Wisdom of Solomon

11 Then God said to Solomon: “Because this was in your heart, and you have not asked riches or wealth or wealth or the life of your enemies, nor have you asked long life—but have asked wisdom and knowledge for yourself, that you may judge My people over whom I have made you king—12 wisdom and knowledge are granted to you; and I will give you riches and wealth and honor, such as none of the kings have had who were before you, nor shall any after you have the like.

The New King James Version. (1982). (2 Ch 1:11–12). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

Safety of Abiding in the Presence of God

1 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High

Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;

My God, in Him I will trust.”

3 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler

And from the perilous pestilence.

4 He shall cover you with His feathers,

And under His wings you shall take refuge;

His truth shall be your shield and buckler.

5 You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,

Nor of the arrow that flies by day,

6 Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,

Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.

7 A thousand may fall at your side,

And ten thousand at your right hand;

But it shall not come near you.

8 Only with your eyes shall you look,

And see the reward of the wicked.

9 Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,

Even the Most High, your dwelling place,

10 No evil shall befall you,

Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;

11 For He shall give His angels charge over you,

To keep you in all your ways.

12 In their hands they shall bear you up,

Lest you dash your foot against a stone.

13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,

The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.

14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;

I will set him on high, because he has known My name.

15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;

will be with him in trouble;

I will deliver him and honor him.

16 With long life I will satisfy him,

And show him My salvation.”

The New King James Version. (1982). (Ps 91:1). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

April 14

“All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head.”
—Psalm 22:7

Mockery was a great ingredient in our Lord’s woe. Judas mocked him in the garden; the chief priests and scribes laughed him to scorn; Herod set him at nought; the servants and the soldiers jeered at him, and brutally insulted him; Pilate and his guards ridiculed his royalty; and on the tree all sorts of horrid jests and hideous taunts were hurled at him. Ridicule is always hard to bear, but when we are in intense pain it is so heartless, so cruel, that it cuts us to the quick. Imagine the Saviour crucified, racked with anguish far beyond all mortal guess, and then picture that motley multitude, all wagging their heads or thrusting out the lip in bitterest contempt of one poor suffering victim! Surely there must have been something more in the crucified One than they could see, or else such a great and mingled crowd would not unanimously have honoured him with such contempt. Was it not evil confessing, in the very moment of its greatest apparent triumph, that after all it could do no more than mock at that victorious goodness which was then reigning on the cross? O Jesus, “despised and rejected of men,” how couldst thou die for men who treated thee so ill? Herein is love amazing, love divine, yea, love beyond degree. We, too, have despised thee in the days of our unregeneracy, and even since our new birth we have set the world on high in our hearts, and yet thou bleedest to heal our wounds, and diest to give us life. O that we could set thee on a glorious high throne in all men’s hearts! We would ring out thy praises over land and sea till men should as universally adore as once they did unanimously reject.

“Thy creatures wrong thee, O thou sovereign Good!
Thou art not loved, because not understood:
This grieves me most, that vain pursuits beguile
Ungrateful men, regardless of thy smile.”
Spurgeon, C. H. (1896). Morning and evening: Daily readings. London: Passmore & Alabaster.

Our King, Our Lord

21 Now awhen they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me. 3 And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.”
4 All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying:

5 “Tell the daughter of Zion,
‘Behold, your King is coming to you,
Lowly, and sitting on a donkey,
A colt, the foal of a donkey.’ ”

6 So the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt, elaid their clothes on them, and set Him on them. 8 And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; fothers cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying:

“Hosanna to the Son of David!
‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’
Hosanna in the highest!”

10 And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, “Who is this?”
11 So the multitudes said, “This is Jesus, ithe prophet from Nazareth of Galilee.”
The New King James Version. (1982). (Mt 21:1–11). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

A Cross-Shaped Shadow April 2

John said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
JOHN 1:29

Jesus was born crucified. Whenever he became conscious of who he was, he also became conscious of what he had to do. The cross-shaped shadow could always be seen. And the screams of hell’s imprisoned could always be heard.
This explains the glint of determination on his face as he turned to go to Jerusalem for the last time. He was on his death march (Luke 9:51).
This explains the resoluteness in the words, “The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord” (John 10:17–18 NIV).…
So call it what you wish: An act of grace. A plan of redemption. A martyr’s sacrifice. But whatever you call it, don’t call it an accident. It was anything but that.

God Came Near

Lucado, M., & Gibbs, T. A. (2000). Grace for the moment: inspirational thoughts for each day of the year (p. 111). Nashville, TN: J. Countryman.

 

March 31st -Heedfulness v. hypocrisy in ourselves

If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and He shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. 1 John 5:16.

If we are not heedful of the way the Spirit of God works in us, we shall become spiritual hypocrites. We see where other folks are failing, and we turn our discernment into the gibe of criticism instead of into intercession on their behalf. The revelation is made to us not through the acuteness of our minds, but by the direct penetration of the Spirit of God, and if we are not heedful of the source of the revelation, we shall become criticizing centres and forget that God says—“… he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death.” Take care lest you play the hypocrite by spending all your time trying to get others right before you worship God yourself.
One of the subtlest burdens God ever puts on us as saints is this burden of discernment concerning other souls. He reveals things in order that we may take the burden of these souls before Him and form the mind of Christ about them, and as we intercede on His line, God says He will give us “life for them that sin not unto death.” It is not that we bring God into touch with our minds, but that we rouse ourselves until God is able to convey His mind to us about the one for whom we intercede.
Is Jesus Christ seeing of the travail of His soul in us? He cannot unless we are so identified with Himself that we are roused up to get His view about the people for whom we pray. May we learn to intercede so whole-heartedly that Jesus Christ will be abundantly satisfied with us as intercessors.

Chambers, O. (1986). My utmost for his highest: Selections for the year. Grand Rapids, MI: Oswald Chambers Publications; Marshall Pickering.

Christ Our Cornerstone

19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into ea holy temple in the Lord, 22 fin whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

The New King James Version. (1982). (Eph 2:19–22). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

I was in my second year at the Salt Lake City Mission. I had just finished phase one of their discipleship program and was a mentor. I had just read these verses and was lying on my  bed meditating on them. With my eyes closed there appeared a wall of stones before me. As I got closer to the wall I saw names written on the stones.

God was showing me that the church is not the building where the people gather to  worship together but that we are the church. He lives in us and not a building made by the hands of man. We were created by Him and He lives in us. There really is no  denomination, just us and His Word, Jesus Christ. Where two or more are gathered in His name, He is there. Buildings don’t matter, it is the condition of our hearts.

Jesus is the Head, the Cornerstone and the Foundation of the church. His Spirit is what I consider the mortar binding us together. 

Who lives in us?

Morning, March 17 “Remember the poor.”

Galatians 2:10, 

10 They desired only that we should remember the poor, sthe very thing which I also was eager to do.                             The New King James Version. (1982). (Ga 2:10). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

Why does God allow so many of his children to be poor? He could make them all rich if he pleased; he could lay bags of gold at their doors; he could send them a large annual income; or he could scatter round their houses abundance of provisions, as once he made the quails lie in heaps round the camp of Israel, and rained bread out of heaven to feed them. There is no necessity that they should be poor, except that he sees it to be best. “The cattle upon a thousand hills are his”—he could supply them; he could make the richest, the greatest, and the mightiest bring all their power and riches to the feet of his children, for the hearts of all men are in his control. But he does not choose to do so; he allows them to suffer want, he allows them to pine in penury and obscurity. Why is this? There are many reasons: one is, to give us, who are favoured with enough, an opportunity of showing our love to Jesus. We show our love to Christ when we sing of him and when we pray to him; but if there were no sons of need in the world we should lose the sweet privilege of evidencing our love, by ministering in alms-giving to his poorer brethren; he has ordained that thus we should prove that our love standeth not in word only, but in deed and in truth. If we truly love Christ, we shall care for those who are loved by him. Those who are dear to him will be dear to us. Let us then look upon it not as a duty but as a privilege to relieve the poor of the Lord’s flock—remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Surely this assurance is sweet enough, and this motive strong enough to lead us to help others with a willing hand and a loving heart—recollecting that all we do for his people is graciously accepted by Christ as done to himself.

Spurgeon, C. H. (1896). Morning and evening: Daily readings. London: Passmore & Alabaster.

Eating Meat

Numbers 7:1–47; John 14:1–31; Psalm 8:1–9
It’s easy to equate knowledge with faith and then look down on new believers. Although we might not voice it, those who are less knowledgeable in their faith can seem weak. And sometimes, instead of practicing patience, showing love, and speaking carefully about the hope within us, we enroll them in Bible boot camp for dummies.
But Jesus shows that love is what leads to growth in faith: “If anyone loves me he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and will take up residence with him. The one who does not love me does not keep my words, and the word that you hear is not mine, but the Father’s who sent me” (John 14:23–24).
Paul echoes this in his letter to the Father: “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. If anyone thinks he knows anything, he has not yet known as it is necessary to know” (1 Cor 8:1–2). In reality, the opposite of what we believe is true: anyone who lacks love actually lacks faith (1 Cor 8:3).
Love defines our relationship with God and with each other. Christ died for both the knowledgeable and the weak, and both are caught up in His sacrifice (1 Cor 8:11). God has love and patience for the people whose own search for knowledge led us away from Him. And this should give us all the more love and patience for each other.

How can you practice humility and love with those who haven’t been in the faith as long as you have?

REBECCA VAN NOORD
Barry, J. D., & Kruyswijk, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.