KNOW THE LORD YOUR GOD

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Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.

 

THE LORD IS MIGHTY

HOLY SPIRIT

HOLY SPIRIT

Acts 20:1-16

Through Macedonia and Greece

20 When the uproar had ended, Paul sent for the disciples and, after encouraging them, said goodbye and set out for Macedonia. 2 He traveled through that area, speaking many words of encouragement to the people, and finally arrived in Greece, 3 where he stayed three months. Because some Jews had plotted against him just as he was about to sail for Syria, he decided to go back through Macedonia. 4 He was accompanied by Sopater son of Pyrrhus from Berea, Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica, Gaius from Derbe, Timothy also, and Tychicus and Trophimus from the province of Asia.5 These men went on ahead and waited for us at Troas. 6 But we sailed from Philippi after the Festival of Unleavened Bread, and five days later joined the others at Troas, where we stayed seven days.

Eutychus Raised From the Dead at Troas

7 On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight.8 There were many lamps in the upstairs room where we were meeting. 9 Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third story and was picked up dead. 10 Paul went down, threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “He’s alive!” 11 Then he went upstairs again and broke bread and ate. After talking until daylight, he left. 12 The people took the young man home alive and were greatly comforted.

Paul’s Farewell to the Ephesian Elders

13 We went on ahead to the ship and sailed for Assos, where we were going to take Paul aboard. He had made this arrangement because he was going there on foot. 14 When he met us at Assos, we took him aboard and went on to Mitylene. 15 The next day we set sail from there and arrived off Chios. The day after that we crossed over to Samos, and on the following day arrived at Miletus. 16 Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus to avoid spending time in the province of Asia, for he was in a hurry to reach Jerusalem, if possible, by the day of Pentecost.

New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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COMMENTARY: http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/acts/20.html

 

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem”

Morning

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“They gathered manna every morning.”
Exodus 16:21

Labour to maintain a sense of thine entire dependence upon the Lord’s good will and pleasure for the continuance of thy richest enjoyments. Never try to live on the old manna, nor seek to find help in Egypt. All must come from Jesus, or thou art undone forever. Old anointings will not suffice to impart unction to thy spirit; thine head must have fresh oil poured upon it from the golden horn of the sanctuary, or it will cease from its glory. To-day thou mayest be upon the summit of the mount of God, but he who has put thee there must keep thee there, or thou wilt sink far more speedily than thou dreamest. Thy mountain only stands firm when he settles it in its place; if he hide his face, thou wilt soon be troubled. If the Saviour should see fit, there is not a window through which thou seest the light of heaven which he could not darken in an instant. Joshua bade the sun stand still, but Jesus can shroud it in total darkness. He can withdraw the joy of thine heart, the light of thine eyes, and the strength of thy life; in his hand thy comforts lie, and at his will they can depart from thee. This hourly dependence our Lord is determined that we shall feel and recognize, for he only permits us to pray for “daily bread,” and only promises that “as our days our strength shall be.” Is it not best for us that it should be so, that we may often repair to his throne, and constantly be reminded of his love? Oh! how rich the grace which supplies us so continually, and doth not refrain itself because of our ingratitude! The golden shower never ceases, the cloud of blessing tarries evermore above our habitation. O Lord Jesus, we would bow at thy feet, conscious of our utter inability to do anything without thee, and in every favour which we are privileged to receive, we would adore thy blessed name and acknowledge thine unexhausted love.

Evening

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“Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favour her, yea, the set time is come. For thy servants take pleasure in her stones, and favour the dust thereof.”
Psalm 102:13-14

A selfish man in trouble is exceedingly hard to comfort, because the springs of his comfort lie entirely within himself, and when he is sad all his springs are dry. But a large-hearted man full of Christian philanthropy, has other springs from which to supply himself with comfort beside those which lie within. He can go to his God first of all, and there find abundant help; and he can discover arguments for consolation in things relating to the world at large, to his country, and, above all, to the church. David in this Psalm was exceedingly sorrowful; he wrote, “I am like an owl of the desert. I watch, and am as a sparrow alone upon the house top.” The only way in which he could comfort himself, was in the reflection that God would arise, and have mercy upon Zion: though he was sad, yet Zion should prosper; however low his own estate, yet Zion should arise. Christian man! learn to comfort thyself in God’s gracious dealing towards the church. That which is so dear to thy Master, should it not be dear above all else to thee? What though thy way be dark, canst thou not gladden thine heart with the triumphs of his cross and the spread of his truth? Our own personal troubles are forgotten while we look, not only upon what God has done, and is doing for Zion, but on the glorious things he will yet do for his church. Try this receipt, O believer, whenever thou art sad of heart and in heaviness of spirit: forget thyself and thy little concerns, and seek the welfare and prosperity of Zion. When thou bendest thy knee in prayer to God, limit not thy petition to the narrow circle of thine own life, tried though it be, but send out thy longing prayers for the church’s prosperity, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem,” and thine own soul shall be refreshed.

All rights belong to the collection of Charles Spurgeon(C)

 

ARE YOU DESPERATE?

Blessed Are the Desperate

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Zechariah 1:1–21

I’m a colorful sinner, and I’ve fallen woefully short of God’s glory. I’m desperate for divine help. We all are.

C.S. Lewis paints a vivid description of how we humans seem to desecrate every good thing God does for us. In his book Letters to Malcolm, Lewis writes, “We poison the wine as He decants it into us; murder a melody He would play with us as the instrument. We caricature the self-portrait He would paint. Hence all sin, whatever else it is, is a sacrilege.”

Maybe you expect rejection from a perfect God because of your less-than-perfect past. Or maybe you’re spiritually crippled by a sin that seems unforgivable. But the good news of the gospel is that our heavenly Father loves us with an everlasting love.

We need to acknowledge the fact that we’re crippled—that there is nothing righteous in us, that we are desperate for his mercy. And when the Spirit prompts us to recognize our need for salvation, God provides a Savior through the sacrifice of his only son, Jesus, who rescues us from barren places and gives us a seat next to him at the Lord’s banquet table.

Because of God’s mercy, our stained hearts have been bleached by the blood of the Lamb. The God who spoke the universe into existence, who breathed life into Adam, who stretched out the heavens and the necks of giraffes, has looked down, taken our hand in his, and said, “Yep, she’s mine.” Even though we’re crippled, we have been royally adopted by the King of kings and Lord of lords. We are listed as his next of kin. Our names are written on his hands and in his book of life. His love for us is based on his character, not our performance. And it is greater than we could ever hope for or imagine.

“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:24)

Blessed are the desperate.

—Lisa Harper

Reflection

  1. Describe a time when you felt desperate for God’s mercy. How did God rescue you from the barren place?
  2. When did you know that you belonged to God? How does knowing that your name is written on his hand and in his book of life comfort you?
  3. In today’s passage, the Lord spoke of those who would not listen to him. Do you know people like that? Spend time praying that they will begin to hear God’s voice and turn or return to his Son.

Zechariah 1:4, 6
“Do not be like your ancestors, to whom the earlier prophets proclaimed: This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Turn from your evil ways and your evil practices.’ But they would not listen or pay attention to me, declares the LORD . . . But did not my words and my decrees, which I commanded my servants the prophets, overtake your ancestors?”

Related Readings

Isaiah 55:6–13Malachi 3:6–71 Peter 2:22–24

 

PAUL’S GOODBYE

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Acts 20:17-38

17 From Miletus, Paul sent to Ephesus for the elders of the church. 18 When they arrived, he said to them: “You know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I came into the province of Asia19 I served the Lord with great humility and with tears and in the midst of severe testing by the plots of my Jewish opponents. 20 You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house. 21 I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.

22 “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. 23 I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. 24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.

25 “Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again.26 Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of any of you. 27 For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God. 28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. 29 I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.31 So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.

32 “Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 33 I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. 34 You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. 35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: â€˜It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ â€

36 When Paul had finished speaking, he knelt down with all of them and prayed. 37 They all wept as they embraced him and kissed him.38 What grieved them most was his statement that they would never see his face again. Then they accompanied him to the ship.

New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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COMMENTARY @ http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/acts/20.html

GOD BLESS ALL

 

LOOKING UNTO JESUS

Morning

“Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.”
1 Thessalonians 1:4

Many persons want to know their election before they look to Christ, but they cannot learn it thus, it is only to be discovered by “looking unto Jesus.” If you desire to ascertain your own election;–after the following manner, shall you assure your heart before God. Do you feel yourself to be a lost, guilty sinner? go straightway to the cross of Christ, and tell Jesus so, and tell him that you have read in the Bible, “Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out.” Tell him that he has said, “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” Look to Jesus and believe on him, and you shall make proof of your election directly, for so surely as thou believest, thou art elect. If you will give yourself wholly up to Christ and trust him, then you are one of God’s chosen ones; but if you stop and say, “I want to know first whether I am elect,” you ask you know not what. Go to Jesus, be you never so guilty, just as you are. Leave all curious inquiry about election alone. Go straight to Christ and hide in his wounds, and you shall know your election. The assurance of the Holy Spirit shall be given to you, so that you shall be able to say, “I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed to him.” Christ was at the everlasting council: he can tell you whether you were chosen or not; but you cannot find it out in any other way. Go and put your trust in him, and his answer will be–“I have loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” There will be no doubt about his having chosen you, when you have chosen him.

“Sons we are through God’s election,

Who in Jesus Christ believe.”

Evening

Bibleorchid

“Let not one of them escape.”
1 Kings 18:40

When the prophet Elijah had received the answer to his prayer, and the fire from heaven had consumed the sacrifice in the presence of all the people, he called upon the assembled Israelites to take the priests of Baal, and sternly cried, “Let not one of them escape.” He took them all down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there. So must it be with our sins–they are all doomed, not one must be preserved. Our darling sin must die. Spare it not for its much crying. Strike, though it be as dear as an Isaac. Strike, for God struck at sin when it was laid upon his own Son. With stern unflinching purpose must you condemn to death that sin which was once the idol of your heart. Do you ask how you are to accomplish this? Jesus will be your power. You have grace to overcome sin given you in the covenant of grace; you have strength to win the victory in the crusade against inward lusts, because Christ Jesus has promised to be with you even unto the end. If you would triumph over darkness, set yourself in the presence of the Sun of Righteousness. There is no place so well adapted for the discovery of sin, and recovery from its power and guilt, as the immediate presence of God. Job never knew how to get rid of sin half so well as he did when his eye of faith rested upon God, and then he abhorred himself, and repented in dust and ashes. The fine gold of the Christian is oft becoming dim. We need the sacred fire to consume the dross. Let us fly to our God, he is a consuming fire; he will not consume our spirit, but our sins. Let the goodness of God excite us to a sacred jealousy, and to a holy revenge against those iniquities which are hateful in his sight. Go forth to battle with Amalek, in his strength, and utterly destroy the accursed crew: let not one of them escape.

All rights belong to the collection of Charles Spurgeon(C)

GO INTO GOD’S PRESENCE

 Our prayers bring us into God‘s Presence

How can I make my prayers effective?

16 Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord GOD, and his Spirit, hath sent me. 17 Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel;  Isaiah 48:16-17

16 Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord GOD, and his Spirit, hath sent me. 17 Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; Isaiah 48:16-17

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. As you make your requests, plead for God’s mercy upon them, and give thanks. Pray this way for kings and all others who are in authority, so that we can live in peace and quietness, in godliness and dignity.                        1 Timothy 2:1-2 NLT

 

Praying effectively

Paul urges Timothy to lift up requests, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving. 

request is a need, a deep desire for something we don’t have — something only God can supply. 

prayer is a word of praise and adoration. A more accurate translation of this word from the original Greek might be to “worship in earnest.” 

Intercession is praying on behalf of others. Our prayers should regularly reflect this kind of selfless lifestyle. 

Thanksgiving involved remembering those past prayers that have already been answered, acknowledging that we not only trust God’s supremacy and involvement in our life but also how his hand has moved and guided us in the past. 

When we pray effectively, we do more than communicate with God — we commune with him. We become one in mind and spirit and purpose. Today, let the focus of your prayer time be to connect with God in a very real and personal way, not as a slave would petition his master, but as a son would enjoy the company of a loving and gracious father. 

Adapted from a devotional by Frank M. Martin in Embracing Eternity (Tyndale House) p 36

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House