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The Trustworthy Character of God

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on March 30th.

2 Samuel 7:21-22 21 For thy word's sake, and according to thine own heart, hast thou wrought all this greatness, to make thy servant know it. 22 Wherefore thou art great, O Jehovah God: for there is none like thee, neither is there any God besides thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears.

Whom do you trust? It isn’t easy to find many people who are true to their word. At some point, we all learn the hard way that anyone other than almighty God can disappoint us. Let’s look at the Lord’s character to discover why He can be trusted.

He is the one true God. Back in Old Testament times, it was common for people to actually carve and worship a false god. Today, it is more typical to idolize something unseen, such as wealth, power, fame, or relationships. These can consume our passion, money, and time—and in the end leave us fruitless and empty. Jehovah, on the other hand, is alive and real, ready to be intimately involved in our lives.

God is truth, and He is always faithful ( 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. ; 1 Corinthians 10:13 13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as man can bear: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation make also the way of escape, that ye may be able to endure it. ). Unlike sinful man, the Lord is trustworthy—and everything that He says will happen comes to pass. Our sovereign God has all power and is in control of every situation.

Christ loves us unconditionally. How can we ever doubt His love when He willingly gave His life in our place? And His love is based not on our behavior or status but on His character alone.

The heavenly Father is unchanging. All of the above are timeless attributes that will forever be true.

God can be trusted. So don’t give Him just the easy concerns; rely upon your Creator for everything. He desires a personal relationship with His beloved and is able to guide each believer through life victoriously. In a changing, suspicious world, you have a Friend who is 100 percent reliable.

Bible in One Year: 1 Samuel 22-24 Chapter 22 1 David therefore departed thence, and escaped to the cave of Adullam: and when his brethren and all his father's house heard it, they went down thither to him. 2 And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him; and he became captain over them: and there were with him about four hundred men. 3 And David went thence to Mizpeh of Moab: and he said unto the king of Moab, Let my father and my mother, I pray thee, come forth, `and be' with you, till I know what God will do for me. 4 And he brought them before the king of Moab: and they dwelt with him all the while that David was in the stronghold. 5 And the prophet Gad said unto David, Abide not in the stronghold; depart, and get thee into the land of Judah. Then David departed, and came into the forest of Hereth. 6 And Saul heard that David was discovered, and the men that were with him: now Saul was sitting in Gibeah, under the tamarisk-tree in Ramah, with his spear in his hand, and all his servants were standing about him. 7 And Saul said unto his servants that stood about him, Hear now, ye Benjamites; will the son of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards, will he make you all captains of thousands and captains of hundreds, 8 that all of you have conspired against me, and there is none that discloseth to me when my son maketh a league with the son of Jesse, and there is none of you that is sorry for me, or discloseth unto me that my son hath stirred up my servant against me, to lie in wait, as at this day? 9 Then answered Doeg the Edomite, who stood by the servants of Saul, and said, I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Ahimelech the son of Ahitub. 10 And he inquired of Jehovah for him, and gave him victuals, and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine. 11 Then the king sent to call Ahimelech the priest, the son of Ahitub, and all his father's house, the priests that were in Nob: and they came all of them to the king. 12 And Saul said, Hear now, thou son of Ahitub. And he answered, Here I am, my lord. 13 And Saul said unto him, Why have ye conspired against me, thou and the son of Jesse, in that thou hast given him bread, and a sword, and hast inquired of God for him, that he should rise against me, to lie in wait, as at this day? 14 Then Ahimelech answered the king, and said, And who among all thy servants is so faithful as David, who is the king's son-in-law, and is taken into thy council, and is honorable in thy house? 15 Have I to-day begun to inquire of God for him? be it far from me: let not the king impute anything unto his servant, nor to all the house of my father; for thy servant knoweth nothing of all this, less or more. 16 And the king said, Thou shalt surely die, Ahimelech, thou, and all thy father's house. 17 And the king said unto the guard that stood about him, Turn, and slay the priests of Jehovah; because their hand also is with David, and because they knew that he fled, and did not disclose it to me. But the servants of the king would not put forth their hand to fall upon the priests of Jehovah. 18 And the king said to Doeg, Turn thou, and fall upon the priests. And Doeg the Edomite turned, and he fell upon the priests, and he slew on that day fourscore and five persons that did wear a linen ephod. 19 And Nob, the city of the priests, smote he with the edge of the sword, both men and women, children and sucklings, and oxen and asses and sheep, with the edge of the sword. 20 And one of the sons of Ahimelech, the son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped, and fled after David. 21 And Abiathar told David that Saul had slain Jehovah's priests. 22 And David said unto Abiathar, I knew on that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul: I have occasioned `the death' of all the persons of thy father's house. 23 Abide thou with me, fear not; for he that seeketh my life seeketh thy life: for with me thou shalt be in safeguard. Chapter 23 1 And they told David, saying, Behold, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah, and are robbing the threshing-floors. 2 Therefore David inquired of Jehovah, saying, Shall I go and smite these Philistines? And Jehovah said unto David, Go, and smite the Philistines, and save Keilah. 3 And David's men said unto him, Behold, we are afraid here in Judah: how much more then if we go to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines? 4 Then David inquired of Jehovah yet again. And Jehovah answered him, and said, Arise, go down to Keilah; for I will deliver the Philistines into thy hand. 5 And David and his men went to Keilah, and fought with the Philistines, and brought away their cattle, and slew them with a great slaughter. So David save the inhabitants of Keilah. 6 And it came to pass, when Abiathar the son of Ahimelech fled to David to Keilah, that he came down with an ephod in his hand. 7 And it was told Saul that David was come to Keilah. And Saul said, God hath delivered him into my hand; for he is shut in, by entering into a town that hath gates and bars. 8 And Saul summoned all the people to war, to go down to Keilah, to besiege David and his men. 9 And David knew that Saul was devising mischief against him; and he said to Abiathar the priest, Bring hither the ephod. 10 Then said David, O Jehovah, the God of Israel, thy servant hath surely heard that Saul seeketh to come to Keilah, to destroy the city for my sake. 11 Will the men of Keilah deliver me up into his hand? will Saul come down, as thy servant hath heard? O Jehovah, the God of Israel, I beseech thee, tell thy servant. And Jehovah said, He will come down. 12 Then said David, Will the men of Keilah deliver up to me and my men into the hand of Saul? And Jehovah said, They will deliver thee up. 13 Then David and his men, who were about six hundred, arose and departed out of Keilah, and went whithersoever they could go. And it was told Saul that David was escaped from Keilah; and he forbare to go forth. 14 And David abode in the wilderness in the strongholds, and remained in the hill-country in the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought him every day, but God delivered him not into his hand. 15 And David saw that Saul was come out to seek his life: and David was in the wilderness of Ziph in the wood. 16 And Jonathan, Saul's son, arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God. 17 And he said unto him, Fear not; for the hand of Saul my father shall not find thee; and thou shalt be king over Israel, and I shall be next unto thee; and that also Saul my father knoweth. 18 And they two made a covenant before Jehovah: and David abode in the wood, and Jonathan went to his house. 19 Then came up the Ziphites to Saul to Gibeah, saying, Doth not David hide himself with us in the strongholds in the wood, in the hill of Hachilah, which is on the south of the desert? 20 Now therefore, O king, come down, according to all the desire of thy soul to come down; and our part shall be to deliver him up into the king's hand. 21 And Saul said, Blessed be ye of Jehovah; for ye have had compassion on me. 22 Go, I pray you, make yet more sure, and know and see his place where his haunt is, `and' who hath seen him there; for it is told me that he dealeth very subtly. 23 See therefore, and take knowledge of all the lurking-places where he hideth himself, and come ye again to me of a certainty, and I will go with you: and it shall come to pass, if he be in the land, that I will search him out among all the thousands of Judah. 24 And they arose, and went to Ziph before Saul: but David and his men were in the wilderness of Maon, in the Arabah on the south of the desert. 25 And Saul and his men went to seek him. And they told David: wherefore he came down to the rock, and abode in the wilderness of Maon. And when Saul heard `that', he pursued after David in the wilderness of Maon. 26 And Saul went on this side of the mountain, and David and his men on that side of the mountain: and David made haste to get away for fear of Saul; for Saul and his men compassed David and his men round about to take them. 27 But there came a messenger unto Saul, saying, Haste thee, and come; for the Philistines have made a raid upon the land. 28 So Saul returned from pursuing after David, and went against the Philistines: therefore they called that place Sela-hammahlekoth. 29 And David went up from thence, and dwelt in the strongholds of En-gedi. Chapter 24 1 And it came to pass, when Saul was returned from following the Philistines, that it was told him, saying, Behold, David is in the wilderness of En-gedi. 2 Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and went to seek David and his men upon the rocks of the wild goats. 3 And he came to the sheepcotes by the way, where was a cave; and Saul went in to cover his feet. Now David and his men were abiding in the innermost parts of the cave. 4 And the men of David said unto him, Behold, the day of which Jehovah said unto thee, Behold, I will deliver thine enemy into thy hand, and thou shalt do to him as it shall seem good unto thee. Then David arose, and cut off the skirt of Saul's robe privily. 5 And it came to pass afterward, that David's heart smote him, because he had cut off Saul's skirt. 6 And he said unto his men, Jehovah forbid that I should do this thing unto my lord, Jehovah's anointed, to put forth my hand against him, seeing he is Jehovah's anointed. 7 So David checked his men with these words, and suffered them not to rise against Saul. And Saul rose up out of the cave, and went on his way. 8 David also arose afterward, and went out of the cave, and cried after Saul, saying, My lord the king. And when Saul looked behind him, David bowed with his face to the earth, and did obeisance. 9 And David said to Saul, Wherefore hearkenest thou to men's words, saying, Behold, David seeketh thy hurt? 10 Behold, this day thine eyes have seen how that Jehovah had delivered thee to-day into my hand in the cave: and some bade me kill thee; but `mine eye' spared thee; and I said, I will not put forth my hand against my lord; for he is Jehovah's anointed. 11 Moreover, my father, see, yea, see the skirt of thy robe in my hand; for in that I cut off the skirt of thy robe, and killed thee not, know thou and see that there is neither evil nor transgression in my hand, and I have not sinned against thee, though thou huntest after my life to take it. 12 Jehovah judge between me and thee, and Jehovah avenge me of thee; but my hand shall not be upon thee. 13 As saith the proverb of the ancients, Out of the wicked cometh forth wickedness; but my hand shall not be upon thee. 14 After whom is the king of Israel come out? after whom dost thou pursue? after a dead dog, after a flea. 15 Jehovah therefore be judge, and give sentence between me and thee, and see, and plead my cause, and deliver me out of thy hand. 16 And it came to pass, when David had made an end of speaking these words unto Saul, that Saul said, Is this thy voice, my son David? And Saul lifted up his voice, and wept. 17 And he said to David, Thou art more righteous than I; for thou hast rendered unto me good, whereas I have rendered unto thee evil. 18 And thou hast declared this day how that thou hast dealt well with me, forasmuch as when Jehovah had delivered me up into thy hand, thou killedst me not. 19 For if a man find his enemy, will he let him go well away? wherefore Jehovah reward thee good for that which thou hast done unto me this day. 20 And now, behold, I know that thou shalt surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in thy hand. 21 Swear now therefore unto me by Jehovah, that thou wilt not cut off my seed after me, and that thou wilt not destroy my name out of my father's house. 22 And David sware unto Saul. And Saul went home; but David and his men gat them up unto the stronghold.




A Living Sacrifice

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on March 30th.

Romans 11:33-34 33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past tracing out! 34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? , Romans 12:1-2 Chapter 12 1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, `which is' your spiritual service. 2 And be not fashioned according to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, and ye may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

In the book of Romans, Paul works through a progression of truths—from our sinful condition, which deserves God’s wrath, to the display of His mercy in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Chapter 11 ends in a crescendo of praise that should cause us to respond in worship by offering ourselves to God as living sacrifices.

But practically speaking, how are we to do this? In Romans 12:2 2 And be not fashioned according to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, and ye may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. , the apostle spells out a mindset to avoid and a goal to pursue.

Do not be conformed to this world. This is not a command to withdraw to the hills and live off the grid. Rather, we’re to lay aside our former manner of life because it is corrupted by our sinful desires (Eph. 4:22). Paul calls this “the old self,” and it’s what John referred to as “the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life” ( 1 John 2:16 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the vain glory of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. ). Until we deal with these things, we’ll find ourselves continually crawling off the altar to follow our own desires.

Be transformed by the renewing our minds. Lasting change isn’t brought about by willpower or emotional mountaintop experiences. For change that endures, we must renew our mind with God’s truths as revealed in His Word. Paul describes this renewal as “put[ting] on the new self,” which is created by God in righteousness, holiness, and truth (Eph. 4:23-24).

To be a living sacrifice requires submission in obedience to God’s will. As long as we’re in our earthly body, there will always be a battle with sin and self. But by letting God’s Word renew our mind, we’ll find ourselves praising Him as we use our life in accordance with His will.

Bible in One Year: 1 Samuel 22-24 Chapter 22 1 David therefore departed thence, and escaped to the cave of Adullam: and when his brethren and all his father's house heard it, they went down thither to him. 2 And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him; and he became captain over them: and there were with him about four hundred men. 3 And David went thence to Mizpeh of Moab: and he said unto the king of Moab, Let my father and my mother, I pray thee, come forth, `and be' with you, till I know what God will do for me. 4 And he brought them before the king of Moab: and they dwelt with him all the while that David was in the stronghold. 5 And the prophet Gad said unto David, Abide not in the stronghold; depart, and get thee into the land of Judah. Then David departed, and came into the forest of Hereth. 6 And Saul heard that David was discovered, and the men that were with him: now Saul was sitting in Gibeah, under the tamarisk-tree in Ramah, with his spear in his hand, and all his servants were standing about him. 7 And Saul said unto his servants that stood about him, Hear now, ye Benjamites; will the son of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards, will he make you all captains of thousands and captains of hundreds, 8 that all of you have conspired against me, and there is none that discloseth to me when my son maketh a league with the son of Jesse, and there is none of you that is sorry for me, or discloseth unto me that my son hath stirred up my servant against me, to lie in wait, as at this day? 9 Then answered Doeg the Edomite, who stood by the servants of Saul, and said, I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Ahimelech the son of Ahitub. 10 And he inquired of Jehovah for him, and gave him victuals, and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine. 11 Then the king sent to call Ahimelech the priest, the son of Ahitub, and all his father's house, the priests that were in Nob: and they came all of them to the king. 12 And Saul said, Hear now, thou son of Ahitub. And he answered, Here I am, my lord. 13 And Saul said unto him, Why have ye conspired against me, thou and the son of Jesse, in that thou hast given him bread, and a sword, and hast inquired of God for him, that he should rise against me, to lie in wait, as at this day? 14 Then Ahimelech answered the king, and said, And who among all thy servants is so faithful as David, who is the king's son-in-law, and is taken into thy council, and is honorable in thy house? 15 Have I to-day begun to inquire of God for him? be it far from me: let not the king impute anything unto his servant, nor to all the house of my father; for thy servant knoweth nothing of all this, less or more. 16 And the king said, Thou shalt surely die, Ahimelech, thou, and all thy father's house. 17 And the king said unto the guard that stood about him, Turn, and slay the priests of Jehovah; because their hand also is with David, and because they knew that he fled, and did not disclose it to me. But the servants of the king would not put forth their hand to fall upon the priests of Jehovah. 18 And the king said to Doeg, Turn thou, and fall upon the priests. And Doeg the Edomite turned, and he fell upon the priests, and he slew on that day fourscore and five persons that did wear a linen ephod. 19 And Nob, the city of the priests, smote he with the edge of the sword, both men and women, children and sucklings, and oxen and asses and sheep, with the edge of the sword. 20 And one of the sons of Ahimelech, the son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped, and fled after David. 21 And Abiathar told David that Saul had slain Jehovah's priests. 22 And David said unto Abiathar, I knew on that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul: I have occasioned `the death' of all the persons of thy father's house. 23 Abide thou with me, fear not; for he that seeketh my life seeketh thy life: for with me thou shalt be in safeguard. Chapter 23 1 And they told David, saying, Behold, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah, and are robbing the threshing-floors. 2 Therefore David inquired of Jehovah, saying, Shall I go and smite these Philistines? And Jehovah said unto David, Go, and smite the Philistines, and save Keilah. 3 And David's men said unto him, Behold, we are afraid here in Judah: how much more then if we go to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines? 4 Then David inquired of Jehovah yet again. And Jehovah answered him, and said, Arise, go down to Keilah; for I will deliver the Philistines into thy hand. 5 And David and his men went to Keilah, and fought with the Philistines, and brought away their cattle, and slew them with a great slaughter. So David save the inhabitants of Keilah. 6 And it came to pass, when Abiathar the son of Ahimelech fled to David to Keilah, that he came down with an ephod in his hand. 7 And it was told Saul that David was come to Keilah. And Saul said, God hath delivered him into my hand; for he is shut in, by entering into a town that hath gates and bars. 8 And Saul summoned all the people to war, to go down to Keilah, to besiege David and his men. 9 And David knew that Saul was devising mischief against him; and he said to Abiathar the priest, Bring hither the ephod. 10 Then said David, O Jehovah, the God of Israel, thy servant hath surely heard that Saul seeketh to come to Keilah, to destroy the city for my sake. 11 Will the men of Keilah deliver me up into his hand? will Saul come down, as thy servant hath heard? O Jehovah, the God of Israel, I beseech thee, tell thy servant. And Jehovah said, He will come down. 12 Then said David, Will the men of Keilah deliver up to me and my men into the hand of Saul? And Jehovah said, They will deliver thee up. 13 Then David and his men, who were about six hundred, arose and departed out of Keilah, and went whithersoever they could go. And it was told Saul that David was escaped from Keilah; and he forbare to go forth. 14 And David abode in the wilderness in the strongholds, and remained in the hill-country in the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought him every day, but God delivered him not into his hand. 15 And David saw that Saul was come out to seek his life: and David was in the wilderness of Ziph in the wood. 16 And Jonathan, Saul's son, arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God. 17 And he said unto him, Fear not; for the hand of Saul my father shall not find thee; and thou shalt be king over Israel, and I shall be next unto thee; and that also Saul my father knoweth. 18 And they two made a covenant before Jehovah: and David abode in the wood, and Jonathan went to his house. 19 Then came up the Ziphites to Saul to Gibeah, saying, Doth not David hide himself with us in the strongholds in the wood, in the hill of Hachilah, which is on the south of the desert? 20 Now therefore, O king, come down, according to all the desire of thy soul to come down; and our part shall be to deliver him up into the king's hand. 21 And Saul said, Blessed be ye of Jehovah; for ye have had compassion on me. 22 Go, I pray you, make yet more sure, and know and see his place where his haunt is, `and' who hath seen him there; for it is told me that he dealeth very subtly. 23 See therefore, and take knowledge of all the lurking-places where he hideth himself, and come ye again to me of a certainty, and I will go with you: and it shall come to pass, if he be in the land, that I will search him out among all the thousands of Judah. 24 And they arose, and went to Ziph before Saul: but David and his men were in the wilderness of Maon, in the Arabah on the south of the desert. 25 And Saul and his men went to seek him. And they told David: wherefore he came down to the rock, and abode in the wilderness of Maon. And when Saul heard `that', he pursued after David in the wilderness of Maon. 26 And Saul went on this side of the mountain, and David and his men on that side of the mountain: and David made haste to get away for fear of Saul; for Saul and his men compassed David and his men round about to take them. 27 But there came a messenger unto Saul, saying, Haste thee, and come; for the Philistines have made a raid upon the land. 28 So Saul returned from pursuing after David, and went against the Philistines: therefore they called that place Sela-hammahlekoth. 29 And David went up from thence, and dwelt in the strongholds of En-gedi. Chapter 24 1 And it came to pass, when Saul was returned from following the Philistines, that it was told him, saying, Behold, David is in the wilderness of En-gedi. 2 Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and went to seek David and his men upon the rocks of the wild goats. 3 And he came to the sheepcotes by the way, where was a cave; and Saul went in to cover his feet. Now David and his men were abiding in the innermost parts of the cave. 4 And the men of David said unto him, Behold, the day of which Jehovah said unto thee, Behold, I will deliver thine enemy into thy hand, and thou shalt do to him as it shall seem good unto thee. Then David arose, and cut off the skirt of Saul's robe privily. 5 And it came to pass afterward, that David's heart smote him, because he had cut off Saul's skirt. 6 And he said unto his men, Jehovah forbid that I should do this thing unto my lord, Jehovah's anointed, to put forth my hand against him, seeing he is Jehovah's anointed. 7 So David checked his men with these words, and suffered them not to rise against Saul. And Saul rose up out of the cave, and went on his way. 8 David also arose afterward, and went out of the cave, and cried after Saul, saying, My lord the king. And when Saul looked behind him, David bowed with his face to the earth, and did obeisance. 9 And David said to Saul, Wherefore hearkenest thou to men's words, saying, Behold, David seeketh thy hurt? 10 Behold, this day thine eyes have seen how that Jehovah had delivered thee to-day into my hand in the cave: and some bade me kill thee; but `mine eye' spared thee; and I said, I will not put forth my hand against my lord; for he is Jehovah's anointed. 11 Moreover, my father, see, yea, see the skirt of thy robe in my hand; for in that I cut off the skirt of thy robe, and killed thee not, know thou and see that there is neither evil nor transgression in my hand, and I have not sinned against thee, though thou huntest after my life to take it. 12 Jehovah judge between me and thee, and Jehovah avenge me of thee; but my hand shall not be upon thee. 13 As saith the proverb of the ancients, Out of the wicked cometh forth wickedness; but my hand shall not be upon thee. 14 After whom is the king of Israel come out? after whom dost thou pursue? after a dead dog, after a flea. 15 Jehovah therefore be judge, and give sentence between me and thee, and see, and plead my cause, and deliver me out of thy hand. 16 And it came to pass, when David had made an end of speaking these words unto Saul, that Saul said, Is this thy voice, my son David? And Saul lifted up his voice, and wept. 17 And he said to David, Thou art more righteous than I; for thou hast rendered unto me good, whereas I have rendered unto thee evil. 18 And thou hast declared this day how that thou hast dealt well with me, forasmuch as when Jehovah had delivered me up into thy hand, thou killedst me not. 19 For if a man find his enemy, will he let him go well away? wherefore Jehovah reward thee good for that which thou hast done unto me this day. 20 And now, behold, I know that thou shalt surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in thy hand. 21 Swear now therefore unto me by Jehovah, that thou wilt not cut off my seed after me, and that thou wilt not destroy my name out of my father's house. 22 And David sware unto Saul. And Saul went home; but David and his men gat them up unto the stronghold.




What Binds the Hands of Love

Published by John Piper for reading on March 31st.

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. ( Colossians 1:3 3 We give thanks to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, –5)

The problem with the church today is not that there are too many people who are passionately in love with heaven. The problem is not that professing Christians are retreating from the world, spending half their days reading Scripture and the other half singing about their pleasures in God all the while indifferent to the needs of the world.

The problem is that professing Christians are spending ten minutes reading Scripture and then half their day making money and the other half enjoying and repairing what they spend it on.

It is not heavenly-mindedness that hinders love. It is worldly-mindedness that hinders love, even when it is disguised by a religious routine on the weekend.

Where is the person whose heart is so passionately in love with the promised glory of heaven that he feels like an exile and a sojourner on the earth? Where is the person who has so tasted the beauty of the age to come that the diamonds of the world look like marbles, and the entertainment of the world is empty, and the moral causes of the world are too small because they have no view to eternity? Where is this person?

He is not in bondage to the Internet or eating or sleeping or drinking or partying or fishing or sailing or putzing around. He is a free man in a foreign land. And his one question is this: How can I maximize my enjoyment of God for all eternity while I am an exile on this earth? And his answer is always the same: by doing the labors of love.

Only one thing satisfies the heart whose treasure is in heaven: doing the works of heaven. And heaven is a world of love!

It is not the cords of heaven that bind the hands of love. It is the love of money and leisure and comfort and praise — these are the cords that bind the hands of love. And the power to sever these cords is Christian hope.

I say it again with all the conviction that lies within me: it is not heavenly-mindedness that hinders love on this earth. It is worldly-mindedness. And therefore the great fountain of love is the powerful, freeing confidence of Christian hope.



Our Awesome God

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on March 31st.

Revelation 4:9-11 9 And when the living creatures shall give glory and honor and thanks to him that sitteth on the throne, to him that liveth for ever and ever, 10 the four and twenty elders shall fall down before him that sitteth on the throne, and shall worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and shall cast their crowns before the throne, saying, 11 Worthy art thou, our Lord and our God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power: for thou didst create all things, and because of thy will they were, and were created.

In our culture, God’s name is often mentioned with little reverence. In fact, many people actually use it as a curse. Even among those who love Him, it is far too common to use His name casually, without taking time to ponder who He is. When you say a blessing at mealtimes, for instance, do you realize that you are talking to the almighty God who created and rules over all things?

Our view of the Lord impacts three areas of life. First, it affects our prayers. As we come to know Him better and better, our desires will start to look like His goals for us, and our petitions will align more closely with His purposes. What’s more, as we recognize His greatness and power, we’ll become more confident that He can accomplish mighty things—and we will venture to “pray big” (Eph. 3:20; James 4:2 2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and covet, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war; ye have not, because ye ask not. ).

Second, our understanding of His righteousness and goodness influences our behavior: If God has these attributes, surely it’s in our best interest to obey gladly. And as we, too, desire righteousness, we’ll be quick to repent of sin.

Third, our faith is impacted. Grasping that Jesus is holy, good, and powerful grows our trust in Him. Knowing our awesome God and remembering His great works will further build our confidence in Him.

Do you personally know our loving and holy heavenly Father? He invites you into an intimate relationship with Him. But as with any good friendship, time and intentionality are necessary to understand Him and learn His ways. Make these characteristics your priority, and watch how your prayers, behavior, and faith are impacted.

Bible in One Year: 1 Samuel 22-24 Chapter 22 1 David therefore departed thence, and escaped to the cave of Adullam: and when his brethren and all his father's house heard it, they went down thither to him. 2 And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him; and he became captain over them: and there were with him about four hundred men. 3 And David went thence to Mizpeh of Moab: and he said unto the king of Moab, Let my father and my mother, I pray thee, come forth, `and be' with you, till I know what God will do for me. 4 And he brought them before the king of Moab: and they dwelt with him all the while that David was in the stronghold. 5 And the prophet Gad said unto David, Abide not in the stronghold; depart, and get thee into the land of Judah. Then David departed, and came into the forest of Hereth. 6 And Saul heard that David was discovered, and the men that were with him: now Saul was sitting in Gibeah, under the tamarisk-tree in Ramah, with his spear in his hand, and all his servants were standing about him. 7 And Saul said unto his servants that stood about him, Hear now, ye Benjamites; will the son of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards, will he make you all captains of thousands and captains of hundreds, 8 that all of you have conspired against me, and there is none that discloseth to me when my son maketh a league with the son of Jesse, and there is none of you that is sorry for me, or discloseth unto me that my son hath stirred up my servant against me, to lie in wait, as at this day? 9 Then answered Doeg the Edomite, who stood by the servants of Saul, and said, I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Ahimelech the son of Ahitub. 10 And he inquired of Jehovah for him, and gave him victuals, and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine. 11 Then the king sent to call Ahimelech the priest, the son of Ahitub, and all his father's house, the priests that were in Nob: and they came all of them to the king. 12 And Saul said, Hear now, thou son of Ahitub. And he answered, Here I am, my lord. 13 And Saul said unto him, Why have ye conspired against me, thou and the son of Jesse, in that thou hast given him bread, and a sword, and hast inquired of God for him, that he should rise against me, to lie in wait, as at this day? 14 Then Ahimelech answered the king, and said, And who among all thy servants is so faithful as David, who is the king's son-in-law, and is taken into thy council, and is honorable in thy house? 15 Have I to-day begun to inquire of God for him? be it far from me: let not the king impute anything unto his servant, nor to all the house of my father; for thy servant knoweth nothing of all this, less or more. 16 And the king said, Thou shalt surely die, Ahimelech, thou, and all thy father's house. 17 And the king said unto the guard that stood about him, Turn, and slay the priests of Jehovah; because their hand also is with David, and because they knew that he fled, and did not disclose it to me. But the servants of the king would not put forth their hand to fall upon the priests of Jehovah. 18 And the king said to Doeg, Turn thou, and fall upon the priests. And Doeg the Edomite turned, and he fell upon the priests, and he slew on that day fourscore and five persons that did wear a linen ephod. 19 And Nob, the city of the priests, smote he with the edge of the sword, both men and women, children and sucklings, and oxen and asses and sheep, with the edge of the sword. 20 And one of the sons of Ahimelech, the son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped, and fled after David. 21 And Abiathar told David that Saul had slain Jehovah's priests. 22 And David said unto Abiathar, I knew on that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul: I have occasioned `the death' of all the persons of thy father's house. 23 Abide thou with me, fear not; for he that seeketh my life seeketh thy life: for with me thou shalt be in safeguard. Chapter 23 1 And they told David, saying, Behold, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah, and are robbing the threshing-floors. 2 Therefore David inquired of Jehovah, saying, Shall I go and smite these Philistines? And Jehovah said unto David, Go, and smite the Philistines, and save Keilah. 3 And David's men said unto him, Behold, we are afraid here in Judah: how much more then if we go to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines? 4 Then David inquired of Jehovah yet again. And Jehovah answered him, and said, Arise, go down to Keilah; for I will deliver the Philistines into thy hand. 5 And David and his men went to Keilah, and fought with the Philistines, and brought away their cattle, and slew them with a great slaughter. So David save the inhabitants of Keilah. 6 And it came to pass, when Abiathar the son of Ahimelech fled to David to Keilah, that he came down with an ephod in his hand. 7 And it was told Saul that David was come to Keilah. And Saul said, God hath delivered him into my hand; for he is shut in, by entering into a town that hath gates and bars. 8 And Saul summoned all the people to war, to go down to Keilah, to besiege David and his men. 9 And David knew that Saul was devising mischief against him; and he said to Abiathar the priest, Bring hither the ephod. 10 Then said David, O Jehovah, the God of Israel, thy servant hath surely heard that Saul seeketh to come to Keilah, to destroy the city for my sake. 11 Will the men of Keilah deliver me up into his hand? will Saul come down, as thy servant hath heard? O Jehovah, the God of Israel, I beseech thee, tell thy servant. And Jehovah said, He will come down. 12 Then said David, Will the men of Keilah deliver up to me and my men into the hand of Saul? And Jehovah said, They will deliver thee up. 13 Then David and his men, who were about six hundred, arose and departed out of Keilah, and went whithersoever they could go. And it was told Saul that David was escaped from Keilah; and he forbare to go forth. 14 And David abode in the wilderness in the strongholds, and remained in the hill-country in the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought him every day, but God delivered him not into his hand. 15 And David saw that Saul was come out to seek his life: and David was in the wilderness of Ziph in the wood. 16 And Jonathan, Saul's son, arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God. 17 And he said unto him, Fear not; for the hand of Saul my father shall not find thee; and thou shalt be king over Israel, and I shall be next unto thee; and that also Saul my father knoweth. 18 And they two made a covenant before Jehovah: and David abode in the wood, and Jonathan went to his house. 19 Then came up the Ziphites to Saul to Gibeah, saying, Doth not David hide himself with us in the strongholds in the wood, in the hill of Hachilah, which is on the south of the desert? 20 Now therefore, O king, come down, according to all the desire of thy soul to come down; and our part shall be to deliver him up into the king's hand. 21 And Saul said, Blessed be ye of Jehovah; for ye have had compassion on me. 22 Go, I pray you, make yet more sure, and know and see his place where his haunt is, `and' who hath seen him there; for it is told me that he dealeth very subtly. 23 See therefore, and take knowledge of all the lurking-places where he hideth himself, and come ye again to me of a certainty, and I will go with you: and it shall come to pass, if he be in the land, that I will search him out among all the thousands of Judah. 24 And they arose, and went to Ziph before Saul: but David and his men were in the wilderness of Maon, in the Arabah on the south of the desert. 25 And Saul and his men went to seek him. And they told David: wherefore he came down to the rock, and abode in the wilderness of Maon. And when Saul heard `that', he pursued after David in the wilderness of Maon. 26 And Saul went on this side of the mountain, and David and his men on that side of the mountain: and David made haste to get away for fear of Saul; for Saul and his men compassed David and his men round about to take them. 27 But there came a messenger unto Saul, saying, Haste thee, and come; for the Philistines have made a raid upon the land. 28 So Saul returned from pursuing after David, and went against the Philistines: therefore they called that place Sela-hammahlekoth. 29 And David went up from thence, and dwelt in the strongholds of En-gedi. Chapter 24 1 And it came to pass, when Saul was returned from following the Philistines, that it was told him, saying, Behold, David is in the wilderness of En-gedi. 2 Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and went to seek David and his men upon the rocks of the wild goats. 3 And he came to the sheepcotes by the way, where was a cave; and Saul went in to cover his feet. Now David and his men were abiding in the innermost parts of the cave. 4 And the men of David said unto him, Behold, the day of which Jehovah said unto thee, Behold, I will deliver thine enemy into thy hand, and thou shalt do to him as it shall seem good unto thee. Then David arose, and cut off the skirt of Saul's robe privily. 5 And it came to pass afterward, that David's heart smote him, because he had cut off Saul's skirt. 6 And he said unto his men, Jehovah forbid that I should do this thing unto my lord, Jehovah's anointed, to put forth my hand against him, seeing he is Jehovah's anointed. 7 So David checked his men with these words, and suffered them not to rise against Saul. And Saul rose up out of the cave, and went on his way. 8 David also arose afterward, and went out of the cave, and cried after Saul, saying, My lord the king. And when Saul looked behind him, David bowed with his face to the earth, and did obeisance. 9 And David said to Saul, Wherefore hearkenest thou to men's words, saying, Behold, David seeketh thy hurt? 10 Behold, this day thine eyes have seen how that Jehovah had delivered thee to-day into my hand in the cave: and some bade me kill thee; but `mine eye' spared thee; and I said, I will not put forth my hand against my lord; for he is Jehovah's anointed. 11 Moreover, my father, see, yea, see the skirt of thy robe in my hand; for in that I cut off the skirt of thy robe, and killed thee not, know thou and see that there is neither evil nor transgression in my hand, and I have not sinned against thee, though thou huntest after my life to take it. 12 Jehovah judge between me and thee, and Jehovah avenge me of thee; but my hand shall not be upon thee. 13 As saith the proverb of the ancients, Out of the wicked cometh forth wickedness; but my hand shall not be upon thee. 14 After whom is the king of Israel come out? after whom dost thou pursue? after a dead dog, after a flea. 15 Jehovah therefore be judge, and give sentence between me and thee, and see, and plead my cause, and deliver me out of thy hand. 16 And it came to pass, when David had made an end of speaking these words unto Saul, that Saul said, Is this thy voice, my son David? And Saul lifted up his voice, and wept. 17 And he said to David, Thou art more righteous than I; for thou hast rendered unto me good, whereas I have rendered unto thee evil. 18 And thou hast declared this day how that thou hast dealt well with me, forasmuch as when Jehovah had delivered me up into thy hand, thou killedst me not. 19 For if a man find his enemy, will he let him go well away? wherefore Jehovah reward thee good for that which thou hast done unto me this day. 20 And now, behold, I know that thou shalt surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in thy hand. 21 Swear now therefore unto me by Jehovah, that thou wilt not cut off my seed after me, and that thou wilt not destroy my name out of my father's house. 22 And David sware unto Saul. And Saul went home; but David and his men gat them up unto the stronghold.




The Summation of Humility

Published by Grace To You for reading on March 31st.

“Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law” ( Romans 13:8 8 Owe no man anything, save to love one another: for he that loveth his neighbor hath fulfilled the law. ).

If believers fulfill their constant debt of love, they will have a continual attitude of sacrificial humility.

Origen, the early church father, wisely said, “The debt of love remains with us permanently and never leaves us. This is a debt which we pay every day and forever owe.” The primary reason you and I can pay that debt is that “the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Rom. 5:5). God’s own love to us and every other believer is the bottomless well from which we can draw and then share with others.

If we have this wonderful, supernatural resource of love through the Holy Spirit, it only follows that we must submit to the Spirit. When we do so, all the enemies and impediments to humility—pride, unjustified power-grabbing, selfish ambition, partisanship, hatred—will melt away. What an overwhelming thought to consider that such humility can be ours because God Himself, through His Spirit, is teaching us to love as we yield to Him (1 Thess. 4:9).

At every turn we see humility going hand in hand with godly love. Genuine love never turns its “freedom into an opportunity for the flesh” (Gal. 5:13). It will not do anything to cause another Christian to fall into sin or even be offended in his conscience (Rom. 14:21). Love that is from God will “be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven [us]” (Eph. 4:32).

The greatest test of love and humility is the willingness to sacrifice for the good of others. As we have already seen in our study of humility, Jesus was the ultimate example of this (Phil. 2:5-8). Our supreme demonstration of humility is when we imitate Him: “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” ( 1 John 3:16 16 Hereby know we love, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. ).

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Pray for an occasion today to show some facet of biblical love to another person.
  • If nothing develops today, keep praying that the Lord would make you alert for future opportunities.

For Further Study

  • First John 4 Chapter 4 1 When therefore the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John 2 (although Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples), 3 he left Judea, and departed again into Galilee. 4 And he must needs pass through Samaria. 5 So he cometh to a city of Samaria, called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph: 6 and Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour. 7 There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. 8 For his disciples were gone away into the city to buy food. 9 The Samaritan woman therefore saith unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, who am a Samaritan woman? (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered and said unto unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. 11 The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: whence then hast thou that living water? 12 Art thou greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his sons, and his cattle? 13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Every one that drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 14 but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up unto eternal life. 15 The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come all the way hither to draw. 16 Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. 17 The woman answered and said unto him, I have no husband. Jesus saith unto her, Thou saidst well, I have no husband: 18 for thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: this hast thou said truly. 19 The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. 21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, shall ye worship the Father. 22 Ye worship that which ye know not: we worship that which we know; for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth: for such doth the Father seek to be his worshippers. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship in spirit and truth. 25 The woman saith unto him, I know that Messiah cometh (he that is called Christ): when he is come, he will declare unto us all things. 26 Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am `he'. 27 And upon this came his disciples; and they marvelled that he was speaking with a woman; yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why speakest thou with her? 28 So the woman left her waterpot, and went away into the city, and saith to the people, 29 Come, see a man, who told me all things that `ever' I did: can this be the Christ? 30 They went out of the city, and were coming to him. 31 In the mean while the disciples prayed him, saying, Rabbi, eat. 32 But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not. 33 The disciples therefore said one to another, Hath any man brought him `aught' to eat? 34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to accomplish his work. 35 Say not ye, There are yet four months, and `then' cometh the harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields, that they are white already unto harvest. 36 He that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal; that he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. 37 For herein is the saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. 38 I sent you to reap that whereon ye have not labored: others have labored, and ye are entered into their labor. 39 And from that city many of the Samaritans believed on him because of the word of the woman, who testified, He told me all things that `ever' I did. 40 So when the Samaritans came unto him, they besought him to abide with them: and he abode there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his word; 42 and they said to the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy speaking: for we have heard for ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Saviour of the world. 43 And after the two days he went forth from thence into Galilee. 44 For Jesus himself testified, that a prophet hath no honor in his own country. 45 So when he came into Galilee, the Galilaeans received him, having seen all the things that he did in Jerusalem at the feast: for they also went unto the feast. 46 He came therefore again unto Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum. 47 When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judaea into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought `him' that he would come down, and heal his son; for he was at the point of death. 48 Jesus therefore said unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will in no wise believe. 49 The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die. 50 Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. The man believed the word that Jesus spake unto him, and he went his way. 51 And as he was now going down, his servants met him, saying, that his son lived. 52 So he inquired of them the hour when he began to amend. They said therefore unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. 53 So the father knew that `it was' at that hour in which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth: and himself believed, and his whole house. 54 This is again the second sign that Jesus did, having come out of Judaea into Galilee. is a wonderful chapter on God’s love and its meaning for believers. According to the apostle, how can we know truth from error?
  • What benefits derive from God’s love?

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        

Applying the Disciples' Prayer

Published by Grace To You for reading on March 31st.

"Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen" (Matt. 6:13).

The Disciples’ Prayer is a pattern to follow for life.

The implications of the Disciples' Prayer are profound and far-reaching. An unknown author put it this way:

I cannot say "our" if I live only for myself in a spiritual, watertight compartment. I cannot say "Father" if I do not endeavor each day to act like His child. I cannot say "who art in heaven" if I am laying up no treasure there.

I cannot say "hallowed be Thy name" if I am not striving for holiness. I cannot say "Thy kingdom come" if I am not doing all in my power to hasten that wonderful day. I cannot say "Thy will be done" if I am disobedient to His Word. I cannot say "in earth as it is in heaven" if I will not serve Him here and now.

I cannot say "give us . . . our daily bread" if I am dishonest or an "under the counter" shopper. I cannot say "forgive us our debts" if I harbor a grudge against anyone. I cannot say "lead us not into temptation" if I deliberately place myself in its path. I cannot say "deliver us from evil" if I do not put on the whole armor of God.

I cannot say "thine is the kingdom" if I do not give to the King the loyalty due Him as a faithful subject. I cannot attribute to Him "the power" if I fear what men may do. I cannot ascribe to Him "the glory" if I am seeking honor only for myself. I cannot say "forever" if the horizon of my life is bounded completely by the things of time.

As you learn to apply to your own life the principles in this marvelous prayer, I pray that God's kingdom will be your focus, His glory your goal, and His power your strength. Only then will our Lord's doxology be the continual song of your heart: "Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen" (v. 13).

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask God to use what you've learned from the Disciples' Prayer to transform your prayers.

For Further Study

Read John 17 Chapter 17 1 These things spake Jesus; and lifting up his eyes to heaven, he said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that the son may glorify thee: 2 even as thou gavest him authority over all flesh, that to all whom thou hast given him, he should give eternal life. 3 And this is life eternal, that they should know thee the only true God, and him whom thou didst send, `even' Jesus Christ. 4 I glorified thee on the earth, having accomplished the work which thou hast given me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. 6 I manifested thy name unto the men whom thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them to me; and they have kept thy word. 7 Now they know that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are from thee: 8 for the words which thou gavest me I have given unto them; and they received `them', and knew of a truth that I came forth from thee, and they believed that thou didst send me. 9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for those whom thou hast given me; for they are thine: 10 and all things that are mine are thine, and thine are mine: and I am glorified in them. 11 And I am no more in the world, and these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep them in thy name which thou hast given me, that they may be one, even as we `are'. 12 While I was with them, I kept them in thy name which thou hast given me: and I guarded them, and not one of them perished, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I come to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy made full in themselves. 14 I have given them thy word; and the world hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them from the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil `one'. 16 They are not of the world even as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth: thy word is truth. 18 As thou didst send me into the world, even so sent I them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth. 20 Neither for these only do I pray, but for them also that believe on me through their word; 21 that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, `art' in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us: that the world may believe that thou didst send me. 22 And the glory which thou hast given me I have given unto them; that they may be one, even as we `are' one; 23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be perfected into one; that the world may know that thou didst send me, and lovedst them, even as thou lovedst me. 24 Father, I desire that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, the world knew thee not, but I knew thee; and these knew that thou didst send me; 26 and I made known unto them thy name, and will make it known; that the love wherewith thou lovedst me may be in them, and I in them. , noting the priorities Jesus stressed in prayer.

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

Additional Resources        

Daily Bible - March 31

Published by Grace To You for reading on March 31st.

Reading for Today:

  • Deuteronomy 23:1 Chapter 23 1 He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the assembly of Jehovah. –24:22
  • Psalms 39:1-6 Chapter 39 1 I said, I will take heed to my ways, That I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, While the wicked is before me. 2 I was dumb with silence, I held my peace, even from good; And my sorrow was stirred. 3 My heart was hot within me; While I was musing the fire burned: `Then' spake I with my tongue: 4 Jehovah, make me to know mine end, And the measure of my days, what it is; Let me know how frail I am. 5 Behold, thou hast made my days `as' handbreadths; And my life-time is as nothing before thee: Surely every man at his best estate is altogether vanity. Selah 6 Surely every man walketh in a vain show; Surely they are disquieted in vain: He heapeth up `riches', and knoweth not who shall gather them.
  • Proverbs 13:1-3 Chapter 13 1 A wise son `heareth' his father's instruction; But a scoffer heareth not rebuke. 2 A man shall eat good by the fruit of his mouth; But the soul of the treacherous `shall eat' violence. 3 He that guardeth his mouth keepeth his life; `But' he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.
  • Luke 5:17-39 17 And it came to pass on one of those days, that he was teaching; and there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, who were come out of every village of Galilee and Judaea and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was with him to heal. 18 And behold, men bring on a bed a man that was palsied: and they sought to bring him in, and to lay him before him. 19 And not finding by what `way' they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went up to the housetop, and let him down through the tiles with his couch into the midst before Jesus. 20 And seeing their faith, he said, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee. 21 And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this that speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone? 22 But Jesus perceiving their reasonings, answered and said unto them, Why reason ye in your hearts? 23 Which is easier, to say, Thy sins are forgiven thee; or to say, Arise and walk? 24 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath authority on earth to forgive sins (he said unto him that was palsied), I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go unto thy house. 25 And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his house, glorifying God. 26 And amazement took hold on all, and they glorified God; and they were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to-day. 27 And after these things he went forth, and beheld a publican, named Levi, sitting at the place of toll, and said unto him, Follow me. 28 And he forsook all, and rose up and followed him. 29 And Levi made him a great feast in his house: and there was a great multitude of publicans and of others that were sitting at meat with them. 30 And the Pharisees and their scribes murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with the publicans and sinners? 31 And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are in health have no need of a physician; but they that are sick. 32 I am not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. 33 And they said unto him, The disciples of John fast often, and make supplications; likewise also the `disciples' of the Pharisees; but thine eat and drink. 34 And Jesus said unto them, Can ye make the sons of the bride-chamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? 35 But the days will come; and when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, then will they fast in those days. 36 And he spake also a parable unto them: No man rendeth a piece from a new garment and putteth it upon an old garment; else he will rend the new, and also the piece from the new will not agree with the old. 37 And no man putteth new wine into old wine-skins; else the new wine will burst the skins, and itself will be spilled, and the skins will perish. 38 But new wine must be put into fresh wine-skins. 39 And no man having drunk old `wine' desireth new; for he saith, The old is good.

Notes:

Psalms 39:5 5 Behold, thou hast made my days `as' handbreadths; And my life-time is as nothing before thee: Surely every man at his best estate is altogether vanity. Selah handbreadths. He measures the length of his life with the smallest popular measuring unit of ancient times (1 Kin. 7:26); see “four fingers” (i.e., about 2.9in.) in Jeremiah 52:21 21 And as for the pillars, the height of the one pillar was eighteen cubits; and a line of twelve cubits did compass it; and the thickness thereof was four fingers: it was hollow. . and my age is as nothing before You. On “measuring” God’s age, see Psalms 90:2 2 Before the mountains were brought forth, Or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. . vapor. For the same Hebrew word, see Ecclesiastes 1:2 2 Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher; vanity of vanities, all is vanity. ff., “vanity” (a total of 31 occurrences of this term are in Eccl.); Psalms 144:4 4 Man is like to vanity: His days are as a shadow that passeth away. . On the concept in the New Testament, see James 4:14 14 whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. What is your life? For ye are a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. .

Luke 5:26 26 And amazement took hold on all, and they glorified God; and they were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to-day. strange things. The response is curiously noncommittal—not void of wonder and amazement, but utterly void of true faith.

Luke 5:30 30 And the Pharisees and their scribes murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with the publicans and sinners? eat and drink. Consorting with outcasts on any level—even merely speaking to them—was bad enough. Eating and drinking with them implied a level of friendship that was abhorrent to the Pharisees (7:34; 15:2; 19:7).

Luke 5:33 33 And they said unto him, The disciples of John fast often, and make supplications; likewise also the `disciples' of the Pharisees; but thine eat and drink. fast often. Jesus did fast on at least one occasion (Mat. 4:2)—but privately, in accordance with His own teaching (Matt. 6:16-18). The law also prescribed a fast on the Day of Atonement (Lev. 16:29-31; 23:27)—but all other fasts were supposed to be voluntary, for specific reasons such as penitence and earnest prayer. The fact that these Pharisees raised this question shows that they thought of fasting as a public exercise to display one’s own spirituality. Yet, the Old Testament also rebuked hypocritical fasting (Is. 58:3-6).

DAY 31: What does Deuteronomy 24:1 Chapter 24 1 When a man taketh a wife, and marrieth her, then it shall be, if she find no favor in his eyes, because he hath found some unseemly thing in her, that he shall write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house. –4 say about divorce and remarriage?

This passage does not command, commend, condone, or even suggest divorce. Rather, it recognizes that divorce occurs and permits it only on restricted grounds. The case presented here is designed to convey the fact that divorcing produced defilement. Notice the following sequence:

  • if a man finds an uncleanness (some impurity or something vile, see 23:14) in his wife, other than adultery, which was punished by execution (see 22:22);
  • if he legally divorces her (although God hates divorce, as Mal. 2:16 says; He has designed marriage for life, as Gen. 2:24 declares; and He allowed divorce because of hard hearts, as Matt. 19:8 reveals);
  • if she then marries another man;
  • if the new husband then dies or divorces her, then that woman could not return to her first husband (v. 4). This is so because she was “defiled” with such a defilement that is an abomination to the Lord and a sinful pollution of the Promised Land.
  • What constitutes that defilement? Only one thing is possible—she was defiled in the remarriage because there was no ground for the divorce. So when she remarried, she became an adulteress (Matt. 5:31, 32) and is thus defiled so that her former husband can’t take her back. Illegitimate divorce proliferates adultery.

    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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    March 31 - Jesus Christ Is Superior to the Ceremonial Law

    Published by Grace To You for reading on March 31st.

    “‘Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill’” ( Matthew 5:17 17 Think not that I came to destroy the law or the prophets: I came not to destroy, but to fulfil. ).

    The ceremonial law governed the form of Israel’s worship. When Jesus died on the cross, He fulfilled that law as well as the judicial. Sacrifice was the heart of all Old Testament worship, and as the perfect sacrifice, Jesus brought all the other sacrifices to an end. While He was on the cross, “the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom” (Matt. 27:51). Christ Himself became the new and perfect way into the Holy of Holies, into which any man could come by faith.

    In this way, the Levitical, priestly, sacrificial system ended. Though the temple was not destroyed until A.D. 70, every offering made on its altar after Jesus died was needless. Symbolically, they had no more significance. Of course, the Tabernacle and Temple sacrifices that were offered even before Christ’s death never had power to cleanse from sin. They were only pictures of the Messiah-Savior’s work of cleansing, pictures that pointed to that supreme manifestation of God’s mercy and grace.

    The ceremonial law ended because it was fulfilled. Since the reality had come, the pictures and symbols had no more place or purpose. From Genesis 1:1- Chapter 1 1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Malachi 4:6 6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers; lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. , the Old Testament is Jesus Christ. It was inspired by Christ, it points to Christ, and it is fulfilled by Christ.

    Ask Yourself

    What does the magnificence of God’s story stir in you as you consider it again—the signs and fulfillments created by God’s design before the foundation of the world and forged through long centuries of human history? Sit at His feet again today in awe-filled worship.

    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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    Morning Devotional by C.H. Spurgeon for March 31st

    Published by C.H. Spurgeon for reading on March 31st.

    Isaiah 53:5 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

    PILATE delivered our Lord to the lictors to be scourged. The Roman scourge was a most dreadful instrument of torture. It was made of the sinews of oxen, and sharp bones were inter-twisted every here and there among the sinews; so that every time the lash came down these pieces of bone inflicted fearful laceration, and tore off the flesh from the bone. The Saviour was, no doubt, bound to the column, and thus beaten. He had been beaten before; but this of the Roman lictors was probably the most severe of His flagellations. My soul, stand here and weep over His poor stricken body.

    Believer in Jesus, can you gaze upon Him without tears, as He stands before you the mirror of agonizing love? He is at once fair as the lily for innocence, and red as the rose with the crimson of His own blood. As we feel the sure and blessed healing which His stripes have wrought in us, does not our heart melt at once with love and grief? If ever we have loved our Lord Jesus, surely we must feel that affection glowing now within our bosoms.

    "See how the patient Jesus stands, Insulted in His lowest case! Sinners have bound the Almighty's hands, And spit in their Creator's face.

    With thorns His temples gor'd and gash'd Send streams of blood from every part; His back's with knotted scourges lash'd. But sharper scourges tear His heart." We would fain go to our chambers and weep; but since our business calls us away, we will first pray our Beloved to print the image of His bleeding self upon the tablets of our hearts all the day, and at nightfall we will return to commune with Him, and sorrow that our sin should have cost Him so dear.

    Evening Devotional by C.H. Spurgeon for March 31st

    Published by C.H. Spurgeon for reading on March 31st.

    2 Samuel 21:10 10 And Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth, and spread it for her upon the rock, from the beginning of harvest until water was poured upon them from heaven; and she suffered neither the birds of the heavens to rest on them by day, nor the beasts of the field by night.

    IF the love of a woman to her slain sons could make her prolong her mournful vigil for so long a period, shall we weary of considering the sufferings of our blessed Lord? She drove away the birds of prey, and shall not we chase from our meditations those worldly and sinful thoughts which defile both our minds and the sacred themes upon which we are occupied? Away, ye birds of evil wing! Leave ye the sacrifice alone! She bore the heats of summer, the night dews and the rains, unsheltered and alone. Sleep was chased from her weeping eyes: her heart was too full for slumber. Behold how she loved her children! Shall Rizpah thus endure, and shall we start at the first little inconvenience or trial? Are we such cowards that we cannot bear to suffer with our Lord? She chased away even the wild beasts, with courage unusual in her sex, and will not we be ready to encounter every foe for Jesus' sake? These her children were slain by other hands than hers, and yet she wept and watched: what ought we to do who have by our sins crucified our Lord? Our obligations are boundless, our love should be fervent and our repentance thorough. To watch with Jesus should be our business, to protect His honour our occupation, to abide by His cross our solace. Those ghastly corpses might well have affrighted Rizpah, especially by night, but in our Lord, at whose cross-foot we are sitting, there is nothing revolting, but everything attractive. Never was living beauty so enchanting as a dying Saviour. Jesus, we will watch with Thee yet awhile, and do Thou graciously unveil Thyself to us; then shall we not sit beneath sackcloth, but in a royal pavilion.

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