Daily Light on the Daily Path – January 21

  • 2020Jan 21
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January 21
MORNING

Every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it.

He is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: and he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in right-eousness.

We glory in tribulations: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. – If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons, for what son is he whom the Father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees.

JOHN 15:2. Mal. 3:2,3. Rom. 5:3 5. -Heb. 12:7,8,11,12.

EVENING

Now we call the proud happy.

Thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud. – Blessed are the poor in spirit for their’s is the kingdom of heaven.

These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: a proud look, … . – Every one that is proud of heart is an abomination to the LORD.

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God upon every remembrance of you. – Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

MAL. 3:15. Isa. 57:15. Prov. 16:19. Matt. 5:3. Prov. 6:16,17. Prov. 16:5. Psa. 139:23,24. Phi. 1:2,3. Matt. 5:5.


You Don’t Need a Degree to Read (and Understand) the Bible – Your Daily Bible Verse – January 21

You Don’t Need a Degree to Read (and Understand) the Bible
By Matthew S. Harmon

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”  – 2 Tim. 3:16-17

Anyone Can Study the Bible

Sometimes I think we make studying the Bible more complicated than it has to be.

There’s a place for in-depth study and using all these remarkable resources that are available to us. But, at the end of the day, the goal is to encounter the living God.

And so as we learn to ask some basic questions of any passage, you don’t need to be a biblical scholar, you don’t need to have had advanced coursework, you don’t even need to have been a Christian for very long. All you need is to be able to ask questions: What do we learn about God? What do we learn about people? How should I relate to God? How should I relate to others?

As we ask some of those very basic, simple questions, I believe the text starts to open up. Sometimes it actually raises even more questions. But oftentimes it quickly reveals things about God and about ourselves.

We realize that we can really benefit from reading, and it doesn’t take complicated methods or techniques. It simply requires asking the right kinds of questions to point us in the right direction to relate to God and to be transformed by who God is and what he’s doing in the pages of Scripture—realizing that he wants to do similar, transformative things in our own lives.

You Don’t Need a Degree to Read the Bible from Crossway on Vimeo.

Matthew S. Harmon (PhD, Wheaton College) is professor of New Testament studies at Grace College and Theological Seminary in Winona Lake, Indiana. He was previously on staff with Cru for eight years and is the author of several books. Matthew and his wife, Kate, live in Warsaw, Indiana, and have two sons.

Editor’s Note: This post is adapted from “Asking the Right Questions” by Matthew S. Harmon. It originally appeared on Crossway.org; used with permission. All rights reserved.

After Death – Abiding Above – January 21

After Death

January 21

Have you ever asked yourself, “What happens after a person dies?” Well the Bible teaches that every person will live forever in one of two places: Heaven or hell. Where a person spends eternity depends on his relationship with Jesus Christ.

The Bible says in John 3:36 – “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

My friend, God’s Word teaches that unbelievers will exist forever in a condition of ruin and separation from God. This is what the Bible calls hell. Hell was not created for people, but for Satan and his fallen angels. However, those who reject Jesus Christ and follow Satan will have to go to be forever with him some day. There is no love in hell, no peace, no light, no friendship, no forgiveness, no Savior, and no hope. It is a place of “wailing and gnashing of teeth” according to Matthew 13:42.

The Bible tells us that God is love and that He gave His Son to die for our sins. When a Christian dies, the body is laid in the grave, but the person – soul and spirit – goes immediately to be with the Lord. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:8 – “to be absent from the body” is to be “present with the Lord.”

For a believer, death is simply the door into the next world. And that world is filled up with a person: the Lord Jesus Christ. When we die, we do not go into a region of darkness at all. We go into a place called heaven where Jesus Christ is supreme. He is Lord of all!

My friend, will you put your trust today where God has put your sin, on Jesus, and ask Him to come into your heart and give you a home in heaven?

For more resources from Above & Beyond Fellowship, visit www.abidingabove.org.

A Wisdom Retreat – January 21

Take a Good Look!

James 1:23-24

For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was.

J. B. Phillips was a British scholar who paraphrased the New Testament. Because of his nationality, he occasionally threw new light on a passage through his use of the British explanation of terms.

One example is found in his interpretation of Romans 3:20. In England, what Americans call a ruler was known as a straightedge; when Phillips paraphrased the passage “For through the Law comes the knowledge of sin,” he wrote, “Indeed it is the straightedge of the Law that shows us how crooked we are.”

I can show you crooked . . . have you ever tried to hang striped wallpaper? You know very well that it’s only when you come to a corner, a door, or a window that you suddenly realize how crooked the wallpaper is. Stay away from stripes—they will wreck your marriage!

The straightedge for unbelievers is the Law, for by it, Paul says in Romans, they are condemned. But the straightedge for believers is the Word of God.

In His Word, God reveals to us how we should live and what He desires of us in our homes, our churches, our schools; on the ball field and golf course; at work and play. The Bible is the ruler by which a Christian measures his life, and the rule by which we should live.

This is what God’s Word does for us. It not only shows us when we’re doing things all wrong, but it also encourages us in knowing how to make the corrections.

In light of this, James describes God’s Word as a mirror. While a mirror can, with absolute precision, reveal the dirt on your face, it can’t wash it off. It can show that you need to shave your stubble, comb your hair, or brush your teeth, but it can’t shave, comb, or brush anything. You have to do that.

As foolish as it would be for a man to look in the mirror and then forget what he looked like, so it would be for you and me to look into God’s Word and forget what it says. The truth is, our response to the Bible is a good indication of the condition of our heart. Are you looking at yourself in the mirror of God’s Word? Are you praying that God will change you into His image?

Don’t be discouraged. We are all works in progress . . . just keep changing. Being a doer of the Word is evidence of true conformity; behaving in the manner of true believers is evidence of growth in Christ.  Look again . . . you can become the mirror-image of our Savior.

Prayer Point: Ask the Lord to help you respond immediately to whatever His Spirit has challenged you to be as you’ve read this page. What needs brushing up? What needs cleaning up? Don’t walk away—don’t wait another moment.

Extra Refreshment: Read several sections of Psalms 119 and notice how the Word of God impacts the way we think, feel, and respond.

Am I a Hypocrite? 5 Ways to Fight Hypocrisy in Your Life

A few months ago, I told a young lady who is training to be a minister at my church that she needed to start reaching out to the women within our ministry. I felt like a hypocrite saying this, because I also struggle to reach out to people I don’t know. In fact, I hesitated two weeks to give her those instructions because I didn’t want to tell her to do something that I didn’t always do. I didn’t want to be a hypocrite.

What is a Hypocrite?

A hypocrite is an actor, a pretender. A hypocrite wants honor and attention. A hypocrite will tell you what to do but can’t take her own advice. Jesus spoke a lot in the Bible about hypocrites, warning his listeners against doing and saying things just to be seen by people. Christian hypocrites can quote the Bible, but won’t live according to Biblical principles.

I don’t want to be a hypocrite, and I’m sure no one who truly loves the Lord wants to be one either. And we don’t have to be. We can live this Christian life as repentant hypocrites. Indeed, we can strive each day to walk in sincerity, truth, and purity.

Jesus doesn’t want us to be ignorant. He has provided instructions to us in the Bible to help us fight hypocrisy in our own lives. Below are five ways Christian women can fight hypocrisy in their own lives.

1. Do Your Good Works in Secret

“So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.” (Matthew 6:2).

Jesus teaches valuable lessons about fighting hypocrisy in our own lives in Matthew 6:2-16:

  • Jesus admonishes us in Matthew 6:2 not to bring attention to ourselves when we give to the poor.
  • He states in Matthew 6:5 not to pray to be seen by men.
  • He also teaches us not to fast to be seen by people (see Matthew 6:16).

Whenever we perform good deeds, we should ensure we aren’t doing them simply to be seen and honored by people. We don’t have to let everyone know we gave to the poor. We don’t have to pray loudly to attract attention. Nor should we make a spectacle out of fasting.

Unfortunately, it’s human nature to want acknowledgment, accolades, and attention from people. If we’re performing good deeds with the wrong intentions, we needn’t expect a further reward from God. The accolades we receive will be our reward.

Indeed, Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:3-4 not to let our left hand know what the right hand is doing. In other words, we should perform our good deeds in secret. When we perform good deeds in secret, God will bless us. And any blessing from God is better than accolades from man.

2. Be Slow to Judge Others

“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you…You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eyes.” (Matthew 7:1-2, 5).

Hypocrites judge and criticize others. They are quick to point out others’ faults and flaws instead of focusing on their own. Furthermore, hypocrites will emphasize your sins and condemn you while making excuses for, or ignoring their own. An example of this is someone who condemns homosexuals to hell while ignoring their own fornication, adultery, or other sins.

Christian women who love the Lord should refrain from judging others. We need to remember we aren’t God and, many times, are unable to judge with righteous judgment. Instead of judging others, we should ask the Lord to show us ourselves and to help us be transformed by the renewing of our minds (see Romans 12:2). Then and only then will see others clearly to help them.

3. Be Quick to Extend Mercy

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy, and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.”(Matthew 23:23)

Hypocrites’ adherence to rules and regulations can cause them to neglect extending justice, mercy, and faithfulness to others. When the scribes and Pharisees brought a woman who’d been caught in adultery to Jesus, they fully expected him to punish her according to the law of Moses. Instead, Jesus challenged their hearts, saying, “…he who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7).

To safeguard against highlighting other peoples’ sins, Christian women should look for opportunities to extend mercy as well as justice and faithfulness. When we encounter someone caught in a sin, we should pray for them, extending mercy to them remembering, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” (Matthew 5:7).

4. Work on Inward Sanctification More than Outward Appearances

“You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also.” (Matthew 23:26).

Hypocrites are more concerned with their outward appearance than they are with the true condition of their hearts. Remember, hypocrites seek to look good in front of people. They want to keep up appearances because their hearts are wicked.

Christian women should be more concerned with the condition of their hearts and spirits. We want to walk in holiness and godliness. Christian women should be led by God’s Spirit so that we can always display the fruit of the Spirit. We should seek to please God instead of trying to please people.

5. Love Sincerely

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. (Romans 12:9).

As we’ve been discussing, hypocrites are more concerned with appearances than they are with sincerity and truth. Hypocrites will claim to love someone when they don’t because their love comes with ulterior motives. Hypocrites will appear to love others only to obtain favors and promotions.

Christian women who desire to fight hypocrisy in their own lives will guard against dissimulation. Instead, they want to love sincerely, purely. Christian women will desire to love others the way Christ loves us: unconditionally. When we love others from a pure heart the way Christ loves us, we will operate according to 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.

Why It’s So Important to Fight against Hypocrisy

Hypocrisy is evil and wicked in God’s sight. Thus, Christian women should be vigilant to guard against it in our lives. We want to walk uprightly before the Lord and in sincerity and truth amongst His people. When the Spirit of God leads us, and we seek only to please Him, we guard ourselves against hypocrisy. There’s enough counterfeit in the world today. There are enough actors and pretenders in the church. Let’s commit to walking without hypocrisy before the Lord.

A Prayer against Hypocrisy:

Father, we come to you in prayer, asking you to forgive us of any hypocrisy we have shown in our Christian walks. Deliver us from any desire to be seen. Deliver us from needing acceptance, approval, and acknowledgment from man. Help us to keep our minds on things above. Help us to walk uprightly and godly before you, without dissimulation or hypocrisy.

In Jesus’s name. Amen.

Aretha Grant serves her local church as a bible teacher and elder. She loves writing and is the author of Overcomer: 25 Keys to Walking VictoriouslyAretha resides in Hagerstown, MD with her husband and two youngest children. You can read Aretha’s blog at www.arethagrant.com.

Photo Credit: ©Getty/utah778

Aretha Grant serves her local church as a bible teacher and elder. She loves writing and is the author of Overcomer: 25 Keys to Walking VictoriouslyAretha resides in Hagerstown, MD with her husband and two youngest children. You can read Aretha’s blog at www.arethagrant.com.

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