Saturday, December 5, 2020

The Daily Bible Readings for Saturday, December 5, 2020

 

The Daily Readings
Saturday, December 5, 2020
Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13; Ezekiel 36:24-28; Mark 11:27-33
The Holy Bible, King James Version (KJV)

Today’s Verse-of-the-Day:
Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.… I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
There is only one door to heaven. Jesus is not one route among several to an intimate relationship with God, but the only way. Some may think, “That is very narrow-minded.” However, it was the greatest mind, the most profound wisdom, and the deepest thoughts that ever existed that implemented the plan of how you and I would be reconciled to God and have a home in heaven. The Lord, who created us is the One who decides how we can know Him—and that way is through Jesus Christ.

Do you know how Jesus gives us abundant life? He does so by giving us Himself! You could have all the money, relationships, wealth, and power, but you would still have a deep sense of emptiness because life isn’t found in these things. The only One who can truly satisfy you is Jesus Christ. To live the abundant Christian life is to allow Jesus to live His life through us. His love motivates and empowers us, so we obey Him out of joy and thankfulness.


Today’s Readings:
Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13
Righteousness and peace
1 Lord, thou hast been favourable unto thy land: thou hast brought back the captivity of Jacob.

2 Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of thy people, thou hast covered all their sin. Selah.

8 I will hear what God the Lord will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: but let them not turn again to folly.

9 Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him; that glory may dwell in our land.

10 Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.

11 Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven.

12 Yea, the Lord shall give that which is good; and our land shall yield her increase.

13 Righteousness shall go before him; and shall set us in the way of his steps.
Commentary
Sooner or later, God will speak peace to his people. If he do not command outward peace, yet he will suggest inward peace; speaking to their hearts by his Spirit. Peace is spoken only to those who turn from sin. All sin is folly, especially backsliding; it is the greatest folly to return to sin. Surely God's salvation is nigh, whatever our difficulties and distresses are. Also, his honour is secured, that glory may dwell in our land. And the truth of the promises is shown by the Divine mercy in sending the Redeemer. The Divine justice is now satisfied by the great atonement. Christ, the way, truth, and life, sprang out of the earth when he took our nature upon him, and Divine justice looked upon him well pleased and satisfied. For his sake all good things, especially his Holy Spirit, are given to those who ask him. Through Christ, the pardoned sinner becomes fruitful in good works, and by looking to and trusting in the Saviour's righteousness, finds his feet set in the way of his steps. Righteousness is a sure guide, both in meeting God, and in following him.
Ezekiel 36:24-28
A new heart and a new spirit
36:24 For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.

25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.

26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.

28 And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.
Commentary

Water is an emblem of the cleansing our polluted souls from sin. But no water can do more than take away the filth of the flesh. Water seems in general the sacramental sign of the sanctifying influences of the Holy Ghost; yet this is always connected with the atoning blood of Christ. When the latter is applied by faith to the conscience, to cleanse it from evil works, the former is always applied to the powers of the soul, to purify it from the pollution of sin. All that have an interest in the new covenant, have a new heart and a new spirit, in order to their walking in newness of life. God would give a heart of flesh, a soft and tender heart, complying with his holy will. Renewing grace works as great a change in the soul, as the turning a dead stone into living flesh. God will put his Spirit within, as a Teacher, Guide, and Sanctifier. The promise of God's grace to fit us for our duty, should quicken our constant care and endeavour to do our duty. These are promises to be pleaded by, and will be fulfilled to, all true believers in every age.


Mark 11:27-33
Jesus a prophet like John the Baptist
11:27 And they come again to Jerusalem: and as he was walking in the temple, there come to him the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders,

28 And say unto him, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority to do these things?

29 And Jesus answered and said unto them, I will also ask of you one question, and answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things.

30 The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men? answer me.

31 And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then did ye not believe him?

32 But if we shall say, Of men; they feared the people: for all men counted John, that he was a prophet indeed.

33 And they answered and said unto Jesus, We cannot tell. And Jesus answering saith unto them, Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things.
Commentary

Our Saviour shows how near akin his doctrine and baptism were to those of John; they had the same design and tendency, to bring in the gospel kingdom. These elders did not deserve to be taught; for it was plain that they contended not for truth, but victory: nor did he need to tell them; for the works he did, told them plainly he had authority from God; since no man could do the miracles which he did, unless God were with him.



The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle, and Gospel lessons are from The Holy Bible, King James Version (KJV).

Commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible.

The Daily Bible Readings are selected from the Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, a three-year cyclical lectionary. We are currently in Year B. Beginning with the first Sunday of Advent in 2021, we will be in Year C. The year which ended at Advent 2020 was Year A. These readings complement the Sunday and festival readings: Thursday through Saturday readings help prepare the reader for the Sunday ahead; Monday through Wednesday readings help the reader reflect and digest what they heard in worship. Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts. www.commontexts.org
The Daily Readings for Saturday, December 5, 2020
Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13; Ezekiel 36:24-28; Mark 11:27-33 (KJV)

Prayer of the Day for Saturday, December 5, 2020

 

Prayer of the Day
Saturday, December 5, 2020


Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.
Daniel 7:27 (NIV)

Lord our God, dear Father, you have made yourself known on earth so that we may love you and be loved by you. Give us your Spirit, we pray. Give us your Spirit to strengthen us in the life and work you offer us. Watch over us on all our ways. Wherever your children are sighing and calling for you, protect and guide them with your mighty hand. Let your kingdom spread over the whole world, over all people, over all races and nations, that we may become united as servants of Jesus Christ to your honor. Amen.

Verse of the Day for Saturday, December 5, 2020

 

Verse of the Day
Saturday, December 5, 2020


John 10:7, 9-10
Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.… I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
There is only one door to heaven. Jesus is not one route among several to an intimate relationship with God, but the only way. Some may think, “That is very narrow-minded.” However, it was the greatest mind, the most profound wisdom, and the deepest thoughts that ever existed that implemented the plan of how you and I would be reconciled to God and have a home in heaven. The Lord, who created us is the One who decides how we can know Him—and that way is through Jesus Christ.

Do you know how Jesus gives us abundant life? He does so by giving us Himself! You could have all the money, relationships, wealth, and power, but you would still have a deep sense of emptiness because life isn’t found in these things. The only One who can truly satisfy you is Jesus Christ. To live the abundant Christian life is to allow Jesus to live His life through us. His love motivates and empowers us, so we obey Him out of joy and thankfulness.


Read all of John 10

Listen to John 10


The Holy Bible, King James Version (KJV)

Standing Strong Through the Storm — FULFILLING THE FIVE FUNCTIONS OF THE CHURCH

 
FULFILLING THE FIVE FUNCTIONS OF THE CHURCH

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

In the summer of 2010, I led an excellent team of Open Doors staff and supporters on a visit to North Korea. We were allowed to pray publicly in the areas we visited and, of course, were presented with a formal church service on Sunday morning at one of the three churches functioning in Pyongyang. It was a well-executed performance–especially the choir. On its website, the Korean Christian Federation claims that there are ten thousand Protestant Christians in North Korea meeting at five hundred designated centers. In reality, Christians in the country experience tremendous challenges in worshiping publicly.

Brother Simon, the leader of the Open Doors work in North Korea, says that the true church must operate underground in the country. “They can’t simply go to church to sing and to listen to the sermon. It is clear that being a Christian in North Korea is a lonely business.”

Simon’s thoughts turn to Sundays in North Korea. “It happens only sporadically that Christians consider themselves safe enough to meet together in small groups. Usually, gatherings consist of only two people. For example, a Christian goes and sits on a bench in the park. Another Christian comes and sits next to him. Sometimes it’s dangerous even to speak to one another, but they know they are both Christians, and at such a time, this is enough. If there is no one around, they may be able to share a Bible verse which they have learned off by heart and briefly say something about it. They also share prayer topics with each other. Then they leave one another and go and look for a Christian in some other part of their town or village. This continues throughout the Sunday. A cell group usually consists of fewer than twenty Christians, who encourage and strengthen one another, plus one-to-one meetings in people’s homes.

“Only if the whole family has turned to Christ is it possible to have something like a real fellowship gathering, as long as you keep your faith hidden from the neighbors. Besides this, it is sometimes possible to hold a meeting in remote areas with a group of ten to twenty people. Very occasionally, it is possible for Christians to go unobtrusively into the mountains and to hold a ‘service’ at a secret location like a cave. Then it may be the case that there are as many as sixty or seventy North Korean Christians gathered together.”

In spite of severe limitations, believers can fulfill all five biblical functions of the church.

RESPONSE: I will thankfully take my place in the assembly of believers to fulfill the church’s functions.

PRAYER: Thank you, Lord, for the faithfulness of Your church in North Korea against all obstacles.


Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.
In spite of severe limitations, believers can fulfill all five biblical functions of the church.

The NIV Couples Devotional — Cheating Together

 
Cheating Together

1 Kings 14:1–18

At that time Abijah son of Jeroboam became ill, and Jeroboam said to his wife, “Go, disguise yourself, so you won’t be recognized as the wife of Jeroboam. Then go to Shiloh. Ahijah the prophet is there—the one who told me I would be king over this people.”

Jeroboam was in a predicament. He had served the great Israelite ruler Solomon as an official in the department of public works. Encouraged by the words of Ahijah the prophet that he would one day be king, Jeroboam rebelled against Solomon, resulting in his exile to Egypt (see 1 Kings 11:26–40). When Solomon died and Rehoboam took over, Jeroboam returned from Egypt and seized the opportunity to lure away most of the kingdom.

Originally, Jeroboam’s main goal was to help the Israelites find a better government than the one offered by Solomon and his self-absorbed son. But, along the way, power corrupted Jeroboam; he did things to ensure his tenacious leadership while minimizing God’s influence.

Now Jeroboam’s son was sick. So the king began weaving a web of deception, enlisting his wife to dress like someone else and feign piety before Ahijah to manipulate him into giving a good report on their son. Rather than seeking God’s guidance, the couple tried to use the prophet like a good-luck charm. Things turned out very badly for them as a result.

Marriage binds husband and wife into a unity that changes both of them. While individual identities shouldn’t be crushed as “two become one,” it is also true that we cannot remain isolated or independent from one another. But in the fusing that takes place, both good and bad things can happen.

When we share our lives well, we can strengthen our mate’s resolve, nurture our spouse’s well-being, and encourage each other’s gifts. Unfortunately, we can also have a negative impact on each other. We can entice our partner into supporting our mistakes and sins. We can ask our spouse to cover up for us when the phone rings, and we don’t wish to be found. We can lie for our mate in public settings. We can manipulate our spouse into falsifying tax returns or hiding assets.

Marriage makes us complicit in the morality of our mate. That is an important reason to choose wisely before we wed and to build upon a strong moral center in our relationship after we are joined. Great businesses don’t collapse overnight through some minor accounting error; their foundations slowly erode as leaders make each other complicit in deceptive schemes. So it is in marriages. While we can win for a while as we help each other cheat on the truth, in the long run, we build a kingdom of facades in which we can neither trust our partner’s face nor clearly see our own.

On the other hand, when we learn from mistakes like those of Jeroboam and his wife, we can build a complicity of goodness that our children and friends will admire someday when they help us celebrate our silver and golden wedding anniversaries.

Wayne Brouwer


Let’s Talk
  • Are we playing games of deception right now? What might we lose through them?
  • How can we keep one another morally committed to what is right? Should we schedule regular opportunities for accountability checks? What would we ask each other?
  • In what areas are we most vulnerable to temptation or sin? What do we need most from each other to strengthen these vulnerable places?
Marriage binds husband and wife into a unity that changes both of them.

John Piper Devotional — No Detour from Calvary

 
No Detour from Calvary

And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

Now you would think that if God so rules the world as to use an empire-wide census to bring Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem, he surely could have seen to it that a room was available in the inn.

Yes, he could have. And Jesus could have been born into a wealthy family. He could have turned stone into bread in the wilderness. He could have called 10,000 angels to his aid in Gethsemane. He could have come down from the cross and saved himself. The question is not what God could do, but what he willed to do.

God’s will was that though Christ was rich, yet for your sake, he became poor. The “No Vacancy” signs over all the motels in Bethlehem were for your sake. “For your sake he became poor” (2 Corinthians 8:9).

God rules all things—even motel capacities—for the sake of his children. The Calvary road begins with a “No Vacancy” sign in Bethlehem and ends with the spitting and scoffing of the cross in Jerusalem.

And we must not forget that he said, “He who would come after me must deny himself and take up his cross.”

We join him on the Calvary road and hear him say, “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you” (John 15:20).

To the one who calls out enthusiastically, “I will follow you wherever you go!” Jesus responds, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”

Yes, God could have seen to it that Jesus have a room at his birth. But that would have been a detour off the Calvary road.

Now you would think that if God so rules the world as to use an empire-wide census to bring Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem, he surely could have seen to it that a room was available in the inn.

Un dia a la Vez — No atrases tu restitución

 
No atrases tu restitución

El que es fiel en lo muy poco, también en lo más es fiel.
Lucas 16:10, rv-60

Una vez que tomamos decisiones radicales para el cambio, o que quizá saliéramos de alguna crisis emocional o de cualquier tipo, es muy normal sentirse cansado, sin fuerzas y a veces hasta sin ánimos de seguir. No obstante, ahí es cuando viene la promesa de Dios de que Él te sanará, restituirá y devolverá todo lo que te quitó el enemigo.

En esta parte de nuestra situación, debemos tomar muy en serio las cosas que le hemos prometido a nuestro Padre celestial. Después que pasa un tiempo y nos sentimos mejor, la tendencia humana es a olvidarse de Dios y nos podemos desviar del verdadero propósito.

Por eso no se nos puede olvidar de dónde nos levanta Dios y ser muy sabios en todas las decisiones que tomemos.

La recaída en un error cuando estamos saliendo de una prueba es muy perjudicial. Esto no solo es un retroceso en la sanidad que estamos teniendo, sino que le estamos fallando a Dios. Además, lo único que lograremos será el atraso de nuestro milagro, cambio y restitución.

De ahí que no valga la pena volver a empezar un proceso cuando no hemos salido del otro.

Es hermoso ver cómo Dios nos devuelve más de lo que teníamos antes y nos pone en lugares de privilegio. Sin embargo, el secreto está en «ser fieles».


Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón
Una vez que tomamos decisiones radicales para el cambio, o que quizá saliéramos de alguna crisis emocional o de cualquier tipo, es muy normal sentirse cansado, sin fuerzas y a veces hasta sin ánimos de seguir.

Хліб Наш Насущній — Різдво з розпродажу

 

Різдво з розпродажу

Читати: 1 Тимофія 6:6-10, 17-19 | Біблія за рік: Даниїла 1–2 ; 1 Івана 4

Великий же зиск – то благочестя із задоволенням.

Одній матері здалося, що вона занадто багато витрачала коштів на різдвяні подарунки дітям, тому одного року вона вирішила спробувати дещо інше. Упродовж декількох місяців перед Різдвом жінка вишукувала на розпродажах недорогі вживані речі. Вона придбала більше подарунків, ніж зазвичай, втім за значно дешевшими цінами. На Святвечір діти радісно відкривали один подарунок за іншим. Наступного дня подарунків було ще більше! Мати почувалася винною через те, що не купила нові подарунки, тому вона придбала ще. Діти почали їх відкривати, втім швидко поскаржилися: “Ми втомилися відкривати подарунки! Ти подарувала їх занадто багато!” Нетипова реакція дітей різдвяного ранку, чи не так?!

Бог благословив нас багатьма речами, втім здається, що ми завжди прагнемо чогось більшого: просторішого будинку, кращої машини, більше коштів на банківському рахунку тощо. Апостол Павло спонукав Тимофія нагадувати членам церкви, що “ми не принесли в світ нічого, то нічого не можемо й винести. А як маєм поживу та одяг, то ми задоволені будьмо з того” (1 Тим. 6:7-8).

Крім забезпечення наших потреб, Бог дарував нам дихання й життя. Наскільки чудово радіти Його дарам, бути ними задоволеними та сказати: “Ти подарував нам так багато! Нам більше не треба”. “Великий же зиск – то благочестя із задоволенням” (в. 6).
За що ви сьогодні вдячні Богу? Як можна навчитися бути задоволеними?
Отче, Ти благословив нас багатьма речами. Навчи нас дякувати щоденно.

Автор Енн Сітас

© 2020 Хліб Наш Насущні
Одній матері здалося, що вона занадто багато витрачала коштів на різдвяні подарунки дітям, тому одного року вона вирішила спробувати дещо інше.

Friday, December 4, 2020

The Daily Bible Readings for Friday, December 4, 2020

 

The Daily Readings
Friday, December 4, 2020
Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13; Jeremiah 1:4-10; Acts 11:19-26
The Holy Bible, King James Version (KJV)

Today’s Verse-of-the-Day:
Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
When you accept the Light of the World, Jesus Christ, as your Lord and Savior, you cannot hide that you know Him. Rather, you must allow His light to shine through you so that others can also have His light—so they also can accept the salvation He offers.

Today’s Readings:
Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13
Righteousness and peace
1 Lord, thou hast been favourable unto thy land: thou hast brought back the captivity of Jacob.

2 Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of thy people, thou hast covered all their sin. Selah.

8 I will hear what God the Lord will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: but let them not turn again to folly.

9 Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him; that glory may dwell in our land.

10 Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.

11 Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven.

12 Yea, the Lord shall give that which is good; and our land shall yield her increase.

13 Righteousness shall go before him; and shall set us in the way of his steps.
Commentary

Sooner or later, God will speak peace to his people. If he do not command outward peace, yet he will suggest inward peace; speaking to their hearts by his Spirit. Peace is spoken only to those who turn from sin. All sin is folly, especially backsliding; it is the greatest folly to return to sin. Surely God's salvation is nigh, whatever our difficulties and distresses are. Also, his honour is secured, that glory may dwell in our land. And the truth of the promises is shown by the Divine mercy in sending the Redeemer. The Divine justice is now satisfied by the great atonement. Christ, the way, truth, and life, sprang out of the earth when he took our nature upon him, and Divine justice looked upon him well pleased and satisfied. For his sake all good things, especially his Holy Spirit, are given to those who ask him. Through Christ, the pardoned sinner becomes fruitful in good works, and by looking to and trusting in the Saviour's righteousness, finds his feet set in the way of his steps. Righteousness is a sure guide, both in meeting God, and in following him.


Jeremiah 1:4-10
God appoints a prophet
1:4 Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,

5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

6 Then said I, Ah, Lord God! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.

7 But the Lord said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.

8 Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord.

9 Then the Lord put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.

10 See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.
Commentary

Jeremiah's early call to the work and office of a prophet is stated. He was to be a prophet, not to the Jews only, but to the neighbouring nations. He is still a prophet to the whole world, and it would be well if they would attend to these warnings. The Lord who formed us, knows for what particular services and purposes he intended us. But unless he sanctify us by his new-creating Spirit, we shall neither be fit for his holy service on earth, nor his holy happiness in heaven. It becomes us to have low thoughts of ourselves. Those who are young, should consider that they are so, and not venture beyond their powers. But though a sense of our own weakness and insufficiency should make us go humbly about our work, it should not make us draw back when God calls us. Those who have messages to deliver from God, must not fear the face of man. The Lord, by a sign, gave Jeremiah such a gift as was necessary. God's message should be delivered in his own words. Whatever wordly wise men or politicians may think, the safety of kingdoms is decided according to the purpose and word of God.


Acts 11:19-26
The new community called “Christian”
11:19 Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only.

20 And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus.

21 And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord.

22 Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch.

23 Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord.

24 For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord.

25 Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul:

26 And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.
Commentary

The first preachers of the gospel at Antioch, were dispersed from Jerusalem by persecution; thus what was meant to hurt the church, was made to work for its good. The wrath of man is made to praise God. What should the ministers of Christ preach, but Christ? Christ, and him crucified? Christ, and him glorified? And their preaching was accompanied with the Divine power. The hand of the Lord was with them, to bring that home to the hearts and consciences of men, which they could but speak to the outward ear. They believed; they were convinced of the truth of the gospel. They turned from a careless, carnal way of living, to live a holy, heavenly, spiritual life. They turned from worshipping God in show and ceremony, to worship him in the Spirit and in truth. They turned to the Lord Jesus, and he became all in all with them. This was the work of conversion wrought upon them, and it must be wrought upon every one of us. It was the fruit of their faith; all who sincerely believe, will turn to the Lord, When the Lord Jesus is preached in simplicity, and according to the Scriptures, he will give success; and when sinners are thus brought to the Lord, really good men, who are full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, will admire and rejoice in the grace of God bestowed on them. Barnabas was full of faith; full of the grace of faith, and full of the fruits of the faith that works by love.

Hitherto the followers of Christ were called disciples, that is, learners, scholars; but from that time they were called Christians. The proper meaning of this name is, a follower of Christ; it denotes one who, from serious thought, embraces the religion of Christ, believes his promises, and makes it his chief care to shape his life by Christ's precepts and example. Hence it is plain that multitudes take the name of Christian to whom it does not rightly belong. But the name without the reality will only add to our guilt. While the bare profession will bestow neither profit nor delight, the possession of it will give both the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. Grant, Lord, that Christians may forget other names and distinctions, and love one another as the followers of Christ ought to do. True Christians will feel for their brethren under afflictions. Thus will fruit be brought forth to the praise and glory of God. If all mankind were true Christians, how cheerfully would they help one another! The whole earth would be like one large family, every member of which would strive to be dutiful and kind.



The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle, and Gospel lessons are from The Holy Bible, King James Version (KJV).

Commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible.

The Daily Bible Readings are selected from the Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, a three-year cyclical lectionary. We are currently in Year B. Beginning with the first Sunday of Advent in 2021, we will be in Year C. The year which ended at Advent 2020 was Year A. These readings complement the Sunday and festival readings: Thursday through Saturday readings help prepare the reader for the Sunday ahead; Monday through Wednesday readings help the reader reflect and digest what they heard in worship. Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts. www.commontexts.org
The Daily Readings for Friday, December 4, 2020
Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13; Jeremiah 1:4-10; Acts 11:19-26 (KJV)

Prayer of the Day for Friday, December 4, 2020

 

Prayer of the Day
Friday, December 4, 2020


Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth. I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.

Lord our God, strengthen our hearts today through your Word. You are our Father and we are your children, and we want to trust you in every aspect of our lives. Protect us on all our ways, and grant that we may always watch and wait for the coming of your kingdom, for the future of our Lord Jesus Christ. Keep us from becoming confused by present-day events. Help us to remain free, that we may serve you and not be led astray, no matter what happens in the world. Grant us your Holy Spirit in everything, for without your Spirit we can do nothing. Help us, and accept our praise for the many ways you have given us help. Amen.

Verse of the Day for Friday, December 4, 2020

 

Verse of the Day
Friday, December 4, 2020


John 8:12
Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
When you accept the Light of the World, Jesus Christ, as your Lord and Savior, you cannot hide that you know Him. Rather, you must allow His light to shine through you so that others can also have His light—so they also can accept the salvation He offers.

Read all of John 8

Listen to John 8


The Holy Bible, King James Version (KJV)

Standing Strong Through the Storm — FELLOWSHIP FUNCTION OF THE CHURCH

 
FELLOWSHIP FUNCTION OF THE CHURCH

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household.

As Christians, we are called to belong—not just believe. We are not meant to be loners but true members of his body—part of Jesus’ family. It is thus important for Christians to spend time together to share their spiritual lives, encourage each other, and have fellowship.

Satan brings all his efforts to bear upon Christians to prevent this fellowship. He realizes that believers need to help and strengthen each other, so he will try to prevent it by promoting indifference or by using the force of circumstances (Hebrews 10:24,25). Even informal or casual meetings can be used of the Lord for strengthening Christians, especially when formal meetings and large group fellowships are forbidden. Of course, large meetings can be useful, too. But normally, more help is given one-to-one in small “cell” groups where specific needs can be shared, discussed, and ministered to in-depth.

Mona’s story is a good illustration. It wasn’t only that she was raped when she sneaked across the border into Malaysia. It wasn’t simply because she sent her daughter back to Burma and had never seen her since she was a baby. It wasn’t just the violence of those terrifying days in the ’80s in Rangoon when students and soldiers clashed in the streets, forcing her husband (then a student) and her to flee the country.

It was the thousand nights of loneliness. The trauma of the past haunted her. The papers she needed to stay in Malaysia legally. Papers that she could not acquire. The possibility of arrest and punishment by police.

The nightmares came on leathery wings of fear, dug their claws deeply, and took up residence in her psyche. Her mind, once sound and clear, clouded with doubts and delusions: the sound of voices she did not know and horrifying images that would not go away.

But hers was not a life destined for darkness. The clouds were pulled away slowly, partly by the psychiatrist at the General Hospital, secured for her by the volunteers at the free medical clinic. Also, by the kindness of strangers who reached out their hands in generosity.

It was the moment Mona was able to tell another woman in her own language of her troubles; this was when the first ray of light cut through the cloud and shone the possibility of hope into her circumstance.

Later, it was the time she spent with other women from Burma at the church. It was the songs they sang, the shared experience and language, the friendship, the food, the games.

Fellowship is life-giving to those who have been deprived of it.

RESPONSE: Today, I will seek to experience true fellowship in Christ.

PRAYER: Pray for opportunities to support others who need a listening ear or a word of encouragement.


Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.
As Christians, we are called to belong—not just believe.

Men of the Bible — Judas

 
Judas

His name means: "Praised"

His work: As one of the twelve disciples, Judas's responsibility was to act as the group's treasurer.
His character: John's gospel indicates that Judas, though chosen by Jesus, was a thief, a man who regularly helped himself to the community purse. Though he would have been on intimate terms with the Lord, he betrayed Jesus by handing him over to the religious authorities, who then had him condemned to death. The motives for his act of treachery have never been clear. His name always appears last in the list of Jesus' disciples.
His sorrow: Regretting his decision to hand Jesus over to the religious authorities, Judas hanged himself.
His triumph: He was a member of Jesus' inner circle.
Key Scriptures: Matthew 26:6-16; John 12:1-8; 13:1-30; 18:1-11


A Look at the Man

Under cover of darkness, Judas led a detachment of soldiers and Jewish officials to an olive grove on the other side of the Kidron Valley. In this place, Jesus and his disciples had retired after the Passover meal. There he betrayed the Lord with a kiss, saying, "Greetings, Rabbi!" Then he watched as the soldiers bound Jesus and led him away.

If Judas intended his act of betrayal to be the spark that ignited the revolution, he must have been disappointed. There was no great uprising, no crowds clamoring for Jesus' release, no miracles from heaven to establish the Messiah on his throne. The next morning brought with it only the grim news that Jesus had been beaten, handed over to Pontius Pilate, and condemned to death. Suddenly Judas felt overwhelmed by a tide of grief so great it swept away his previous certainty. Flinging the thirty pieces of silver—blood money now—into the temple, he went out and hanged himself.

The story of Judas is one of the saddest and best known in Scripture. A man chosen by Jesus to become part of his inner circle, he was privy to God's wisdom, power, and love to an unprecedented degree. But Judas valued the privilege so little that he handed Jesus over to his enemies for the paltry sum of thirty pieces of silver, the price of a slave. Jesus himself commented on Judas's situation with a warning Judas failed to heed: "The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born."

Two thousand years later, Judas's name is still a synonym for betrayal. As one of the Twelve, Judas had been offered a place of honor in the kingdom Jesus promised to establish. But by serving his own vision rather than the Lord's vision, he became not an instrument of good but an instrument of evil in the story of salvation.

Reflect On: Romans 5:6–11
Praise God: For redemption and forgiveness through Jesus Christ.
Offer Thanks: For personal salvation and a community of believers to love and from whom to receive love.
Confess: Any tendency toward self-pity rather than true repentance.
Ask God: For a renewed love for his people and commitment to fellowship, transparency, and accountability. Ask him for the courage to speak the truth in love and the grace to receive the same.


Today's reading is a brief excerpt from Men of the Bible: A One-Year Devotional Study of Men in Scripture by Ann Spangler and Robert Wolgemuth (Zondervan). © 2010 by Ann Spangler. Used with permission. All rights reserved. Enjoy the complete book by purchasing your own copy at the Bible Gateway Store. The book's title must be included when sharing the above content on social media.
The story of Judas is one of the saddest and best known in Scripture.

John Piper Devotional — For God’s Little People

 
For God’s Little People

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.

Have you ever thought what an amazing thing it is that God ordained beforehand that the Messiah be born in Bethlehem (as the prophecy in Micah 5 shows); and that he so ordained things that when the time came, the Messiah’s mother and legal father were living in Nazareth; and that in order to fulfill his word and bring two little people to Bethlehem that first Christmas, God put it in the heart of Caesar Augustus that all the Roman world should be enrolled each in his own town?

Have you ever felt, like me, little and insignificant in a world of seven billion people, where all the news is of big political and economic and social movements and of outstanding people with lots of power and prestige?

If you have, don’t let that make you disheartened or unhappy. For it is implicit in Scripture that all the mammoth political forces and all the giant industrial complexes, without their even knowing it, are being guided by God, not for their own sake but for the sake of God’s little people—the little Mary and the little Joseph who have to be got from Nazareth to Bethlehem. God wields an empire to bless his children.

Do not think, because you experience adversity, that the hand of the Lord is shortened. It is not our prosperity but our holiness that he seeks with all his heart. And to that end, he rules the whole world. As Proverbs 21:1 says, “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.”

He is a big God for little people, and we have great cause to rejoice that, unbeknownst to them, all the kings and presidents and premiers and chancellors of the world follow the sovereign decrees of our Father in heaven, that we, the children, might be conformed to the image of his Son, Jesus Christ.

Have you ever thought what an amazing thing it is that God ordained beforehand that the Messiah be born in Bethlehem?

Un dia a la Vez — Nueva criatura

 
Nueva criatura

Como hijos obedientes, no se amolden a los malos deseos que tenían antes, cuando vivían en la ignorancia. Más bien, sean ustedes santos en todo.

Para vivir hay que morir. Si la semilla no muere, no hay fruto. Así que vale la pena morir a la vieja naturaleza pecadora y enderezar nuestra vida por el buen camino.

En nuestro andar con Cristo, hemos aprendido que, aunque fallemos, Dios nos levanta y nos hace nuevas criaturas. Por lo tanto, dejemos atrás las personas que no son una buena influencia y los amigos que lo único que quieren es que vivamos las cosas del mundo. Entonces se burlan porque eres hombre de una sola mujer, o porque eres una mujer sujeta a su esposo, o porque no estás en fiestas y vicios. Quizá hasta debas dejar trabajos donde tu vida está expuesta a malas influencias.

No temas hacer estos cambios, porque si lo haces bajo el pacto con Dios, Él te respaldará en tus decisiones y abrirá nuevas oportunidades para ti. No olvidemos que la obediencia es igual a bendición.

Los cambios requieren sacrificios, dominio propio y mucha oración. En realidad, necesitamos mucha oración porque siempre estarán rondando las tentaciones.


Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón
En nuestro andar con Cristo, hemos aprendido que, aunque fallemos, Dios nos levanta y nos hace nuevas criaturas.

Lời Sống Hằng Ngày — Tình Yêu Không Ngừng

 

Tình Yêu Không Ngừng

Đọc: I Giăng 3:16–18 | Đọc Kinh Thánh suốt năm: Ê-xê-chi-ên 47–48; I Giăng 3

Chớ yêu thương bằng lời nói và miệng lưỡi, mà phải yêu bằng việc làm và sự chân thật.

Heidi và Jeff về đến nhà sau chuyến công tác nước ngoài trong điều kiện khí hậu nóng bức rồi định cư gần gia đình trong vài tháng ở bang Michigan, đúng lúc mùa đông đến. Đây là lần đầu tiên mà nhiều trong số mười đứa con của họ nhìn thấy vẻ đẹp tự nhiên của tuyết.

Nhưng thời tiết mùa đông ở Michigan đòi hỏi phải mặc nhiều quần áo ấm, bao gồm áo khoác, găng tay và ủng. Với một gia đình đông người, sẽ khá tốn kém nếu mua sắm trang phục ấm mà chỉ dùng cho mấy tháng lạnh lẽo sắp tới. Nhưng Chúa đã chu cấp cho họ. Đầu tiên, một người hàng xóm gửi tặng giày, sau đó là quần tuyết, rồi mũ và găng tay. Sau đó, một người bạn kêu gọi những người khác trong hội thánh gom nhiều loại quần áo ấm với đủ mười hai kích cỡ cho mỗi thành viên trong gia đình. Vào thời điểm tuyết rơi, gia đình này đã có đúng những thứ họ cần.

Một trong những cách chúng ta phục vụ Chúa là phục vụ những người khó khăn. I Giăng 3:16-18 khích lệ chúng ta giúp đỡ người khác bằng của cải dư dật của mình. Việc phục vụ giúp chúng ta trở nên giống Chúa Jêsus hơn khi chúng ta bắt đầu yêu thương và nhìn mọi người như cách Ngài nhìn.

Chúa thường dùng các con cái của Ngài để đáp ứng nhu cầu và nhậm lời cầu nguyện. Và khi phục vụ người khác, chính lòng chúng ta cũng được khích lệ khi chúng ta khích lệ những người mà mình phục vụ. Kết quả là, đức tin của chúng ta sẽ tăng trưởng khi Chúa trang bị cho chúng ta phục vụ theo cách mới (c. 18).
Khi bạn thấy nhiều người khó khăn ở xung quanh, bạn sẽ thể hiện tình yêu của Chúa cách thiết thực như thế nào? Việc phục vụ Chúa giúp đức tin của bạn tăng trưởng ra sao?
Cha ơi, xin lấp đầy tấm lòng con bằng sự sẵn lòng giúp đỡ khi con nhìn thấy những hoàn cảnh khó khăn. Xin giúp con cho đi cách vui vẻ và phục vụ Ngài với lòng biết ơn.

bởi Cindy Hess Kaspe

Chú Giải

Ở bức thư đầu tiên trong số ba bức thư, Giăng đã đưa ra ba đặc điểm khác biệt của Cơ Đốc giáo. Một là sự thật mang tính lịch sử về cuộc đời Chúa Jêsus (I Giăng 1:1-3). Giăng đề cập nhiều đến việc ông (và những người khác) đã tận mắt chứng kiến cuộc sống trên đất và các phép lạ của Chúa Jêsus. Thứ hai là sự kêu gọi (và động lực) để sống trong sự công chính mà Chúa Jêsus ban cho (1:6-2:2). Đặc điểm thứ ba, tình yêu thương, là điều Giăng bắt đầu khai triển từ I Giăng 2:3 và tiếp tục cho đến phân đoạn Kinh Thánh hôm nay. Tình yêu thương này là “tình yêu của Đức Chúa Cha” (c. 15) và không dành cho thế gian hay những điều thuộc về thế gian. Khi tình yêu này thôi thúc, chúng ta không thể không yêu thương người khác theo cách được đề cập trong I Giăng 3:16-18. Tình yêu thương như thế sẽ là nhân chứng soi rọi cho thế giới chưa biết đến tình yêu của Ngài.

Tim Gustafson

© 2020 Lời Sống Hằng Ngày
Một trong những cách chúng ta phục vụ Chúa là phục vụ những người khó khăn.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

The Daily Bible Readings for Thursday, December 3, 2020

 

The Daily Readings
Thursday, December 3, 2020
Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13; Hosea 6:1-6; 1 Thessalonians 1:2-10
The Holy Bible, King James Version (KJV)

Today’s Verse-of-the-Day:
And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
The devil is capable of counterfeiting some of God’s miraculous works, and so blinds many people to the truth. This is why we must stay alert and not base our faith on miracles and sensational signs. Instead, we must believe God and obey Him, because then we will see “the outcome of [our] faith the salvation of [our] souls” (1 Pet. 1:9, NASB).

Today’s Readings:
Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13
Righteousness and peace
1 Lord, thou hast been favourable unto thy land: thou hast brought back the captivity of Jacob.

2 Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of thy people, thou hast covered all their sin. Selah.

8 I will hear what God the Lord will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: but let them not turn again to folly.

9 Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him; that glory may dwell in our land.

10 Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.

11 Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven.

12 Yea, the Lord shall give that which is good; and our land shall yield her increase.

13 Righteousness shall go before him; and shall set us in the way of his steps.
Commentary

Sooner or later, God will speak peace to his people. If he do not command outward peace, yet he will suggest inward peace; speaking to their hearts by his Spirit. Peace is spoken only to those who turn from sin. All sin is folly, especially backsliding; it is the greatest folly to return to sin. Surely God's salvation is nigh, whatever our difficulties and distresses are. Also, his honour is secured, that glory may dwell in our land. And the truth of the promises is shown by the Divine mercy in sending the Redeemer. The Divine justice is now satisfied by the great atonement. Christ, the way, truth, and life, sprang out of the earth when he took our nature upon him, and Divine justice looked upon him well pleased and satisfied. For his sake all good things, especially his Holy Spirit, are given to those who ask him. Through Christ, the pardoned sinner becomes fruitful in good works, and by looking to and trusting in the Saviour's righteousness, finds his feet set in the way of his steps. Righteousness is a sure guide, both in meeting God, and in following him.


Hosea 6:1-6
Return to the God of life and love
6:1 Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up.

2 After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.

3 Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.

4 O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away.

5 Therefore have I hewed them by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of my mouth: and thy judgments are as the light that goeth forth.

6 For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
Commentary

Those who have gone from God by consent, and in a body, drawing one another to sin, should, by consent and in a body, return to him, which will be for his glory, and their good. It will be of great use for support under afflictions, and to encourage our repentance, to keep up good thoughts of God, and of his purposes and designs concerning us. Deliverance out of trouble should be to them as life from the dead. God will revive them: the assurance of this should engage them to return to him. But this seems to have a further reference to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Let us admire the wisdom and goodness of God, that when the prophet foretold the deliverance of the church out of her troubles, he should point out our salvation by Christ; and now these words are fulfilled in the resurrection of Christ, it confirms our faith, that this is He that should come and we are to look for no other. Here is a precious blessing promised; this is life eternal, to know God. The returns of the favour of God are secured to us as firmly as the return of the morning after a dark night. He shall come to us as the latter and former rain unto the earth, which refreshes it, and makes it fruitful. The grace of God in Christ is both the latter and the former rain; and by it the good work of our fruit-bearing is begun and carried on. And as the Redeemer was raised from the grave, so will He revive the hearts and hopes of all that trust in him. The feeblest glimpse of hope in his word, is a sure earnest of increasing light and comfort, which shall be attended with purifying, comforting grace that makes fruitful.

Sometimes Israel and Judah seemed disposed to repent under their sufferings, but their goodness vanished like the empty morning cloud, and the early dew, and they were as vile as ever. Therefore the Lord sent awful messages by the prophets. The word of God will be the death either of the sin or of the sinner. God desired mercy rather than sacrifice, and that knowledge of him which produces holy fear and love. This exposes the folly of those who trust in outward observances, to make up for their want of love to God and man.


1 Thessalonians 1:2-10
Paul thanks God for the Thessalonians
1:2 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers;

3 Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;

4 Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.

5 For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.

6 And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost.

7 So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.

8 For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.

9 For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;

10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
Commentary

As all good comes from God, so no good can be hoped for by sinners, but from God in Christ. And the best good may be expected from God, as our Father, for the sake of Christ. We should pray, not only for ourselves, but for others also; remembering them without ceasing. Wherever there is a true faith, it will work; it will affect both the heart and life. Faith works by love; it shows itself in love to God, and love to our neighbour. And wherever there is a well-grounded hope of eternal life, this will appear by the exercise of patience; and it is a sign of sincerity, when in all we do, we seek to approve ourselves to God. By this we may know our election, if we not only speak of the things of God with out lips, but feel their power in our hearts, mortifying our lusts, weaning us from the world, and raising us up to heavenly things. Unless the Spirit of God comes with the word of God, it will be to us a dead letter. Thus they entertained it by the power of the Holy Ghost. They were fully convinced of the truth of it, so as not to be shaken in mind by objections and doubts; and they were willing to leave all for Christ, and to venture their souls and everlasting condition upon the truth of the gospel revelation.

When careless, ignorant, and immoral persons are turned from their carnal pursuits and connexions, to believe in and obey the Lord Jesus, to live soberly, righteously, and godly, the matter speaks for itself. The believers under the Old Testament waited for the coming of the Messiah, and believers now wait for his second coming. He is yet to come. And God had raised him from the dead, which is a full assurance unto all men that he will come to judgment. He came to purchase salvation, and will, when he comes again, bring salvation with him, full and final deliverance from that wrath which is yet to come. Let all, without delay, flee from the wrath to come, and seek refuge in Christ and his salvation.



The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle, and Gospel lessons are from The Holy Bible, King James Version (KJV).

Commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible.

The Daily Bible Readings are selected from the Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, a three-year cyclical lectionary. We are currently in Year B. Beginning with the first Sunday of Advent in 2021, we will be in Year C. The year which ended at Advent 2020 was Year A. These readings complement the Sunday and festival readings: Thursday through Saturday readings help prepare the reader for the Sunday ahead; Monday through Wednesday readings help the reader reflect and digest what they heard in worship. Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts. www.commontexts.org
The Daily Readings for Thursday, December 3, 2020
Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13; Hosea 6:1-6; 1 Thessalonians 1:2-10 (KJV)

Prayer of the Day for Thursday, December 3, 2020

 

Prayer of the Day
Thursday, December 3, 2020


And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.
Luke 1:76–79 (NIV)

Lord our God, we thank you that you let light shine out every day and every year. Thank you that we may always look to you, whose right hand will bring order into everything and set all things right, even  in difficult times. May our hearts receive strength to persevere and go on praising you, for you remain, no matter what happens on earth. You are our God, you have sent us the Savior, and we can draw close to you. You have made us the firm promise that your day is coming when truth and justice will arise on earth to the glory of your name. May the hearts of many people turn to you so that they worship you and call to you for help, to the glory of our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Verse of the Day for Thursday, December 3, 2020

 

Verse of the Day
Thursday, December 3, 2020


John 6:35
And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
The devil is capable of counterfeiting some of God’s miraculous works, and so blinds many people to the truth. This is why we must stay alert and not base our faith on miracles and sensational signs. Instead, we must believe God and obey Him, because then we will see “the outcome of [our] faith the salvation of [our] souls” (1 Pet. 1:9, NASB).

Read all of John 6

Listen to John 6


The Holy Bible, King James Version (KJV)

Standing Strong Through the Storm — WORSHIP FUNCTION OF THE CHURCH

 
WORSHIP FUNCTION OF THE CHURCH

“…Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”

All true believers recognize the privilege and responsibility to worship God. This worship begins when the Holy Spirit enters our being and grows and continues throughout our lifetime. Every believer should worship the Lord privately as well as gather together with other believers to worship whenever possible. We can worship the Lord because of who He is, because of what He has done in creation and redemption, and because of all that He has done for us individually.

Worship in Scripture seems to revolve around praising God. This is an act of the will not necessarily related to how a person “feels” or the immediate circumstances of life. In other words, we should praise the Lord even when things seem to be going wrong. This is an act of submission to His divine will and pleases the Lord (Psalm 67:3; Hebrews 13:15; Isaiah 12:1).

Worship is evidently a matter of attitude that may be expressed outwardly in prayer, various bodily positions (such as kneeling), singing, dancing, clapping, etc. Music plays a very important part in the heartfelt worship of most believers. The form of worship should reflect the believer’s cultural methods of showing adoration as long as it does not conflict with biblical guidelines.

Worship in the early church was simply an outpouring of thanksgiving from a heart that rejoiced in the Lord in complete disregard of circumstances. This type of worship cannot be stopped by anyone. A group of Christians in hostile surroundings can worship in this simple way without being limited to a certain building, a special time, or a prescribed program.

Worship is basically recognizing and declaring God’s glory, holiness and worth. An act of worship is an expression of this recognition. The New Testament writers seemed to assume that all people knew how to worship. They give us few examples of how the early Christians worshiped. Participation in the Lord’s Supper appears to have been their highest expression of worship. As they prayerfully remembered Jesus and His sacrificial death upon the cross for their sins, they were worshiping.

There are scriptural references to other times of worship, such as Peter’s prayer (Acts 4:23-28) and Paul and Silas’ experience in prison (Acts 16:23-25). Pastor Jack Hayford enjoys sharing the story about this as told by his favorite African-American preacher. Paul and Silas’ prison cell singing was heard all the way to the heavenly throne room of God. He began to tap his toe to the music. And since heaven is His throne and the earth is His footstool, that toe-tapping created an earthquake!!!

RESPONSE: Today, I desire every aspect of my life to declare God’s glory, holiness and worth.

PRAYER: Pray today for Christians in countries like North Korea who rarely have opportunity to express openly and publicly their worship of Almighty God.


Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.
All true believers recognize the privilege and responsibility to worship God.