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Thread: Our Daily Bread

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    Wednesday, October 11, 2017

    [The Lord says:] I have heard your prayer and seen your tears. Isaiah 38:5

    For five years, an ancient clay seal remained in a closet in Jerusalem’s Institute of Archaeology. After the seal was dug up at the foot of the southern part of Jerusalem’s old city wall, initial examination failed to establish the significance of the nearly 3,000-year-old object. But then a researcher carefully scrutinized the letters on the seal, resulting in a major discovery. The inscription, written in ancient Hebrew, reads: “Belonging to Hezekiah [son of] Ahaz king of Judah.”

    At the center of the seal is a two-winged sun surrounded by two images*symbolizing life. The archaeologists who discovered the seal believe that King Hezekiah began using this seal as a symbol of God’s protection after the Lord healed him from a life-threatening illness (Isa. 38:1–8). Hezekiah had been pleading with the Lord to heal him. And God heard his prayer. He also gave Hezekiah a sign that He would indeed do what He had promised, saying, “I will cause the sun’s shadow to move ten steps backward” (v. 8 nlt).

    Lord, help me to believe in Your power and love, and to seek Your help always.

    The facts related to this archeological artifact give us an encouraging reminder that the people in the Bible were learning, as we are, to call on the Lord who hears us when we cry out to Him for help. And even when His answers are not what we want or expect, we can rest assured that He is compassionate and He is powerful. The One who orders the movement of the sun can certainly move in our hearts.

    Dear God, You are great and powerful, yet You care for me. Help me to believe in Your power and love, and to seek Your help always.

    Call out to God; He is wanting to hear from you. By Poh Fang Chia | See Other Authors

    INSIGHT:Hezekiah, whose name means “whom Jehovah has strengthened,” was the son of Ahaz (2 Kings 18:1), one of the worst kings of ancient Judah. Hezekiah succeeded his father on the throne, reigning for twenty-nine years. Ignoring the disastrous example of his father, Hezekiah modeled himself after his great-grandfather, Uzziah. Hezekiah’s primary impact as king was in his role as a spiritual reformer. As part of this reform he destroyed the “bronze serpent” (see Num. 21:4–9). What was once a symbol of healing in Moses’s day had become an object of idolatrous worship. Hezekiah’s reign saw a season of spiritual renewal that had a profound impact on the kingdom (adapted from Easton’s Bible Dictionary).

    God honored Hezekiah’s faithfulness and compassionately answered his prayer for healing. How have you seen God respond when you’ve cried out to Him? *

    Bill Crowder
    Isaiah 38:1-8

    Hezekiah’s Illness

    38*In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, “This is what the Lord says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.”

    2*Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, 3*“Remember, Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

    4*Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah: 5*“Go and tell Hezekiah, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will add fifteen years to your life. 6*And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city.

    7*“‘This is the Lord’s sign to you that the Lord will do what he has promised: 8*I will make the shadow cast by the sun go back the ten steps it has gone down on the stairway of Ahaz.’” So the sunlight went back the ten steps it had gone down.

    Cross references:Isaiah 38:1 : 38:1-8pp — 2Ki 20:1-11; 2Ch 32:24-26 Isaiah 38:1 : S Isa 37:2 Isaiah 38:1 : 2Sa 17:23 Isaiah 38:1 : 2Ki 8:10 Isaiah 38:3 : Ps 26:3 Isaiah 38:3 : S 1Ki 8:61; S 1Ch 29:19 Isaiah 38:3 : S Dt 6:18; S 10:20 Isaiah 38:3 : Ps 6:8 Isaiah 38:4 : 1Sa 13:13; Isa 39:5 Isaiah 38:5 : 2Ki 18:3 Isaiah 38:5 : Ps 6:6 Isaiah 38:5 : S 2Ki 18:2 Isaiah 38:6 : S Isa 31:5 Isaiah 38:7 : S Ge 24:14; S 2Ch 32:31; Isa 7:11, 14; S 20:3 Isaiah 38:8 : Jos 10:13
    Humble yourself, for there is an enormous change coming.

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    Thursday, October 12, 2017

    Humble yourself, for there is an enormous change coming.

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    Thursday, October 12, 2017

    He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart. Isaiah 40:11

    I sat in the hospital room with my husband, waiting anxiously. Our young son was having corrective eye surgery and I felt the butterflies jostle in my stomach as I fretted and worried. I tried to pray, asking God to give me His peace. As I leafed through my Bible, I thought about Isaiah 40, so I turned to the familiar passage, wondering if anything fresh would strike me.

    As I read, I caught my breath, for the words from so many years ago reminded me that the Lord “tends his flock like a shepherd” as He “gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart” (v. 11). In that moment my anxiety left me as I realized the Lord was holding us, leading us, and caring for us. That was just what I needed, Lord, I breathed silently. I felt enveloped in God’s peace during and after the surgery (which thankfully went well).

    The Good Shepherd cares for His sheep.

    The Lord promised His people through the prophet Isaiah that He would be their shepherd, guiding them in their daily lives and giving them comfort. We too can know His gentle tending as we tell Him our anxious thoughts and seek His love and peace. We know that He is our Good Shepherd, holding us close to His heart and carrying us in His everlasting arms.

    Lord Jesus Christ, You are the Good Shepherd who lays down His life for His sheep. Thank You for the gift of Your sacrificial love and for the peace that passes all understanding.

    Read Oswald Chamber's thoughts on worry at*utmost.org/one-of-god’s-great-don’ts/.

    The Good Shepherd cares for His sheep. By Amy Boucher Pye | See Other Authors

    INSIGHT:Isaiah 40 starts a significant shift in the book of Isaiah, from grief and pronouncements of judgment for Israel’s sin, to a note of rock-solid comfort (v. 1), forgiveness, and healing—based entirely on God’s mercy and goodness. When the prophet wonders whether the people are too weak and fickle for this message, he is reminded that God’s restoration is not based on them, but only on God’s powerful word (v. 8).*

    In fact, Isaiah 40 is the first Old Testament text that explicitly articulates the theme of “good news” (v. 9) so important in the New Testament. This good news is that God’s powerful love in our lives does not depend on us. Despite our sin, we can always rely on our merciful God who will both tenderly care for us like a shepherd (v. 11) and, like a mighty warrior (v. 10), powerfully transform our lives.

    In order to trust God with our deepest struggles, why do we need Him to be both tender like a shepherd and powerful like a warrior?*

    Monica Brands
    Isaiah 40:6-11

    6*A voice says, “Cry out.”
    And I said, “What shall I cry?”

    “All people are like grass,
    and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field.
    7*The grass withers and the flowers fall,
    because the breath of the Lord blows on them.
    Surely the people are grass.
    8*The grass withers and the flowers fall,
    but the word of our God endures forever.”

    9*You who bring good news to Zion,
    go up on a high mountain.
    You who bring good news to Jerusalem,
    lift up your voice with a shout,
    lift it up, do not be afraid;
    say to the towns of Judah,
    “Here is your God!”
    10*See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power,
    and he rules with a mighty arm.
    See, his reward is with him,
    and his recompense accompanies him.
    11*He tends his flock like a shepherd:
    He gathers the lambs in his arms
    and carries them close to his heart;
    he gently leads those that have young.

    Footnotes:Isaiah 40:9 Or Zion, bringer of good news, / go up on a high mountain. / Jerusalem, bringer of good news

    Cross references:Isaiah 40:6 : S Ge 6:3; S Isa 29:5 Isaiah 40:7 : S Job 8:12; S Isa 15:6 Isaiah 40:7 : S Ex 15:10; S Job 41:21 Isaiah 40:7 : S Ps 103:16; S Eze 22:21 Isaiah 40:8 : S Isa 5:24; Jas 1:10 Isaiah 40:8 : Isa 55:11; 59:21 Isaiah 40:8 : S Pr 19:21; S Isa 7:7, 9; S Jer 39:16 Isaiah 40:8 : S Ps 119:89; S Mt 5:18; 1Pe 1:24-25* Isaiah 40:9 : Isa 41:27; 44:28; 52:7-10; 61:1; Na 1:15; S Ac 13:32; Ro 10:15; 1Co 15:1-4 Isaiah 40:9 : S Isa 1:1 Isaiah 40:9 : Isa 25:9 Isaiah 40:10 : Isa 35:4; 59:20; Mt 21:5; Rev 22:7 Isaiah 40:10 : Isa 28:2 Isaiah 40:10 : Isa 9:6-7 Isaiah 40:10 : S Ps 44:3; S Isa 30:30; S 33:2 Isaiah 40:10 : S Isa 35:4; Rev 22:12 Isaiah 40:11 : S Ge 48:15; S Ps 28:9; S Mic 5:4; S Jn 10:11 Isaiah 40:11 : S Nu 11:12 Isaiah 40:11 : S Dt 26:19 Isaiah 40:11 : Isa 49:10 Isaiah 40:11 : S Ge 33:13; S Dt 30:4
    Humble yourself, for there is an enormous change coming.

  4. #1244
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    Friday, October 13, 2017

    Jesus looked at him, and*said, . . . “You will*be called Cephas” (which,*when*translated, is Peter). John 1:42

    In the article “Leading by Naming,” Mark Labberton wrote about the power of a name. He said: “I can still feel the impact of a musical friend who one day called me ‘musical.’ No one had ever called me that. I didn’t really play an instrument. I was no soloist. Yet . . . I instantly felt known and loved. . . . [He] noticed, validated, and appreciated something deeply true about me.”

    Perhaps this is what Simon felt when Jesus renamed him. After Andrew was convinced that Jesus was the Messiah, he immediately found his brother Simon and brought him to Jesus (John 1:41–42). Jesus peered into his soul and validated and appreciated something deeply true about Simon. Yes, Jesus saw the failure and impetuous nature that would get him into trouble. But more than that He saw the potential of Simon to become a leader in the church. Jesus named him Cephas—Aramaic for Peter—a rock (John 1:42; see Matt. 16:18).

    Lord, help me to see others through Your eyes.

    And so it is with us. God sees our pride, anger, and lack of love for others, but He also knows who we are in Christ. He calls us justified and reconciled (Rom. 5:9–10); forgiven, holy, and beloved (Col. 2:13; 3:12); chosen and faithful (Rev. 17:14). Remember how God sees you and seek to let that define who you are.

    Lord, thank You for knowing me fully, yet loving me like no other. Help me to see others through Your eyes.

    No one can steal your identity in Christ. By Marvin Williams | See Other Authors

    INSIGHT:Renaming people was common in the Scriptures, for a name described something about the person. In Genesis 17:5–15 Abram is renamed Abraham. Abram, which means “exalted father,” became Abraham, “father of multitudes.” Abraham’s grandson Jacob, whose name means “heel-grabber” and “schemer,” was renamed Israel, “prince of God.” The despondent Naomi asked her neighbors to no longer call her Naomi (delightful), but Mara (bitterness) because of the hard life she had experienced (Ruth 1:20). In the New Testament, a Christ-follower named Joseph was called Barnabas by the apostles (Acts 4:36). Barnabas means “son of encouragement,” which perfectly captured this man’s interactions with other believers and with the church.**

    What name would describe you as a follower of Christ?

    Bill Crowder
    John 1:35-42

    John’s Disciples Follow Jesus

    35*The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36*When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”

    37*When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. 38*Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”

    They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”

    39*“Come,” he replied, “and you will see.”

    So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon.

    40*Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41*The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 42*And he brought him to Jesus.

    Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).

    Footnotes:John 1:42 Cephas (Aramaic) and Peter (Greek) both mean rock.

    Cross references:John 1:35 : 1:40-42pp — Mt 4:18-22; Mk 1:16-20; Lk 5:2-11 John 1:35 : S Mt 3:1 John 1:36 : S ver 29 John 1:38 : ver 49; S Mt 23:7 John 1:41 : Jn 4:25 John 1:42 : Ge 17:5, 15; 32:28; 35:10 John 1:42 : Mt 16:18
    Humble yourself, for there is an enormous change coming.

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    Saturday, October 14, 2017

    I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content. Psalm 131:2

    As I was nearing the end of lunch with my sister and her children one afternoon, my sister told my three-year-old niece, Annica, it was time to get ready for her nap. Her face filled with alarm. “But Aunt Monica did not hold me yet today!” she objected, tears filling her eyes. My sister smiled. “Okay, she may hold you first—how long do you need?” “Five minutes,” she replied.

    As I held my niece, I was grateful for how, without even trying, she constantly reminds me what it looks like to love and be loved. I think sometimes we forget that our faith journey is one of learning to experience love—God’s love—more fully than we can imagine (Eph. 3:18). When we lose that focus, we can find ourselves, like the older brother in Jesus’s parable of the prodigal son, trying desperately to win God’s approval while missing out on all He has already given us (Luke 15:25–32).

    Jesus, help us to be deeply rooted in Your love.

    Psalm 131 is one prayer in Scripture that can help us to “become like little children” (Matt. 18:3) and to let go of the battle in our mind over what we don’t understand (Ps. 131:1). Instead, through time with Him we can return to a place of peace (v. 2), finding the hope we need (v. 3) in His love—as calm and quiet as if we were children again in our mothers’ arms (v. 2).

    Lord, we are so grateful for those in our lives who remind us what it means to love and be loved. Help us to be ever more deeply rooted in Your love.

    Like children, we can learn to rest in the love of God. By Monica Brands | See Other Authors

    INSIGHT:Psalm 131, written by David, is one of fifteen “songs of ascents” (Pss.120–134). Pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem sang these songs to celebrate the annual feasts (Deut. 16:16). In this psalm, David acknowledged that there are some things about God that he just couldn’t understand (cf. Deut. 29:29; Job 42:3; Eccl. 11:5; Isa. 55:8–9; Rom. 11:33–34). But David chose not to be troubled by matters that properly belonged to God (Ps. 131:1). Instead, like a weaned, contented child enjoying the protection and provision of a mother (v.2), David simply trusted God with a childlike faith and quiet confidence. Psalm 131 is a prayer of humility (v. 1), contentment (v. 2), and hope (v. 3).

    How does reflecting on the character and love of God comfort you and allow you to rest in Him?*

    Sim Kay Tee
    Psalms 131

    Psalm 131A song of ascents. Of David.

    1*My heart is not proud, Lord,
    my eyes are not haughty;
    I do not concern myself with great matters
    or things too wonderful for me.
    2*But I have calmed and quieted myself,
    I am like a weaned child with its mother;
    like a weaned child I am content.

    3*Israel, put your hope in the Lord
    both now and forevermore.

    Cross references:Psalm 131:1 : Ps 101:5; Isa 2:12; Ro 12:16 Psalm 131:1 : S 2Sa 22:28; S Job 41:34 Psalm 131:1 : Jer 45:5 Psalm 131:1 : S Job 5:9; Ps 139:6 Psalm 131:2 : S Ps 116:7 Psalm 131:2 : Mt 18:3; 1Co 13:11; 14:20 Psalm 131:3 : S Ps 25:5; 119:43; 130:7 Psalm 131:3 : S Ps 113:2
    Humble yourself, for there is an enormous change coming.

  6. #1246
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    Sunday, October 15, 2017

    The highest heavens belong to the Lord, but the earth he has given to mankind. Psalm*115:16

    The “big browns” are spawning in the Owyhee River—brown trout beginning their fall nesting ritual. You can see them excavating their nests in the gravelly shallows.

    Wise fishermen know that fish are spawning and try not to disturb them. They avoid walking on gravel bars where they might trample the eggs, or wading upstream from the nests where they might dislodge debris that can smother them. And they don’t fish for these trout, though it’s tempting to do so as they rest near their nests.

    Care for creation honors the Creator.

    These precautions are part of an ethic that governs responsible fishing. But there is a deeper and a better cause.

    The Scriptures stress the fact that God has given us the earth (Gen. 1:28–30).*It is ours to use, but we must use it as those who love it.

    I muse on the work of God’s hands: a partridge calling across a canyon, a bull elk bugling up a fight, a herd of antelope far off in the distance, a brook trout and its kaleidoscopic rose moles, a mother otter playing in a stream with her pups—I love all these things, for they have been given to me for my delight, out of my Father’s great love.

    And what I love, I protect.

    Heavenly Father, You have put us here to enjoy and ponder Your marvelous creation. May everything You have made remind us of Your goodness, love, and care.

    Share one of your favorite photos of God's creation on Facebook.com/ourdailybread.

    Care for creation honors the Creator. By David H. Roper | See Other Authors

    INSIGHT:God gave specific instructions on how the Israelites should treat the land He had given them (Ex. 23:10–11; Lev. 25:1–7). Just as His people were commanded to rest every seventh day, “[their] land [was] to have a year of rest” (Lev. 25:5). “For six years you are to sow your fields and harvest the crops, but during the seventh year let the land lie unplowed and unused” (Ex. 23:10–11). Modern scientists have supported the practice of periodically letting land lay fallow, allowing the land’s nutrients to be replenished and productivity rejuvenated.

    Our wise Creator cares for those He created as well as the earth He has given us. How can we be better stewards of God’s creation?

    Sim Kay Tee
    Genesis 1:26-31

    26*Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

    27*So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.

    28*God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

    29*Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30*And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.

    31*God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

    Footnotes:Genesis 1:26 Probable reading of the original Hebrew text (see Syriac); Masoretic Text the earth

    Cross references:Genesis 1:26 : Ge 3:5, 22; 11:7; Ps 100:3; Isa 6:8 Genesis 1:26 : Isa 45:18 Genesis 1:26 : ver 27; Ge 5:3; 9:6; Ps 8:5; 82:6; 89:6; 1Co 11:7; 2Co 4:4; Col 1:15; 3:10; Jas 3:9 Genesis 1:26 : Ac 17:28-29 Genesis 1:26 : Ge 9:2; Ps 8:6-8 Genesis 1:26 : Ps 8:8 Genesis 1:27 : S ver 1 Genesis 1:27 : Ge 2:7; Ps 103:14; 119:73 Genesis 1:27 : S ver 26 enesis 1:27 : Ge 5:1 Genesis 1:27 : Ge 5:2; Mt 19:4*; Mk 10:6*; Gal 3:28 Genesis 1:27 : Dt 4:32 Genesis 1:28 : Ge 33:5; Jos 24:3; Ps 113:9; 127:3, 5 Genesis 1:28 : S Ge 17:6 Genesis 1:28 : S ver 22; Ge 6:1; Ac 17:26 Genesis 1:28 : ver 26; Ps 115:16 Genesis 1:28 : Ps 8:6-8 Genesis 1:29 : Ge 9:3; Dt 12:15; Ps 104:14; 1Ti 4:3 Genesis 1:30 : Ge 2:7; 7:22 Genesis 1:30 : Job 38:41; Ps 78:25; 104:14, 27; 111:5; 136:25; 145:15; 147:9 Genesis 1:31 : Ps 104:24; 136:5; Pr 3:19; Jer 10:12 Genesis 1:31 : S ver 4; 1Ti 4:4 Genesis 1:31 : S ver 5
    Humble yourself, for there is an enormous change coming.

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    Monday, October 16, 2017

    You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done. Genesis 50:20

    Jay Bufton turned his hospital room into a lighthouse.

    The fifty-two-year-old husband, father, high school teacher, and coach was dying of cancer, but his room—Room 5020—became a beacon of hope for friends, family, and hospital workers. Because of his joyful attitude and strong faith, nurses wanted to be assigned to Jay. Some even came to see him during off-hours.

    We can have confidence in our good and trustworthy God!

    Even as his once-athletic body was wasting away, he greeted anyone and everyone with a smile and encouragement. One friend said, “Every time I visited Jay he was upbeat, positive, and filled with hope. He was, even while looking cancer and death in the face, living out his faith.”

    At Jay’s funeral, one speaker noted that Room 5020 had a special meaning. He pointed to Genesis 50:20, in which Joseph says that although his brothers sold him into slavery, God turned the tables and accomplished something good: “the saving of many lives.” Cancer invaded Jay’s life, but by recognizing God’s hand at work Jay could say that “God intended*it for good.” That’s why Jay could use even the ravages of cancer as an open door to tell others about Jesus.

    What a legacy of unwavering trust in our Savior even as death was knocking at the door! What a testimony of confidence in our good and trustworthy God!

    Lord, difficult things come into our lives so often. Please help us to trust You enough to see that nothing is beyond Your control. Help us to tell of Your love even in the tough times.

    By God’s grace, we can have our best witness in the worst of times. By Dave Branon | See Other Authors

    INSIGHT:While Joseph’s story had a spectacularly happy ending, it did not come overnight. When Joseph became the primary character in the Genesis narrative, he was only seventeen years old (Gen. 37:2). After about ten years as a slave in the household of Potiphar (captain of the bodyguard, a high official in Pharaoh’s court), he had risen to a position of great trust, managing Potiphar’s household properties and affairs. However, after Potiphar’s wife falsely accused him, Joseph was imprisoned for two years (41:1). When he was set free and assigned the post of vice-chancellor of Egypt, he was thirty years old (41:46). But there were seven years of plenty followed by two years of famine (45:6) before he came face-to-face with his brothers. That means that from the time he was sold into slavery to the time of family reconciliation, twenty-two years had transpired!

    How does the story of Joseph help you to realize there is no circumstance beyond God’s control?

    For further reading see Joseph: Overcoming Life’s Challenges at discoveryseries.org/q0715.*

    Bill Crowder
    Genesis 50:15-50

    Joseph Reassures His Brothers

    15*When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?” 16*So they sent word to Joseph, saying, “Your father left these instructions before he died: 17*‘This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.’ Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.” When their message came to him, Joseph wept.

    18*His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. “We are your slaves,” they said.

    19*But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20*You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

    Cross references:Genesis 50:15 : S Ge 27:41 Genesis 50:15 : ver 17; S Ge 9:5; 37:28; Zep 3:11; 1Pe 3:9 Genesis 50:16 : Ge 49:29 Genesis 50:17 : S Mt 6:14 Genesis 50:17 : S ver 15 Genesis 50:17 : S Ge 28:13 Genesis 50:17 : S Ge 29:11 Genesis 50:18 : S Ge 37:7 Genesis 50:18 : S Ge 43:18 Genesis 50:19 : S Ge 30:2; S Ex 32:34; Ro 12:19; Heb 10:30 Genesis 50:20 : Ge 37:20 Genesis 50:20 : Isa 10:7; Mic 4:11-12 Genesis 50:20 : Ro 8:28 Genesis 50:20 : S Ge 45:5; Est 4:14
    Last edited by Old Ridge Runner; 10-16-2017 at 06:36 AM.
    Humble yourself, for there is an enormous change coming.

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    Tuesday, October 17, 2017

    Do not quench the Spirit. 1 Thessalonians 5:19

    On a visit to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, I saw a masterpiece called The Wind.*The painting showed a storm moving through a wooded area. Tall, thin trees leaned to the left. Bushes thrashed in the same direction.

    In an even more powerful sense, the Holy Spirit is able to sway believers in the direction of God’s goodness and truth. If we go along with the Spirit, we can expect to become more courageous and more loving. We will also become more discerning about how to handle our desires (2 Tim. 1:7).

    The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:24

    In some situations, however, the Spirit nudges us toward spiritual growth and change, but we respond with a “no.” Continually stonewalling this conviction is what Scripture calls “quench[ing] the Spirit” (1 Thess. 5:19). Over time, things we once considered wrong appear not to be quite as bad.

    When our relationship with God seems distant and disconnected, this may be because the Spirit’s conviction has been repeatedly brushed aside. The longer this goes on, the harder it is to see the root of the problem. Thankfully, we can pray and ask God to show us our sin. If we turn away from sin and recommit ourselves to Him, God will forgive us and revive the power and influence of His Spirit within us.

    God, show me how I have resisted Your Holy Spirit. Help me to listen when You speak. I want to be right with You again.

    Yielding to the Holy Spirit leads to right living. By Jennifer Benson Schuldt | See Other Authors

    INSIGHT:In Paul’s day, Thessalonica was the largest city of Macedonia with as many as 200,000 people (mainly Greeks). The city had a thriving seaport and was located on the Egnatian Way, a famous trade route built by the Romans. Paul and Silas visited this city on Paul’s second missionary journey, and while there Paul preached in its synagogues for three Sabbaths (Acts 17:1–3). During their visit, some Jews plus “a large number of God-fearing Greeks” and many prominent women were persuaded to follow Jesus (v. 4). But Paul’s stay was cut short when some jealous Jews formed a mob and started a riot (vv. 5–9). As soon as he could, Paul sent Timothy to the young church to encourage and strengthen the new believers in their faith (1 Thess. 3:1–5). Timothy returned to Paul with good news: the people were standing firm despite persecution (vv. 6–8). In response, Paul wrote First Thessalonians from Corinth to further encourage the church. His warning to not “quench the Spirit” appears in a list of final instructions he gave the Thessalonians (5:19).*

    Is there an area of your life where you’ve been resisting the “nudge” of the Holy Spirit?

    Alyson Kieda
    1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

    16*Rejoice always, 17*pray continually, 18*give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

    19*Do not quench the Spirit. 20*Do not treat prophecies with contempt 21*but test them all; hold on to what is good, 22*reject every kind of evil.

    23*May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24*The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.

    Cross references:1 Thessalonians 5:16 : Php 4:4 1 Thessalonians 5:17 : S Lk 18:1 1 Thessalonians 5:18 : S Eph 5:20 1 Thessalonians 5:19 : Eph 4:30 1 Thessalonians 5:20 : 1Co 14:1-40 1 Thessalonians 5:21 : 1Co 14:29; 1Jn 4:1 1 Thessalonians 5:21 : Ro 12:9 1 Thessalonians 5:23 : S Ro 15:33 1 Thessalonians 5:23 : Heb 4:12 1 Thessalonians 5:23 : S 1Th 3:13 1 Thessalonians 5:23 : S 1Th 2:19 1 Thessalonians 5:24 : S Ro 8:28 1 Thessalonians 5:24 : S 1Co 1:9 1 Thessalonians 5:24 : Nu 23:19; Php 1:6
    Humble yourself, for there is an enormous change coming.

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    Wednesday, October 18, 2017

    He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities. Isaiah 53:5

    After centuries of war and destruction, the modern city of Jerusalem is literally built on its own rubble. During a family visit, we walked the Via Dolorosa (the Way of Sorrow), the route tradition says Jesus followed on His way to the cross. The day was hot, so we paused for a rest and descended to the cool basement of the Convent of the Sisters of Zion. There I was intrigued by the sight of ancient pavement stones unearthed during recent construction—stones etched with games played by Roman soldiers during their idle moments.

    Those particular stones, even though likely from a period later than Jesus, caused me to ponder my spiritual life at the time. Like a bored soldier passing time in idle moments, I had become complacent and uncaring toward God and others. I was deeply moved by remembering that near the place I was standing, the Lord was beaten, mocked, insulted, and abused as He took all of my failure and rebellion on Himself.

    Our sin is great—God’s grace is greater.

    “He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed” (Isa. 53:5).

    My encounter with the stones still speaks to me of Jesus’s loving grace that is greater than all my sin.

    Lord Jesus, through Your great sacrifice for us, we find forgiveness, healing, and hope. Thank You that we live today and forever in Your love.

    Our sin is great—God’s grace is greater. By David C. McCasland | See Other Authors

    INSIGHT:In their context, few Old Testament prophecies of Jesus look like clear predictions. For the most part, it is only by reading backward that we can see how Jesus brought fullness of meaning to words that were mysterious in their own time. Yet when read in light of Jesus, these words can now be life-changing.

    Isaiah’s prophecy of the Suffering Servant is an example of this. Many in Israel believed it was their own persecuted nation that was bearing the sins of the world. Only by looking back can people like us realize that “we” were the ones who unwittingly demanded the death of our own God and Savior (Zech. 12:10–14).

    As hard as it is to admit, this is the kind of grief that is for our good and comfort. This is how we can read words that were once so mysterious and see how much our God loves us.*

    Mart DeHaan
    Isaiah 53:1-6

    53*Who has believed our message
    and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
    2*He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
    and like a root out of dry ground.
    He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
    nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
    3*He was despised and rejected by mankind,
    a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
    Like one from whom people hide their faces
    he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

    4*Surely he took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
    yet we considered him punished by God,
    stricken by him, and afflicted.
    5*But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
    the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.
    6*We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
    each of us has turned to our own way;
    and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.

    Cross references:Isaiah 53:1 : S Isa 28:9; Ro 10:16* Isaiah 53:1 : S Ps 98:1; S Isa 30:30 Isaiah 53:1 : Jn 12:38* Isaiah 53:2 : S 2Ki 19:26; S Job 14:7; S Isa 4:2 Isaiah 53:2 : S Isa 11:10 Isaiah 53:2 : Isa 52:14 Isaiah 53:3 : Ps 69:29 Isaiah 53:3 : ver 4, 10; S Ex 1:10; S Mt 16:21; Lk 18:31-33; Heb 5:8 Isaiah 53:3 : S Dt 31:17; Isa 1:15 Isaiah 53:3 : S 1Sa 2:30; S Ps 22:6; Mt 27:29; Jn 1:10-11 Isaiah 53:4 : Mt 8:17* Isaiah 53:4 : S Dt 5:24; S Job 4:5; Jer 23:5-6; 25:34; Eze 34:23-24; Mic 5:2-4; Zec 13:7; Jn 19:7 Isaiah 53:4 : S ver 3; S Ge 12:17; S Ru 1:21 Isaiah 53:5 : S Ps 22:16 Isaiah 53:5 : S Ex 28:38; S Ps 39:8; S Jn 3:17; Ro 4:25; 1Co 15:3; Heb 9:28 Isaiah 53:5 : Ps 34:18 Isaiah 53:5 : S Isa 50:6 Isaiah 53:5 : S Isa 9:6; Ro 5:1 Isaiah 53:5 : Isa 1:6; Mt 27:26; Jn 19:1 Isaiah 53:5 : S Dt 32:39; S 2Ch 7:14; 1Pe 2:24-25 Isaiah 53:6 : S Ps 95:10; 1Pe 2:24-25 Isaiah 53:6 : S 1Sa 8:3; Isa 56:11; 57:17; Mic 3:5 Isaiah 53:6 : ver 12; S Ex 28:38; Ro 4:25
    Humble yourself, for there is an enormous change coming.

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    Thursday, October 19, 2017

    Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Galatians 5:25

    The loud crackling noise startled me. Recognizing the sound, I raced to the kitchen. I’d accidently tapped the start button on the empty coffee maker. Unplugging the appliance, I grabbed the handle of the carafe. Then I touched the bottom of the container to ensure it wasn’t too hot to place on the tile counter. The smooth surface burned my fingertips, blistering my tender skin.

    As my husband nursed my wound, I shook my head. I knew the glass would be hot. “I honestly do not know why I touched it,” I said.

    The Holy Spirit transforms us through His love and by His grace.

    My response after making such a mistake reminded me of Paul’s reaction to a more serious issue in Scripture—the nature of sin.

    The apostle admits to not knowing why he does things he knows he shouldn’t do and doesn’t want to do (Rom. 7:15). Affirming that Scripture determines right and wrong (v. 7), he acknowledges the real, complex war constantly waging between the flesh and the spirit in the struggle against sin (vv. 15–23). Confessing his own weaknesses, he offers hope for victory now and forever (vv. 24–25).

    When we surrender our lives to Christ, He gives us His Holy Spirit who empowers us to choose to do right (8:8–10). As He enables us to obey God’s Word, we can avoid the searing sin that separates us from the abundant life God promises those who love Him.

    Lord, thanks for breaking the chains that used to bind us to a life controlled by our sinful nature.

    The Holy Spirit transforms us through His love and by His grace. By Xochitl Dixon | See Other Authors

    INSIGHT:In Romans 7 the apostle Paul laments that sinful tendencies within us sometimes win out over righteous impulses. In what ways can we yield to the Holy Spirit’s power to experience more righteous living? *

    For further reading see ourdailyjourney.org/spirits-wind.

    Dennis Fisher
    Romans 7:14-25

    14*We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15*I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16*And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17*As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18*For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19*For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20*Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

    21*So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22*For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23*but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24*What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25*Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

    So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.

    Footnotes:Romans 7:18 Or my flesh Romans 7:25 Or in the flesh

    Cross references:Romans 7:14 : 1Co 3:1 Romans 7:14 : 1Ki 21:20, 25; 2Ki 17:17 Romans 7:14 : S Ro 6:16 Romans 7:15 : ver 19; Gal 5:17 Romans 7:16 : S ver 12 Romans 7:17 : ver 20 Romans 7:18 : ver 25; S Gal 5:24 Romans 7:19 : ver 15 Romans 7:20 : ver 17 Romans 7:21 : ver 23, 25 Romans 7:22 : Eph 3:16 Romans 7:22 : Ps 1:2; 40:8 Romans 7:23 : Gal 5:17; Jas 4:1; 1Pe 2:11 Romans 7:23 : S Ro 6:16 Romans 7:24 : Ro 6:6; 8:2 Romans 7:25 : S 2Co 2:14 Romans 7:25 : S Ro 6:22 Romans 7:25 : S Ro 6:16
    Humble yourself, for there is an enormous change coming.

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