WORDDEVO: "The Weekly Word with Moody" [11-11 thru 11-17] DEVOTIONALS

 

Seven Days of Devotion 

 The Weekly Word is a Collection of Devotionals to be read on the Day Listed and presented freely as a service to and for the Body of Christ and Believers throughout the World that We may Hear God Speak to us as the Spirit of God gives us ears to hear and eyes to see what God would have for us daily in relationship to Him.

 

Read: Luke 2:21-52

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The St. Chad Gospels are a rare treasure. A beautifully illustrated, eighth-century Latin manuscript containing the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and part of Luke, it has endured for more than a thousand years. It is preserved at a cathedral in Litchfield, England, and is in delicate condition. Scholars from the University of Kentucky have recently been able, however, to use digital imaging techniques to make this manuscript available without further wear and tear. Computer technology allows those who wish to study the text and illustrations without having to travel to England or handle the physical manuscript.

The St. Chad Gospels manuscript tells the same story as the printed English Bible you hold in your hands today. In Luke’s Gospel, the story is that the direction and purpose of Jesus’ life were clear right from the beginning. This is seen in today’s reading in two events that take place at the temple.

The first happened when Jesus was still a baby. Joseph and Mary came to offer ritual sacrifices for her post-birth purification and to dedicate their son to the Lord. While fulfilling these religious responsibilities, they encountered two faithful servants of God who had long been awaiting the Messiah. The Holy Spirit led first Simeon, then Anna, straight to the unremarkable-looking young couple and their baby. Simeon declared that God’s saving love was found in this baby, not only for Jews but for all humanity—“a light for revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of your people Israel” (vv. 30-32).

The second occurrence at the temple took place years later, when the boy Jesus was twelve years old. His family had gone to Jerusalem for Passover, then headed home to Nazareth. Mary and Joseph thought that Jesus was among their travel group, and when they realized they had left Him behind they hurried back to the city. After several days of searching, they found Him in the temple, conversing as an equal with the rabbis. Though at the time no one understood, this episode revealed Jesus’ awareness of His identity as well as His commitment to honor and obey His heavenly Father (v. 49).

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Anyone who’s ever lost a child at a playground or the store has doubtless felt the same emotions as Mary and Joseph: sad, panicked, irritated, frantic, regretful, upset. I thought you were watching him! The humanity that permeates the Gospel narrative is here in all its richness. But Jesus was not only human, He was also divine. And so this very human story ends with a wonderful moment of divine strangeness: “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” (v. 49).

 

MONDAY

Read: Luke 3

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Both Matthew and Luke include genealogies of Jesus in their Gospels. According to New Testament professor Grant Osborne, Matthew organizes his genealogy into three groups of fourteen names each, thus emphasizing Jesus’ kingly ancestry in the line of David. Luke’s purpose, though, is a bit different. His genealogy goes all the way back to Adam, thus focusing on Jesus’ universal humanity as well as affirming the claim that He is the unique Son of God. That’s why Luke placed his genealogy between Jesus’ baptism and temptation (see 3:22; 3:38; 4:3), instead of at the beginning of the narrative (as in Matthew).

Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist marked the beginning of His public ministry. John’s own ministry of preparing the way had begun, like that of previous prophets, when the word of the Lord came to him (v. 2). His mission was to prepare the way for the Messiah, and he was well aware that in doing so he was fulfilling a prophecy of Isaiah (vv. 4-6). His message was one of repentance and forgiveness. This was not an easy message to bring, for it included strong condemnations of sin and warnings of God’s wrath, from which the Jews’ status as God’s chosen people would not protect them. “Speaking truth to power” landed him in jail when he dared to condemn King Herod’s immorality. But those who believed John were baptized, signifying faith and a public commitment to live out his words.

We might legitimately wonder why Jesus was baptized. He had no sins to confess and no need for repentance. But by allowing John to baptize Him, He identified Himself with John’s ministry and message. Indeed, the themes of repentance and forgiveness would be at the heart of His own ministry and of the gospel.

In addition, this event revealed the person and ministry of Christ as recognized and approved by the other two members of the Trinity: “The Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased’” (v. 22).

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Repentance is much more than a prayer. Confession must be followed by turning away from sin toward righteousness: “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance” (v. 8). Scripture gives specific, concrete instructions to those who repent, such as to share with those in need and not to abuse positions of power. Jesus preached this: “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit” (6:43). Seek to live in accordance with your confession and repentance today.

 

 TUESDAY

 

Read: Luke 4

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If the Gospel of Luke were a courtroom drama, today’s reading marks a shift from testimony to hostile cross-examination. Yesterday, not only John the Baptist but also God the Father and God the Holy Spirit testified to the reality of the arrival of the Messiah and His identity as God the Son. The Father said, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased” (3:22). Now Satan entered the scene like an opposing lawyer finally given permission to question the defendant. His clear intention was to disprove or call into doubt the person and mission of Christ.

He planned to do that by tempting Him to sin. If he could get the Son of God to sin, the mission of redemption would be over. The plan of salvation would be finished, wrecked before it had really begun.

The first temptation was straightforward, trying to provoke Jesus to use His divine power to meet a physical need (for food). The second was more subtle, taunting Jesus to establish His kingdom by a road other than suffering and death. The third was even more devilish, as Satan used biblical words to try to manipulate Jesus to perform a sign that would gain Him public recognition as the Messiah.

Full of the Holy Spirit and quoting Scripture, Jesus successfully resisted these temptations. To the first, He responded that His power was not for selfish use. To the second, He rejected an alternative road as one that would involve disobeying His Father and the blasphemous act of worshiping Satan. To the third, He saw through the tempter’s twisting of Scripture to justify wrongdoing and dismissed both Satan and his specious reasoning.

Then Jesus walked out of the desert and began His public ministry. His first public words quoted Isaiah to identify Himself as the Messiah (vv. 15-21). He taught. He cast out demons. He worked miracles of healing. He encountered some faith, but more often surprise, anger, and rejection. These narrative events in Luke 4—temptation, miracles, and rejection—form a preview or microcosm of the entire life and ministry of Christ.

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Jesus experienced temptations throughout His life (v. 13). How can we resist them as He did (Heb. 4:14-16)? One key is to know and use the Word of God—Jesus quoted Scripture in response to all three temptations. Another key is to be full of the Holy Spirit and controlled by Him. With the Spirit at the wheel, one cannot steer wrong. Finally, because He saw Satan’s shortcuts as dead ends, Jesus was unwilling to consider anything less than full obedience to His Father.


 

 

WEDNESDAY

Read: Luke 5:1-32

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Dr. Amit Goffer of Israel has created a robotic suit that can help paralyzed individuals to walk. Created after Dr. Goffer himself was disabled in an accident, the ReWalk suit is a kind of exoskeleton with leg supports, motion sensors, and a computerized control box. According to one news report: “With the assistance of crutches, which offer balance and support, people paralyzed from the waist down can walk, bend, sit and even climb stairs when they wear the suit.” Benefits are said to include better physical health and a stronger sense of personal dignity.

Jesus needed no modern technology to help the paralyzed man in today’s reading walk. He had the power to heal at a word. What’s more, He had the power to forgive sins. When the paralytic’s friends lowered him through the roof, in fact, this was the issue Jesus dealt with first (v. 20). As the Pharisees recognized, Jesus was claiming to be God—because only God can forgive sin. When Jesus backed up His claim with divine healing power, what could they say? They could have praised God, as did others who were present (v. 26), but instead they took offense and continued to oppose Him. They saw not with eyes of faith, but with small minds and petty hearts (v. 30).

We see a variety of examples of Jesus’ power in Luke 5. He healed a leper as well as the paralytic. He demonstrated power over nature by filling nets with fish. His teaching was powerful, as people crowded around to hear the word of God (v. 1) and the call to repentance (v. 32). He clearly believed in the power of prayer, for He cultivated it as a personal discipline that sustained His inner spiritual life (v. 16). He also showed spiritual power in calling individuals to follow Him, and it is notable that He chose not from among the ranks of religious leaders but instead called fishermen (vv. 10-11) and a tax collector (vv. 27-28). Unlike the Pharisees, these new disciples responded to the person of Christ in wholehearted faith—they “left everything and followed him.”

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Where do you stand in relation to Jesus. Are you a Levi, a forgiven sinner eager to introduce others to Him? Are you a face in the crowd, attracted by His teachings or miracles but still undecided? Are you a skeptic, offended by the idea that Jesus is the only way to God? Are you a fisherman, unsure of what this extraordinary Jesus person is going to say or do next, or why, but still ready to follow Him anywhere? Wherever you are, Jesus stands ready to welcome you as His follower.

 

 

 

 

 

THURSDAY

 

 

FRIDAY

Read: Luke 5:33-6:16

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“I used to believe in God,” wrote actor and comedian Ricky Gervais. “I loved Jesus. He was my he-ro.” But then one day his “cheeky” brother came in and asked their mother, “Why do you believe in God?” She panicked and could give no answer. Startled, young Ricky felt she must be hiding something, and very soon he concluded that Jesus was as big a fake as Santa Claus. “Within an hour, I was an atheist.” Now he tries to do the right thing and be a good person, but he thinks that God, heaven, and hell are security blankets for people who can’t handle the truth.

Rejection of Jesus and God’s truth is nothing new. Though it was present from the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, opposition becomes a major theme from this point forward in Luke.

Several conflicts between Jesus and the Pharisees take center stage in today’s reading. The first involved a challenge to His disciples’ spirituality (5:33-39). The setting was Levi’s evangelistic dinner. Jesus answered their question about why He shared a meal and fellowship with sinners with a rebuke that implied they didn’t understand His ministry (5:30-32). Their pride stung, they attempted to regain face by asking Jesus why His disciples didn’t fast. Fasting is a spiritual discipline indicating devotion or self-denial, so the question was obviously an insult. Who does this rabbi think He is? they might have been thinking. Choosing such ridiculous disciples! Jesus’ answer was a wise surprise. Days of fasting would come, but the arrival of the Messiah meant the present time was one of joy and celebration (5:34-35).

Two additional conflicts involved challenges to Jesus’ righteousness (6:1-11). The Pharisees accused the disciples, then Jesus, of doing “work” on the Sabbath and thus breaking the fourth commandment. To count rubbing heads of grain together or speaking words of healing as “work” seems strange, but it broke their traditional regulations. Jesus responded with a biblical reference to David, identified Himself as “Lord of the Sabbath,” and asked a rhetorical question—about whether doing good was “against the law”—that exposed their spiritual blindness.

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If many of us are honest, the attitude of the Pharisees might feel familiar. It’s often easy to critique someone’s choice of friends or seeming lack of piety. We become indignant when others don’t follow our interpretation of what’s appropriate. When we are tempted to react like the Pharisees, we should search the Scriptures and pray, inviting the Holy Spirit to search our own hearts. We want to follow Jesus in having the spiritual wisdom to know what is truly important and honoring to God.

 

 

SATURDAY

Read: Luke 6:17-49

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A recent book by Stan Guthrie gives readers an excellent overview of Christ’s teachings. All That Jesus Asks: How His Questions Can Teach and Transform Us examines the nearly three hundred questions asked by Jesus, as recorded in the Gospels. Guthrie has organized these questions into 26 chapters and asserts that Jesus’ questions reveal His priorities, what He wants us to believe, and how He wants us to live. If we take His questions seriously and measure our lives accordingly, we’ll be challenged to a closer walk with Him.

Today’s Scripture reading also gives an overview or quick tour of the teachings of Jesus. Up to this point, we have seen a few main themes—His identity as the Messiah and Son of God, His mission of saving the lost, His message of repentance and forgiveness, and His power as seen in His miracles. Now in the Sermon on the Plain—named this because Jesus “stood on a level place” (v. 17) and in contrast to the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7)—we get more details. Rather than being delivered on only one occasion, these were likely truths that Jesus stressed throughout His years of teaching.

Jesus reaffirmed the Golden Rule, saying, “with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (v. 38). But He also stressed going above and beyond the Law. For example, loving your neighbor isn’t enough. Imitating God means we must love our enemies, pray for those who mistreat us, and go the extra mile in honor of God’s mercy (vv. 27-36).

Jesus also frequently reversed the world’s ways of looking at things. For example, the “poor” (or humble) would inherit the kingdom of God, while the “rich” (and proud) are condemned (vv. 20, 24). Qualities that God blesses include humility, righteousness, and endurance of hardship and persecution, whereas those who put their hope in material and temporal things are warned that such things cannot satisfy. The only sure foundation for a righteous life is obedience, that is, putting into practice the words of Christ (vv. 46-49).

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You might be interested in the book featured in today’s introduction: All That Jesus Asks: How His Questions Can Teach and Transform Us, by Stan Guthrie (Baker Books, 2010). It can be purchased online or at your local Christian bookstore. Guthrie wrote in the acknowledgments: “No one benefits more from a book than the one who writes it, and I am no exception. Walking with Jesus as he asks his questions is the most exhilarating spiritual journey I have ever undertaken.”


THE WEEKLY WORD WITH MOODY

Can be found here:

http://theweeklywordmoody.blogspot.com/

 


WORDDEVO: "The Weekly Word with Charles R. Swindoll" [11-11 thru 11-17] DEVOTIONALS

 

Seven Days of Devotion

  The Weekly Word is a Collection of Devotionals to be read on the Day Listed and presented freely as a service to and for the Body of Christ and Believers throughout the World that We may Hear God Speak to us as the Spirit of God gives us ears to hear and eyes to see what God would have for us daily in relationship to Him.

 

The Hinge of History
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Exodus 1:1--22

Baby Moses opened his eyes on a world very different from our own. Although neither his mother nor father knew it, the birth of this man-child launched a series of events that would change the course of nations and shape the destiny of millions. History would turn like a hinge on that birth. The world would never be quite the same again.

The day came, after the deaths of Joseph and the Pharaoh who had promoted him, that a new Pharaoh stepped onto the throne. He, too, ruled, then passed the crown to the next Pharaoh. Finally, after several centuries, the name Joseph became virtually unknown. Few remembered the famine. Less recalled the golden oceans of stored grain. No one recollected how a wise, young Jewish prime minister had stepped out of obscurity to save the day. That was ancient history. Irrelevant. And the bilateral policy established between Joseph and some long-gone Pharaoh? Completely forgotten.
 
This new Pharaoh despised the growing Hebrew population. How had they even come to be there? No one knew for sure; the reports had been filed away in some obscure, dusty archive.

But one thing about these multiplying Hebrews could not be ignored: They seemed to pose a threat. And a threatened Pharaoh was not a pleasant Pharaoh to have around.

The Egyptians looked upon the growing number of Israelites (a "mighty people," Pharaoh called them) with dread. The Hebrew word translated "dread" is kootz. It means "to have an abhorrence for and horror, a sickening feeling." When the officers of Egypt noted the swelling population of Hebrews from month to month and year to year, they felt sick in the pit of their stomachs. Had there been coffee shops in those days, John and Jane Egyptian might have sat at those little round tables and said over their lattes, "Man, this problem is getting out of hand. Our demographic plan isn't working. We've got to stop their growth! If we don't limit these foreigners now, they'll be running the country in a few years."

And so the hammer blows fell as the brutality increased. When Pharaoh saw that the harsh conditions of slavery didn't achieve his ends, he turned up the persecution dial yet one more terrible notch.

Infanticide.

 

 

MONDAY

Have Faith, Have a Plan
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Exodus 2:1--10

Jochebed had faith. She also thought through a very creative plan. I'd like to pause to reflect on this tension between careful planning and full-hearted faith. Are they mutually exclusive? Not on your life! Yet to talk to some believers, you might be led to think otherwise.

I've counseled with unemployed men and women who tell me, "I'm just waiting on the Lord to provide a job."

"Fine," I reply. "And where have you placed your resumé?"

"Well, I'm not going that route. I'm just waiting on God."

"Oh really?" I say. "Then I hope you don't mind remaining jobless for awhile."

The old motto of soldiers during the Revolutionary War applies to many areas of life: "Trust in God, but keep your powder dry!" In other words, place your life in the Savior's hands, but stay at the ready. Do all that you can to prepare yourself for battle, understanding that the ultimate outcome rests with the Lord God.

To walk by faith does not mean you stop thinking. To trust God does not imply becoming slovenly or lazy or apathetic. What a distortion of biblical faith! You and I need to trust God for our finances, but that is no license to spend foolishly. You and I ought to trust God for safety in the car, but we're not wise to pass on a blind curve. We trust God for our health, but that doesn't mean we can chain smoke, stay up half the night, and subsist on potato chips and Twinkies without consequences.

Acting foolishly or thoughtlessly, expecting God to bail you out if things go amiss, isn't faith at all. It is presumption. Wisdom says to do all you can within your strength, then trust Him to do what you cannot do, to accomplish what you cannot accomplish. Faith and careful planning go hand-in-hand. They always have.

 

 

TUESDAY

God's Timing
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Exodus 2:11--14

I'm convinced Moses was doing more than grandstanding. I believe he was absolutely sincere. He didn't see himself murdering a cruel slave driver as much as courageously striking a blow for God's people. The desire to do something right overcame him. His problem? He dedicated himself to the will of God, but not to the God whose will it was.

Let that thought sink in. You and I can become so dedicated to the will of God, we can be so driven by a blind sense of purpose, that we might inadvertently take matters into our own hands and leave God completely out of the loop. Been there, done that?

Did that cruel taskmaster need to be punished? Yes. Was it wrong to beat that Hebrew as he did? Certainly. But when Moses stepped in and began his own Operation Deliverance, he was energized by the flesh, not the Spirit.

How easily this can happen to good people, to men and women with the highest motives and the best of intentions. Picture this: You're a gifted and highly qualified teacher. In your heart, you ache to be in front of a classroom again. With all your soul, you want to feel that lectern beneath your hands and the minds of those eager students absorbing your knowledge. And suddenly, seemingly out of the blue, an opportunity presents itself. If you don't watch it, my friend, you'll find yourself elbowing your way through that "open door."
 
But all the while, God waits for you to seek His counsel. If you act without discerning His timing, you may lose the smile of divine favor. He will not bless what He has not ordained. You may truly sense that God has something for you to accomplish in a certain area. But if you aren't vigilant, if you aren't daily humbling yourself before Him, seeking His face, discerning His timing, operating under the Spirit's control, you may push and force your way prematurely into that place where God wanted you, but you will not have arrived in His own time.

 

 

 

WEDNESDAY

Our Ultimate Hooray, Part One
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Revelation 21:4; 22:3, 5

What gives a widow courage as she stands beside a fresh grave?

What is the ultimate hope of the disabled, the amputee, the abused, the burn victim?

How can the parents of children who have brain damage or physical handicaps keep from living their entire lives totally and completely depressed?

Why would anyone who is blind or deaf or paralyzed be encouraged when he or she thinks of the life beyond?

How can we see past the martyrdom of some helpless hostage or devoted missionary?

Where do the thoughts of a young couple go when they finally recover from the grief of losing their baby?

When a family receives the tragic news that a little daughter was found dead or their dad was killed in a plane crash or a son overdosed on drugs, what single truth becomes their whole focus? 

What is the final answer to pain, mourning, senility, insanity, terminal diseases, sudden calamities, and fatal accidents? 

The answer to each of these questions is the same: the hope of bodily resurrection.

We draw strength from this single truth almost every day of our lives---more than we realize. It becomes the mental glue that holds our otherwise shattered thoughts together. Impossible though it may be for us to understand the details of how God is going to pull it off, we hang our hopes on fragile, threadlike thoughts that say, "Someday, He will make it right" and "Thank God, all this will change" and "When we're with Him, we shall be like Him."

More than a few times a year I look into red, swollen eyes and remind the despairing and the grieving that "there's a land that is fairer than day"1 when, as John promised in the Revelation,

"He will wipe away every tear . . . there will no longer be any death . . . any mourning, or crying, or pain." . . . There will no longer be any curse . . . any night . . . because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever. (21:4; 22:3, 5) 

Hooray for such wondrous hope!

 

THURSDAY

Our Ultimate Hooray, Part Two
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read 1 Corinthians 15:19--22

Just imagine . . . those who are physically disabled today will one day dance in beautiful coordination and leap in ecstatic joy. Those who spend their lives absorbed in total darkness will see every color in the spectrum of light. In fact, the first face they will see will be of the One who gives them sight. And those precious souls whose minds and emotions are limited by mental disability, disease, or old age will enjoy to the full unhindered and uninhibited relationships. It's enough to put a smile on any weary face. There's nothing like the hope of resurrection to lift the agonizing spirits of the heavyhearted. 

Unless, of course, it's all a cruel hoax.

That's Paul's whole point in 1 Corinthians 15:19. Remember how he put it? If bodily resurrection is only an empty dream, then "we are of all men most to be pitied." All our preaching has a hollow ring to it, our faith is worthless, the dead have perished, and we are still under the condemnation of our sins (15:14, 16, 18). What a deplorable state of affairs! It's enough to make all of us run and hide!

But wait. That hypothetical argument hinges on a conditional presupposition . . . if. "If there is no resurrection of the dead" (15:13), then we're out to lunch. But there is a resurrection with all its promised hopes. It is as sure as we're alive at this moment.

How can we be so certain that we will be resurrected? What is the source of our assurance? What gives us unshakable confidence in the face of death? The fact of Christ's resurrection. 

Because He has been raised, we too shall rise. As Paul stated in that same section of Scripture, "Christ [is] the first fruits, after that those who are Christ's at His coming" (15:23). That's us! Jesus Himself promised, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies" (John 11:25).

No wonder we get so excited every Easter! No wonder we hold nothing back as we celebrate His miraculous resurrection from the grave! It's a double-barreled celebration: His triumphant hurrah over agony and our ultimate and eternal hooray.

 

 

 

 FRIDAY

God Gets It Done
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Exodus 2:11--14

Moses looked this way, and he looked that way. Isn't it interesting? He didn't look up, did he? He looked in both directions horizontally, but he ignored the vertical. And what did he do with the results of his murderous anger? Scripture says "he hid the Egyptian in the sand."
 
Invariably, when you act in the flesh, you have something to cover up. You have to bury your motive. You have to hide a contact you made to manipulate the plan. You have to conceal a lie or half-truth. You have to backtrack on a boast. You have to cover up the evidence your fleshly procedure created. It's just a matter of time before truth catches up with you. The sand always yields its secrets.

This is a good time to emphasize that the capable and gifted are also cursed with vulnerability. The highly qualified live on the cutting edge of the enemy's subtle attack---the very adversary who prods you to act in the flesh, to do the right thing at the wrong time. And how does he operate? Most of us know the drill.

You find yourself moved by a sense of need. You utter a foolish vow, like Jepthah, and live to regret it for the rest of your days. You hurry the process along, as Abram and Sarai did, and later find yourself with an Ishmael on your hands, mocking the child of promise.

Neglecting to ask God's counsel, neglecting to seek God's timing, you step in to handle things prematurely. And by and by, you've got a mess on your hands. You're stuck with a corpse, with a shovel in your hands and a shallow grave at your feet.

You know the odd thing about it all? Most of us aren't very clever at cover-ups anyway. It amazes me that Moses couldn't even bury an Egyptian right. Makes me wonder if he left the guy's toes sticking out of the sand. He failed simply to cover up the corpse.

But what about years and years later, when God took charge and Moses acted according to His timing? Was God able to cover up the Egyptians? God buried their entire army under the Red Sea---horses, weapons, chariots, and all! When God's in it, the job gets done. With the Lord in charge, failure flees  

 

 

SATURDAY

Let's Move On
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Exodus 2:11--14

According to Exodus 2:12, Moses hid the body of the slain Egyptian. But by the next day, it was all over the papers. They found the Egyptian. Five inches of loose sand hid nothing.

Hiding wrong, Moses now had to admit, does nothing to erase wrong. And I am convinced that from that moment on Moses determined never to hide anything again. He would be transparent. He would speak his heart, regardless of the risks of vulnerability. He would no longer hide.

Sometime in my ministry, I am going to gather up enough courage to have a testimony time where the only thing we'll share is our failures. Wouldn't that be different? Ever been to a testimony meeting where everybody else seemed to be on Cloud 39, and you were in Tunnel Number 7? One after another is talking about soaring in the heavenlies, while you're counting gum wrappers in the gutter. Why don't we visit the other side? Why not hand the microphone around and say, "When was the last time you took a nosedive? Can you share with others what it was like to experience a major disappointment?"

Far from being a downer, I've got a hunch that might prove to be a major encouragement to a group of people who feel all alone in their struggles. So many of us feel as though we have to hide our failures, believing no one else could have possibly failed as we have. Some are even afraid to tell God about it, fearing He might be as put off as we imagine others will be.

But He isn't like that at all, is He? When we take a tumble and cry out to Him in our shame and our distress, the psalmist says He "inclines His ear" to us. He bends over to listen. We say "Oh, Father, I've failed! I've failed terribly. Look at what I've done!" It is then He puts His arms around us, just as a loving earthly father would do. He then says, "I accept you just as you are. I agree that what you have done was wrong, as you've confessed it to Me. Now, My son, My daughter, let's move on."  

 

 

 

 THE WEEKLY WORD WITH CHARLES R. SWINDOLL

Can be found here:

 

http://theweeklywordcharlesrswindoll.blogspot.com/

 


WORDDEVO: "The Weekly Word with Bob Coy" [11-17 thru 11-24] DEVOTIONALS

 

Seven Days of Devotion

  The Weekly Word is a Collection of Devotionals to be read on the Day Listed and presented freely as a service to and for the Body of Christ and Believers throughout the World that We may Hear God Speak to us as the Spirit of God gives us ears to hear and eyes to see what God would have for us daily in relationship to Him.

A TRANSCENDENT TIE

When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take care of me. -Psalm 27:10 (NKJV)

Relationships differ in their degree of reliability. Some relationships, just by virtue of what they are, are going to be more reliable than others.

For example, you're not going to depend on the cashier at the grocery store the same way you're going to rely on your life-long friend. Both people represent a relationship, but one is professional and passing, while the other is personal and enduring. You can rely more on your friend because...well, he or she is your friend.

But what happens when a relationship that's supposed to be reliable isn't? What happens when a person's relationship with his or her parents isn't what it should be? What happens when this relational "safety net of last resort" is removed? What happens when your own father and mother forsake you?

David has the answer. When the strongest natural bond between child and parent is broken, there's a supernatural tie that can never be severed. Even when one's own father and mother have fled or forsaken, God will still be there to care for those who belong to Him.

Our family tie to Him is transcendent and stronger than any relationship this world can ever produce. No matter how many people have turned their backs on us, our Heavenly Father is always there with arms wide open. That's a relationship we can rely on like no other. Our associates and acquaintances, our closest friends and family, even our own father and mother will never be as relationally reliable as the Lord...because He's the One who will be there when no one else is.

What does this passage reveal to me about God?

What does this passage reveal to me about myself?

Based on this, what changes do I need to make?

What is my prayer for today? 

 

MONDAY

GOD IN 4 ACTS

Save Your people, and bless Your inheritance; shepherd them also, and bear them up forever. -Psalm 28:9 (NKJV)

One of the great things about God's Word is that it's able to say so much with so little. Here in this single verse, we're introduced to four distinct roles God faithfully fulfills for His people.

First, we see God as our Savior: "Save Your people...." Where would we be if God didn't save His people? We'd be on a collision course with condemnation and eternal punishment, and rightfully so. If the Lord hadn't chosen to step in and save us from our sins, every point in life would be a moot one. But God, knowing and seeing our need for eternal life, did what it took to spare us and save us.

Next, God is shown to be our Blesser: "...and bless Your inheritance...." The Hebrew word here for bless conveys the idea of speaking peaceably towards someone. It means God's heart is always benevolent and beneficent toward us. He's on our side. He never curses or condemns us but instead blesses us and builds us up.

Third, we're introduced to God as our Feeder: "...shepherd them also...." In the Hebrew, the word for shepherd primarily refers to a shepherd's responsibility to feed his sheep. The Lord doesn't leave us to feed ourselves. He's always there, providing for us, making sure we're well fed and filled up with what we need.

Finally, we see Him as our Bearer: "... and bear them up forever." When we're feeling overwhelmed and overcome by the stresses of life, when we sense we're about to sink, God is there to lift us up and carry us. In fact, the word for bear can be rendered "to wear on one's shoulder." What place could ever be more secure than on God's shoulders?

What does this passage reveal to me about God?

What does this passage reveal to me about myself?

Based on this, what changes do I need to make?

What is my prayer for today? 

   

TUESDAY

WOW!

The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty. -Psalm 29:4 (NKJV)

Many of the Psalms are just an extended and eloquent way of saying "WOW!" Psalm 29 is one such Psalm. It looks at a particular aspect of this great God we serve-His voice-and leaves us in such a state of awe and amazement that the only real response we can exclaim is "Glory!" That's a biblical way of saying "Wow!"

An ear-splitting, heart-stopping thunderclap that rolls and reverberates from horizon to horizon...the unrelenting force of a hurricane that strips the very skin off of the proudest trees...an earthquake that shatters the strongest foundations of the world... they're all mere whispers of the might and majesty of God's voice.

Couple this with the reality that we're steeped in a society where so many people are struggling and striving to have their voices heard. Our eyes and ears are constantly being ambushed by talking heads, spin doctors, and flavor-of-the-month pundits who are fighting for market share when it comes to our attention. No expense is spared in getting us to listen to their opinions and to hopefully adopt them. There's no void of voices in our world today.

But the voice of the Lord drowns them all. The voice of the Lord is powerful and full of majesty. It rises above anything we could ever speak or say. It shakes the ground we walk on and splits the sky we live beneath. God's voice can't be censored or tamed any more than a volatile volcano in full-fury can be silenced. When God wants to be heard, He is, and the only reasonable response is "Glory!"

What does this passage reveal to me about God?

What does this passage reveal to me about myself?

Based on this, what changes do I need to make?

What is my prayer for today? 

 

WEDNESDAY

TRIUNITY

Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness." Genesis 1:26 (NKJV)

Yesterday, we considered the oneness of God. We saw that the scriptures very clearly define Him as the one and only God. And yet, we don't get very far before we start to notice something unusual about Him. It first shows up in the verse above, as God identifies Himself with the plural pronouns us and our.

It happens again later on in Genesis 3:22 when He says man has become "like one of Us." And again it shows up in Genesis 11:7 as He says, "Let Us go down" to confuse man's language at the tower of Babel. Why does God, who is One, identify Himself this way?

Here's what we can determine based on what the rest of God's Word reveals to us: Although He is one and only one being, there are also three separate and distinct persons that simultaneously exist.

These persons are revealed as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They are distinct from each other and yet they aren't three separate gods. They are three yet one, and the term we use to capture this concept is triunity, meaning three and one.


Sounds pretty confusing...how can we buy into something so mind-bending? Although the triunity, or the Trinity, is a challenge to our finite minds, we know it to be absolutely true because Scripture says so. 


One of Jesus' final commands to His disciples on earth was to make disciples of all nations and to baptize them in the "name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28:19). Notice the singular form of the word "name," pointing to the oneness of God, and yet the three persons are clearly distinguished. We also have plenty of passages that identify each person of the Trinity as being God (John 1:1, Acts 5:3-5, Colossians 2:9).


So while we embrace the oneness of God, we also recognize the triunity of God as one of His essential attributes.

What does this passage reveal to me about God?

What does this passage reveal to me about myself?

Based on this, what changes do I need to make?

What is my prayer for today?

 


THURSDAY

ETERNALITY

And God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." Exodus 3:14 (NKJV)

Moses found himself in the uncomfortable position of being called on by God to do an impossible task. In his mind, there were a myriad of reasons why he wouldn't be able to deliver the Israelites from Pharaoh's vice-grip.


As Moses went back and forth with God, he eventually asked, "What if people ask me your name? What should I tell them?" God answered the question, and in so doing uncovers an amazing attribute about Himself. "I AM WHO I AM."


By identifying Himself as "I AM," God is declaring that He always is existent in the immediate now. He isn't bound or trapped by time like we are. There was never a time when God wasn't. He has no fixed point when He was born or brought into being. He has no beginning or end. He just...is.


We use the word eternality to describe this divine attribute. It reminds us that God is eternal and everlasting; a truth attested to by Abraham in Genesis 21:33, Moses in Deuteronomy 33:27, David in Psalm 41:13, Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4:34, Paul in Romans 16:26, and John in Revelation 1:8. 

The eternality of God is also part of one of the most important prophecies in all the Bible. Micah 5:2 not only tells us that Jesus would be born in the unassuming town of Bethlehem, but it also states that He would be brought into this world "from everlasting," pointing to His eternal existence from eternity past. 
We're so governed by time that it's hard to imagine anything else, but what a comfort it is to know that the God who ultimately governs over us isn't.


Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. (1 Timothy 1:17 NKJV)

What does this passage reveal to me about God?

What does this passage reveal to me about myself?

Based on this, what changes do I need to make?

What is my prayer for today?

 

FRIDAY

 

OMNIPRESENCE

Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? Psalms 139:7 (NKJV)

Have you been sucked into the phenomenon known as Google Maps yet? It really is remarkable. With just a few clicks, you can get a bird's eye view of just about anywhere in the world. Technologically, it's an amazing advance for mankind. But practically, it really can't do much else. You can look at another county, state, country,or continent, but it doesn't actually allow you to be there. You can only be in one place at one time, and as long as you're using Google Maps, that one place is sitting at your computer.


Now take a moment to mull this over: God is always everywhere. He is always present, or the term we frequently employ is omnipresent (omni meaning all). There's not a square inch on this planet (and there are 1.96 x 100,000,000,000,000,000 of them on land alone) where God is absent. But beyond that, there's not a single square inch in the entire universe (the number would fill out the rest of this page), where God isn't present.


God is absolutely everywhere, always, and He expresses His omnipresence quite poignantly in the Book of Jeremiah: Can anyone hide himself in secret places, so I shall not see him?" says the LORD: "Do I not fill heaven and earth?" says the LORD. (Jeremiah 23:24 NKJV)


But God's omnipresence isn't just impressive, it's also comforting. One of the last things Jesus did for His followers before returning to heaven was to point them to His omnipresence by promising, "I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20). No matter where we might be in this world, it's encouraging to know we're always in the midst of God's presence.

What does this passage reveal to me about God?

What does this passage reveal to me about myself?

Based on this, what changes do I need to make?

What is my prayer for today?

SATURDAY

 

Who can say to Him, 'What are You doing?' Job 9:12 (NKJV)

God's sovereignty is closely linked with His omnipotence (see yesterday). But there's an important difference between the two. God's omnipotence speaks of His sheer ability, but sovereignty speaks of His authority to act upon that ability. Not only can He control everything, He actually does control everything.


For some, that's a scary thought. When they think of God being in absolute control over all things, they begin to sweat. They don't like it. They don't like Him being in control. They'd rather control things themselves, they'd rather be in authority and make the decisions. But that's only because they don't know Him.


Admittedly, God's sovereignty would be a scary thing if it stood all alone. But when it's combined with His other attributes-His holiness, His mercy, His love, His patience, His faithfulness, etc.-it becomes quite clear that there's nobody better suited to be in complete control.


There's no other hand we'd rather have on this world's wheel, and God's sovereignty is something that ought to bring joy instead of apprehension.


Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, 'My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure....' (Isaiah 46:10 NKJV)

What does this passage reveal to me about God?

What does this passage reveal to me about myself?

Based on this, what changes do I need to make?

What is my prayer for today?

THE WEEKLY WORD WITH BOB COY

Can be found here:

 

http://theweeklywordbobcoy.blogspot.com/

 


WORDDEVO: "The Weekly Word with Bob Coy" [11-11 thru 11-17] DEVOTIONALS

 


Seven Days of Devotion

  The Weekly Word is a Collection of Devotionals to be read on the Day Listed and presented freely as a service to and for the Body of Christ and Believers throughout the World that We may Hear God Speak to us as the Spirit of God gives us ears to hear and eyes to see what God would have for us daily in relationship to Him.

SATISFACTION GUARANTEED

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 (NKJV)

Did you know that you're a three-part person? I say this because the Bible tells us that each person has a spirit, soul, and body. Each part has its own set of appetites. Our bodies have physical appetites, which include hunger and thirst. Our souls have emotional appetites, such as acceptance and appreciation. And our spirits? They too possess an appetite that cries out for fulfillment. 


Most people are adept at taking care of their physical and emotional appetites. Restaurants cater to any craving, and many television programs and books are designed to help us find good emotional health. Yet, despite all this, our society still screams out for a sense of satisfaction. What's wrong? 


The problem lies in the fact that we often ignore our spiritual appetite. Our hearts are hungry for something that all the food and self-help in this world can never affect. We long for something that only heaven can give to us. Jesus identified Himself as the source of this spiritual satisfaction: 


"Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you . . . ." (John 6:27 NKJV)


A life apart from Christ will always be empty and unfulfilled. Only when Jesus is brought into the picture is the spiritual appetite truly satisfied. If your spirit has been satisfied by Jesus, rejoice and give Him thanks. But if it hasn't, do the sensible thing by placing your faith in Him and asking Him into your heart. When you do, He guarantees to fulfill you as only He can. 


And Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst." (John 6:35 NKJV)

Discuss why you think so many people are unsatisfied with their lives. Dig into John 3:1–21. How would you explain to a friend how to satisfy one’s spirit? Decide to share the resource for meeting spiritual hunger with someone this week.

Whether it’s with a family member, a Facebook friend, or a neighbor, don’t keep the good news of Jesus to yourself!

 

MONDAY

ABIDING ISN?T AUTOMATIC

LORD, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill? -Psalm 15:1 (NKJV)

The modern English language has strayed away from using the word abide. The word is considered old-fashioned, and that's a shame because it's one of the most important and insightful words in all the Scriptures.

The word abide literally means "to settle down and dwell comfortably along with." Harmony, unity, communion, and peace are all assumed under the umbrella of abiding with someone. In Psalm Chapter 15, David asks, "Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle?" Another way of saying that would be: "What kind of person can rest easy and be at home in Your presence?"

We'd all like to be in sync and in step with God's heart. But it's important to understand that it isn't automatic. There are certain conditions that need to be met on our part in order to arrive at this place of abiding. David enumerates them as he continues the Psalm; a person who walks righteously (v.2), speaks truthfully (v.2), doesn't gossip (v.3), is a faithful neighbor and friend (v.3), despises evil (v.4), honors God (v.4), keeps his or her word (v.4), and isn't greedy for personal gain (v.5).

Don't misunderstand. David isn't declaring that we can become right with God by virtue of our good works. But he does describe the kind of heart a person has when he or she is at peace with God-a person who is able to abide with God. This should cause us to hold up a mirror and examine whether or not these conditions are being kept in our own lives.

Abiding isn't automatic, but it is attainable. May the Lord help us to be completely honest with ourselves and fill us with His Spirit so that we can meet the conditions needed in order to abide.

What does this passage reveal to me about God?

What does this passage reveal to me about myself?

Based on this, what changes do I need to make?

What is my prayer for today? 

 

   

TUESDAY

 

Off Limits?

Therefore I will give thanks to You, O LORD, among the Gentiles, and sing praises to Your name. -Psalm 18:49 (NKJV)

"I will give thanks to you, O LORD, among the Gentiles." That was a very strange thing for David to write here in Psalm Chapter 18. Why? Because Gentiles, who were non-Jews, were typically regarded by the Israelites as being beyond the promises or even the reach of God. In fact, the term Gentile had become synonymous with "heathen" or "pagan." It just wasn't a word you would associate with the sacred name of God.

So when David declares that he would praise God among the Gentiles, it must have perked up a few ears and raised a few eyebrows. The Gentiles? Why is David dragging them into our special and sacred relationship with God? Why is he mixing the two when they have nothing to do with us?

To be fair, it was understandable why the Israelites viewed their bond with God as something that primarily separated them from everyone else. It had kept them relatively safe and secure from the evil influences of the nations surrounding them. But David reaches a point of praise where he declares that God's goodness is so great that it transcends these divisions. For David, nobody was off limits from hearing about the grace and glory of his God, not even the Gentiles.

Is that our heart, as well? Or do we have a list of those who we consider to be "off limits" when it comes to sharing the goodness of our God? Are there people we instinctively write off as lost causes? The gospel is such Good News that it deserves and needs to be shared with absolutely everyone, even the modern-day Gentiles in our lives.

What does this passage reveal to me about God?

What does this passage reveal to me about myself?

Based on this, what changes do I need to make?

What is my prayer for today? 

 

 

WEDNESDAY

THE CAPSTONE OF CREATION

The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul? -Psalm 19:7 (NKJV)

Psalm 19 is one of the most interesting Psalms in the Bible. It begins by describing the grandeur and glory of God's creation in the first six verses. Our eyes are drawn toward the handiwork of the heavens, the splendor of the sun, toward things above and beyond our ability to fathom.

And then, without warning, the Psalm switches gears and goes into a discourse on, of all things, the law of the Lord. Doesn't that seem somewhat anti-climactic? We begin with the beauty and majesty of creation and then we end with...the law?

Far from being anti-climactic, there's a powerful point being made here. For as awesome as the stars in the sky are, and as glorious as the galaxies are, they all pale in comparison to the law of the Lord, because the law of the Lord possesses the power to do what nothing else in the entire universe can. It can convert the soul.

The natural created order gets our attention. It opens our eyes. But it's the law, or the Word of God, that informs and transforms our hearts. It alone goes down deep into our heart and spirit, where our deepest difficulties reside, where we aren't even able to discern what's wrong with us...it's here that the law of the Lord, the capstone of creation, goes to work in us in a way that saves us:

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12 NKJV)

 

What does this passage reveal to me about God?

What does this passage reveal to me about myself?

Based on this, what changes do I need to make?

What is my prayer for today? 

 

THURSDAY

PRAYPARE FOR TROUBLE

May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble? -Psalm 20:1 (NKJV)

Unlike other religions, Christianity never shies away from the reality of trouble and trials in the world around us. It doesn't pretend they don't exist and are mere mirages of our imagination. In fact, it actually levels with us by drawing our attention to the existence of trials and deals with them head on.

We see an excellent example of this in the opening words of Psalm Chapter 20, where David writes, "May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble." Notice that he clearly states there's trouble in this life, that there's a day of trouble, and that encountering it is inevitable. As much as we don't want to hear it, the fact is that trouble is coming-no matter how we position or posture to avoid it.

It's important to recognize this because trouble, when seen in all of its inevitability, becomes a catalyst for our prayer life. If we don't appreciate our need for God's help, then we're less likely to ask for it. But when we're thoroughly convinced there's a day of trouble coming, our hearts find the necessary motivation to prepare for it by grabbing hold of God's presence in prayer.

And when we turn to prayer in preparation for our troubles, there's no surer way to fortify and safeguard ourselves than through this mighty provision God has graced us with. Trouble is there, trouble is real, but equally so is prayer and the promise that the Lord will answer us.

What does this passage reveal to me about God?

What does this passage reveal to me about myself?

Based on this, what changes do I need to make?

What is my prayer for today? 

 

 

FRIDAY

CONNECTED TO THE CROSS

My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? -Psalm 22:1 (NKJV)

The words of Psalm 22 are significant for a couple of reasons. First, they describe David's heartache at this particular point in his life. Secondly, and more significantly, they prophetically point to Christ's suffering on the cross.

We know this, not only because the Psalm gives a graphic account of the then-unknown practice of crucifixion, but also because Jesus directly quoted from this Psalm as He hung on the cross:

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying..."My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" (Matthew 27:46 NKJV)

Even as He endured the shame and pain of the cross, Jesus, the consummate teacher, was instructing the people who were watching Him die. He was pointing them to Psalm 22 so as to say, "See, what I'm doing right here and right now is the fulfillment of David's Psalm!"

There's an unbreakable connection between Psalm 22 and the Cross. But in all actuality, the same can be said of every page and passage in God's Word. One way or another, every bit of the Bible relates to the Cross. No matter where you happen to be, it anticipates and looks forward to the Cross, or it commemorates and looks back at it. The Cross is the central theme and event in the Bible.

Psalm 22 is a powerful reminder of this as it transports us to Calvary. It connects our hearts to the saving scene that determined our destiny. That's a connection we would do well to keep and maintain.

What does this passage reveal to me about God?

What does this passage reveal to me about myself?

Based on this, what changes do I need to make?

What is my prayer for today? 


 

SATURDAY

A NEW APPETITE

LORD, I have loved the habitation of Your house, and the place where Your glory dwells. -Psalm 26:8 (NKJV)

Something special happens inside a heart once it opens up to God. It develops a new appetite and begins to hunger and thirst for something that it never had before. That thing is God's glory, and David expresses this truth here in the eighth verse of Psalm 26.

He writes how he has loved being in the place where the Lord's glory dwells. At the time this was written, God's glory was manifested in a sacred tent called the Tabernacle. It was there that God would visibly reveal His glorious presence to His people, and it served as the center of the Israelite's society. Eventually, the Tabernacle was replaced by the Temple, which was built in the city of Jerusalem. Every Israelite's heart was drawn to this one spot, because it was the home of God's glory.

But in New Testament times, things changed. God's glory was removed from the Temple and poured out upon the corporate body of the Church through the Holy Spirit. So in our day and age, the place where God's glory dwells is in the midst of the Church.

It's becoming more and more common, even among Christians, to question the place and purpose for the church. Past faults and flawed personalities are often cited as reasons why some are trying to do the Christian life outside the church. Granted, no church on earth will ever be perfect. But at the same time, the collective body of believers is where God has chosen to pour out His glory, and if God has indeed done a work within us, then we'll love it and be drawn to it.

What does this passage reveal to me about God?

What does this passage reveal to me about myself?

Based on this, what changes do I need to make?

What is my prayer for today? 

 


THE WEEKLY WORD WITH BOB COY

Can be found here:

 

http://theweeklywordbobcoy.blogspot.com/

 


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