Truth For Life



Truth For Life Daily Devotional

A daily devotional from "Morning and Evening," written by C.H. Spurgeon and updated and revised by Alistair Begg.

Habakkuk 3:6

What God has done on one occasion, He will do again. Man's ways are variable, but God's ways are everlasting. There are many reasons for this most comforting truth.

Among them are the following: The Lord's ways are the result of wise deliberation; He orders everything according to the counsel of His own will. Human action is frequently the hasty result of passion or fear and is followed by regret and change; but nothing can take the Almighty by surprise or happen contrary to what He has foreseen.

His ways are the outgrowth of an unchanging character, and in them the fixed and settled attributes of God are clearly seen. Unless the Eternal One Himself can undergo change, His ways, which are Himself in action, must remain forever the same. Is He eternally just, gracious, faithful, wise, tender? Then His ways must always be distinguished by the same excellences. Beings act according to their nature: When those natures change, their conduct also varies. But since God cannot know the shadow of turning, His ways will remain everlastingly the same.

Furthermore there is no external reason that could reverse the divine ways, since they are the embodiment of irresistible might. The prophet tells us that the earth is split with rivers, mountains tremble, the sea lifts up its hands, and the sun and moon stand still when Jehovah marches out for the salvation of His people.

Who can prevent Him or say to Him, "What are You doing?" But it is not only might that gives stability; God's ways are the manifestation of the eternal principles of right and therefore can never pass away. Wrong breeds decay and involves ruin, but the true and the good are marked by a vitality that time cannot diminish.

This morning let us go to our heavenly Father with confidence, remembering that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in Him the Lord is always gracious to His people.

Devotional material is taken from “Morning and Evening,” written by C.H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg. Copyright (c) 2003, Good News Publishers and used by Truth For Life with written permission. Today’s Bible Reading material is taken from McCheyne Bible reading plan and used by Truth For Life with permission. Scripture quotations are taken from Holy Bible: English Standard Version, copyright (c) 2001, Good News Publishers.

Posted: December 12, 2017, 11:00 am

This article originally appeared here at Truth For Life.

Drawing Near



GTY: Drawing Near Daily Devotional

Drawing Near offers you 365 days'' worth of practical, verse-by-verse nuggets of truth from Scripture. This devotional is designed to strengthen your overall understanding of the Bible and provide spiritual nourishment you can apply to day-to-day living.

"He has inherited a more excellent name than they. For to which of the angels did He ever say, 'Thou art My Son, today I have begotten Thee'? And again, 'I will be a Father to Him, and He shall be a Son to Me'?" (Heb. 1:4-5).

Jesus is better than the angels because Christ was more than a messenger—He was a Son.

In our culture, the names we pick for our children don't have much connection with the child's character. But in the Bible, God chose specific names that related to some character quality of the individuals who bore them.

The writer of Hebrews was well aware of that when He asked this rhetorical question: "To which of the angels did [God] ever say, 'Thou art My Son, today I have begotten Thee'? and again, 'I will be a Father to Him, and He shall be a Son to Me'?" quoting Psalm 2:7 and 2 Samuel 7:14. Of course, the answer is no angel.

The title Son refers to Jesus Christ in His incarnation. Though His sonship was anticipated in the Old Testament (Prov. 30:4), He did not become a Son until He was begotten into time. Prior to that He was eternal God with God. Presenting Jesus as the Son is God's analogy to help us understand the relationship between the First and Second Persons of the Trinity.

Christ became a Son in two different ways. First, He was not a Son until He came into the world through the virgin birth (Luke 1:35; 3:22). But second, His sonship came to full bloom in His resurrection (Rom. 1:3-4).

The Old Testament prophesied that Christ would come as a Son. In the New Testament He came as a Son in His virgin birth and was declared to be the Son by His resurrection from the dead. Don't ever get trapped into the heresy of those who claim that Jesus Christ is eternally subservient to God. For a temporary period of time, He set aside what was rightfully His and humbled Himself to become a Son for our sakes.

Suggestion for Prayer

  • Thank God for His amazing plan to redeem man through the incarnation of the Second Person of the Trinity.
  • Praise Him that He became Man to redeem you.

For Further Study

Read Acts 13:33 and Romans 1:3-4 noting the reason that Christ can be considered God's Son.



From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.

Additional Resources
Posted: December 12, 2017, 8:00 am

This article originally appeared here at Grace to You.

Daily Bible



GTY: The MacArthur Daily Bible

This unique resource takes a portion of the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs for each day of the year, with background notes and explanations from John MacArthur to help guide and inform you.

Reading for Today:

  • Joel 1:1–3:21
  • Psalm 140:6-13
  • Proverbs 29:24
  • Revelation 2:1-29

Notes:

Joel 1:2 Hear…give ear. The gravity of the situation demanded the undivided focus of their senses, emphasizing the need to make a conscious, purposeful decision in the matter. The terminology was commonly used in “lawsuit” passages (Is. 1:2; Hos. 4:1), intimating that Israel was found guilty and that the present judgment was her “sentence.” elders…all you inhabitants. The former term refers to the civil and religious leaders, who, in light of their position, were exhorted to lead by example the entire population toward repentance.

Joel 2:28 afterward. The abundance of material blessings would be followed by the outpouring of spiritual blessings. When coupled with the other temporal phrases within the passage (“in those days” [v. 29] and “before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD” [v. 31]), the term points to a Second Advent fulfillment time frame. all flesh. Since the context is “your sons and your daughters,” “all flesh” best refers to the house of Israel only. The nations are the recipients of God’s wrath, not the effusion of His Spirit (3:2, 9ff.).

Revelation 2:4 left your first love. To be a Christian is to love the Lord Jesus Christ (John 14:21, 23; 1 Cor. 16:22). But the Ephesians’ passion and fervor for Christ had become cold, mechanical orthodoxy. Their doctrinal and moral purity, their undiminished zeal for the truth, and their disciplined service were no substitute for the love for Christ they had forsaken.

Revelation 2:8 Smyrna. Smyrna means “myrrh,” the substance used for perfume and often for anointing a dead body for aromatic purposes. Called the crown of Asia, this ancient city (modern Izmir, Turkey) was the most beautiful in Asia Minor and a center of science and medicine. Always on the winner’s side in the Roman wars, Smyrna’s intense loyalty to Rome resulted in a strong emperor-worship cult. Fifty years after John’s death, Polycarp, the pastor of the church in Smyrna, was burned alive at the age of 86 for refusing to worship Caesar. A large Jewish community in the city also proved hostile to the early church.

Revelation 2:13 where Satan’s throne is. The headquarters of satanic opposition and a Gentile base for false religions. On the acropolis in Pergamos was a huge, throne-shaped altar to Zeus. In addition, Asklepios, the god of healing, was the god most associated with Pergamos. His snakelike form is still the medical symbol today. The famous medical school connected to his temple mingled medicine with superstition. One prescription called for the worshiper to sleep on the temple floor, allowing snakes to crawl over his body and infuse him with their healing power.

Revelation 2:24 the depths of Satan. This unbelievable libertinism and license was the fruit of prognostic teaching that one was free to engage and explore the sphere of Satan and participate in evil with the body without harming the spirit.


DAY 12: Who was the prophet Joel, and what was he writing about?

The author identified himself only as “Joel the son of Pethuel” (1:1).The prophecy provides little else about the man. Even the name of his father is not mentioned elsewhere in the Old Testament. Although he displayed a profound zeal for the temple sacrifices (1:9; 2:13–16), his familiarity with pastoral and agricultural life and his separation from the priests (1:13, 14; 2:17) suggest he was not a Levite. Extra-biblical tradition records that he was from the tribe of Reuben, from the town of Bethom or Bethharam, located northeast of the Dead Sea on the border of Reuben and Gad. The context of the prophecy, however, hints that he was a Judean from the Jerusalem vicinity, since the tone of a stranger is absent.

The theme of Joel is the Day of the Lord. It permeates all parts of Joel’s message, making it the most sustained treatment in the entire Old Testament (1:15; 3:14).The phrase is employed 19 times by 8 different Old Testament authors (Is. 2:12; 13:6, 9; Ezek. 13:5; 30:3; Joel 1:15; 2:1, 11, 31; 3:14; Amos 5:18 [2x],20; Obad. 15; Zeph. 1:7, 14 [2x]; Zech. 14:1; Mal. 4:5). The phrase does not have reference to a chronological time period, but to a general period of wrath and judgment uniquely belonging to the Lord. It is exclusively the day which unveils His character—mighty, powerful, and holy, thus terrifying His enemies. The Day of the Lord does not always refer to an eschatological event; on occasion it has a near historical fulfillment, as seen in Ezekiel 13:5, where it speaks of the Babylonian conquest and destruction of Jerusalem. As is common in prophecy, the near fulfillment is a historic event upon which to comprehend the more distant, eschatological fulfillment.



From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, www.thomasnelson.com.

Additional Resources
Posted: December 12, 2017, 8:00 am

This article originally appeared here at Grace to You.

Strength For Today



GTY: Strength For Today Daily Devotional

This devotional helps you build a healthy study habit that can change your life. Each reading includes the day's date, discussion of a crucial issue, and suggestions for prayer and suggestions for prayer and further study.

“Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11).

God will exalt the humble.

Having plumbed the depths of Christ’s humiliation (Phil. 2:5-8), Paul now soars to the heights of His exaltation (vv. 9-11). Like Paul, the apostle Peter affirmed that the great theme of Old Testament prophecy was the sufferings of Christ and the glory to follow (1 Peter 1:11). Regarding Christ, the writer of Hebrews says that “for the joy set before Him [He] endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:2). Christ understood His sufferings in light of His exaltation.

Paul’s purpose in Philippians 2 was not simply to detail the humiliation and exaltation of Christ but to use those truths as a practical illustration. He was calling for unity produced by humility (vv. 2-4), with Christ as the preeminent example of humility (vv. 5-11). But beyond the humiliation of Christ, Paul also affirms that He was exalted. The implication is that when we willingly humble ourselves as Christ did, God will lift us up. As James 4:10 says, “Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.”

It is true that the man who humbles himself is the one whom God exalts, and the man who exalts himself is the one whom God will humiliate. In the divine economy, it is by giving that one receives, by serving that one is served, by losing one’s life that one finds life, and by dying to self that one lives. These principles follow one another as surely as night follows day.

Like Christ, you will be exalted in Heaven one day. Meditate on that truth, and be encouraged by it as you go through your earthly trials.

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank the Lord for the exaltation that awaits you in Heaven.

For Further Study

Read the following verses: Matthew 23:12; Luke 14:11; 18:14; 1 Peter 5:6. What principle do they all teach?



From Strength for Today by John MacArthur Copyright © 1997. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.

Additional Resources
Posted: December 12, 2017, 8:00 am

This article originally appeared here at Grace to You.

Daily Readings



GTY: Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 1

This devotional focuses on the life of Christ. Many years of careful study provide rich insights to help you ponder Jesus' life and contemplate its meaning. This is the perfect supplement to a daily intake of God's Word.

“‘And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful’” (Matthew 13:22).

Few things obstruct the gospel’s reception in someone’s heart more than the general love of the world and wealth. Note these warnings:

For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (1 Tim. 6:10)

Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. (1 John 2:15–16)

The worldly hearer in this parable is oblivious to the deception of money and its inability to give lasting satisfaction. He or she doesn’t notice how worldliness—the worshipful priority of money, possessions, career, and other temporary affairs—can smother the Word. Such a reality shows that the individual has a heart full of sinful weeds that cannot coexist for long with the Word of God. If faith is genuine, it will forsake the world; otherwise, sin will choke out the Word.

Christ’s cleansing is thorough in true conversion. Salvation removes sin’s weeds from the heart and prepares it to receive the seed of the Word. Genuine believers will continually confess sin and allow the Lord to be “faithful and righteous to forgive” (1 John 1:9), freeing them from sin’s domination.

Ask Yourself

Does this mean money is a bad thing? Should it be avoided by people who bear the name of Christ? How would you define a proper, biblical perspective on wealth and possessions?



From Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 1, John MacArthur. Copyright © 2008. Used by permission of Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL 60610, www.moodypublishers.com.

Additional Resources
Posted: December 12, 2017, 8:00 am

This article originally appeared here at Grace to You.