovingkindness' sake. Psalm 45 For the Chief Musician; set to Shoshannim. `A Psalm' of the sons of Korah. Maschil. A Song of loves. Chapter 45 1 My heart overfloweth with a goodly matter; I speak the things which I have made touching the king: My tongue is the pen of a ready writer. 2 Thou art fairer than the children of men; Grace is poured into thy lips: Therefore God hath blessed thee for ever. 3 Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O mighty one, Thy glory and thy majesty. 4 And in thy majesty ride on prosperously, Because of truth and meekness `and' righteousness: And thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things. 5 Thine arrows are sharp; The peoples fall under thee; `They are' in the heart of the king's enemies. 6 Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: A sceptre of equity is the sceptre of thy kingdom. 7 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated wickedness: Therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee With the oil of gladness above thy fellows. 8 All thy garments `smell of' myrrh, and aloes, `and' cassia; Out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made thee glad. 9 Kings' daughters are among thy honorable women: At thy right hand doth stand the queen in gold of Ophir. 10 Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; Forget also thine own people, and thy father's house: 11 So will the king desire thy beauty; For he is thy lord; and reverence thou him. 12 And the daughter of Tyre `shall be there' with a gift; The rich among the people shall entreat thy favor. 13 The king's daughter within `the palace' is all glorious: Her clothing is inwrought with gold. 14 She shall be led unto the king in broidered work: The virgins her companions that follow her Shall be brought unto thee. 15 With gladness and rejoicing shall they be led: They shall enter into the king's palace. 16 Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, Whom thou shalt make princes in all the earth. 17 I will make thy name to be remembered in all generations: Therefore shall the peoples give thee thanks for ever and ever. Psalm 46 For the Chief Musician. `A Psalm' of the sons of Korah; set to Alamoth. A Song. Chapter 46 1 God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore will we not fear, though the earth do change, And though the mountains be shaken into the heart of the seas; 3 Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, Though the mountains tremble with the swelling thereof. Selah 4 There is a river, the streams whereof make glad the city of God, The holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High. 5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God will help her, and that right early. 6 The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved: He uttered his voice, the earth melted. 7 Jehovah of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah 8 Come, behold the works of Jehovah, What desolations he hath made in the earth. 9 He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; He breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; He burneth the chariots in the fire. 10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. 11 Jehovah of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah Psalm 47 For the Chief Musician. A Psalm of the sons of Korah. Chapter 47 1 Oh clap your hands, all ye peoples; Shout unto God with the voice of triumph. 2 For Jehovah Most High is terrible; He is a great King over all the earth. 3 He subdueth peoples under us, And nations under our feet. 4 He chooseth our inheritance for us, The glory of Jacob whom he loved. Selah 5 God is gone up with a shout, Jehovah with the sound of a trumpet. 6 Sing praise to God, sing praises: Sing praises unto our King, sing praises. 7 For God is the King of all the earth: Sing ye praises with understanding. 8 God reigneth over the nations: God sitteth upon his holy throne. 9 The princes of the peoples are gathered together `To be' the people of the God of Abraham: For the shields of the earth belong unto God; He is greatly exalted. Psalm 48 A Song; a Psalm of the sons of Korah. Chapter 48 1 Great is Jehovah, and greatly to be praised, In the city of our God, in his holy mountain. 2 Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth, Is mount Zion, `on' the sides of the north, The city of the great King. 3 God hath made himself known in her palaces for a refuge. 4 For, lo, the kings assembled themselves, They passed by together. 5 They saw it, then were they amazed; They were dismayed, they hasted away. 6 Trembling took hold of them there, Pain, as of a woman in travail. 7 With the east wind Thou breakest the ships of Tarshish. 8 As we have heard, so have we seen In the city of Jehovah of hosts, in the city of our God: God will establish it for ever. Selah 9 We have thought on thy lovingkindness, O God, In the midst of thy temple. 10 As is thy name, O God, So is thy praise unto the ends of the earth: Thy right hand is full of righteousness. 11 Let mount Zion be glad, Let the daughters of Judah rejoice, Because of thy judgments. 12 Walk about Zion, and go round about her; Number the towers thereof; 13 Mark ye well her bulwarks; Consider her palaces: That ye may tell it to the generation following. 14 For this God is our God for ever and ever: He will be our guide `even' unto death. Psalm 49 For the Chief Musician. A Psalm of the sons of Korah. Chapter 49 1 Hear this, all ye peoples; Give ear, all ye inhabitants of the world, 2 Both low and high, Rich and poor together. 3 My mouth shall speak wisdom; And the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding. 4 I will incline mine ear to a parable: I will open my dark saying upon the harp. 5 Wherefore should I fear in the days of evil, When iniquity at my heels compasseth me about? 6 They that trust in their wealth, And boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; 7 None `of them' can by any means redeem his brother, Nor give to God a ransom for him; 8 (For the redemption of their life is costly, And it faileth for ever;) 9 That he should still live alway, That he should not see corruption. 10 For he shall see it. Wise men die; The fool and the brutish alike perish, And leave their wealth to others. 11 Their inward thought is, `that' their houses `shall continue' for ever, `And' their dwelling-places to all generations; They call their lands after their own names. 12 But man `being' in honor abideth not: He is like the beasts that perish. 13 This their way is their folly: Yet after them men approve their sayings. Selah 14 They are appointed as a flock for Sheol; Death shall be their shepherd; And the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; And their beauty shall be for Sheol to consume, That there be no habitation for it. 15 But God will redeem my soul from the power of Sheol; For he will receive me. Selah 16 Be not thou afraid when one is made rich, When the glory of his house is increased. 17 For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away; His glory shall not descend after him. 18 Though while he lived he blessed his soul (And men praise thee, when thou doest well to thyself,) 19 He shall go to the generation of his fathers; They shall never see the light. 20 Man that is in honor, and understandeth not, Is like the beasts that perish. Psalm 50 A Psalm of Asaph.




Ministering to the Poor

Published by Grace To You for reading on June 19th.
"If a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, 'You sit here in a good place,' and you say to the poor man, 'You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool,' have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives?" ( James 2:2-4 2 For if there come into your synagogue a man with a gold ring, in fine clothing, and there come in also a poor man in vile clothing; 3 and ye have regard to him that weareth the fine clothing, and say, Sit thou here in a good place; and ye say to the poor man, Stand thou there, or sit under my footstool; 4 Do ye not make distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? ).

You must show equal respect to poor and rich alike.

Partiality is an age-old problem that exists in almost every area of life. Perhaps its most common manifestations are racial, religious, and socio-economic discrimination. By implication James denounced partiality in any form, but in James 2:2-4 2 For if there come into your synagogue a man with a gold ring, in fine clothing, and there come in also a poor man in vile clothing; 3 and ye have regard to him that weareth the fine clothing, and say, Sit thou here in a good place; and ye say to the poor man, Stand thou there, or sit under my footstool; 4 Do ye not make distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? he specifically mentions preferential treatment of the rich over the poor. He knew such favoritism was devastating not only because it is sinful, but also because the majority of believers in the early church were poor, common people. Discriminating against them would have struck a blow at the very heart of the church!

From its inception the church has upheld the priority of ministering to the poor. Acts 2:44-45 44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45 and they sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all, according as any man had need. says, "All those who had believed were together, and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions, and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need." Paul organized a relief fund for the needy saints in Jerusalem (1 Cor. 16:1-4), and during one severe famine, "in the proportion that any of the disciples had means, each of them determined to send a contribution for the relief of the brethren living in Judea. And this they did, sending it in charge of Barnabas and Saul to the elders" ( Acts 11:29-30 29 And the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren that dwelt in Judea: 30 which also they did, sending it to the elders by the hand of Barnabas and Saul. ).

God has chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, but some of James's readers were dishonoring them (vv. 5-6). That had to stop! We too must honor the poor by treating them with dignity rather than prejudice, and meeting their needs whenever possible. Be alert to those around you whom you might help in some practical way.

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask the Lord to keep you sensitive to those around you, and for wisdom to know how to respond to their needs.

For Further Study

Read 1 Corinthians 1:26-29 26 For behold your calling, brethren, that not many wise after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, `are called': 27 but God chose the foolish things of the world, that he might put to shame them that are wise; and God chose the weak things of the world, that he might put to shame the things that are strong; 28 and the base things of the world, and the things that are despised, did God choose, `yea' and the things that are not, that he might bring to nought the things that are: 29 that no flesh should glory before God. , noting the kinds of people God uses to accomplish His purposes.

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 - June 19

Published by Grace To You for reading on June 19th.

Reading for Today:

  • 1 Chronicles 1:1 Chapter 1 1 Adam, Seth, Enosh, –2:55
  • Psalms 76:1-6 Chapter 76 1 In Judah is God known: His name is great in Israel. 2 In Salem also is his tabernacle, And his dwelling-place in Zion. 3 There he brake the arrows of the bow; The shield, and the sword, and the battle. Selah 4 Glorious art thou `and' excellent, From the mountains of prey. 5 The stouthearted are made a spoil, They have slept their sleep; And none of the men of might have found their hands. 6 At thy rebuke, O God of Jacob, Both chariot and horse are cast into a deep sleep.
  • Proverbs 19:6-7 6 Many will entreat the favor of the liberal man; And every man is a friend to him that giveth gifts. 7 All the brethren of the poor do hate him: How much more do his friends go far from him! He pursueth `them with' words, `but' they are gone.
  • Acts 4:1-22 Chapter 4 1 And as they spake unto the people, the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them, 2 being sore troubled because they taught the people, and proclaimed in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. 3 And they laid hands on them, and put them in ward unto the morrow: for it was now eventide. 4 But many of them that heard the word believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand. 5 And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers and elders and scribes were gathered together in Jerusalem; 6 and Annas the high priest `was there', and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest. 7 And when they had set them in the midst, they inquired, By what power, or in what name, have ye done this? 8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders, 9 if we this day are examined concerning a good deed done to an impotent man, by what means this man is made whole; 10 be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, `even' in him doth this man stand here before you whole. 11 He is the stone which was set at nought of you the builders, which was made the head of the corner. 12 And in none other is there salvation: for neither is there any other name under heaven, that is given among men, wherein we must be saved. 13 Now when they beheld the boldness of Peter and John, and had perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. 14 And seeing the man that was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. 15 But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, 16 saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been wrought through them, is manifest to all that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it. 17 But that it spread no further among the people, let us threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name. 18 And they called them, and charged them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it is right in the sight of God to hearken unto you rather than unto God, judge ye: 20 for we cannot but speak the things which we saw and heard. 21 And they, when they had further threatened them, let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people; for all men glorified God for that which was done. 22 For the man was more than forty years old, on whom this miracle of healing was wrought.

Notes:

Acts 4:1 Chapter 4 1 And as they spake unto the people, the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them, priests. The office of priest in the Old Testament began with Aaron and his sons (Lev. 8). They became the human intermediaries between holy God and sinful humanity. They were characterized by 3 qualities: 1) they were chosen and set apart for priestly service by God; 2) they were to be holy in character; and 3) they were the only ones allowed to come near to God on behalf of the people with the high priest being the chief go-between on the Day of Atonement (Lev. 16). the captain of the temple. Chief of the temple police force (composed of Levites) and second-ranking official to the high priest. The Romans had delegated the temple-policing responsibility to the Jews.

Acts 4:2 2 being sore troubled because they taught the people, and proclaimed in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. preached in Jesus the resurrection. This part of the apostles’ message was the most objectionable to the Jewish leaders. They had executed Christ as a blasphemer and now Peter and John were proclaiming His resurrection.

Acts 4:8 8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders, filled with the Holy Spirit. Because Peter was under the control of the Spirit, he was able to face persecution and preach the gospel with power ( Luke 12:11 11 And when they bring you before the synagogues, and the rulers, and the authorities, be not anxious how or what ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: , 12).

Acts 4:12 12 And in none other is there salvation: for neither is there any other name under heaven, that is given among men, wherein we must be saved. no other name. This refers to the exclusivism of salvation by faith in Jesus Christ. There are only two religious paths: the broad way of works salvation leading to eternal death, and the narrow way of faith in Jesus, leading to eternal life (Matt. 7:13, 14; John 10:7 7 Jesus therefore said unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. , 8; 14:6). Sadly, the Sanhedrin and its followers were on the first path.

Acts 4:13 13 Now when they beheld the boldness of Peter and John, and had perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. uneducated and untrained men. Peter and John were not educated in the rabbinical schools and had no formal training in Old Testament theology.

DAY 19: List the ministries of the Holy Spirit.

Baptismal Medium

1 Corinthians 12:13 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.

Calls to Ministry

Acts 13:2 2 And as they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. –4

Channel of Divine Revelation

2 Samuel 23:2 2 The Spirit of Jehovah spake by me, And his word was upon my tongue. ; Nehemiah 9:30 30 Yet many years didst thou bear with them, and testifiedst against them by thy Spirit through thy prophets: yet would they not give ear: therefore gavest thou them into the hand of the peoples of the lands. ; Zechariah 7:12 12 Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which Jehovah of hosts had sent by his Spirit by the former prophets: therefore there came great wrath from Jehovah of hosts. ; John 14:17 17 `even' the Spirit of truth: whom the world cannot receive; for it beholdeth him not, neither knoweth him: ye know him; for he abideth with you, and shall be in you.

Empowers

Exodus 31:1 Chapter 31 1 And Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying, , 2; Judges 13:25 25 And the Spirit of Jehovah began to move him in Mahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol. ; 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.

Fills

Luke 4:1 Chapter 4 1 And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, and was led in the Spirit in the wilderness ; Acts 2:4 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. ; Ephesians 5:18 18 And be not drunken with wine, wherein is riot, but be filled with the Spirit;

Guarantees

2 Corinthians 1:22 22 who also sealed us, and gave `us' the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. ; 5:5; Ephesians 1:14 14 which is an earnest of our inheritance, unto the redemption of `God's' own possession, unto the praise of his glory.

Guards

2 Timothy 1:14 14 That good thing which was committed unto `thee' guard through the Holy Spirit which dwelleth in us.

Helps

John 14:16 16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may be with you for ever, , 26; 15:26; 16:7

Illuminates

1 Corinthians 2:10 10 But unto us God revealed `them' through the Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. –13

Indwells

Romans 8:9 9 But ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you. But if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. –11; 1 Corinthians 3:16 16 Know ye not that ye are a temple of God, and `that' the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? ; 6:19

Intercedes

Romans 8:26 26 And in like manner the Spirit also helpeth our infirmity: for we know not how to pray as we ought; but the Spirit himself maketh intercession for `us' with groanings which cannot be uttered; , 27

Produces Fruit

Galatians 5:22 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, , 23

Provides Spiritual Character

Galatians 5:16 16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. , 18, 25

Regenerates

John 3:5 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except one be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God! , 6, 8

Restrains/Convicts of Sin

Genesis 6:3 3 And Jehovah said, My spirit shall not strive with man for ever, for that he also is flesh: yet shall his days be a hundred and twenty years. ; John 16:8 8 And he, when he is come, will convict the world in respect of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: –10; Acts 7:51 51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Spirit: as your fathers did, so do ye.

Sanctifies

Romans 15:16 16 that I should be a minister of Christ Jesus unto the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be made acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Spirit. ; 1 Corinthians 6:11 11 And such were some of you: but ye were washed, but ye were sanctified, but ye were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God. ; 2 Thessalonians 2:13 13 But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, for that God chose you from the beginning unto salvation in sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:

Seals

2 Corinthians 1:22 22 who also sealed us, and gave `us' the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. ; Ephesians 1:14 14 which is an earnest of our inheritance, unto the redemption of `God's' own possession, unto the praise of his glory. ; 4:30

Selects Overseers

Acts 20:28 28 Take heed unto yourselves, and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit hath made you bishops, to feed the church of the Lord which he purchased with his own blood.

Source of Fellowship

2 Corinthians 13:14 14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. ; Philippians 2:1 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,

Source of Liberty

2 Corinthians 3:17 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, `there' is liberty. , 18

Source of Power

Ephesians 3:16 16 that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, that ye may be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inward man;

Source of Unity

Ephesians 4:3 3 giving diligence to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. , 4

Source of Spiritual Gifts

1 Corinthians 12:4 4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. –11

Teaches

John 14:26 26 But the Comforter, `even' the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said unto you. ; Acts 15:28 28 For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: ; 1 John 2:20 20 And ye have an anointing from the Holy One, and ye know all the things. , 27

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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June 19 - Challenging a Brother

Published by Grace To You for reading on June 19th.

“‘Then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye’” ( Matthew 7:5 5 Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye. ).

Here is Jesus’ corrective to erroneous judgment: first of all we confess our own sin, which is often the sin of self-righteousness and of a condemning spirit toward others, and ask for God’s cleansing. When our sin is cleansed, when the log is removed from our eye, then we can see our brother’s sin clearly and be able to help him. We will also see everything more clearly—God, others, and ourselves. We will see God as the only Judge, others as needy sinners who are just like us. We will see our brother as a brother on our own level and with our own frailties and needs.

David reflects the right balance of humility and helpfulness in Psalms 51: Chapter 51 1 Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: According to the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I know my transgressions; And my sin is ever before me. 4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, And done that which is evil in thy sight; That thou mayest be justified when thou speakest, And be clear when thou judgest. 5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity; And in sin did my mother conceive me. 6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts; And in the hidden part thou wilt make me to know wisdom. 7 Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8 Make me to hear joy and gladness, That the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. 9 Hide thy face from my sins, And blot out all mine iniquities. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; And renew a right spirit within me. 11 Cast me not away from thy presence; And take not thy holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; And uphold me with a willing spirit. 13 Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; And sinners shall be converted unto thee. 14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation; `And' my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness. 15 O Lord, open thou my lips; And my mouth shall show forth thy praise. 16 For thou delightest not in sacrifice; else would I give it: Thou hast no pleasure in burnt-offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: A broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. 18 Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: Build thou the walls of Jerusalem. 19 Then will thou delight in the sacrifices of righteousness, In burnt-offering and in whole burnt-offering: Then will they offer bullocks upon thine altar. Psalm 52 For the Chief Musician. Maschil of David; when Doeg the Edomite came and told Saul, and said unto him, David is come to the house of Abimelech. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. . . . Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners will be converted to You” (vv. 10, 12–13). Jesus told Peter that after he had recovered from his moral defection, he could then “strengthen [his] brothers” ( Luke 22:32 32 but I made supplication for thee, that thy faith fail not; and do thou, when once thou hast turned again, establish thy brethren. ).

All confrontation of sin in others must be done out of meekness, not pride. We can’t play the role of judge—passing sentence as if we were God. We can’t play the role of superior—as if we were exempt from the same standards we demand of others. We must not play the hypocrite—blaming others while we excuse ourselves.

Ask Yourself

When have you seen this interchange done in a way that honored God, considered self, and truly benefited others? What were the key factors that contributed to the purity and peace of it? How was the rebuke handled by the one being confronted? What would make the difference if that person were 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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Integrity Never Stands Alone

Published by Grace To You for reading on June 19th.

“Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astounded and stood up in haste; he responded and said to his high officials, ‘Was it not three men we cast bound into the midst of the fire?’ They answered and said to the king, ‘Certainly, O king.’ He answered and said, ‘Look! I see four men loosed and walking about in the midst of the fire without harm, and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods!’” ( Daniel 3:24-25 24 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste: he spake and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. 25 He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the aspect of the fourth is like a son of the gods. ).

God will never leave His children alone.

King Nebuchadnezzar was livid with rage when he had Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego bound and cast into the fiery furnace. But his rage quickly turned to astonishment when he saw four men loosed and walking around unharmed by the flames. Clearly something supernatural and beyond his control was occurring.

Although he described the fourth person as being “like a son of the gods,” he did not have the Son of God in mind. As a pagan he would not have understood an Old Testament appearance of Christ, such as occurred to Abraham in Genesis 18 Chapter 18 1 And Jehovah appeared unto him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; 2 and he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood over against him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself to the earth, 3 and said, My lord, if now I have found favor in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant: 4 let now a little water be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree: 5 and I will fetch a morsel of bread, and strengthen ye your heart; after that ye shall pass on: forasmuch as ye are come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said. 6 And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes. 7 And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetched a calf tender and good, and gave it unto the servant; and he hasted to dress it. 8 And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat. 9 And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent. 10 And he said, I will certainly return unto thee when the season cometh round; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard in the tent door, which was behind him. 11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old, `and' well stricken in age; it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. 12 And Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also? 13 And Jehovah said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, who am old? 14 Is anything too hard for Jehovah? At the set time I will return unto thee, when the season cometh round, and Sarah shall have a son. 15 Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh. 16 And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way. 17 And Jehovah said, Shall I hide from Abraham that which I do; 18 seeing that Abraham had surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? 19 For I have known him, to the end that he may command his children and his household after him, that they may keep the way of Jehovah, to do righteousness and justice; to the end that Jehovah may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him. 20 And Jehovah said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; 21 I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know. 22 And the men turned from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before Jehovah. 23 And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou consume the righteous with the wicked? 24 Peradventure there are fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou consume and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? 25 That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked, that so the righteous should be as the wicked; that be far from thee: shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? 26 And Jehovah said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sake. 27 And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, who am but dust and ashes: 28 peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five? And he said, I will not destroy it, if I find there forty and five. 29 And he spake unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it for the forty's sake. 30 And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there. 31 And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord: peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for the twenty's sake. 32 And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for the ten's sake. 33 And Jehovah went his way, as soon as he had left off communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place. . But he understood enough to believe that God had “sent His angel and delivered His servants who put their trust in Him” (v. 28).

I believe Nebuchadnezzar was correct. God sent an angelic messenger to comfort those young men and to explain that they would not be harmed by the fire. God would turn their darkest hour into their greatest triumph. Others in Scripture have been similarly encouraged by special angels from the Lord. God honored Elijah, for example, by having angels personally serve him food at an especially discouraging time in his life ( 1 Kings 19:4-7 4 But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper-tree: and he requested for himself that he might die, and said, It is enough; now, O Jehovah, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers. 5 And he lay down and slept under a juniper-tree; and, behold, an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat. 6 And he looked, and, behold, there was at his head a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again. 7 And the angel of Jehovah came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for thee. ).

If you are a Christian, God has promised never to leave you or forsake you (Heb. 13:5). He will be with you in every circumstance. When necessary, He will dispatch His angels to minister to you in special ways (Heb. 1:14). Let that truth encourage you today, especially if you are undergoing a trial.

Suggestions for Prayer

Praise the Lord for the protection and encouragement He has given you in the past and for His promise of similar blessings in the future.

For Further Study

According to 1 Peter 2:18-23 18 Servants, `be' in subjection to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. 19 For this is acceptable, if for conscience toward God a man endureth griefs, suffering wrongfully. 20 For what glory is it, if, when ye sin, and are buffeted `for it', ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer `for it', ye shall take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. 21 For hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that ye should follow his steps: 22 who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23 who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered threatened not; but committed `himself' to him that judgeth righteously: and 4:12-16, how should Christians respond to persecution?

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

The Offense of Fearing Man

Published by John Piper for reading on June 19th.

Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice.” ( 1 Samuel 15:24 24 And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned; for I have transgressed the commandment of Jehovah, and thy words, because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice. )

Why did Saul obey the people instead of God? Because he feared the people instead of God. He feared the human consequences of obedience more than he feared the divine consequences of sin. He feared the displeasure of the people more than the displeasure of God. And that is a great insult to God.

In fact, Isaiah says it is a kind of pride to be afraid of what man can do while we disregard the promises of God. He quotes God with this piercing question: “I, I am he who comforts you; who are you that you are afraid of man who dies, of the son of man who is made like grass, and have forgotten the LORD, your Maker?” ( Isaiah 51:12 12 I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou art afraid of man that shall die, and of the son of man that shall be made as grass; –13).

Fear of man may not feel like pride, but that is what God says it is: “Who do you think you are to fear man and forget me your Maker!”

The point is this: If you fear man, you have begun to deny the holiness, the worth, of God and his Son, Jesus. God is infinitely stronger. He is infinitely wiser and infinitely more full of reward and joy.

To turn from him out of fear of what man can do is to discount all that God promises to be for those who fear him. It is a great insult. And in such an insult God can take no pleasure.

On the other hand when we hear the promises and trust him with courage, fearing the reproach brought upon God by our unbelief, then he is greatly honored. And in that he has pleasure.



Morning Devotional by C.H. Spurgeon for June 19th

Published by C.H. Spurgeon for reading on June 19th.

Acts 2:4 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

RICH were the blessings of this day if all of us were filled with the Holy Ghost. The consequences of this sacred filling of the soul it would be impossible to overestimate. Life, comfort, light, purity, power, peace; and many other precious blessings are inseparable from the Spirit's benign presence. As sacred oil, He anoints the head of the believer, sets him apart to the priesthood of saints, and gives him grace to execute his office aright. As the only truly purifying water He cleanses us from the power of sin and sanctifies us unto holiness, working in us to will and to do of the Lord's good pleasure. As the light, He manifested to us at first our lost estate, and now He reveals the Lord Jesus to us and in us, and guides us in the way of righteousness. Enlightened by His pure celestial ray, we are no more darkness but light in the Lord. As fire, He both purges us from dross, and sets our consecrated nature on a blaze. He is the sacrificial flame by which we are enabled to offer our whole souls as a living sacrifice unto God. As heavenly dew, He removes our barrenness and fertilizes our lives. O that He would drop from above upon us at this early hour! Such morning dew would be a sweet commencement for the day. As the dove, with wings of peaceful love He broods over His Church and over the souls of believers, and as a Comforter He dispels the cares and doubts which mar the peace of His beloved. He descends upon the chosen as upon the Lord in Jordan, and bears witness to their sonship by working in them a filial spirit by which they cry Abba, Father. As the wind, He brings the breath of life to men; blowing where He listeth He performs the quickening operations by which the spiritual creation is animated and sustained. Would to God, that we might feel His presence this day and every day.

Evening Devotional by C.H. Spurgeon for June 19th

Published by C.H. Spurgeon for reading on June 19th.

Song of Solomon 2:16 16 My beloved is mine, and I am his: He feedeth `his flock' among the lilies. , 17]

SURELY if there be a happy verse in the Bible it is this—"My Beloved is mine, and I am His." So peaceful, so full of assurance, so overrunning with happiness and contentment is it, that it might well have been written by the same hand which penned the twenty-third Psalm. Yet though the prospect is exceeding fair and lovely—earth cannot show its superior—it is not entirely a sunlit landscape. There is a cloud in the sky which casts a shadow over the scene. Listen, "Until the day break, and the shadows flee away."

There is a word, too, about the "mountains of Bether," or, "the mountains of division," and to our love, anything like division is bitterness. Beloved, this may be your present state of mind; you do not doubt your salvation; you know that Christ is yours, but you are not feasting with Him. You understand your vital interest in Him, so that you have no shadow of a doubt of your being His, and of His being yours, but still His left hand is not under your head, nor doth His right hand embrace you. A shade of sadness is cast over your heart, perhaps by affliction, certainly by the temporary absence of your Lord, so even while exclaiming, "I am His," you are forced to take to your knees, and to pray, "Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, turn, my Beloved."

"Where is He?" asks the soul. And the answer comes, "He feedeth among the lilies." If we would find Christ, we must get into communion with His people, we must come to the ordinances with His saints. Oh, for an evening glimpse of Him! Oh, to sup with Him to-night!

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