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Wealthy Saints

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on August 3rd.

Ephesians 1:1-4 Chapter 1 1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, to the saints that are at Ephesus, and the faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed `be' the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly `places' in Christ: 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish before him in love:

If you are a Christian, you are wealthy whether you realize it or not. Of course, I’m referring to spiritual wealth, not material. Yet many professing believers live like spiritual paupers because they don’t fully believe what God has given them or promised in His Word.

If that describes you, take note of the hope offered in today’s passage. Anyone who’s been saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus is a saint. This is a term applied to every true believer, and it simply means that whoever belongs to Christ is set apart from this world and to God. And our Father wants to give His saints blessings because of their union with His Son (Eph. 1:3).

The source of our blessings is God. We don’t have to wait for them since He has already given them to us.

The nature of these blessings is spiritual and heavenly. They enrich our spirit no matter how little or how much we have materially. We possess every spiritual blessing God has given us, even though the fullness of all that He’s promised won’t be ours until we reach heaven.

The agent of our blessings is Christ. Every divine benefit comes to us by way of our unbreakable union with the Savior as He lives in us and we through Him.

The more we learn to live in the spiritual blessings described in verses 1-4, the greater will be our peace in the midst of trouble, contentment in times of need, and joy in our trials. And we can look forward to pleasures forever in heaven with Christ (Ps. 16:11).

Bible in One Year: Isaiah 50-53 Chapter 50 1 Thus saith Jehovah, Where is the bill of your mother's divorcement, wherewith I have put her away? or which of my creditors is it to whom I have sold you? Behold, for your iniquities were ye sold, and for your transgressions was your mother put away. 2 Wherefore, when I came, was there no man? when I called, was there none to answer? Is my hand shortened at all, that it cannot redeem? or have I no power to deliver? Behold, at my rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers a wilderness: their fish stink, because there is no water, and die for thirst. 3 I clothe the heavens with blackness, and I make sackcloth their covering. 4 The Lord Jehovah hath given me the tongue of them that are taught, that I may know how to sustain with words him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as they that are taught. 5 The Lord Jehovah hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away backward. 6 I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair; I hid not my face from shame and spitting. 7 For the Lord Jehovah will help me; therefore have I not been confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame. 8 He is near that justifieth me; who will content with me? let us stand up together: who is mine adversary? let him come near to me. 9 Behold, the Lord Jehovah will help me; who is he that shall condemn me? behold, all they shall wax old as a garment, the moth shall eat them up. 10 Who is among you that feareth Jehovah, that obeyeth the voice of his servant? he that walketh in darkness, and hath no light, let him trust in the name of Jehovah, and rely upon his God. 11 Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that gird yourselves about with firebrands; walk ye in the flame of your fire, and among the brands that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of my hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow. Chapter 51 1 Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek Jehovah: look unto the rock whence ye were hewn, and to the hold of the pit whence ye were digged. 2 Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you; for when he was but one I called him, and I blessed him, and made him many. 3 For Jehovah hath comforted Zion; he hath comforted all her waste places, and hath made her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of Jehovah; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody. 4 Attend unto me, O my people; and give ear unto me, O my nation: for a law shall go forth from me, and I will establish my justice for a light of the peoples. 5 My righteousness is near, my salvation is gone forth, and mine arms shall judge the peoples; the isles shall wait for me, and on mine arm shall they trust. 6 Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath; for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment; and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished. 7 Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye dismayed at their revilings. 8 For the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool; but my righteousness shall be for ever, and my salvation unto all generations. 9 Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of Jehovah; awake, as in the days of old, the generations of ancient times. Is it not thou that didst cut Rahab in pieces, that didst pierce the monster? 10 Is it not thou that driedst up the sea, the waters of the great deep; that madest the depths of the sea a way for the redeemed to pass over? 11 And the ransomed of Jehovah shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads: they shall obtain gladness and joy; `and' sorrow and sighing shall flee away. 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 and hast forgotten Jehovah thy Maker, that stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth; and fearest continually all the day because of the fury of the oppressor, when he maketh ready to destroy? and where is the fury of the oppressor? 14 The captive exile shall speedily be loosed; and he shall not die `and go down' into the pit, neither shall his bread fail. 15 For I am Jehovah thy God, who stirreth up the sea, so that the waves thereof roar: Jehovah of hosts is his name. 16 And I have put my words in thy mouth, and have covered thee in the shadow of my hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people. 17 Awake, awake, stand up, O Jerusalem, that hast drunk at the hand of Jehovah the cup of his wrath; thou hast drunken the bowl of the cup of staggering, and drained it. 18 There is none to guide her among all the sons whom she hath brought forth; neither is there any that taketh her by the hand among all the sons that she hath brought up. 19 These two things are befallen thee, who shall bemoan thee? desolation and destruction, and the famine and the sword; how shall I comfort thee? 20 Thy sons have fainted, they lie at the head of all the streets, as an antelope in a net; they are full of the wrath of Jehovah, the rebuke of thy God. 21 Therefore hear now this, thou afflicted, and drunken, but now with wine: 22 Thus saith thy Lord Jehovah, and thy God that pleadeth the cause of his people, Behold, I have taken out of thy hand the cup of staggering, even the bowl of the cup of my wrath; thou shalt no more drink it again: 23 and I will put it into the hand of them that afflict thee, that have said to thy soul, Bow down, that we may go over; and thou hast laid thy back as the ground, and as the street, to them that go over. Chapter 52 1 Awake, awake, put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean. 2 Shake thyself from the dust; arise, sit `on thy throne', O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bonds of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion. 3 For thus saith Jehovah, Ye were sold for nought; and ye shall be redeemed without money. 4 For thus saith the Lord Jehovah, My people went down at the first into Egypt to sojourn there: and the Assyrian hath oppressed them without cause. 5 Now therefore, what do I here, saith Jehovah, seeing that my people is taken away for nought? they that rule over them do howl, saith Jehovah, and my name continually all the day is blasphemed. 6 Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore `they shall know' in that day that I am he that doth speak; behold, it is I. 7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace, that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation, that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! 8 The voice of thy watchmen! they lift up the voice, together do they sing; for they shall see eye to eye, when Jehovah returneth to Zion. 9 Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem; for Jehovah hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem. 10 Jehovah hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. 11 Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; cleanse yourselves, ye that bear the vessels of Jehovah. 12 For ye shall not go out in haste, neither shall ye go by flight: for Jehovah will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your rearward. 13 Behold, my servant shall deal wisely, he shall be exalted and lifted up, and shall be very high. 14 Like as many were astonished at thee (his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men), 15 so shall he sprinkle many nations; kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they understand. Chapter 53 1 Who hath believed our message? and to whom hath the arm of Jehovah been revealed? 2 For he grew up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He was despised, and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and as one from whom men hide their face he was despised; and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 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. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and Jehovah hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, yet when he was afflicted he opened not his mouth; as a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and as a sheep that before its shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who `among them' considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living for the transgression of my people to whom the stroke `was due'? 9 And they made his grave with the wicked, and with a rich man in his death; although he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it pleased Jehovah to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see `his' seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of Jehovah shall prosper in his hand. 11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, `and' shall be satisfied: by the knowledge of himself shall my righteous servant justify many; and he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he poured out his soul unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors: yet he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.




Proven Faith

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on August 3rd.

1 Peter 1:3-9 3 Blessed `be' the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy begat us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 unto an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who by the power of God are guarded through faith unto a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, ye have been put to grief in manifold trials, 7 that the proof of your faith, `being' more precious than gold that perisheth though it is proved by fire, may be found unto praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ: 8 whom not having seen ye love; on whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice greatly with joy unspeakable and full of glory: 9 receiving the end of your faith, `even' the salvation of `your' souls.

Faith is a central element in the Christian life because it is the means by which we enter into salvation. But that’s only the beginning. From then onward, our faith­—or lack of it—shapes our lives and determines what happens to us when the winds of adversity blow. Some Christians learn to hold their footing even in hurricane-force gales, but others are toppled by the slightest gust. To understand why this is true, we need to examine the source of our faith.

Inherited faith. If you grew up in a Christian home, you probably adopted some of your parents’ beliefs. This kind of godly foundation is a wonderful gift from the Lord, but eventually, each person must assume responsibility for his or her own beliefs.

Textbook faith. The Bible is the ultimate guide for establishing our beliefs. But that’s not the only source of influence. Books, preachers, teachers, and friends all impact our convictions. Our theology may in fact be sound, but faith is only mental acceptance until it’s put to the test.

Proven faith. Only when we trust in the Lord through the fires of adversity will we have faith that can stand. Then it’s no longer based on what others have told us or what we’ve accepted as true but is built on our firsthand experience of His faithfulness.

To evaluate your faith, consider how you react to difficulties. Do you cling to the Lord or get angry at Him? Is your attitude one of thanksgiving because He’s making you more like His Son, or are you frustrated? No one can escape hardship, but those with proven faith will benefit from it.

Bible in One Year: Isaiah 50-53 Chapter 50 1 Thus saith Jehovah, Where is the bill of your mother's divorcement, wherewith I have put her away? or which of my creditors is it to whom I have sold you? Behold, for your iniquities were ye sold, and for your transgressions was your mother put away. 2 Wherefore, when I came, was there no man? when I called, was there none to answer? Is my hand shortened at all, that it cannot redeem? or have I no power to deliver? Behold, at my rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers a wilderness: their fish stink, because there is no water, and die for thirst. 3 I clothe the heavens with blackness, and I make sackcloth their covering. 4 The Lord Jehovah hath given me the tongue of them that are taught, that I may know how to sustain with words him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as they that are taught. 5 The Lord Jehovah hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away backward. 6 I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair; I hid not my face from shame and spitting. 7 For the Lord Jehovah will help me; therefore have I not been confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame. 8 He is near that justifieth me; who will content with me? let us stand up together: who is mine adversary? let him come near to me. 9 Behold, the Lord Jehovah will help me; who is he that shall condemn me? behold, all they shall wax old as a garment, the moth shall eat them up. 10 Who is among you that feareth Jehovah, that obeyeth the voice of his servant? he that walketh in darkness, and hath no light, let him trust in the name of Jehovah, and rely upon his God. 11 Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that gird yourselves about with firebrands; walk ye in the flame of your fire, and among the brands that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of my hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow. Chapter 51 1 Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek Jehovah: look unto the rock whence ye were hewn, and to the hold of the pit whence ye were digged. 2 Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you; for when he was but one I called him, and I blessed him, and made him many. 3 For Jehovah hath comforted Zion; he hath comforted all her waste places, and hath made her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of Jehovah; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody. 4 Attend unto me, O my people; and give ear unto me, O my nation: for a law shall go forth from me, and I will establish my justice for a light of the peoples. 5 My righteousness is near, my salvation is gone forth, and mine arms shall judge the peoples; the isles shall wait for me, and on mine arm shall they trust. 6 Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath; for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment; and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished. 7 Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye dismayed at their revilings. 8 For the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool; but my righteousness shall be for ever, and my salvation unto all generations. 9 Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of Jehovah; awake, as in the days of old, the generations of ancient times. Is it not thou that didst cut Rahab in pieces, that didst pierce the monster? 10 Is it not thou that driedst up the sea, the waters of the great deep; that madest the depths of the sea a way for the redeemed to pass over? 11 And the ransomed of Jehovah shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads: they shall obtain gladness and joy; `and' sorrow and sighing shall flee away. 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 and hast forgotten Jehovah thy Maker, that stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth; and fearest continually all the day because of the fury of the oppressor, when he maketh ready to destroy? and where is the fury of the oppressor? 14 The captive exile shall speedily be loosed; and he shall not die `and go down' into the pit, neither shall his bread fail. 15 For I am Jehovah thy God, who stirreth up the sea, so that the waves thereof roar: Jehovah of hosts is his name. 16 And I have put my words in thy mouth, and have covered thee in the shadow of my hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people. 17 Awake, awake, stand up, O Jerusalem, that hast drunk at the hand of Jehovah the cup of his wrath; thou hast drunken the bowl of the cup of staggering, and drained it. 18 There is none to guide her among all the sons whom she hath brought forth; neither is there any that taketh her by the hand among all the sons that she hath brought up. 19 These two things are befallen thee, who shall bemoan thee? desolation and destruction, and the famine and the sword; how shall I comfort thee? 20 Thy sons have fainted, they lie at the head of all the streets, as an antelope in a net; they are full of the wrath of Jehovah, the rebuke of thy God. 21 Therefore hear now this, thou afflicted, and drunken, but now with wine: 22 Thus saith thy Lord Jehovah, and thy God that pleadeth the cause of his people, Behold, I have taken out of thy hand the cup of staggering, even the bowl of the cup of my wrath; thou shalt no more drink it again: 23 and I will put it into the hand of them that afflict thee, that have said to thy soul, Bow down, that we may go over; and thou hast laid thy back as the ground, and as the street, to them that go over. Chapter 52 1 Awake, awake, put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean. 2 Shake thyself from the dust; arise, sit `on thy throne', O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bonds of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion. 3 For thus saith Jehovah, Ye were sold for nought; and ye shall be redeemed without money. 4 For thus saith the Lord Jehovah, My people went down at the first into Egypt to sojourn there: and the Assyrian hath oppressed them without cause. 5 Now therefore, what do I here, saith Jehovah, seeing that my people is taken away for nought? they that rule over them do howl, saith Jehovah, and my name continually all the day is blasphemed. 6 Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore `they shall know' in that day that I am he that doth speak; behold, it is I. 7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace, that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation, that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! 8 The voice of thy watchmen! they lift up the voice, together do they sing; for they shall see eye to eye, when Jehovah returneth to Zion. 9 Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem; for Jehovah hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem. 10 Jehovah hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. 11 Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; cleanse yourselves, ye that bear the vessels of Jehovah. 12 For ye shall not go out in haste, neither shall ye go by flight: for Jehovah will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your rearward. 13 Behold, my servant shall deal wisely, he shall be exalted and lifted up, and shall be very high. 14 Like as many were astonished at thee (his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men), 15 so shall he sprinkle many nations; kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they understand. Chapter 53 1 Who hath believed our message? and to whom hath the arm of Jehovah been revealed? 2 For he grew up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He was despised, and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and as one from whom men hide their face he was despised; and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 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. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and Jehovah hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, yet when he was afflicted he opened not his mouth; as a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and as a sheep that before its shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who `among them' considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living for the transgression of my people to whom the stroke `was due'? 9 And they made his grave with the wicked, and with a rich man in his death; although he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it pleased Jehovah to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see `his' seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of Jehovah shall prosper in his hand. 11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, `and' shall be satisfied: by the knowledge of himself shall my righteous servant justify many; and he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he poured out his soul unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors: yet he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.




Made for Praise

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on August 4th.

Psalms 100:1-5 Chapter 100 1 Make a joyful noise unto Jehovah, all ye lands. 2 Serve Jehovah with gladness: Come before his presence with singing. 3 Know ye that Jehovah, he is God: It is he that hath made us, and we are his; We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, And into his courts with praise: Give thanks unto him, and bless his name. 5 For Jehovah is good; his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever, And his faithfulness unto all generations. Psalm 101 A Psalm of David.

Think about the husband who doesn’t communicate with his wife unless he wants her to do something for him. If the only time he interacts with her is when he has a need, then the wife is not being loved; she’s being used.

But don’t we often treat God the same way? We lift prayer request after prayer request and yet fail to give Him admiration and praise. How frequently do we attempt to use the Lord to fulfill our selfish desires?

1 Peter 2:9 9 But ye are a elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for `God's' own possession, that ye may show forth the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: says God’s people should “proclaim [His] excellencies.” Our concerns are of great importance to Him, but He also wants us to come to Him with a worshipful heart, not an attitude of self-centeredness.

You may ask, “What’s the point of praise?” When you begin to extol the Lord, your focus shifts to Him. Then you’ll begin to recall the ways in which He has impacted your life. As Psalms 105:5 5 Remember his marvellous works that he hath done, His wonders, and the judgments of his mouth, says, “Remember His wonders which He has done.”
Praising the heavenly Father is one of the principal themes found throughout Scripture. We’re told to do so joyfully ( Psalms 100:1 Chapter 100 1 Make a joyful noise unto Jehovah, all ye lands. ), all thoughout the day ( Psalms 113:3 3 From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same Jehovah's name is to be praised. ), and in the presence of others ( Psalms 108:3 3 I will give thanks unto thee, O Jehovah, among the peoples; And I will sing praises unto thee among the nations. ; Psalms 111:1 Chapter 111 1 Praise ye Jehovah. I will give thanks unto Jehovah with my whole heart, In the council of the upright, and in the congregation. ). The Lord truly created us to praise Him.

Take some time today to reflect on the Lord’s mighty work of salvation in your life. Instead of coming with a list of requests, simply praise the Father for His faithfulness and righteousness. When your heart is full of praise, worries will dissipate, and you’ll trust God to provide for your needs in His own timing.

Bible in One Year: Isaiah 50-53 Chapter 50 1 Thus saith Jehovah, Where is the bill of your mother's divorcement, wherewith I have put her away? or which of my creditors is it to whom I have sold you? Behold, for your iniquities were ye sold, and for your transgressions was your mother put away. 2 Wherefore, when I came, was there no man? when I called, was there none to answer? Is my hand shortened at all, that it cannot redeem? or have I no power to deliver? Behold, at my rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers a wilderness: their fish stink, because there is no water, and die for thirst. 3 I clothe the heavens with blackness, and I make sackcloth their covering. 4 The Lord Jehovah hath given me the tongue of them that are taught, that I may know how to sustain with words him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as they that are taught. 5 The Lord Jehovah hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away backward. 6 I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair; I hid not my face from shame and spitting. 7 For the Lord Jehovah will help me; therefore have I not been confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame. 8 He is near that justifieth me; who will content with me? let us stand up together: who is mine adversary? let him come near to me. 9 Behold, the Lord Jehovah will help me; who is he that shall condemn me? behold, all they shall wax old as a garment, the moth shall eat them up. 10 Who is among you that feareth Jehovah, that obeyeth the voice of his servant? he that walketh in darkness, and hath no light, let him trust in the name of Jehovah, and rely upon his God. 11 Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that gird yourselves about with firebrands; walk ye in the flame of your fire, and among the brands that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of my hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow. Chapter 51 1 Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek Jehovah: look unto the rock whence ye were hewn, and to the hold of the pit whence ye were digged. 2 Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you; for when he was but one I called him, and I blessed him, and made him many. 3 For Jehovah hath comforted Zion; he hath comforted all her waste places, and hath made her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of Jehovah; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody. 4 Attend unto me, O my people; and give ear unto me, O my nation: for a law shall go forth from me, and I will establish my justice for a light of the peoples. 5 My righteousness is near, my salvation is gone forth, and mine arms shall judge the peoples; the isles shall wait for me, and on mine arm shall they trust. 6 Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath; for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment; and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished. 7 Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye dismayed at their revilings. 8 For the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool; but my righteousness shall be for ever, and my salvation unto all generations. 9 Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of Jehovah; awake, as in the days of old, the generations of ancient times. Is it not thou that didst cut Rahab in pieces, that didst pierce the monster? 10 Is it not thou that driedst up the sea, the waters of the great deep; that madest the depths of the sea a way for the redeemed to pass over? 11 And the ransomed of Jehovah shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads: they shall obtain gladness and joy; `and' sorrow and sighing shall flee away. 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 and hast forgotten Jehovah thy Maker, that stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth; and fearest continually all the day because of the fury of the oppressor, when he maketh ready to destroy? and where is the fury of the oppressor? 14 The captive exile shall speedily be loosed; and he shall not die `and go down' into the pit, neither shall his bread fail. 15 For I am Jehovah thy God, who stirreth up the sea, so that the waves thereof roar: Jehovah of hosts is his name. 16 And I have put my words in thy mouth, and have covered thee in the shadow of my hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people. 17 Awake, awake, stand up, O Jerusalem, that hast drunk at the hand of Jehovah the cup of his wrath; thou hast drunken the bowl of the cup of staggering, and drained it. 18 There is none to guide her among all the sons whom she hath brought forth; neither is there any that taketh her by the hand among all the sons that she hath brought up. 19 These two things are befallen thee, who shall bemoan thee? desolation and destruction, and the famine and the sword; how shall I comfort thee? 20 Thy sons have fainted, they lie at the head of all the streets, as an antelope in a net; they are full of the wrath of Jehovah, the rebuke of thy God. 21 Therefore hear now this, thou afflicted, and drunken, but now with wine: 22 Thus saith thy Lord Jehovah, and thy God that pleadeth the cause of his people, Behold, I have taken out of thy hand the cup of staggering, even the bowl of the cup of my wrath; thou shalt no more drink it again: 23 and I will put it into the hand of them that afflict thee, that have said to thy soul, Bow down, that we may go over; and thou hast laid thy back as the ground, and as the street, to them that go over. Chapter 52 1 Awake, awake, put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean. 2 Shake thyself from the dust; arise, sit `on thy throne', O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bonds of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion. 3 For thus saith Jehovah, Ye were sold for nought; and ye shall be redeemed without money. 4 For thus saith the Lord Jehovah, My people went down at the first into Egypt to sojourn there: and the Assyrian hath oppressed them without cause. 5 Now therefore, what do I here, saith Jehovah, seeing that my people is taken away for nought? they that rule over them do howl, saith Jehovah, and my name continually all the day is blasphemed. 6 Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore `they shall know' in that day that I am he that doth speak; behold, it is I. 7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace, that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation, that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! 8 The voice of thy watchmen! they lift up the voice, together do they sing; for they shall see eye to eye, when Jehovah returneth to Zion. 9 Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem; for Jehovah hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem. 10 Jehovah hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. 11 Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; cleanse yourselves, ye that bear the vessels of Jehovah. 12 For ye shall not go out in haste, neither shall ye go by flight: for Jehovah will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your rearward. 13 Behold, my servant shall deal wisely, he shall be exalted and lifted up, and shall be very high. 14 Like as many were astonished at thee (his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men), 15 so shall he sprinkle many nations; kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they understand. Chapter 53 1 Who hath believed our message? and to whom hath the arm of Jehovah been revealed? 2 For he grew up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He was despised, and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and as one from whom men hide their face he was despised; and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 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. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and Jehovah hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, yet when he was afflicted he opened not his mouth; as a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and as a sheep that before its shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who `among them' considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living for the transgression of my people to whom the stroke `was due'? 9 And they made his grave with the wicked, and with a rich man in his death; although he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it pleased Jehovah to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see `his' seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of Jehovah shall prosper in his hand. 11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, `and' shall be satisfied: by the knowledge of himself shall my righteous servant justify many; and he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he poured out his soul unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors: yet he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.




As Secure as God Is Faithful

Published by John Piper for reading on August 4th.

Those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. ( Romans 8:30 30 and whom he foreordained, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. )

Between eternity past in God’s predestination, and eternity future in God’s glorification, none is lost.

No one who is predestined for sonship fails to be called. And no one who is called fails to be justified. And no one who is justified fails to be glorified. This is an unbreakable steel chain of divine covenant faithfulness.

And so Paul says,

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. ( Philippians 1:6 6 being confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ: )

[He] will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. ( 1 Corinthians 1:8 8 who shall also confirm you unto the end, `that ye be' unreproveable in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. –9)

These are the promises of our God who cannot lie. Those who are born again are as secure as God is faithful.



Easy to Say, Difficult to Do

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on August 4th.

Matthew 5:10-12 10 Blessed are they that have been persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are ye when `men' shall reproach you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets that were before you.

God’s commands sometimes defy human logic. Take, for example, the command to rejoice in persecution. It doesn’t make sense until we realize the effect of praise—it keeps us focused upon the Lord and the good things that He can bring out of hardship.

The apostle Paul faced greater abuse and suffering than most of us ever will. He was beaten, put on trial, and imprisoned, yet he looked beyond those difficulties to what the Lord was accomplishing through his life. That is, though he didn’t rejoice that he was a captive, he was able to celebrate the great ministry he had among his prison guards.

If we believe God is in control and keeps His promises, then we must trust in the principle of Romans 5:3-5 3 And not only so, but we also rejoice in our tribulations: knowing that tribulation worketh stedfastness; 4 and stedfastness, approvedness; and approvedness, hope: 5 and hope putteth not to shame; because the love of God hath been shed abroad in our hearts through the Holy Spirit which was given unto us. . This passage assures us that our hardships have a purpose. Specifically, they develop our endurance, strengthen our character, and solidify our hope. Two immediate blessings of suffering are the deepening of our faith and the preparation for greater service to the kingdom. We’re able to rejoice because we are maturing believers whom God can use for His purposes.

The Lord will bring good from our persecution, just as He did for Paul. But if we allow doubt to cloud our faith, we won’t be able to rejoice in what He is doing in and through our lives. And if we can’t rejoice, we are in danger of giving up before God’s good work can be completed. Rejoicing keeps us focused upon the Lord and His purpose so that we may see our trial through to the end and receive our reward. 

Bible in One Year: Isaiah 50-53 Chapter 50 1 Thus saith Jehovah, Where is the bill of your mother's divorcement, wherewith I have put her away? or which of my creditors is it to whom I have sold you? Behold, for your iniquities were ye sold, and for your transgressions was your mother put away. 2 Wherefore, when I came, was there no man? when I called, was there none to answer? Is my hand shortened at all, that it cannot redeem? or have I no power to deliver? Behold, at my rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers a wilderness: their fish stink, because there is no water, and die for thirst. 3 I clothe the heavens with blackness, and I make sackcloth their covering. 4 The Lord Jehovah hath given me the tongue of them that are taught, that I may know how to sustain with words him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as they that are taught. 5 The Lord Jehovah hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away backward. 6 I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair; I hid not my face from shame and spitting. 7 For the Lord Jehovah will help me; therefore have I not been confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame. 8 He is near that justifieth me; who will content with me? let us stand up together: who is mine adversary? let him come near to me. 9 Behold, the Lord Jehovah will help me; who is he that shall condemn me? behold, all they shall wax old as a garment, the moth shall eat them up. 10 Who is among you that feareth Jehovah, that obeyeth the voice of his servant? he that walketh in darkness, and hath no light, let him trust in the name of Jehovah, and rely upon his God. 11 Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that gird yourselves about with firebrands; walk ye in the flame of your fire, and among the brands that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of my hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow. Chapter 51 1 Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek Jehovah: look unto the rock whence ye were hewn, and to the hold of the pit whence ye were digged. 2 Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you; for when he was but one I called him, and I blessed him, and made him many. 3 For Jehovah hath comforted Zion; he hath comforted all her waste places, and hath made her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of Jehovah; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody. 4 Attend unto me, O my people; and give ear unto me, O my nation: for a law shall go forth from me, and I will establish my justice for a light of the peoples. 5 My righteousness is near, my salvation is gone forth, and mine arms shall judge the peoples; the isles shall wait for me, and on mine arm shall they trust. 6 Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath; for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment; and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished. 7 Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye dismayed at their revilings. 8 For the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool; but my righteousness shall be for ever, and my salvation unto all generations. 9 Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of Jehovah; awake, as in the days of old, the generations of ancient times. Is it not thou that didst cut Rahab in pieces, that didst pierce the monster? 10 Is it not thou that driedst up the sea, the waters of the great deep; that madest the depths of the sea a way for the redeemed to pass over? 11 And the ransomed of Jehovah shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads: they shall obtain gladness and joy; `and' sorrow and sighing shall flee away. 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 and hast forgotten Jehovah thy Maker, that stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth; and fearest continually all the day because of the fury of the oppressor, when he maketh ready to destroy? and where is the fury of the oppressor? 14 The captive exile shall speedily be loosed; and he shall not die `and go down' into the pit, neither shall his bread fail. 15 For I am Jehovah thy God, who stirreth up the sea, so that the waves thereof roar: Jehovah of hosts is his name. 16 And I have put my words in thy mouth, and have covered thee in the shadow of my hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people. 17 Awake, awake, stand up, O Jerusalem, that hast drunk at the hand of Jehovah the cup of his wrath; thou hast drunken the bowl of the cup of staggering, and drained it. 18 There is none to guide her among all the sons whom she hath brought forth; neither is there any that taketh her by the hand among all the sons that she hath brought up. 19 These two things are befallen thee, who shall bemoan thee? desolation and destruction, and the famine and the sword; how shall I comfort thee? 20 Thy sons have fainted, they lie at the head of all the streets, as an antelope in a net; they are full of the wrath of Jehovah, the rebuke of thy God. 21 Therefore hear now this, thou afflicted, and drunken, but now with wine: 22 Thus saith thy Lord Jehovah, and thy God that pleadeth the cause of his people, Behold, I have taken out of thy hand the cup of staggering, even the bowl of the cup of my wrath; thou shalt no more drink it again: 23 and I will put it into the hand of them that afflict thee, that have said to thy soul, Bow down, that we may go over; and thou hast laid thy back as the ground, and as the street, to them that go over. Chapter 52 1 Awake, awake, put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean. 2 Shake thyself from the dust; arise, sit `on thy throne', O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bonds of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion. 3 For thus saith Jehovah, Ye were sold for nought; and ye shall be redeemed without money. 4 For thus saith the Lord Jehovah, My people went down at the first into Egypt to sojourn there: and the Assyrian hath oppressed them without cause. 5 Now therefore, what do I here, saith Jehovah, seeing that my people is taken away for nought? they that rule over them do howl, saith Jehovah, and my name continually all the day is blasphemed. 6 Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore `they shall know' in that day that I am he that doth speak; behold, it is I. 7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace, that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation, that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! 8 The voice of thy watchmen! they lift up the voice, together do they sing; for they shall see eye to eye, when Jehovah returneth to Zion. 9 Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem; for Jehovah hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem. 10 Jehovah hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. 11 Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; cleanse yourselves, ye that bear the vessels of Jehovah. 12 For ye shall not go out in haste, neither shall ye go by flight: for Jehovah will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your rearward. 13 Behold, my servant shall deal wisely, he shall be exalted and lifted up, and shall be very high. 14 Like as many were astonished at thee (his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men), 15 so shall he sprinkle many nations; kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they understand. Chapter 53 1 Who hath believed our message? and to whom hath the arm of Jehovah been revealed? 2 For he grew up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He was despised, and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and as one from whom men hide their face he was despised; and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 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. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and Jehovah hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, yet when he was afflicted he opened not his mouth; as a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and as a sheep that before its shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who `among them' considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living for the transgression of my people to whom the stroke `was due'? 9 And they made his grave with the wicked, and with a rich man in his death; although he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it pleased Jehovah to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see `his' seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of Jehovah shall prosper in his hand. 11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, `and' shall be satisfied: by the knowledge of himself shall my righteous servant justify many; and he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he poured out his soul unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors: yet he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.




Daily Bible - August 4

Published by Grace To You for reading on August 4th.

Reading for Today:

  • Esther 9:1 Chapter 9 1 Now in the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, on the thirteenth day of the same, when the king's commandment and his decree drew near to be put in execution, on the day that the enemies of the Jews hoped to have rule over them, (whereas it was turned to the contrary, that the Jews had rule over them that hated them,) –10:3
  • Psalms 91:1-6 Chapter 91 1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of Jehovah, He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in whom I trust. 3 For he will deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, And from the deadly pestilence. 4 He will cover thee with his pinions, And under his wings shalt thou take refuge: His truth is a shield and a buckler. 5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night, Nor for the arrow that flieth by day; 6 For the pestilence that walketh in darkness, Nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.
  • Proverbs 22:12 12 The eyes of Jehovah preserve `him that hath' knowledge; But he overthroweth the words of the treacherous man.
  • Romans 6:1-23 Chapter 6 1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. We who died to sin, how shall we any longer live therein? 3 Or are ye ignorant that all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him through baptism unto death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have become united with `him' in the likeness of his death, we shall be also `in the likeness' of his resurrection; 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with `him', that the body of sin might be done away, that so we should no longer be in bondage to sin; 7 for he that hath died is justified from sin. 8 But if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him; 9 knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death no more hath dominion over him. 10 For the death that he died, he died unto sin once: but the life that he liveth, he liveth unto God. 11 Even so reckon ye also yourselves to be dead unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus. 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey the lusts thereof: 13 neither present your members unto sin `as' instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves unto God, as alive from the dead, and your members `as' instruments of righteousness unto God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under law, but under grace. 15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under law, but under grace? God forbid. 16 Know ye not, that to whom ye present yourselves `as' servants unto obedience, his servants ye are whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God, that, whereas ye were servants of sin, ye became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching whereunto ye were delivered; 18 and being made free from sin, ye became servants of righteousness. 19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye presented your members `as' servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity, even so now present your members `as' servants to righteousness unto sanctification. 20 For when ye were servants of sin, ye were free in regard of righteousness. 21 What fruit then had ye at that time in the things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. 22 But now being made free from sin and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto sanctification, and the end eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death; but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Notes:

Esther 9:1 twelfth month. During the period February-March. Here is a powerful statement with regard to God’s providential preservation of the Jewish race in harmony with God’s unconditional promise to Abraham (Gen. 17:1–8). This providential deliverance stands in contrast to God’s miraculous deliverance of the Jews from Egypt; yet in both cases the same end had been accomplished by the supernatural power of God.

Esther 10:3 Mordecai…was second. Mordecai joined the top echelon of Jewish international statesmen like Joseph, who ranked second in the Egyptian dynasty (Gen. 41:37–45), and Daniel, who succeeded in both the Babylonian (Dan. 2:46–49; 5:29) and Medo-Persian Empires (Dan. 6:28). speaking peace. Less than 10 years later (ca. 465 B.C.), Ahasuerus was assassinated. There are no further details concerning Esther and Mordecai. What Mordecai did for less than a decade on behalf of Israel, Jesus Christ will do for all eternity as the Prince of Peace (Is. 9:6, 7; Zech. 9:9, 10).

Psalms 91:1 Chapter 91 1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. secret place of the Most High. An intimate place of divine protection. The use of “Most High” for God emphasizes that no threat can ever overpower Him. shadow of the Almighty. In a land where the sun can be oppressive and dangerous, a “shadow” was understood as a metaphor for care and protection.

Romans 6:3 3 Or are ye ignorant that all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? baptized into Christ Jesus. This does not refer to water baptism. Paul is actually using the word “baptized” in a metaphorical sense, as we might in saying someone was immersed in his work or underwent his baptism of fire when experiencing some trouble. All Christians have, by placing saving faith in Him, been spiritually immersed into the Person Christ, that is, united and identified with Him (1 Cor. 6:17; 10:2; Gal. 3:27; 1 Pet. 3:21; 1 John 1:3 3 that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you also, that ye also may have fellowship with us: yea, and our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ: ; Acts 2:38 38 And Peter `said' unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. ). Certainly water baptism pictures this reality, which is the purpose—to show the transformation of the justified. into His death. This means that immersion or identification is specifically with Christ’s death and resurrection.

DAY 4: In verses such as Romans 5:12 12 Therefore, as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin; and so death passed unto all men, for that all sinned:-- and 6:23, to what kind of death is Paul referring?

The word “death” has three distinct manifestations in biblical terminology: 1) spiritual death or separation from God (Eph. 2:1, 2, 4, 18); 2) physical death (Heb. 9:27); and 3) eternal death (also called the second death), which includes not only eternal separation from God, but eternal torment in the lake of fire (Rev. 20:11–15).

When sin entered the human race through Adam, all these aspects of death came with it. Adam was not originally subject to death; but through his sin, death became a grim certainty for him and his posterity. The “death” referred to in Romans 6:23 23 For the wages of sin is death; but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. includes the first and third descriptions above. That verse establishes two inexorable absolutes: 1) spiritual death and eternal separation from God make up the paycheck for every person’s slavery to sin; and 2) eternal life is a free gift God gives undeserving sinners who believe in His Son (Eph. 2:8,9).

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

Additional Resources        

August 4 - Opposition to Jesus

Published by Grace To You for reading on August 4th.

“The herdsmen ran away, and went to the city and reported everything, including what had happened to the demoniacs. And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw Him, they implored Him to leave their region” ( Matthew 8:33 33 And they that fed them fled, and went away into the city, and told everything, and what was befallen to them that were possessed with demons. –34).

It’s startling to realize that some people do not respect Jesus as much as the demons do. But that was exactly the case for this city (probably ancient Gerasa). The populace wanted nothing to do with the Lord but actually begged Him to leave their area. Mark’s account of the incident gives us more clues to their attitudes: “the people came to see what it was that had happened. They came to Jesus and observed the man who had been demon-possessed sitting down, clothed and in his right mind . . . and they became frightened” ( Mark 5:14 14 And they that fed them fled, and told it in the city, and in the country. And they came to see what it was that had come to pass. –15). As much as any hostility they may have had, they were simply scared.

As unregenerate sinners, the Gerasenes were no doubt bewildered and intimidated by Jesus. They saw His ability to control demons and animals and to restore crazed minds to sanity—and the result was complete opposition to Christ.

In sharp contrast to the attitude of the city people, one of the delivered men implored Jesus to let him go with Him ( Mark 5:18 18 And as he was entering into the boat, he that had been possessed with demons besought him that he might be with him. ). He manifested a great faith, love, and adoration for the Lord—so much so that he could not bear the thought of sepa-ration. But Jesus commanded him, “Go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you” ( Mark 5:19 19 And he suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go to thy house unto thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and `how' he had mercy on thee. ). The man was to be an evangelist to his own people, testifying that despite their present opposition to Jesus, the Son of God did not want them to perish spiritually.

Ask Yourself

Are there people in your life whose rejection of and opposition to Christ are totally baffling to you—going against all logic and every example of God’s reality? How should you respond to such hardheadedness?

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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Loving Money Ignores True Gain

Published by Grace To You for reading on August 4th.

“But godliness actually is a means of great gain, when accompanied by contentment” ( 1 Timothy 6:6 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain: ).

True wealth is found in contentment, not in monetary gain.

Love of money and contentment are mutually exclusive. An ancient Roman proverb says, “Money is like seawater; the more you drink, the thirstier you get.” Ecclesiastes 5:10 10 He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance, with increase: this also is vanity. summarizes the point this way: “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money.”

History has also demonstrated that no amount of riches can compensate for a lack of contentment. Millionaire financier John D. Rockefeller said, “I have made many millions, but they have brought me no happiness.” That wealthiest of industrialists, Henry Ford, was quoted as saying, “I was happier doing mechanic’s work.”

The Cynic and Stoic philosophers of Paul’s day were probably more content than any of the modern corporate tycoons. Those philosophers viewed the contented person as one who was self-sufficient, unflappable, and unmoved by outside circumstances. But true Christians have the best understanding of contentment because they know it comes from God. Paul told the Corinthian church, “Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God” (2 Cor. 3:5; see also 9:8).

The genuine believer, therefore, sees contentment as more than merely a noble human virtue. For him, it derives from the sufficiency God the Father and Christ the Son provide (Phil. 4:19). Thus a godly person is not motivated by the love of money but by the love of God (see Ps. 63:1-5).

The richest person is the one who needs nothing else because he is content with what he has. He adheres to the philosophy of Proverbs 30:8-9 8 Remove far from me falsehood and lies; Give me neither poverty nor riches; Feed me with the food that is needful for me: 9 Lest I be full, and deny `thee', and say, Who is Jehovah? Or lest I be poor, and steal, And use profanely the name of my God. , “Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is my portion, lest I be full and deny Thee and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or lest I be in want and steal, and profane the name of my God.”

Loving money deprives us of the contentment the writer of Proverbs alluded to and Paul wrote about. Such greed also leaves us spiritually impoverished and ignores the great gain that comes from true godliness—hardly the end result any of us should settle for simply because the love of money dominates our life.

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God that His daily and weekly provision has been and always will be sufficient for your needs.

For Further Study

Read Psalms 63:1-5 Chapter 63 1 O God, thou art my God; earnestly will I seek thee: My soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee, In a dry and weary land, where no water is. 2 So have I looked upon thee in the sanctuary, To see thy power and thy glory. 3 Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise thee. 4 So will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. 5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; And my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips; .

  • What attitudes result from the psalmist’s efforts?
  • What additional insights does the prophet add in Isaiah 55:2 2 Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labor for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. and 58:11?

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 Source of True Love

Published by Grace To You for reading on August 4th.

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God. . . . We love because He first loved us” ( 1 John 4:7 7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is begotten of God, and knoweth God. , 19).

True love cannot be generated on the human level. It’s a gift from God.

Scripture often makes seemingly impossible demands of us. For example, Jesus said, “Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you” (Matt. 5:44). That's easy to say, but how is it possible? Our natural tendency is to love our friends and hate our enemies. But Jesus said, “If you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax-gatherers do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?” (vv. 46-47).

Israel viewed tax-gatherers as traitors, and Gentiles as spiritual outcasts. Yet even traitors and outcasts show love and kindness to those who reciprocate. Jesus calls us to a much higher standard of love—one that is impartial, like God demonstrates when He “causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (v. 45). As we see from God Himself, it extends even to those who aren't worthy: “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).

Despite generations of rebellion and slander against His holy will and name, God sacrificed His beloved Son, thereby providing the means by which sinners can be saved. Out of love, Jesus willingly endured the pain and shame of the cross and paid the price of our redemption. Now that's divine love in action!

God commands you to love as He loves: impartially and sacrificially. That may sound impossible on the human level but remember that God never requires you to do anything He hasn't already enabled you to do. At the moment of your salvation, the Holy Spirit took up residence within you and began producing the fruit of love (Gal. 5:22). You don't have to muster it up on your own. All you have to do is invite the Spirit to take control, allowing Him to govern your thoughts and actions. As you do, His precious fruit will be multiplied in your life.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Thank God for the love of the Spirit He has placed within you.
  • Ask Him for opportunities today to learn how to love more perfectly.

For Further Study

Memorize Galatians 5:22-23 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 meekness, self-control; against such there is no law. .

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        

Morning Devotional by C.H. Spurgeon for August 4th

Published by C.H. Spurgeon for reading on August 4th.

Daniel 11:32 32 And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he pervert by flatteries; but the people that know their God shall be strong, and do `exploits'.

EVERY believer understands that to know God is the highest and best form of knowledge; and this spiritual knowledge is a source of strength to the Christian. It strengthens his faith. Believers are constantly spoken of in the Scriptures as being persons who are enlightened and taught of the Lord; they are said to "have an unction from the Holy One," and it is the Spirit's peculiar office to lead them into all truth, and all this for the increase and the fostering of their faith. Knowledge strengthens love, as well as faith. Knowledge opens the door, and then through that door we see our Saviour. Or, to use another similitude, knowledge paints the portrait of Jesus, and when we see that portrait then we love Him, we cannot love a Christ whom we do not know, at least, in some degree. If we know but little of the excellences of Jesus, what He has done for us, and what He is doing now, we cannot love Him much; but the more we know Him, the more we shall love Him. Knowledge also strengthens hope. How can we hope for a thing if we do not know of its existence? Hope may be the telescope, but till we receive instruction, our ignorance stands in the front of the glass, and we can see nothing whatever; knowledge removes the interposing object, and when we look through the bright optic glass we discern the glory to be revealed, and anticipate it with joyous confidence. Knowledge supplies us reasons for patience. How shall we have patience unless we know something of the sympathy of Christ, and understand the good which is to come out of the correction which our heavenly Father sends us? Nor is there one single grace of the Christian which, under God, will not be fostered and brought to perfection by holy knowledge. How important, then, is it that we should grow not only in grace, but in the "knowledge" of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Evening Devotional by C.H. Spurgeon for August 4th

Published by C.H. Spurgeon for reading on August 4th.

Haggai 2:17 17 I smote you with blasting and with mildew and with hail in all the work of your hands; yet ye `turned' not to me, saith Jehovah.

HOW destructive is the hail to the standing crops, beating out the precious grain upon the ground! How grateful ought we to be when the corn is spared so terrible a ruin! Let us offer unto the Lord thanksgiving. Even more to be dreaded are those mysterious destroyers—smut, bunt, rust, and mildew. These turn the ear into a mass of soot, or render it putrid, or dry up the grain, and all in a manner so beyond all human control that the farmer is compelled to cry, "This is the finger of God." Innumerable minute fungi cause the mischief, and were it not for the goodness of God, the rider on the black horse would soon scatter famine over the land. Infinite mercy spares the food of men, but in view of the active agents which are ready to destroy the harvest, right wisely are we taught to pray, "Give us this day our daily bread." The curse is abroad; we have constant need of the blessing. When blight and mildew come they are chastisements from heaven, and men must learn to hear the rod, and Him that hath appointed it.

Spiritually, mildew is no uncommon evil. When our work is most promising this blight appears. We hoped for many conversions, and lo! a general apathy, an abounding worldliness, or a cruel hardness of heart! There may be no open sin in those for whom we are labouring, but there is a deficiency of sincerity and decision sadly disappointing our desires. We learn from this our dependence upon the Lord, and the need of prayer that no blight may fall upon our work. Spiritual pride or sloth will soon bring upon us the dreadful evil, and only the Lord of the harvest can remove it. Mildew may even attack our own hearts, and shrivel our prayers and religious exercises. May it please the great Husbandman to avert so serious a calamity. Shine, blessed Sun of Righteousness, and drive the blights away.

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