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March, April June Spring 1992
"DAYS OF PRAISE"
Daily Bible Readings and Devotional Commentaries
Copyright (c) 1993 by I.C.R., Santee, California 92071
EDITOR: Henry M. Morris
CO-EDITOR: John D. Morris
MANAGING EDITOR: Donald H. Rohrer
ASSISTANT EDITOR: Ruth Richards
ELECTRONIC EDITOR: Donald H. Barber
For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of
grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the
word of the Lord endureth for ever" (I Peter 1:24,25).
Paul wrote to his young disciple with the well-known admonition,
"Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to
be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (II Timothy 2:15). His
charge applies to each of us today, as well.
Our prayer is that this edition of Days of Praise will encourage and
to some degree enable you to do just that. Each author has spent "study"
time in the Word of God to prepare each daily lesson, and has received
tremendous blessings from it. We desire that your reading will spur you
on to deeper study and meditation in the Scriptures.
Many of the articles are written by ICR scientists who spend much
time studying the Scriptures, in addition to scientific reading and
research. We believe each of these contributes to our effectiveness in
We have also found Days of Praise to be useful in our daily staff
prayer meeting. We often read the day's article and discuss it before
praying for the needs of ICR, its staff, and for others who write and
ask us to pray about some burden in their lives.
We trust you will find this little booklet to be as much of a
blessing as do we, and that God will use it in your lives as He has in
KBC Kenneth B. Cumming, Ph.D.
CJH Mrs. Connie J. Horn
PGH Paul G. Humber, M.S.
HMM Henry M. Morris, Ph.D.
JDM John D. Morris, Ph.D.
NPS Norman P. Spotts, D.D.
March 1, Sunday THE AGES TO COME
"That in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of His
grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:7).
People may ridicule Christians for believing in "pie in the sky bye
and bye," but the sober truth is that "the sufferings of this present
time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be
revealed in us" (Romans 8:18).
Why should we get enamored with the philosophies and projects of this
present world, when the Scriptures tell us that "the wisdom of this
world is foolishness with God," and that both the wisdom and "the
princes of this world" are going to "come to nought" (I Corinthians
Anyway, should we not "lay up for (our)selves treasures in heaven,
where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break
through nor steal" (Matthew 6:20), instead of foolishly "supposing that
gain is godliness" (I Timothy 6:5). Christ "gave Himself for our sins,
that He might deliver us from this present evil world" (Galations 1:4),
not to make us more comfortable living in it. In fact, "all that is in
the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the
pride of life...passeth away:..but he that doeth the will of God abideth
for ever" (I John 2:16,17).
God has not promised us pie in the sky, but He has promised to show
us "the exceeding riches of His grace." He has assured us that there
will be "glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world
without end" (Ephesians 3:21). "And there shall be no more death,
neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for
the former things are passed away" (Revelation 21:4).
Therefore, like Moses, we choose "rather to suffer affliction with
the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season," for
we have "respect unto the recompense of the reward" (Hebrews 11:25,26).
March 2, Monday LABOR AND PROFIT
"Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the
labor that I had labored to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation
of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 2:11).
One of the inequities of human life seems to be that there is no
dependable relationship between the diligence with which one labors and
the reward he receives for that labor. Some men may work hard all their
lives, yet live in poverty; the "idle rich," on the other hand, may
inherit their wealth.
The trouble is that perfect equity can never be achieved in such
matters while man's entire dominion is in bondage to sin and death,
under God's curse (Genesis 3:17-20). As long as one's goals and motives
in working are only "under the sun," there is bound to be "vanity and
vexation of spirit," no matter what his current economic and social
status may be. The accounts are not to be settled in the fallible
ledgers kept here on earth, but in God's books.
"Labor not for the meat which perisheth," said the Lord, "but for
that meat which endureth unto everlasting life" (John 6:27). To
bondslaves, Paul said, "Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the
Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the
reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ" (Colossians
It is important to remember that, when all accounts are settled at
His judgment seat, the "profit" we receive is not based on quantity, but
quality, of services rendered. "Every man's work shall be made manifest:
for the day shall declare it...and the fire shall try every man's work
of what sort it is" (I Corinthians 3:13).
Not "how much," but "what sort!" There is little profit under the
sun, but, if we are "abounding in the work of the Lord...(our) labor is
not in vain in the Lord" (I Corinthians 15:58). HMM
March 3, Tuesday THE BLOOD OF CONSECRATION
"And he slew it; and Moses took of the blood of it, and put it upon
the tip of Aaron's right ear, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and
upon the great toe of his right foot" (Leviticus 8:23).
This unique ceremony, conducted when Aaron was being consecrated as
Israel's high priest, is rich in symbolism. The blood was taken from the
"ram of consecration" (Leviticus 8:22), which had been slain by Moses,
its death signifying the death to self which priests should experience
in order to be fully dedicated to the will and service of God. Then the
blood was applied to the head, hands, and feet of the priest, thus, in
effect, to his whole body, symbolizing cleansing and forgiveness of
personal sins, in order that he might be an acceptable intermediary
between God and the people. Further, it of course signified that the
priest must have ears willing to hear God's Word, hands willing to do
God's work and feet willing to carry God's message wherever He led.
In fulfillment, the high priest is Christ, the sacrificial offering
is Christ, and the consecrating blood is His own blood, shed at Calvary
(Hebrews 9:11-14). As the perfect high priest, His ear was perfectly
attuned to God's Word, His hands worked the perfect work of God, and His
feet walked all the way from Bethlehem to Calvary, to accomplish the
saving will of God.
But then each believer must remember that he, also, is a member of
"an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices" (I Peter 2:5). As
believer-priests, we must hear God's Word, for "faith cometh by hearing,
and hearing by the Word of God" (Romans 10:17). Our hands and feet must
also be ready to do the work of God and walk in His ways, if we would be
faithful to our high calling. This is our "reasonable service" as
"living sacrifice(s)" presented unto Him (Romans 12:1). HMM
March 4, Wednesday WHO IS WORTHY?
"I (i.e. Jacob) am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of
all the truth, which thou hast showed unto thy servant; for with my
staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two bands" (Genesis
Scripture records statements of others who have felt their own
unworthiness in the presence of God. John the Baptist told the crowd at
the Jordan: "He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I
am not worthy to bear" (Matthew 3:11). The Roman centurion said to
Jesus: "I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof" (Matthew
8:8). These were men who saw Jesus as the Son of God and themselves as
they truly were before Him.
We can never be worthy of the One who is worthy of all "glory and
honour and power," for He is the Creator of all things, and He has
"redeemed us to God by (His) blood" (Revelation 4:11; 5:9). However,
Jesus chooses to call us "worthy," if we confess His name before men.
"Whosoever, therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess
also before my Father which is in heaven....He that loveth father or
mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or
daughter more than me is not worthy of me" (Matthew 10:32,37). "They
shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. He that overcometh,
the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his
name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my
Father, and before His angels" (Revelation 3:4,5).
The saint has been found "worthy" to have his name confessed before
the Father, not because of an actual "work" of confessing his Savior
before men, but because the heart attitude of he who confesses the
Savior is a heart of faith that leads to salvation. "For with the heart
man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made
unto salvation" (Romans 10:10). CJH
March 5, Thursday MUCH MORE
"Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved
from wrath through Him" (Romans 5:9).
The fifth chapter of Romans is sometimes called the "much more"
chapter, because of five wonderful "much more" verses. The first is our
text for the day, consisting itself of a commentary on the tremendous
truth in the preceding verse. That is, because of the tremendous love
expressed by God "in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for
us" (v.8), we shall also be delivered completely from the just wrath of
a holy God.
Then, there is the truth of verse 10: "For if, when we were enemies,
we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being
reconciled, we shall be saved by His life." Formerly His adversaries, we
are not only delivered from God's wrath on sin, but also delivered from
sin's power, because Christ's life becomes our life, once we are
restored to complete fellowship with Him.
Thirdly, we have more abundant grace. "But not as the offense, so
also is the free gift. For if through the offense of one many be dead,
much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man,
Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many" (v.15). His grace is far greater
than all our sin.
Next, there is verse 17. "For if by one man's offense death reigned
by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift
of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ." Note the
progression in these "much mores": saved from wrath; saved unto
righteousness; a life abounding in grace; and, now, a life of victory.
Finally, and in summary: "Moreover the law entered, that the offense
might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That
as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through
righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord" (vs.20,21).
March 6, Friday THE SINNING BROTHER
"But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that
is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a
railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to
eat" (I Corinthians 5:11).
Here is a sober reminder that a Christian brother -- one who has
accepted Christ as Savior and repented of his sins can again fall into
gross sin. This seems so anomalous that we might question whether such a
one was ever saved in the first place. Some modern translations even let
this question distort the real thrust of the verse. The NASV, for
example, calls such a person a "so-called brother," and the NIV
translates the phrase as "anyone who calls himself a brother," both thus
implying that he was not really a brother in Christ.
The Greek word, however, is onomazo which means, simply, "named" or
"called," as the King James version correctly renders it. The thrust of
the whole phrase is, "any man who bears the name of brother." Paul is
stressing the anomaly itself. Any brother in the Lord should live in a
manner befitting this high calling.
If he does not, however, and if he is not responsive to the pleadings
of his brethren who seek to restore him, in the manner of Galations 6:1
("ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of
meekness"), then he should be subject to church discipline, and be
removed from the fellowship of the church. "If he neglect to hear the
church," said Jesus, "let him be unto thee as an heathen man" (Matthew
18:17). If such a person later repents, of course, Paul says we "ought
rather to forgive him, and...confirm your love toward him" (II
In the meantime, knowing that it is possible for a true believer to
fall into gross sin, through carelessness, or doubt, or whatever, "let
him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall" (I Corinthians
March 7, Saturday IN THE IMAGE OF GOD
"So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He
him; male and female created He them" (Genesis 1:27).
The Lord Jesus Christ "is the image of God" (II Corinthians 4:4),
"the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person"
(Hebrews 1:3), "the image of the invisible God" (Colossians 1:15). Human
beings were created "in" God's image. From the beginning we were made to
be like Jesus, God the Son, but we miserably failed.
God the Father did not forsake His purposes, however. In the fullness
of time He sent His Son to take on our flesh so that the believer might
"be conformed to the image of His Son" (Romans 8:29), "renewed in
knowledge after the image of Him that created Him" (Colossians 3:10).
Animals do not share this privilege. They were not made to resemble
Jesus. Animals have instinct; humans, creativity -- like the Creator! He
reasons with His human creatures and wants us to reason back (cf. Isaiah
1:18). Like Jesus, we also have authority. He calmed the storm; we tame
killer whales and whole herds of cattle. Yet, our rebellion against God
shows up in many and varied abuses, but the ingredients are stamped on
our beings nevertheless.
The fact that we can worship God and commune with Him in prayer is a
tremendous truth. God is tripersonal; each Person of the Trinity
communes with the Other. But God also invites us into His fellowship.
Let us be what we were meant to be. Let us imitate the Lord Jesus Christ
-- trusting solely in the merits of His cross, commune with the Father
through the Son, and experience the joy of fellowship with the Spirit
for all eternity so that "we all, with open face beholding as in a glass
the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to
glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord" (II Corinthians 3:18). PGH
March 8, Sunday INHERITING THE EARTH
"Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth" (Matthew
This third of Christ's beatitudes has always seemed paradoxical
because those who now rule the earth seem anything but meek. It has
always been the strong and aggressive who control the world, not the
meek of the world.
Christ, however, was confirming an ancient promise given through
David: "But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight
themselves in the abundance of peace" (Psalm 37:11). Surprisingly, there
are also four other promises in this psalm describing those who are to
inherit the earth:
"Those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth" (v.9).
"For such as be blessed of Him shall inherit the earth" (v.22). "The
righteous shall inherit the land (same word as `earth')" (v.29). "Wait
on the LORD, and keep His way, and He shall exalt thee to inherit the
land (i.e. `earth')" (v.34).
It is Jesus Christ, of course, who ultimately will receive "the
uttermost parts of the earth for (His) possession" (Psalm 2:8). However,
we also (if we are among the "meek") are "heirs of God, and joint-heirs
with Christ" (Romans 8:17), and thus we also shall inherit the earth
But how does this quality of meekness equip believers for such an
exalted future? In the Bible, meekness does not mean "weakness," of
course, nor is it even an innate mildness that may characterize some
unsaved people. "The fruit of the Spirit is...meekness" (Galatians
5:22,23), which means that meekness is not a natural human trait at all.
It is best defined as the character of Christ, Himself, for He said: "I
am meek and lowly in heart" (Matthew 11:29), and Paul measured his own
actions "by the meekness and gentleness of Christ" (II Corinthians
10:1). In Psalm 37, it was seen that "the meek" (v.37) are synonymous
with those who "wait on the LORD, and keep His way" (v.34). HMM
March 9, Monday IN THE WAY
"And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of my master Abraham, who hath
not left destitute my master of His mercy and His truth: I being in the
way, the LORD led me to the house of my master's brethren" (Genesis
The remarkable, providential leading of Abraham's servant to the
maiden who was to be the bride of Isaac has been a source of inspiration
to every generation of believers.
One very important principle can be gleaned from this wonderful
journey: Before the Lord could lead the servant to the object of his
quest, he had to start out on his way. "Being in the way, the LORD led
me," he testified.
Abraham himself knew this by experience: "By faith Abraham, when he
was called...obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went"
(Hebrews 11:8). God first led him from Ur to Haran, thence to Bethel in
the land of Canaan, on to Mamre, and finally, to Beersheba. He had no
certain home, but because he was "in the way," the Lord assured him that
"in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed" (Genesis
Consider also the Apostle Paul, who carried the saving gospel of
Christ to the Gentiles. He did not, however, dawdle around waiting for
this call. "After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into
Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not....And a vision appeared to
Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him,
saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us" (Acts 16:7,9).
The principle is this: Those who truly desire to be called to some
special field of service should first be doing what they can where they
are. Then the Lord will re-direct them, if it is His will. "Thine ears
shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it,
when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left" (Isaiah
30:21). When we are actively "in the way," then the Lord can lead us.
March 10, Tuesday MINE
"For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a
thousand hills" (Psalm 50:10).
What does God own? What belongs to Him? What does God say is "mine"?
The answer to these questions is quite simple -- everything!
1. God owns the animal creation, as in our text: "I know all the
fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are
2. God owns the world: "If I were hungry, I would not tell thee:
for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof" (v.12).
3. God owns the wealth of the world: "The silver is mine, and the
gold is mine, saith the LORD of hosts" (Haggai 2:8).
4. God owns the land of Palestine: "The land shall not be sold for
ever: for the land is mine" (Leviticus 25:23).
5. God owns all souls: "Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul
of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine"
God surely does own everything, and has chosen, in His grace, to
share it all with us. Why then do we many times not trust our heavenly
Father to supply all our needs? "For your Father knoweth what things ye
have need of, before ye ask Him" (Matthew 6:8). Plus, He has promised to
supply "our daily bread" (Matthew 6:11). He knows what we need today,
and He has the wisdom and power to meet that need: "Therefore take no
thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or,
Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the
Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of
all these things." "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His
righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matthew
It would be helpful if we could continually remember Paul's familiar
words: "My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in
glory by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19). Not some, or most, but all!
March 11, Wednesday BUT GOD
"But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved
us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with
Christ, (by grace ye are saved)" (Ephesians 2:4,5).
For two one-syllable words, the opening words of this passage speak
endless volumes of truth. Before they appear, there is nothing but wrath
and death. Then, suddenly, there is rich mercy, and great love, and
grace, and salvation, and eternal life! The difference is God!
The world before God intervened was dead in trespasses and sins and
completely helpless. Instead of the "universal fatherhood of God," all
men were "children of disobedience" and "children of wrath" (vs.2,3),
living "according to the course of this world" and "according to the
prince of the power of the air" (that is, the devil) (v.2).
But God! Note that the Word does not say "But man." Salvation is all
of God and all of grace. It is God, and God alone who "hath quickened"
those who were "dead in sins." Instead of walking according to the
course of this world, He has made us "sit together in heavenly places in
Christ Jesus" (v.6). It is not humanistic works by which we are saved,
but by "the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us
through Jesus Christ" (v.7).
All of this has been made possible by an even greater divine
intervention: "And when they had fulfilled all that was written of Him,
they took Him down from the tree, and laid Him in a sepulchre. But
God[!] raised Him from the dead" (Acts 13:29,30). Jesus Christ, who rose
victorious over sin and death and Satan, "is able also to save them to
the uttermost that come unto God by Him" (Hebrews 7:25). Because He has
done all this, we can enjoy, throughout "the ages to come...the
exceeding riches of His grace" (Ephesians 2:7). HMM
March 12, Thursday WHOM I SERVE
"And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They
say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith He unto them, Render therefore unto
Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are
God's" (Matthew 22:20,21).
In this episode, Jesus was confronted by a group of Pharisees who
stood for theocracy, and another of Herodians who wanted the dynasty of
Herod to be re-established in the place of the Roman procuratorship. If
Jesus concluded that it was lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, then the
people would be angry; if Jesus sided with the Pharisees, He would be
charged with sedition by the Romans. What a predicament!
Jesus' answer was to render tribute based on ownership. If taxes were
based on money, and that system was Roman, then we should obey the
constraints of citizenship and pay the tax. On the other hand, whatever
is due to God, because of ownership, should be paid to Him.
Interestingly, the marks of ownership were the "image" and the
"superscription" of the object under question. The image of God was a
special gift of God to man at the creation (Genesis 1:26). We are warned
against making graven images of God or of any creature, because there
will almost inevitably develop a desire to worship that image as a
"god." The true God is invisible -- not body, but spirit.
Regarding titles of ownership, we decide how we shall be labeled. If
we have decided to follow Christ, we gain the superscription
"Christian." Paul put it simply when he was in the midst of the storm at
sea: "For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and
whom I serve" (Acts 27:23). Even though he was shortly to be imprisoned
by Caesar (v.24), and was in no way advocating rebellion against
Caesar's authority, there is no doubt as to where his true allegiance
March 13, Friday THE WITNESS OF CONSCIENCE
"And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience,
went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and
Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst" (John 8:9).
This is the first of 32 occurrences of the word "conscience" in the
New Testament. Through this pricking of their consciences, Jesus had
prevented a mob from stoning a woman charged with adultery, for through
it, the accusers recognized their own unworthiness to judge another.
A conscience can be a reliable guide, however, only if it is a good
conscience. The Scriptures, on the other hand, speak of some who have a
"weak conscience" (I Corinthians 8:7,10,12), which may become a "defiled
conscience" (Titus 1:15) and eventually a "seared conscience" (I Timothy
4:2) or even an "evil conscience" (Hebrews 10:22).
If used properly, however, the conscience is a blessing. God has
given us a conscience to help guide us. The question is, what makes a
conscience "good?" There are two references in Scripture to a "pure
conscience" (I Timothy 3:9; II Timothy 1:3) and six to a "good
conscience" (Acts 23:1; I Timothy 1:5,19; Hebrews 13:18; I Peter
3:16,21), but none of these tell how such a conscience is acquired.
The answer to this vital question appears to be found in the Apostle
Paul's testimony before Felix: "And herein do I exercise myself, to have
always a conscience void of offense toward God, and toward men" (Acts
24:16). The "exercise" (literally `training') which had produced such a
conscience in Paul, he said, was this: "So worship I the God of my
fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the
prophets" (Acts 24:14). A lifelong study of the Scriptures, accompanied
by absolute faith in their veracity and authority, had produced in Paul
a strong, pure, good, reliable conscience, and it will do the same for
March 14, Saturday LET THEM PRAY
"Is any among you afflicted? let him pray....Is any sick among you?
let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him,
anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith
shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have
committed sins, they shall be forgiven him" (James 5:13-15).
This familiar passage is a difficult one. Many suffering Christians
have tried in all sincerity to follow the instructions given here, yet
have not been healed. This may be because the promise has a specific,
rather than general, application.
First, "is anyone afflicted?" This word means "troubled," referring
especially to persecution or deprivation. For such a person, the
admonition is: "Let him pray." Assuming that he is right with God, and
is praying in His will (I John 5:14,15), he can expect either the needed
relief or the needed grace.
Secondly: "Is any sick?" Here the Greek word actually refers to
physical illness. However, the context shows that this particular
sickness has come specifically "since (the true connotation of `if') he
have committed sins." The remedy is for such a person to call for the
church elders (not the reverse), and "let them pray" (after he has first
openly confessed and repented of his sins) in faith, anointing him with
oil. Then the promise is that, if the elders themselves have faith and
are right with God, the Lord will forgive his sins and raise him up.
Furthermore, their prayer of faith will "save the sick." The Greek
word in this case means "wearied," rather than "ill," and it tells us
that the sinner has been delivered from the heavy burden of guilt which
had wearied his soul, as well as the illness which had weakened his
body. There are other reasons for illness besides unrepented sin, but
this is a wonderful promise of both spiritual and physical healing when
sin is the problem. HMM
March 15, Sunday ASHAMED OF THE LORD
"Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of
me His prisoner, but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel
according to the power of God" (II Timothy 1:8).
This exhortation of Paul follows immediately upon his assertion that
"God hath not given us the spirit of fear" (II Timothy 1:7). Thus, any
Christian who is afraid to give a clear testimony for the Lord, or who
is unwilling to support those who may be suffering because of their
testimony (Paul was in a Roman dungeon when he wrote these words), did
not receive such a spirit of fear from God.
A courageous, uncompromising stand for the truth, even in the face of
ridicule and persecution, characterized the early Christians, who
rejoiced "that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name"
(Acts 5:41). On the other hand, pride is such a besetting sin of human
nature, and peer pressure so intimidating, that most Christians today --
whether Christian intellectuals on the campus being pressured to
compromise with evolution, or Christian laborers confronted with
dishonesty and vile language on the job, or Christian teen-agers being
urged to partake of drugs and sex -- either yield to the pressure or
retreat in silence.
We need to remember the words of Christ: "Whosoever therefore shall
be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful
generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when He cometh
in the glory of His Father with the holy angels" (Mark 8:38).
The Apostle Paul, suffering in prison and soon to be executed, still
could say: "Nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have
believed" (II Timothy 1:12). God gives us "power and love and a sound
mind" -- not the spirit of fear! Therefore, we can well afford to be
partakers of the gospel's afflictions, by the power of God. HMM
March 16, Monday DOES GOD DWELL IN TEMPLES?
"But Solomon built Him an house. Howbeit the most High dwelleth not
in temples made with hands" (Acts 7:47,48).
Scripture teaches that the Creator God could not be confined to a
man-made temple, but it is also true that the temple in Jerusalem was
indeed the house of God. God, Himself, had even stated that "For now
have I chosen and sanctified this house, that my name may be there for
ever: and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually" (II
Chronicles 7:16). Of course, there is no real conflict. God implies that
this place would enjoy His special attention, favor, and Name, but He
never claimed it as a dwelling place.
Solomon even recognized this. He said, "Who is able to build Him an
house, seeing the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain Him?" (II
Today, God dwells in many temples, but they are not made with hands
either. "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit
of God dwelleth in you?...the temple of God is holy, which temple ye
are" (I Corinthians 3:16,17). Likewise, "What? know ye not that your
body is the temple of the Holy Ghost?" (I Corinthians 6:19), and "ye are
the temple of the living God" (II Corinthians 6:16).
Not only is each individual believer the temple of God, but the
corporate body of believers, the church, enjoys the same standing.
Speaking of the melding of Jewish and Gentile believers into one body,
Paul teaches that each believer is a stone in "the building fitly framed
together (which) groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord" (Ephesians
2:21). As individual building stones, we are "fellow citizens with the
saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation
of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief
corner stone" (Ephesians 2:19,20).
The sanctuary of the living God is not a temple or a church
auditorium, but hearts yielded to Him. JDM
March 17, Tuesday GRACE AND THE LAW
"For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus
Christ" (John 1:17).
Some have argued that the Old Testament God was rigid and legalistic,
whereas the God of the New Testament is a God of grace and love. But
"Jesus Christ (is) the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever"
The word for "grace" (Hebrew chen) occurs at least 68 times in the
Old Testament, and "gracious" and "graciously" some 98 times. The
related attributes of "mercy" and "lovingkindness" (Hebrew chesed) are
mentioned over 200 times. The Old Testament is abundantly supplied with
references to these supposedly New Testament concepts.
It is significant that the first mentions of "grace" and "graciously"
in the Bible refer to the grace of God, rather than to any human grace.
In the first instance, it is said that even in a world of universal
wickedness, "Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD" (Genesis 6:8),
and God saved him and his family through the terrible judgment of the
Flood. Then Jacob, the father of the children of Israel (to whom God
eventually revealed the law through Moses), spoke of his children as
gifts of God's grace, testifying to his brother Esau of "the children
which God hath graciously given thy servant" (Genesis 33:5).
Even the law was given in grace and truth to the people whom God had
chosen in grace, as the psalmist indicated when he prayed: "Grant me thy
law graciously. I have chosen the way of truth" (Psalm 119:29,30).
It is significant that the last reference to "grace" in the Old
Testament refers to the salvation of all the children of Israel, when
they see finally Jesus as He really is. "I will pour upon the house of
David,...the Spirit of grace...: and they shall look upon me whom they
have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him..." (Zechariah 12:10). HMM
March 18, Wednesday STRENGTH AND GRACE AND GLORY
"They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion
appeareth before God" (Psalm 84:7).
The Christian life should never be a stagnant life, satisfied with
the spiritual status quo. It should be a life of continued growth and
progress, day by day. The believer has an infinite supply of resources
available, and thus is expected to continue to increase in spiritual
strength and grace and glory all his life.
First, "blessed is the man whose strength is in thee." With such
strength, the believer can, when "passing through the valley of Baca
(`weeping') make it a well" (Psalm 84:5,6). Next, as seen in our text,
"They go from strength to strength" -- that is, from one level of
strength to another, as they appropriate the strength of the Lord
But strength is more than just spiritual power. "Be strong in the
grace that is in Christ Jesus" (II Timothy 2:1). We are saved by grace,
and God's grace should be increasingly evident in our lives. "Of His
fullness have all we received, and grace for grace" (John 1:16). His
grace is endless and inexhaustible, and we can receive (literally)
"grace upon grace," as we "grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our
Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (II Peter 3:18).
Then, as we go from strength to strength, and receive grace upon
grace, "we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the
Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory" (II
Corinthians 3:18). The "glass" in which we behold the Lord's image, in
context, is the reading of the Scriptures. His glory shines through its
open pages and becomes reflected in the very character of the believer.
This is how the Christian's spiritual life should progress from day
to day. Receiving first of all His strength and His grace, and His
glory, we "may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even
Christ" (Ephesians 4:15). HMM
March 29, Thursday THE ANGEL OF REDEMPTION
"The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let
my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac;
and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth" (Genesis
In this verse is the first use in the Bible of the beautiful word
"redeem" (Hebrew goel). Its basic meaning is "buy back" -- that is, to
avenge and restore one who has been wronged, or to set free one who has
been enslaved. The right and duty of redemption, in Biblical times, was
commonly understood to belong to the next of kin, and the word is the
usual Hebrew word for "kinsman."
In this use of this word, Jacob noted that his redeemer had been the
mighty Angel of the Lord -- the one who had been his only kinsman (after
all, his parents were powerless to help him and his brother and uncle
were his enemies). Jacob had learned that the God of His fathers was the
only one able and willing to deliver him from all evil, and therefore he
could also call on Him to deliver and bless his seed.
Job also could speak of Him: "I know that my redeemer liveth" (Job
19:25). So could David: "O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer" (Psalm
19:14). Isaiah wrote frequently of Him. For example: "Thou, O LORD, art
our father, our redeemer: thy name is from everlasting" (Isaiah 63:16).
Jacob's "Angel" of redemption was none other than the second Person
of the Godhead, before He became incarnate as Son of Man, in the person
of Jesus Christ. He is now, indeed, our brother, our kinsman, for He was
"made like unto His brethren" (Hebrews 2:17) and then paid the awful
price to deliver us from sin's bondage, thereby obtaining "eternal
redemption for us" (Hebrews 9:12). "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not
redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold,...but with the
precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot"
(I Peter 1:18,19). HMM
March 20, Friday CHOSEN VESSELS
"But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel
unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the
children of Israel" (Acts 9:15).
The Lord here was speaking to Ananias concerning the Apostle Paul,
calling him a "vessel," that was to be filled with spiritual treasures
for the nations. We may not be chosen for such a great work as that of
Paul, but each of us is a chosen vessel to carry the message to someone.
First, however, we have to be prepared as vessels by the great
Potter, "that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels
of mercy, which He had afore prepared unto glory" (Romans 9:23). This
verse speaks of God's mercy, for He must also endure "with much
longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction" (Romans 9:22).
We are only earthen vessels, at least to begin with, but God does
entrust a portion of His heavenly treasures to us, especially "the light
of the glorious gospel of Christ" shining in our hearts. "But we have
this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may
be of God, and not of us" (II Corinthians 4:4,7).
If we are faithful in the small things, He may one day entrust us
with greater treasures. "In a great house there are not only vessels of
gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honor,
and some to dishonor. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he
shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master's use,
and prepared unto every good work" (II Timothy 2:20,21).
Each one is a vessel in the Master's hand. Some are vessels of wrath,
suited only for destruction; some vessels in His house are of wood and
dirt, vessels of dishonor. May God help us, however, to be beautiful
vessels of great value, sanctified to the Master's use, and to every
good work. HMM
March 21, Saturday SAVING FAITH
"What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith,
and have not works? Can faith save him?" (James 2:14).
The well-known apparent "conflict" between James and Paul focuses
especially on this verse. The Apostle Paul says emphatically: "For by
grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the
gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8,9).
Yet James, also an apostle, insists: "But wilt thou know, O vain man,
that faith without works is dead?" (James 2:20).
But no real conflict exists. In our text, there is a definite article
before the word "faith." James' question is, literally, "Can that faith
save him?" This is obviously intended as a rhetorical question, with a
negative answer. In the context, James teaches that a "profession of
faith" is not enough to produce salvation, if that faith "have not
Since that kind of faith does not save, then what kind of faith does
save? The answer is given by Paul, in the very verses quoted above. "For
by grace are ye saved through faith; and that -- i.e., that faith (which
is the inference in the original) -- is not of yourselves: it is the
gift of God." In other words, true saving faith is not a man-generated
faith of some kind, it is a supernatural gift of God! And that faith
does save, because it is part of the new nature implanted by the Holy
Spirit when a new believer is born again. Furthermore, this faith does
inevitably produce good works, for the verse following says that "we are
His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath
before ordained that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:10).
Faith must be faith in something, and true saving faith must be
centered in the saving gospel of Jesus Christ as revealed in His
inerrant Word. Such faith will inevitably result in a changed life and
good works. That is the faith that saves. HMM
March 22, Sunday GOD OUR HABITATION
"LORD, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations" (Psalm
These are the tremendous opening words of the oldest psalm in the
book of Psalms, called, in its superscript, the "prayer of Moses the man
of God." Moses must have written it shortly before his death, as he
looked out over the promised land and realized that he, himself, would
never live there (Deuteronomy 34:4,5). It did not really matter, though,
for he had lived in many places, and none of them were really his home.
As a baby, he had lived for a brief while in a basket on the river, then
in a queen's palace, then forty years in Midian, and forty more years
wandering in the wilderness.
Furthermore, he had been meditating on the men of God of previous
generations (after all, he had compiled all their ancient records in the
book of Genesis) and had found that they, too, like the Apostle Paul
1500 years later, had "no certain dwelling place" (I Corinthians 4:11).
Adam had been expelled from his Garden; Noah lived for a year in an Ark
on a worldwide sea, then the rest of his life in a devastated earth;
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob lived in tents in Canaan, and their
descendants lived as slaves in Egypt.
Yet wherever they were, the Lord was with them. He had been their
dwelling place, and this was Moses' first thought as he composed his
great prayer. He also had written down "the blessing, wherewith Moses
the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death"
(Deuteronomy 33:1). Its climax was this great assurance: "The eternal
God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms" (v.27). The
"refuge" of this promise is the same Hebrew word as "dwelling place" in
We, like they, are "strangers and pilgrims on the earth" (Hebrews
11:13), but "underneath are the everlasting arms." Where the Lord is --
there home is! HMM
March 23, Monday THE OMNIPOTENT GOD
"Then Job answered the LORD, and said, I know that thou canst do
every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee" (Job
This was Job's testimony at the end of His sufferings, as God
revealed Himself to him, and Job acknowledged both the omnipotence and
omniscience of his Maker.
The omnipotence of God is a basic doctrine of Christianity, as well
as of monotheism in general, yet multitudes of people who give mental
assent to this doctrine live out their lives as though God either has
died, or has become impotent, or has wandered away, leaving man alone as
the captain of his fate. Therefore it is well for us occasionally to
remember again some of the great Biblical affirmations of His
His very name is "God Almighty" (Genesis 35:11). "Ah LORD God!
behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and
stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee" (Jeremiah
32:17). Furthermore, God required neither time nor process to create,
make, and complete the infinite cosmos in all its complexity: "By the
word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the
breath of His mouth....For He spake, and it was done; He commanded, and
it stood fast" (Psalm 33:6,9). "He is strong in power; not one faileth"
In light of this truth, all the schemes of man are trivial. "Behold,
the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust
of the balance" (Isaiah 40:15). Evolutionary humanism, which seeks to
exalt time and chance as the cause of the universe, and man and his
systems as its goal and guide, is thus the utmost foolishness!
Because He is omnipotent, His Word is trustworthy, and neither
"height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us
from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:39).
March 29, Tuesday FILLING THE EARTH
"And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful,
and multiply, and replenish the earth" (Genesis 9:1).
This was the first command given by God to mankind in the new world
after the Flood. Actually, it simply renewed the first command given to
Adam and Eve in the primeval world. "And God blessed them, and God said
unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth..."
(Genesis 1:28). The Old English word "replenish" means simply "fill,"
and the same is true of the Hebrew word (mala), from which it is
translated. In fact, of its 220 occurrences, the King James translators
rendered it "replenish" only seven times. Almost always, they translated
it by "fill," or the equivalent.
Thus, God's first command to men and women was to multiply until the
earth was filled. Despite our latter-day concerns about exploding
populations, this goal is far from accomplishment today. "Filling," of
course, would imply filling only to the optimum capacity for productive
human stewardship of the earth under God.
The pre-Flood earth was filled in only 1656 years, but it was "filled
with violence through them," and God finally had to "destroy them with
the earth" (Genesis 6:13)
In spite of man's failures, the Lord has given a gracious promise:
"And the LORD said,...as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled
with the glory of the LORD" (Numbers 14:20,21). This will not be man's
doing, however. When Christ returns in power and great glory as the
destroying Stone, then "the stone that smote the image became a great
mountain, and filled the whole earth" (Daniel 2:35). The New Earth will
finally be filled with an innumerable multitude of the redeemed
(Revelation 7:9), and "the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of
the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea" (Habakkuk 2:14). HMM
March 25, Wednesday A MATTER OF THE WILL
"I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the
LORD" (Psalm 116:13).
Notice the "I wills" of this great psalm:
1. "I will take the cup of salvation" (v.13). In the garden of
Gethsemane, our Lord prayed, "O my Father, if it be possible, let this
cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt" (Matthew
26:39). On the cross, Christ drank fully of the cup of suffering and
death for sin, that we might one day drink of the cup of salvation.
2. "I will call upon the name of the LORD" (Psalm 116:13,17), "For
whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Romans
10:13). Calling on the Lord begins at salvation, and continues
throughout the Christian life. "Because He hath inclined his ear unto
me, therefore will I call upon Him as long as I live" (Psalm 116:2).
3. "I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living" (v.9).
Not only should the believer exhibit a good testimony in his walk before
the world, he also should consider if his walk before the Lord is
4. "I will pay my vows unto the LORD in the presence of all His
people" (v.18). The Lord expects us to keep our word. Vows, like those
in marriage, extend in two directions: upward, "unto the LORD," and
outward, "in the presence of all His people." Vows should never be taken
lightly. Both God and man have a right to expect them to be kept.
5. "I will offer to thee the sacrifice of praise" (v.17). Praising
God is a definite act of the will. The writer of Hebrews encourages us
to do just that. " By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of
praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks
to His name" (Hebrews 13:15). The sacrifice of praise truly is a
sweet-smelling savor to God. "Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me"
(Psalm 50:23). NPS
March 26, Thursday THE PROPHET'S CHAMBER
"And she said unto her husband, Behold now, I perceive that this is
an holy man of God, which passeth by us continually. Let us make a
little chamber, I pray thee, on the wall; and let us set for him there a
bed, and a table, and a stool, and a candlestick: and it shall be, when
he cometh to us, that he shall turn in thither" (II Kings 4:9,10).
This sparsely furnished little room, built by a kindly woman and her
elderly husband, was the prototype of all the so-called "prophet's
chambers" that have been built for traveling teachers and evangelists
Little did this simple farm couple anticipate what fruit their
kindness would bear one day, in this very room. "Be not forgetful to
entertain strangers:" the Bible says, "for thereby some have entertained
angels unawares" (Hebrews 13:2). In the first place, to show his
appreciation, Elisha prayed that the Lord would give them a son, and God
miraculously answered (II Kings 4:16,17).
Then, tragically, the boy died quite suddenly several years later,
while Elisha was at Mount Carmel, some 15 miles away. The Shunammite
woman laid her son on Elisha's bed in the prophet's chamber, then
saddled her donkey, and rode hastily to find Elisha and bring him to the
boy. The round trip must have taken her two days or more, and the boy's
dead body lay on the prophet's bed in the little room all that time.
But then Elisha prayed once again, and the most amazing event took
place there (II Kings 4:33-35). For the very first time in history, a
dead person was restored to life.
The Shunammite woman and her son are never heard from again. But for
3000 years, the testimony of a little chamber, and the love and faith of
the godly woman who prepared it as a simple service for her Lord and His
prophet, has been an inspiration and example to multitudes. HMM
March 27, Friday WHOM TO PRAY FOR
"I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers,
intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men" (I Timothy
Let no one ever say that he has nothing to pray about, or that he
doesn't know how to pray in God's will, for it is always in the will of
God to pray for other people! This is a great gift that any Christian
can give, even if he is penniless or bedridden. There are none so poor
as to be unable to afford such a gift, nor can even the wealthiest give
a finer gift.
Note just a few of the relevant commandments to believers: First, we
are to pray for all fellow Christians: "Praying always with all prayer
and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all
perseverance and supplication for all saints" (Ephesians 6:18). We
should also pray for the lost. Jesus commanded: "The harvest truly is
great, but the laborers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the
harvest, that He would send forth laborers into His harvest" (Luke
There is a special command to pray for sick disciples. "Pray one for
another, that ye may be healed" (James 5:16). We are even told to pray
for our enemies. "Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which
despitefully use you" (Luke 6:28).
We are told to pray for Christian brethren who "sin a sin which is
not unto death" (I John 5:16) though, if the sin has already led to
physical death (as in I Corinthians 11:30), there is no warrant for
further prayer in that case. Finally, we are especially admonished to
pray "for kings, and for all that are in authority" (I Timothy 2:2), and
for the ministries of those who proclaim the gospel (Colossians 4:2-4).
In short, in the words of our text, we should offer up supplications,
prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving for all men everywhere, "for
this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" (I Thessalonians
March 28, Saturday PAUL'S PRAYER LIFE
"For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of
His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my
prayers" (Romans 1:9).
The Apostle Paul was a great man of prayer. He prayed "without
ceasing" for the Roman Christians. To the Corinthian church he wrote: "I
thank my God always on your behalf" (I Corinthians 1:4). Similarly, to
the Ephesians: "(I) cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of
you in my prayers" (Ephesians 1:16). The same assurance was written to
Philippi: "Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request
with joy" (Philippians 1:4). And to the Colossians: "For this cause we
also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you"
(Colossians 1:9). "We give thanks to God always for you all, making
mention of you in our prayers" (I Thessalonians 1:2).
Apparently every church except those in Galatia received this
assurance from the Apostle. He also prayed constantly for his personal
disciples, Timothy and Philemon. "Without ceasing I have remembrance of
thee in my prayers night and day" (II Timothy 1:3). "I thank my God,
making mention of thee always in my prayers" (Philemon 4).
Paul also preached what he practiced. "Pray without ceasing," he
commanded, in his first-written epistle; "in every thing give thanks" (I
Thessalonians 5:17,18). "Continuing instant in prayer" (Romans 12:12).
"Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving"
(Colossians 4:2). "Giving thanks always for all things" (Ephesians
In addition to regular times of concentrated prayer, we should seek
to be sensitive, moment by moment, to needs and opportunities for
intimate, personal, conversational prayer with our ever-present Lord.
Never was there a busier Christian than Paul, yet he somehow had time to
March 29, Sunday SURVIVAL OF THE UNFIT
"Ye were...redeemed...with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb
without blemish and without spot" (I Peter 1:18,19).
Darwin's theory contemplates survival of the fittest and death to
the unfit. God's truth proclaims the opposite! Jesus, the fittest of all
("without blemish and without spot") and sustainer of the entire
universe (Colossians 1:17b), died so that the unfit might survive! See
Him on the pages of Scripture reaching out to the blind, lame, and dumb;
see the compassion of One who cared for those blemished with leprous
spots; see Him stop a funeral procession and raise the dead! May we bow
our hearts in praise of such a Savior!
He offered His "precious blood" to redeem unfit people like us. He
took death upon Himself so that blemished sinners might survive and
experience eternal life. Even death was unable to hold this One in its
grip. Jesus proved His fitness over death itself! "The LORD liveth; and
blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted" (Psalm
Some have tried to further evolution along the supposed path to
evolutionary advancement, but the redeemed follow a different path. May
we who were once unfit -- blemished with sinful spots but now washed in
His precious blood, follow the lead of the Fittest-of-All by extending
our hearts and hands to those who are not surviving very well. May we go
to hospitals, love and adopt deformed children, care for the poor, and
feed the starving. May we share the best news of all -- that the Fittest
came into this world so that the unfit might survive for an eternity
with Him in heaven.
Jesus said, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and
I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am
meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my
yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30). PGH
March 30, Monday WHERE IS WISDOM?
"But where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of
understanding?" (Job 28:12).
Men have been searching for this most valuable of all treasures since
time began. Eve first fell into sin as she was led by Satan to believe
that the forbidden fruit would make her wise. Even before Abram left Ur
of the Chaldees, the patriarch Job was asking this ancient question of
his three critical friends, but they could not answer.
In this chapter, Job notes that while valuable metals can be dug from
the rocks of the earth (Job 28:1,2), wisdom cannot be mined by hard
searching and labor. Neither can it be purchased like some commodity
(vs.13-19). In terms of modern categories, wisdom is not acquired
through college degrees or philosophical meditation, or any variety of
human experience or study.
It can only be found in God, Himself, for "God understandeth the way
thereof, and He knoweth the place thereof" (Job 28:23). "The fear of the
LORD, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding" (Job
True wisdom is to be found in the Lord Jesus, "who of God is made
unto us wisdom" (I Corinthians 1:30). In Him alone "are hid all the
treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Colossians 2:3).
Then, of course, since the Holy Scriptures constitute His written
Word, we find wisdom there. "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly
in all wisdom" (Colossians 3:16).
If one desires wisdom -- real wisdom -- he must find it in the fear
of the Lord, a departure from all evil, receiving Jesus Christ as Savior
and sovereign Lord, and in diligence to learn and obey His Word. "For
the LORD giveth wisdom: out of His mouth cometh knowledge and
understanding. He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: He is a
buckler to them that walk uprightly" (Proverbs 2:6,7). HMM
March 31, Tuesday CREATION EVANGELISM
"But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the
Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through
His name" (John 20:31).
John's Gospel is perhaps the best tool with which to lead people to
saving faith in Christ, for this was John's very purpose in writing. He
presents the claims of Christ and evidences for the deity of Christ,
along with His substitutionary death and resurrection, in a uniquely
It is very important to note, however, that John begins with an
affirmation of the truth of special creation. "In the beginning was the
Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God....All things were
made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made" (John
1:1,3). This creative Word was Jesus Christ, for "the Word was made
flesh, and dwelt among us" (v.14).
John also points out the world's rejection of its Creator. "He was in
the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not"
(v.10). The world, on the whole, then rejected -- and still rejects --
its Creator, who was "the true Light, which lighteth every man that
cometh into the world" (v.9). But not all rejected, for "as many as
received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to
them that believe on His name" (v.12).
nd what is His name? In context, His name is given as "the Word,"
"God!" "the true Light," (vs.1,9). Only after this is He revealed as the
Lamb of God; the Son of God; the Messiah (vs.29,34,41), names which
imply His functions and attributes.
If we would be more effective evangelists, we would do well to follow
the approach used by John. Christ must first be accepted as the
omnipotent (but offended and rejected) Creator, before He really can be
understood and received as incarnate, dying, sin-purging, glorified
April 1, Wednesday THE FOOLISHNESS OF HUMAN WISDOM
"Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools" (Romans 1:22).
The Lord Jesus, in Matthew 5:22, warned His disciples against calling
anyone, "Thou fool," since we can only judge by outward acts. Yet the
Scriptures, in general, and Christ, in particular (who could discern the
inward character), do not hesitate to describe certain types of people
For example: "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God"
(Psalm 14:1). Anyone who tries to explain away all the innumerable
evidences of God is a fool, the Bible says. So is anyone who rejects the
teachings of Christ: "And every one that heareth these sayings of mine,
and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his
house upon the sand" (Matthew 7:26). In particular, one who lays up
riches for himself is in this category. "But God said unto him, Thou
fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall
those things be" (Luke 12:20). Christ rebuked the Pharisees as "fools
and blind" (Matthew 23:17,19) because of their hypocrisy.
But perhaps the most foolish of all are those who proclaim themselves
to be wise and then seek to rationalize their rejection of the Word of
God. The Apostle Paul gravely warns against all such man-centered
wisdom: "For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God" (I
Such "wisdom" led to ancient paganism, and is now centered in
evolutionary humanism. They "became vain in their imaginations, and
their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they
became fools, And...worshipped and served the creature more than the
Creator" (Romans 1:21,22,25, as in the context of Romans 1:18-32). Such
humanistic philosophy commonly masquerades as "science," but God has
warned: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise" (I Corinthians 1:19).
April 2, Thursday HAVE YOU GOT YOUR EARS ON?
"A wise son heareth his father's instruction: but a scorner heareth
not rebuke" (Proverbs 13:1).
In this couplet resides the summary of everyday experience; the
person who listens to counsel benefits, while the resistant one spurns
In the first half of the verse, the route of communication is a
conversation between a father and son in proper relation. The father
obviously has dealt well up to this point with his son, because the
chain of command is intact; respect for authority and openness is
evident. As a result, the father speaks easily, and the son listens
attentively. The father's wisdom becomes the son's, and the exchange is
spoken of as "instruction" -- that powerful tool which passes on careful
thoughts and insightful behavior.
But in the latter part of the verse, no natural relationship is
mentioned. There are words spoken, but no communicating. It is a verbal
battle scene in which one party is admonishing a second for poor
performance. The second has shielded himself from the attacks by
screening out the rebuke. Oneness has turned into conflict and
Many is the father whose advice is rejected by his son -- whose
rebuke is scorned. Likewise, our Heavenly Father all too often finds His
instruction and rebuke unheeded: "To whom shall I speak, and give
warning, that they may hear? behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and
they cannot hearken: behold, the word of the LORD is unto them a
reproach; they have no delight in it" (Jeremiah 6:10). Create in me, O
Lord, an open ear!
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools
despise wisdom and instruction. My son, hear the instruction of thy
father, and forsake not the law of thy mother" (Proverbs 1:7,8). May God
help us to have ears open to His instruction! KBC
April 3, Friday SHAKING THE EARTH TERRIBLY
"And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of
the earth, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of His majesty, when
He ariseth to shake terribly the earth" (Isaiah 2:19).
Ever since the convulsions of the Flood, the earth's crust has been
in a state of instability, causing earthquakes from time to time all
around the world.
But there are earthquakes yet to come which will exceed anything ever
yet experienced. The earthquake prophesied in our text was also
predicted in Revelation. "And I beheld when he had opened the sixth
seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake;...and every mountain and
island were moved out of their places. And...(they) hid themselves in
the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains
and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from...the wrath of the Lamb"
(Revelation 6:12-16). But, when these judgments of God are in the earth,
those who have rejected the love of the sin-bearing Lamb of God still
will remain unrepentant and will merely seek to flee His anger.
God is long-suffering, but "the great day of His wrath" will surely
come (Revelation 6:17). "For thus saith the LORD of hosts;...I will
shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; And I
will shake all nations" (Haggai 2:6,7). "The earth is utterly broken
down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly"
(Isaiah 24:19). Finally will come "a great earthquake, such as was not
since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so
great....And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found"
Those who belong to Christ, however, will be delivered from the wrath
to come: "This word...signifieth the removing of those things that are
shaken,...that those things which cannot be shaken may remain" (Hebrews
April 4, Saturday FINDING GRACE
"But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD"<%-2> (Genesis 6:8).
This is the very first reference in the Bible to the great concept of
the grace of God. In the midst of the most violent and wicked society
that history has ever seen, there was one man who was "a just man and
perfect in his generations" (Genesis 6:9), and the reason why he was
different was that he "found grace in the eyes of the LORD."
Appropriately, in this first mention of such a vital doctrine, it is
stressed that the grace of God is not something which is either earned
or learned. It cannot be gained by good works or by much study. Grace is
found! It is God's free "gift" (Ephesians 2:8) to any who will receive
it. "For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth,
to shew Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect
toward Him" (II Chronicles 16:9). The eyes of the Lord surely had to
search diligently in an earth "filled with violence" (Genesis 6:13) to
find a man whose heart was open toward God but, when He did find such a
man, "Noah found grace!"
In a beautiful pattern of divine inspiration, it is significant that
the first mention of grace in the New Testament stresses the same great
truth. It appears in the words of the angel Gabriel to the virgin Mary:
"Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor (literally "grace") with God"
(Luke 1:30). Thus Mary, like Noah, "found grace with God." Noah was
chosen by the Lord to save a believing remnant through the Flood by the
building of the Ark of safety, and Mary was chosen by the Lord to bring
into the world the One who would take away its sin, the eternal Ark of
It is the same today. Although "the grace of God that bringeth
salvation hath appeared to all men" (Titus 2:11), only "few there be
that find it" (Matthew 7:14). God's grace is available to all if they
will but believe and accept it, but it takes a seeing heart and a
hearing soul to find it. HMM
April 5, Sunday THE OMNISCIENCE OF GOD
"Great is our LORD, and of great power: His understanding is
infinite" (Psalm 147:5).
Consider the great rhetorical question asked by the Apostle Paul:
"For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been His
counsellor?" (Romans 11:34). The most learned scholars of every age are
mere infants in knowledge compared to Him. "There is no searching of His
understanding" (Isaiah 40:28).
Everyone who believes in God acknowledges that God, by definition, is
omniscient. He created all things and upholds all things, and thus
understands all things. He even knows all the future, for He is "the
high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity" (Isaiah 57:15), and He
created time itself.
Now, while every believer acknowledges this, few really live as if
they believe it. Most of the time, we live and speak and choose just as
though God neither knows nor cares what we do. But He does know! "Thou
knowest my downsitting and mine uprising,...and art acquainted with all
my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but lo, O LORD, thou
knowest it altogether" (Psalm 139:2-4).
Furthermore, as our text reminds us, He is not only omniscient, but
omnipotent. He is "of great power." He has created all things, and
because "He is strong in power; not one faileth" (Isaiah 40:26). Because
He is omniscient, He knew how all things should be made, and because He
is omnipotent, He made them that way. There would, obviously, be no
thought whatever of a trial-and-error, random-mutation,
survival-of-the-fittest, extinction-and- redevelopment sort of creative
process with such a God.
Just as He made His creation "very good" (Genesis 1:31), so we, also,
as believers saved by His grace, are "His workmanship" (Ephesians 2:10).
He does know, and does care, and does work, in all our ways. HMM
April 6, Monday MAN OF SORROWS
"He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted
with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised,
and we esteemed Him not" (Isaiah 53:3).
The marvelous hymn of the last century, "Hallelujah, What A Savior!,"
provides in pithy but powerful form, an insight into the work of our
Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on the cross. For the next few days, let
us use its familiar verses to "think on these things" (Philippians 4:8).
Man of Sorrows!" What a name,
For the Son of God who came.
Ruined sinners to reclaim!
Hallelujah, what a Savor!
The creation should have brought great joy to the Creator, "for thou
hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created"
(Revelation 4:11). But ever since the beginning, the "very good"
creation has defied Him, bringing great grief. In the days of Noah, "it
repented the LORD that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him
at His heart" (Genesis 6:6).
But even in the face of such sinful defiance, the rejected Creator,
the very Son of God came to "deliver them who...were all their lifetime
subject to bondage....To make reconciliation for the sins of the people"
Yet when He came, instead of receiving a liberator's welcome, He was
again "despised and rejected," as in our text for today. He was
ridiculed and slandered, hounded and hunted; His body was beaten and
broken and hung on a cross. But through it all "He hath borne our
griefs, and carried our sorrows....Was wounded for our transgressions,
bruised for our iniquities,...was oppressed and afflicted" (vs.4-7),
reclaiming ruined sinners.
Hallelujah, what a Savior! JDM
April 7, Tuesday CONDEMNED IN MY PLACE
"Likewise also the chief priests mocking Him, with the scribes and
elders, said, He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He be the King
of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe
Him. He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now, if He will have Him:
for He said, I am the Son of God" (Matthew 27:41-43).
Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned He stood --
Sealed my pardon with His blood:
Hallelujah, what a Savior!
Through the sham of a trial, they mocked Him and shamed Him. "They
spit in His face, and buffeted Him" (Matthew 26:67). They "platted a
crown of thorns, (and) put it upon His head" along with a kingly robe
and "they bowed the knee before Him, and mocked Him, saying, Hail, King
of the Jews" (27:29). Then they "scourged Jesus, (and) delivered Him to
be crucified" (27:26). Finally, they stripped Him of His garments, hung
Him naked on the cross, "And sitting down they watched Him there"
(27:36). "They that passed by reviled Him, wagging their heads" (27:39).
Surely such treatment would be reserved for only the worst sinners,
but Pilate called Him "this just person" (v.24), not deserving of
imprisonment or execution. Yet "they all condemned Him to be guilty of
death" (Mark 14:64).
He wasn't guilty, but I am, as are all of us. "For all have sinned"
and "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 3:23; 6:23). He choose to stand
condemned where we belong, for God "hath made Him to be sin for us, who
knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (II
We have thus been granted full pardon, "sealed unto the day of
redemption" (Ephesians 4:30).
Hallelujah, what a Savior! JDM
April 8, Wednesday THE SPOTLESS LAMB OF GOD
"Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible
things, as silver and gold,...But with the precious blood of Christ, as
of a lamb without blemish and without spot" (I Peter 1:18,19).
Guilty, vile and helpless we,
Spotless Lamb of God was He;
Full atonement, can it be?
Hallelujah, what a Savior!
Before God each individual stands as an absolutely guilty sinner.
"There is none righteous, no, not one" (Romans 3:10). Being more "good"
than "bad" doesn't help, "for whosoever shall keep the whole law, and
yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all" (James 2:10). "We are all
as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags
(literally: used menstrual cloths)" (Isaiah 64:6). We are altogether
vile and worthless.
Furthermore, we are powerless to change our situation. Our sins
demand the death penalty, "and without shedding of blood is no
remission" (Hebrews 9:22). Either the guilty party must die to pay sin's
penalty, or a guiltless party must substitute and pay the penalty
instead. And so, "when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ
died for the ungodly....God commendeth His love toward us, in that,
while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:6,8).
This transaction removes our sin from us. We now stand before a Holy
God just as if we had never sinned, and just as if we had always done
right, "justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in
Christ Jesus" (Romans 3:24).
"And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus
Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement" (Romans 5:11).
Hallelujah, what a Savior! JDM
April 9, Thursday IT IS FINISHED!
"As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the
Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in Him should not
perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:14,15).
Lifted up was He to die,
"It is finished" was His cry;
Now in heav'n exalted high:
Hallelujah, what a Savior!
The people of Israel many times rejected God's plan and ways. Once
their complaining brought deadly serpents into the camp as a judgment of
God (Numbers 21:5-7). In response to Moses' intercessory prayer, God
said: "Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and...every
one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live" (v.8).
This episode provides a clear illustration of our sinfulness and
God's remedy. As in our text, those who look upon the cross of Christ
with the eyes of faith, believing that His death provides a glorious
remedy for our sin-wracked souls, will not only "live," but will have
While on that "pole," Almighty God died as "the propitiation for our
sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world"
(I John 2:2). This infinitely difficult work had been initiated at the
time when sin first entered into and thereby spoiled creation (Genesis
3). And as He completed His sacrifice, He cried out "in a loud voice"
(Luke 23:46) the awesome victory cry: "It is finished: and He bowed His
head, and gave up the ghost" (John 19:30).
But death does not end the story, for the grave could not hold the
Creator of life. He rose in victory over death and the grave, thereby
conquering sin, its power and penalty, for ever, for "when He had by
Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on
high" (Hebrews 1:3).
Hallelujah, what a Savior! JDM
April 10, Friday WHEN HE COMES
"For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with
the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in
Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be
caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air:
and so shall we ever be with the Lord" (I Thessalonians 4:16,17).
When He comes our glorious King,
All His ransomed home to bring,
Then anew this song we'll sing;
Hallelujah, what a Savior!
The sacrificed, risen, and exalted Christ will one day return in
glorious victory to the earth. The King of creation will restore His
creation to its original created intent, and reign over it in majesty,
"The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of
His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever" (Revelation 11:15).
Furthermore, as we see in the text above, we shall be with Him,
whether alive or dead, when He returns and reigns -- a cause of much
rejoicing and singing throughout eternity. "And they sang a new song,
saying, Thou art worthy:..for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to
God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and
nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall
reign on the earth" (Revelation 5:9,10).
Through His mighty work of redemption, we have been ransomed out of
slavery to sin. Our sins have been washed away, we have been clothed in
His righteousness, and made fit to live forever with Him as His bride.
"Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and
rejoice, and give honour to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come,
and His wife hath made herself ready" (Revelation 19:6,7).
Hallelujah, what a Savior! JDM
April 11, Saturday THE TWO GREATEST WEEKS
"Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem:
behold, thy King cometh unto thee: He is just, and having salvation;
lowly, and riding upon an ass; and upon a colt the foal of an ass"
The two greatest events in all history are the creation and the
redemption of the world. Each of these events involved a great divine
Week of work and a Day of rest. Day by day throughout the coming week,
culminating on Easter Sunday, we will, in these pages, briefly compare
the events of the seven days of Creation Week and Redemption Week.
The First Day of Creation Week involved the very creation of the
universe itself (Genesis 1:1). An entire cosmos responded to the
creative fiat of the Maker of heaven and earth. Initially, this
space-mass-time (i.e., heaven, earth, beginning) continuum was created
in the form of basic elements only, with no structure and no occupant
(v.2) -- a static suspension in a pervasive, watery matrix (II Peter
3:5). When God's Spirit began to move, however, the gravitational and
electromagnetic force systems for the cosmos were energized. The waters
and their suspensions coalesced into a great spherical planet, and at
His Word, visible light was generated (v.3).
In a beautiful analogy, on the first day of Redemption Week, the
Creator King of the universe entered His chosen capital city (Matthew
21:1-9) to begin His work of redemption, as He had entered His universe
to begin His work of creation. All the basic components of creation were
there to acknowledge their Creator. The stones would have cried out to
Him (Luke 19:39,40), the branches of the palm trees provided a carpet
for Him (John 12:13; Mark 11:8), the ass's colt became His chariot (see
our text, Zechariah 9:9), and the common people sang His praises
(Matthew 21:9). "Behold, thy King cometh unto thee!" HMM
April 12, Sunday PREPARATION OF THE FATHER'S HOUSE
"And He taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall
be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den
of thieves" (Mark 11:17).
As we continue to compare the corresponding days of Creation Week and
Redemption Week, we must note that the chronology of the latter has been
the subject of much disagreement among authorities. Details are
uncertain, but we can at least consider this possible additional
dimension to the understanding and harmony of the two weeks.
Having created and activated the earth on the First Day, God next
provided for it a marvelous atmosphere and hydrosphere in which, later,
would live the birds and fishes. No other planet is equipped with air
and water in such abundance; the earth was uniquely planned for life!
The hydrosphere, on the Second Day, was further divided into waters
below and waters above "the firmament," equipped to maintain a perfect
Paralleling the primeval provision of life-sustaining air and water,
on Day Two of Redemption Week, the Lord entered again into the city and
into the temple, which He had called His Father's house (John 2:16). As
He approached the city, He cursed the barren fig tree (Mark 11:12-14)
and then, in the temple, overthrew the tables of the money-changers
(Mark 11:15). Both actions -- the cursing of the fig tree and the
cleansing of the temple -- symbolize the purging of that which is barren
or corrupt in the Creator's kingdom. He had created a world prepared for
life, but mankind had made it unfruitful and impure. As physical life
must first have a world of pure air and water, so the preparations for a
world of true spiritual life require the purifying breath of the Spirit
and the cleansing water of the Word, preparing for the true fruit of the
Spirit and the true temple of God's presence, in the age to come. HMM
April 13, Monday THE SEA AND THE MOUNTAINS
"Whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou
cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe
that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have
whatsoever he saith" (Mark 11:23).
On the Third Day of Redemption Week, the sight of the withered fig
tree led to an instructive lesson on faith in God, the Lord Jesus
assuring the disciples that real faith could even move mountains into
the sea. In parallel, on the Third Day of Creation Week, He had
literally called the mountains up out of the sea (Genesis 1:9,10)!
It was also on this day that the Lord rebuked the Jewish leaders with
two parables about a vineyard (Matthew 21:28-43). They had been placed
in charge of God's vineyard on the earth, and had failed. Like the fig
tree, there was no fruit for God from their service, and they must be
Likewise, on Day Three of Creation, the entire earth had supported an
abundance of fruit to nourish every living creature (Genesis 1:11,12).
It had been placed in man's care (1:28-30; 2:15), but he had failed.
Before the earth can become a beautiful garden again (Revelation 22:2),
it must be purged, and the faithless keepers of the vineyard banished.
This Third Day of Passion Week was climaxed with His great discourse
on the Mount of Olives, in which the Lord promised He would come again
some day in power and great glory (Matthew 24). He then spent the night
with His disciples there on the mountain, no doubt remembering the first
mountains. Also, the little Garden of Gethsemane -- on its slopes --
would bring to mind the beautiful Garden of Eden and the verdant world
He had planted everywhere that same day. Now, because of what He was
about to do in Jerusalem, the ground would some day be cleansed of its
Curse and the world made new again. HMM
April 14, Tuesday THE LIGHTS OF THE WORLD
"And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day,
and the lesser light to rule the night: He made the stars also" (Genesis
On the Fourth Day of Creation Week, the Lord Jesus had formed the sun
and the moon and all the stars of heaven. There had been "light" on the
first three days, but now there were actual lights! Not only would the
earth and its verdure be a source of beauty and sustenance to man, but
even the very heavens would bring joy and inspiration to him.
Furthermore, they would guide his way, and keep his time.
But instead of the stars of heaven turning man's thoughts and
affections toward his Creator, they had been corrupted and identified
with a host of false gods and goddesses. Furthermore, instead of
creating a sense of awe and reverence for His majesty, they had
bolstered the humanistic belief that the earth is insignificant and
meaningless in a vast, evolving cosmos. Perhaps thoughts such as these
troubled the mind of the Lord that night as He lay on the mountain
gazing at the lights He had long ago made for the darkness.
When morning came and Day Four of Redemption Week began, He returned
to Jerusalem, where many were waiting to hear Him. He taught in the
temple (Luke 21:37,38), but the synoptic gospels do not record His
teachings. This lack is probably supplied in the apparently
parenthetical record of His temple teaching as given only in John's
Gospel (12:20-50), because there He twice compared Himself to the lights
He had made. "I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth
on me should not abide in darkness." "Yet a little while is the light
with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you"
(John 12:46,35). He who was the True Light must become darkness, in
order that, in the new world, there would never be night again
(Revelation 22:5). HMM
April 15, Wednesday THE LAMB OF GOD
"Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye
are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us" (I
The Fifth Day of Redemption Week was the annual day for the Passover
Supper. We know nothing of His words during that day, but perhaps this
Scriptural silence is for the purpose of emphasizing the greater
importance of these preparations for the Passover.
Multitudes of sacrificial lambs and other animals had been slain and
their blood spilled through the centuries, but this would be the last
such acceptable sacrifice. On the morrow, the Lamb of God would take
away the sin of the world (John 1:29). He would offer one sacrifice for
sins forever (Hebrews 10:12). With the blood of His cross, He would
become the great Peace Maker, reconciling all things unto the Maker of
those things (Colossians 1:16,20).
As the Lord thought about the shedding of the blood of that last
Passover Lamb on that Fifth Day of Holy Week, He must also have thought
of the Fifth Day of Creation Week, when He had first created animal life
(Genesis 1:21). This had been His second great act of creation -- this
creation of the entity of conscious animal life (the first act of ex
nihilo creation had been the creation in Genesis 1:1 of the physical
elements). In these living animals, the "life" of the flesh was in their
blood, and it was the blood which would later be accepted as an
atonement for sin (Leviticus 17:11). Note that the words "creature,"
"soul," and "life" are all translations of the same Hebrew word nephesh.
Surely the shedding of the innocent blood of the lamb that day would
recall the far-off day when the "life" in that blood had first been
created. And because He, the Lamb of God, was about to become our
Passover (note our text for the day), death itself would soon be
swallowed up in victory and life (I Corinthians 15:54). HMM
April 16, Thursday THE GROANING CREATION
"For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain
together until now" (Romans 8:22).
On the Sixth Day, man had been created in God's image and likeness --
the very climax and goal of creation (Genesis 1:26,27). But on this
Sixth Day, God, made in the likeness of man, finished the even greater
work of redemption.
Under the great Curse, the whole creation had long been groaning and
travailing in pain. But now, the Creator, Himself, had been made the
Curse (Galatians 3:13; Isaiah 52:14), and it seemed as though the
Creation also must die. Though He had made heaven and earth on the First
Day, now He had been lifted up from the earth (John 3:14) and the
heavens were silent (Matthew 27:46). Though He had made the waters on
the Second Day, He who was the very Water of Life (John 4:14), was dying
of thirst (John 19:28).
On the Third Day, He had made the dry land, but now the "earth did
quake, and the rocks rent" (Matthew 27:51). He had also covered the
earth with trees and vines on that Third Day, but now the True Vine
(John 15:1) had been plucked up and the Green Tree (Luke 23:31) cut
down. He had made the sun on the Fourth Day, but now the sun was
darkened (Luke 23:45) and the Light of the World (John 8:12) was burning
out. On the Fifth Day, He had created life, and He, Himself, was life
(John 11:25; 14:6), but now the life of His flesh, the precious blood,
was being poured out, and He had been brought "into the dust of death"
(Psalm 22:15). On the Sixth Day, He had created man and given him life,
but now man had rejected Him and was putting Him to death.
The creation has been groaning and travailing in pain ever since
Adam's sin, but its Creator has paid the price for its redemption, and
therefore, it will someday "be delivered from the bondage of corruption
into the glorious liberty of the children of God" (Romans 8:21). HMM
April 17, Friday IT IS FINISHED!
"When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, He said, It is
finished: and He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost" (John 19:30).
"On the Seventh Day God ended His work which He had made" (Genesis
2:2). Furthermore, "everything that He had made...was very good"
And so is His work of salvation! "Jesus knowing that all things were
now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled...said, It is
finished" (John 19:28,30). The emphasized words ("accomplished,"
"fulfilled," "finished") are all the same in the Greek original.
When all the relevant Scriptures had been fulfilled and the price of
reconciliation ("the blood of His cross," Colossians 1:20) fully paid,
He could finally shout the great victory cry (Matthew 27:50), "It is
finished!" As the finished creation was "very good," so is our finished
salvation. The salvation which Christ our Creator thus provided on the
cross is "so great" (Hebrews 2:3) and "eternal" (Hebrews 5:9), that the
hope thereof is "good" (II Thessalonians 2:16).
Then, finally, having finished the work of redemption, Christ rested
once again, on the Seventh Day. As He had rested on that first Seventh
Day, now He could rest again, His body sleeping in Joseph's tomb.
He had died quickly, and the preparations for burial had been hurried
(Luke 23:54-56), so that He could be buried before the Sabbath. On the
third day (that is, the first day of the new week), He would rise again,
as He had said (Matthew 16:21, et al). His body rested in the tomb all
the Sabbath Day, plus part of the previous and following days, according
to Hebrew idiomatic usage, "three days and three nights" (Matthew 12:40)
-- but death could hold Him no longer. He arose from the dead, and is
now "alive forevermore" (Revelation 1:18). HMM
April 18, Saturday RESURRECTION AND CREATION
"And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist. And He
is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn
from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence"
The two greatest miracles in all history were the Creation of the
World and the Resurrection of its Creator. In the devotional studies for
the past week, we have noted the remarkable parallels between the Week
of Creation and the Week of Redemption, with both these incomparable
work weeks completed with a day of divine rest.
But then, that One who was "before all things" became also "the
firstborn from the dead." Only the Creator could redeem His lost
creation, cursed and dying because of sin, by Himself taking the Curse
and dying for sin. God, however, cannot die (in the sense of ceasing to
exist), for He is Life itself. His mortal body could sleep in the grave,
and His holy Spirit suffer the anguish of hell, but it was inevitable
that He must conquer sin and death. The omnipotent Creator cannot
possibly fail in His purpose in creation. In all things, He must have
the preeminence, for it is only by Him that things exist at all!
Therefore, as Creation is the foundation of all true science, so the
Resurrection is the centrality of all true history. All real facts of
science support the primeval Creation, and the best-proved fact of
history is the Resurrection. As the great Apostle preached long ago in
the very center of all human wisdom and culture, in Athens, "God that
made the world and all things therein, seeing that He is Lord of heaven
and earth...hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world
in righteousness by that man whom He hath ordained; whereof He hath
given assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised Him from the dead"
(Acts 17:24,31). HMM
April 19, Sunday ALIVE WITH CHRIST
"Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live
with Him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more;
death hath no more dominion over Him" (Romans 6:8,9).
The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead both guarantees
the future bodily resurrection of the believer and associates us
positionally with Him now. Since He died for our sins, we, in effect,
were "dead with Christ." Therefore, when He defeated death and hell, and
revived His own dead body in immortal power, He broke any dominion of
death over Him or over those who were, positionally, with Him.
This is one of the grandest Scriptural themes of the Christian life.
We were dead with Christ, but now God "hath quickened us together with
Christ" (Ephesians 2:5). Not only have we been "made alive" (I
Corinthians 15:22) with Him, but we have also been "raised" with Him up
from the grave and then into heaven where we are "seated" with Him on
His throne! "(God) hath raised us up together, and made us sit together
in heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:6).
This means also that we have been glorified with Him and are actually
reigning with Him. "The Spirit (Himself) beareth witness with our
spirit, that we are the children of God:...that we may be also glorified
together" (Romans 8:16,17).
But if all this is only true in position, what meaning does His
resurrection life have on our daily lives now? Simply this -- that,
knowing these truths gives us the incentive and power to live them. "If
(or, literally, "Since") ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things
which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your
affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead,
and your life is hid with Christ, in God" (Colossians 3:1-3). "For we
also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God
toward you" (II Corinthians 13:4). HMM
April 20, Monday THE OFFENSE OF THE CROSS
"And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer
persecution? then is the offense of the cross ceased" (Galatians 5:11).
The cross is profoundly offensive to the natural man, for it brands
him as a hell-deserving sinner. It makes his only hope of salvation
a humbling acknowledgment of Christ, the rejected Creator, as his
personal Savior, who died for his sins.
It is especially sad when Christians seek to escape this offense of
the cross by accommodating their preaching of the cross to the opinions
of those who reject it. In the case of the Galatians, legalistic
Christians were insisting that Christian converts from paganism be
circumcized, in order to avoid offending the Jews. When Paul, instead,
preached salvation by grace alone, he was persecuted for it.
This particular compromise has long been forgotten, but a multitude
of others have arisen during the ensuing centuries to take its place.
Whenever some new philosophy or practice becomes popular in the world, a
Christian party will soon be found advocating its adoption in the
church, ostensibly to promote easier acceptance of the gospel, but in
reality seeking to mitigate the offense of the cross.
Whenever the pagan world follows after a new dress trend or a new
music form, a new philosophy or a new life style, many Christians are
sure to follow. Witness the widespread compromise with pantheistic
evolution and its so-called geologic "ages" by Christian
accommodationists, for example. Or, consider the current acceptance of
Eastern or Freudian thinking by Biblical counsellors, or the common
sanction of divorce for trivial reasons.
Instead of fleeing from the offense of the cross, we need to say with
Paul, "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord
Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the
world" (Galatians 6:14). HMM
April 21, Tuesday THE FOUNDATION OF THE MINISTRY
"Yea, so that I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was
named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation: But as it is
written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that
have not heard shall understand" (Romans 15:20,21).
In our text, Paul rightly alludes to the fact that the gospel is the
foundational belief of the Christian. Throughout the New Testament, the
preaching of the gospel, as it relates to personal salvation, has three
great emphases: First, it deals with the historical truth of Jesus'
life, death, burial, and resurrection (I Corinthians 15:1-8); second, it
explains the nature of Jesus Christ as Lord and King; third, it exhorts
man to turn from sin and accept forgiveness through the work of Christ
This foundational message was no different in the Old Testament. In
fact, the last portion of our text is quoted from Isaiah 52:15, in the
beginning of the majestic description of the suffering and eventual
triumph of our Lord on the cross. "Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise
Him; He hath put Him to grief: when thou shalt make His soul an offering
for sin....He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be
satisfied: by His knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many: for
He shall bear their iniquities" (Isaiah 53:10,11).
These eternal truths of the gospel are still as true today as in
ancient days. If anyone who reads these lines has not heard it before,
it could become foundational to his salvation. For a Christian, it must
become foundational in his ministry to others. "For all have
sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). "For the
wages of sin is death; but the <%-2>gift of God is eternal life through
Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23). "That if thou shalt confess with
thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath
raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved" (Romans 10:9).
April 22, Wednesday LESSONS FOR ANGELS
"Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us
they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them
that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down
from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into" (I Peter
This is an amazing revelation. Many Christians speak of what they
call the "simple gospel," and yet its scope is so great that angels,
whose wisdom and power are far greater than those of human beings, are
continually learning about its riches as they watch from heaven.
Angels, like humans, are created beings. They are not omniscient, and
they evidently are learning more and more about Him as they observe the
outworkings of His great plan of creation and redemption through the
lives of redeemed men and women on Earth. In fact, "the principalities
and powers in heavenly places" are somehow being instructed "by the
church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose
which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Ephesians 3:10,11).
Satan and the angels who are following Him in his long war against
God are also learning. They learned long ago that they could not
destroy Job's faith in God, nor Peter's testimony for Christ, though
they surely tried! And they will soon start learning, in the
"everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matthew
25:41), that God alone is Creator and eternal King.
Now if angels are still learning about God and His ways, though they
have already been in God's presence for thousands of years, we can also
learn from them, that our future translation to heaven will not
immediately enable us to understand all things. We, like they, shall
continue learning forever, "the depth of the riches both of the wisdom
and knowledge of God!" (Romans 11:33). HMM
April 23, Thursday PAUL'S METHOD FOR SUCCESS
"Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing
I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto
those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of
the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:13,14).
Success has become a Twentieth Century fetish, it seems, -- from
self-help seminars, to multi-level marketing schemes, to the yuppie
mentality. A motivational and success-oriented mindset has even spilled
over into the church. Instead of employing such worldly methods,
however, we should emulate the lives and methods of successful Biblical
examples, such as the Apostle Paul.
In this passage, Paul explains his secrets. First, he kept his
attention on important things. Earthly things were of no value (vs.7,8),
while the knowledge of Christ and His sufferings was of great value
(vs.8,10). Paul's desire was to acquire the "righteousness...which is
through the faith of Christ" (v.9), and to attain eternal life (v.11).
Second, he had a proper view of himself. He knew he was imperfect
(v.12) and incomplete (v.13), having worth only through the work of
Christ. Third, he didn't dwell on past mistakes. Once forgiven through
repentance and faith in Christ, he knew that he need no longer bear the
guilt for his mistakes, and must not let them hinder his present
Fourth, Paul looked forward to the future, stretching himself to
reach his goals (vs.13,14). And his goals were high -- "the mark for the
prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (v.14).
What is the prize which awaits those who are successful in this high
calling? "Our [citizenship] is in heaven; from whence also we look for
the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that
it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body" (vs.20,21). JDM
April 24, Friday THE GOD OF THE GOURD
"And the LORD God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over
Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his
grief. So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd" (Jonah 4:6).
In the brief story of Jonah, the Lord has given us a striking insight
into His providential ways with His people. He "prepared" four special
instruments for revealing His will and His great concern for the people
God wanted to help. Each involved a very ordinary thing, functioning in
an extraordinary way (providential miracles, as it were).
First, "the LORD had prepared a great fish" (Jonah 1:17), both to
save Jonah from drowning and to enable God to convince him of the urgent
necessity of fulfilling the ministry to which He had called him. Then,
after he had preached in Nineveh and God had spared the city, Jonah
became angry and wanted to die, so "the LORD God prepared a gourd...that
it might be a shadow over his head" (4:6). Jonah was thankful for this
providential shade from the heat, but he was still not thankful for the
sparing of Nineveh. Therefore, "God prepared a worm" and by the next
day, "it smote the gourd that it withered" (4:7). Furthermore, "God
prepared a vehement east wind" (4:8), and the blasting heat angered
Jonah more than ever, so that he again wanted to die.
Finally Jonah was able to hear what God was really saying to him in
all these circumstances, and he realized the tremendous scope of God's
mercy and compassion for the lost.
As with Jonah, God speaks to us through ordinary things in
providential circumstances. Whether by a marvelous deliverance or a
comforting provision, a sudden loss or a mighty storm, God leads us into
His will and transforms our lives and hearts to conform to His love.
"All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who
are the called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28). HMM
April 25, Saturday WHY THE RIGHTEOUS SUFFER
"I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear; but now mine eye
seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes" (Job
God had said that Job was "a perfect and an upright man" and that
there was "none like him in the earth" (Job 1:8). Yet Job suffered as
few men have ever suffered. After a fruitful life of great prosperity
and highest esteem in the community, he suddenly lost all his
possessions, all his children, his health, the love of his wife, and the
respect of his closest friends. His friends, presuming to defend God's
character, insisted Job must have been guilty of some terrible secret
sin. But Job, in all good conscience, while still trusting God, felt he
had to defend his own integrity against these false charges.
Nevertheless, despite Job's spotless record of moral righteousness,
when he encountered God Himself, he could only despise his own proud
self-righteousness and prostrate himself in dust and ashes. Similarly,
the beloved disciple, John, after a long life of faithful service, fell
like a dead man at the feet of Christ when he saw Him in His glory
(Revelation 1:17). Daniel also saw Him in this fashion, and even after
his long, exemplary life, all of his apparent goodness and work suddenly
appeared like corruption (Daniel 10:5-9).
In the presence of God, even the most holy among men appear vile, and
the sins of pride and self-righteousness and self-sufficiency -- which
almost inevitably are still present in their hearts -- must somehow be
purged before they are fully like Jesus.
This is why Job and Daniel and Paul and all other godly men and women
must suffer in some degree as training for heavenly service. "For unto
you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but
also to suffer for His sake" (Philippians 1:29). HMM
April 26, Sunday WAITING FOR JESUS
"Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for
the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; He also is become my
salvation" (Isaiah 12:2).
It is fascinating to note all the occurrences of the word "salvation"
in the Old Testament. Most are translations of the Hebrew yeshua, which
corresonds to the name "Jesus" in English. For example, the verse above
could just as well read "Behold, God is my Jesus;...the LORD JEHOVAH is
my strength and song; He also is become my Jesus."
Hebrew parents usually gave their children names which had
significance. Thus, when Gabriel instructed Joseph to name Mary's son
"Jesus," they would recognize immediately that they were, in effect, to
name Him "Salvation," because, "He shall save His people from their
sins" (Matthew 1:21). We can easily imagine that Mary and Joseph spent
many hours together pouring over their Bibles and reading again all the
great prophecies of the coming Savior -- especially those in which His
very Name, yeshua, had been anticipated.
The first of these was in the dying words of their ancestor, Jacob,
after whom Joseph's own father had been named (Matthew 1:16). In almost
his last words, the dying patriarch had exclaimed: "I have waited for
thy salvation, O LORD" (Genesis 49:18). We can at least wonder whether
they wondered if Jacob, in his prophetic vision, had actually seen
Jesus, and cried out, enraptured, "I have waited for thy Jesus, O LORD!"
Then, in Habakkuk 3:13, they could even have found both His name and His
title ("anointed"=Messiah= Christ). Thus: "Thou wentest forth for the
salvation of thy people, even for salvation with thine anointed (i.e.
Jesus thy Christ); thou woundest the head out of the house of the
wicked" (i.e., Satan -- note Genesis 3:15). In any case, we can be sure
that Joseph and Mary "marvelled at those things which were spoken of
Him" (Luke 2:33). HMM
April 27, Monday ENDURING FOREVER
"O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for His mercy endureth for
ever" (Psalm 136:26).
This is the final verse in the unique 136th psalm, in which all 26
verses end with the thrilling testimony: "His mercy endureth for ever!"
This same affirmation occurs 15 more times in the Old Testament. How
important it must be for us to remember forever that God's
"lovingkindness" (same word as "mercy") endures forever!
But it is not only His mercy which is everlasting. He is eternally
kind and loving, but He is also eternally just and righteous. "Thy word
is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments
(endureth) for ever" (Psalm 119:160).
His word of truth existed in the beginning, and will also exist
through all the ages to come. "For His merciful kindness is great toward
us: and the truth of the LORD (endureth) for ever" (Psalm 117:2). In
this verse, the word "great" actually means "victorious." Nothing can
ever defeat God's loving mercy and His truthful Word, for they endure
from eternity to eternity. Likewise, His "kingdom is an everlasting
kingdom, and (His) dominion endureth throughout all generations" (Psalm
145:13), "and the goodness of God endureth continually" (Psalm 52:1).
Finally, there is this all-encompassing testimony: "Thy name, O LORD,
endureth for ever" (Psalm 135:13). All the divine attributes and all the
divine purposes are embraced in His holy Name, and thus none can ever
Now, note that in all the verses cited, the verb "endureth" was not
in the original. The divinely inspired writers thus recognized that no
verb was really necessary. The very concepts of the Name, the truth, the
righteousness, and the mercy of God must be everlasting, for He is the
God of heaven! HMM
April 28, Tuesday UNOFFENSIVELY OFFENSIVE
"Woe unto the world because of offenses! for it must needs be that
offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh!" (Matthew
The word here translated "offend" is the Greek skandalizo and
"offense" is skandalar, from which we derive our English words "scandal"
and "scandalize." The basic meaning of these words is "to cause to sin"
or "to ensnare." It is bad enough to commit an act of sin, but even more
scandalous in God's sight is the act of causing someone to sin. It is
especially dangerous to lead children into sin. "And whosoever shall
offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him
that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the
sea" (Mark 9:42). What a solemn judgment awaits those teachers and
counselors who lead their pupils to doubt or disobey the Word of God!
Yet, despite these and many similar warnings against "offenses," we
are also told that Christ, Himself, is "a stumblingstone and rock of
offense" (Romans 9:33). There is a very real "offense of the cross"
(Galatians 5:11), and the Apostle Paul says: "We preach Christ
crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock (same word as `offense')" (I
There is no contradiction, of course. The preaching of Christ and the
cross is profoundly offensive to sinners and they will often react
angrily, and sometimes violently, against it, thus compounding their sin.
When we bear witness of Christ, our message is necessarily
offensive, for it must condemn and convict before it can save.
Nevertheless, it is profoundly important that, in any other respect than
this, we never cause others to sin by bringing an offense. Our message
may offend, but the context of life and word in which it is given should
be without offense, if we would be faithful and effective in our service
for Christ. HMM
April 29, Wednesday TRUTH AND LOVE
"But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things,
which is the head, even Christ" (Ephesians 4:15).
There are many Christians who are sticklers for what they consider
sound doctrine, but who are abrasive and unloving in their attitude
toward those who hold other doctrines. There are far more Christians, on
the other hand, who talk much about Christian love but who consider
doctrinal integrity of secondary -- or even negative -- significance.
Both groups of professing Christians, however, are only babes in
Christ, at best. As our text makes clear, the mature Christian (one who
has "grown up into Christ in all things") speaks the truth in love. That
is, he is not a babe, "tossed to and fro...with every wind of doctrine"
(v.14), but he understands, believes, and teaches the truth of God as
revealed in His Word. At the same time, he does so in love, making
"increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love" (v.16).
One cannot really do the truth or teach the truth without manifesting
true love, nor can one manifest true love except in a context of genuine
truth. "The fruit of the Spirit is love" (Galatians 5:22), but that
Spirit who produces such fruit is "the Spirit of truth" (John 15:26).
Truth and love are not in conflict, as many Christians seem to think (or
at least practice), for they represent two different -- not competing --
categories. "Truth" is not even included in the nine-fold "fruit of the
Spirit" (Galatians 5:22,23), because Truth is, itself, the tree on which
the fruit must grow.
It is especially important not to be led away from sound Biblical
truth by popular preachers and teachers who downgrade doctrine in favor
of what they may call "love." "My little children," says the Apostle
John, "let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in
truth" (I John 3:18). HMM
April 30, Thursday SEEING AND BELIEVING
"Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast
believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed"
Jesus was willing to give doubting Thomas the visible evidence he
wanted before he would believe. However, He did give His disciple a mild
There is an important principle here. Thomas was willing to believe,
but only when the visible evidence was too strong to question. Neither
the promise of Christ that He would rise from the dead nor the testimony
of His chosen apostles that the promise had been fulfilled was
sufficient to convince him, and the Lord was disappointed.
When God has spoken plainly in His Word, that ought to be sufficient
for those who really believe Him. Yet, again and again, Christians allow
their faith to be shaken by some new cosmic theory, or age estimate, or
something else. No matter how strong the Biblical case for the worldwide
Flood may be, for example, many Christians will not believe it until all
the geological questions can be resolved. Even though the Bible
unequivocally teaches that all things were created in six literal days
(see Exodus 20:11), many Christians won't accept this until they can see
overwhelming scientific evidence of a young earth. In fact, some will
never believe in either recent creation or a worldwide flood until all
the secular scientists accept them first.
God has allowed many visible evidences of the truth of His Word to be
revealed. There is a strong scientific case for Biblical creation, and
we are justified in believing God's Word, even where we don't yet see
any visible evidence. As Peter said, concerning those who believe
implicitly in Christ and His Word: "Whom having not seen, ye love; in
whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy
unspeakable and full of glory" (I Peter 1:8). HMM
May 1, Friday HOW TO TAKE CRITICISM
"Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a
just man, and he will increase in learning" (Proverbs 9:9).
One of the most difficult lessons for Christians to learn is how to
take criticism. The natural reaction is one either of resentment and
desire to lash back, or else of discouragement and quitting. Neither is
honoring to the Lord.
Remembering that "all things work together for good" (Romans 8:28) to
the sincere Christian believer, we should first of all consider the
criticism as potential "instruction" from God as well as from the
critic. We should seek to test the criticism as objectively as possible,
in light of our actions and the Scriptures, the most probing critic of
all. "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any
two edged sword...and is a discerner (literally `criticizer') of the
thoughts and intents of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12).
If it turns out that the criticism is even partly valid, then the
obvious course is to take the appropriate remedial action, and to do it
as prayerfully and graciously as possible.
On the other hand, if an honest evaluation of the criticism reveals
it to be unwarranted, or perhaps even deliberately false and hurtful,
then our example becomes Christ, Himself. He never did or said anything
to merit criticism (as we do, far too often), but He received it in
What was His response? "When He was reviled, (He) reviled not again;
when He suffered, He threatened not; but committeth Himself to Him that
judgeth righteously" (I Peter 2:23). Remember that "a soft answer
turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger" (Proverbs 15:1).
By all means, we must not become discouraged into retreating or
quitting, "For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners
against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds" (Hebrews
May 2, Saturday FLEE
"Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body;
but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body" (I
Four times in the New Testament we are warned to "flee" sinful
actions and temptations. The Greek word pheugo, from which we get our
word "fugitive," means simply "to run away." Evidently there are certain
things which must be avoided at all costs. Our text mentions
fornication, and brings to mind godly Joseph's reaction to Potiphar's
wife's advances (Genesis 39:12). Even though his decision cost him
dearly in the short run, it was the right thing to do, and God honored
Likewise, if we are to do the right thing, we must "flee from
idolatry" (I Corinthians 10:14), such as participation in the pagan
feasts of Paul's day, as well as the modern-day counterparts which might
bring us under demonic influence or in contact with worship of the
"But thou, O man of God, flee these things" (I Timothy 6:11), says
Paul, after listing "envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse
disputings" (vs.4,5) and "love of money" (v.10). Paul knew, however,
that merely fleeing these evils was not enough. He wisely instructed
Timothy to substitute positive actions in the place of the negative
ones he was to avoid, and to "follow after righteousness, godliness,
faith, love, patience, meekness" (v.11). Elsewhere, he admonished Timothy
to "flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity,
peace" (II Timothy 2:22) with the aid and mutual encouragement of "them
that call on the Lord out of a pure heart." God does not expect us to
live the Christian life entirely on our own.
We who have "fled for refuge" (Hebrews 6:18) to God have another bit
of encouragement. This time, it is not the believer who must flee, but
we are told that as we "resist the devil... he will flee" from us (James
May 3, Sunday THE TENDER PLANT
"For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out
of a dry ground: He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see
Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him" (Isaiah 53:2).
The New Testament writers say nothing at all concerning the physical
appearance of the Lord when He became a man. Human tradition would
picture Him as a strong athlete or handsome star, but the Scriptures
Our text is from the greatest of the Messianic prophecies. It tells
us that, as a child, He would "grow up as a tender plant," like a "root
out of a dry ground." Humanly speaking, He was unimpressive. He had "no
form nor comeliness" and "no beauty." He was a very ordinary appearing
man. In fact, when Christ became man, He "took upon Him the form of a
servant (literally `slave')" (Philippians 2:7). Matthew, referring to
Isaiah 53:4, says that He even "took our infirmities, and bare our
sicknesses" (Matthew 8:17).
What all this means may not be clear, but it does seem to tell us
that Jesus was a very ordinary sort of man, physically. Furthermore,
humanly speaking, he was quite poor, having been raised in the despised
town of Nazareth, in the impoverished province of Galilee. "Though He
was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor," we are told (II
Yet, this ordinary person was none other than the incarnate Creator,
the Son of God! He had come, as the "Son of man" -- representing all
people, most of whom are also just average men and women -- "to seek and
to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10).
Then, even His tender body was beaten beyond recognition and His
meager possessions taken away, when He was "made...sin for us, who knew
no sin" (II Corinthians 5:21), and died in our place, to save us
ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny in the world to come! HMM
May 4, Monday MY
"The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my
strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my
salvation, and my high tower" (Psalm 18:2).
David, in writing this psalm, used the word my eight times in verse
two to show what God was to him personally, and how God had given him
great deliverance from his enemies. He knew that God was personally
interested in him, and that He was not a God who was so far away He was
untouchable and non-communicative. David called God:
1. My rock: Paul said that the Rock that followed Moses in the
wilderness was Christ (I Corinthians 10:4). Christ is the Rock of our
salvation. We are eternally secure in Him.
2. My fortress: We are kept secure in God's garrison by His
mighty power (I Peter 1:5). He is our impregnable fortress.
3. My deliverer: He has delivered us from sin, from the wrath to
come, and one day even from death (I Thessalonians 1:10).
4. My God: All that God is, in His person and power, is available
to every Christian. We can say with authority: I am His and He is mine!
5. My strength: God gives strength to those who recognize and admit
that they are weak. "My strength is made perfect in weakness" (II
6. My buckler: God is our shield of protection. "His truth shall be
thy shield and buckler" (Psalm 91:4). "Taking the shield of faith,
wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked"
7. My horn of salvation: As a horned beast drives into his enemy,
even so Christ powerfully confronts our enemies and brings us salvation
(II Samuel 22:3).
8. My high tower: In our high tower, we are out of the reach of our
enemies and completely safe. "The name of the LORD is a strong tower:
the righteous runneth into it, and is safe" (Proverbs 18:10). NPS
May 5, Tuesday FORMED TO BE INHABITED
"For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God Himself that
formed the earth and made it; He hath established it, He created it not
in vain, He formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none
else" (Isaiah 45:18).
This verse is the key proof-text for the "gap theory," which attempts
to accommodate the evolutionary "ages" of geology by placing them in a
hypothetical gap between the first two verses of Genesis. Genesis 1:2
states: "The earth was without form" (Hebrew tohu), but Isaiah says, "He
created it not in vain" (same word, tohu). Thus it is argued that the
earth became "tohu" long after the primeval creation, as a result of
Satan's rebellion in heaven supposedly allowing the geological ages to
be inserted between these two events.
Actually, the meaning of tohu is very flexible; it occurs 20 times
and is translated 10 different ways, depending on context. In our text
above, Isaiah was not writing about the initial state of the creation,
but the purpose of the creation, that purpose being to provide a
beautiful and appropriate home for mankind.
The translation "in vain" was required by Isaiah's context, just as
"without form" best fits the context in Genesis 1:2. There is no
conflict, since the two passages are dealing with two different
subjects, and Isaiah's message simply extols God's ultimate and certain
goal for His creation.
When God first created the space/time universe, only the basic
elements of the earth (Genesis 1:1) were created, with neither structure
nor inhabitant, but that was not its full purpose. God had merely
"created" the heavens according to this verse. But then, with great
care, He formed the earth, made the earth and established the earth, and
all this was done to make it ready to be inhabited by men and women who
would share His image and know His love. HMM
May 6, Wednesday ANOTHER JESUS
"For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not
preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received,
or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with
him" (II Corinthians 11:4).
The 11th chapter of II Corinthians contains an enlightening warning
about false teachers. One should not carelessly follow a personable
religious leader merely because he "preaches Jesus" or urges audiences
to "receive the Spirit."
"Jesus" is quite popular among worldly people today, but not the true
Jesus. The popular Jesus may be the baby Jesus in the manger at
Christmastime, or the buddy Jesus of Nashville "gospel" music, or the
success-counseling Jesus of the positive thinkers. He may be the
romantic Jesus of the Christian crooners, the rhythmic Jesus of
Christian rock, or the reforming Jesus of the liberals, but none of
these are the Jesus preached by the Apostle Paul, and therefore not the
real Jesus who saves men and women from their sins.
Jesus, in reality, is the Lord Jesus Christ, the offended Creator of
the universe (Colossians 1:16), who had to die as man on the cross to
redeem us through His shed blood (Colossians 1:14,20), and who then rose
from the dead to be set "far above all principality, and power, and
might, and dominion, and every name that is named" (Ephesians 1:21).
Finally, it is this Jesus "who shall judge the quick and the dead at His
appearing and His kingdom" (II Timothy 4:1).
The Lord Jesus, as He really is, is not the popular Jesus of T-shirts
and bumper stickers, politicians and entertainers. He was "despised and
rejected of men" (Isaiah 53:3), so they "crucified the Lord of glory" (I
He is the mighty God, the perfect Man, the only Savior, the eternal
King, and Lord of Lords. God-called teachers will not preach an
imaginary Jesus who appeals to the flesh, but rather, the true Christ of
creation and salvation. HMM
May 7, Thursday APOSTASY AND PROSPERITY
"And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always
having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work" (II
One of the most tragic movements in Christendom today teaches that
God promises to make each Christian prosper in material wealth. Suffice
it to say, the Bible teaches no such thing, as seen in our text and
elsewhere, but this false teaching is not new, and is associated with
Consider Chapters 17 and 18 of the Book of Judges, which describes a
period of rampant apostasy and confusion. The chapters provide character
sketches of an itinerant Levite, the tribe of Dan, and a man named
Micah. First we see that Micah steals 1100 shekels of silver from his
mother, who then places a curse on the unknown thief. Micah, fearing the
curse, confesses the crime. His mother tries to lessen the curse by
dedicating all the money to the Lord, and converts 200 shekels into an
idol. Micah places the idol with his others, and consecrates his son as
priest, even though they are of the tribe of Ephraim. Later, he hires
the Levite to be his priest and exclaims, "Now know I that the LORD will
do me good, seeing I have a Levite to my priest" (Judges 17:13).
In the next chapter, spies of the Danites go to the priest for God's
blessing on their efforts to find land that they can conquer. When the
marauders return, they recruit the Levite to a more prosperous position.
He joins them, having stolen Micah's idols, and establishes the tribal
Each one in this story was confident that God would bless them
materially because they had the trappings of religion. The common
denominator was greed. Their desire for personal prosperity led them to
a prostitution of the true worship of God. But whenever religion is
"used" to justify the "love of money," it suffers degradation. "Ye
cannot serve God and mammon" (Matthew 6:24). JDM
May 8, Friday GOD MY PERSONAL SAVIOR
"And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior" (Luke 1:47).
One of the most wonderful titles of the Lord Jesus Christ is that of
Savior. This word (Greek, soter, from which is derived our
theological term "soteriology," the study of salvation) occurs 24 times
in the New Testament, and is applied only to Christ, "for there is none
other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts
It occurs first of all on the lips of the Virgin Mary, in our text
above, when she realized that she had been chosen to be the mother of
the Savior. It is significant that this first use of soter recognizes
that our Savior can be none other than God Himself -- "God my Savior" --
and also that this fact should cause our spirits to rejoice, as Mary's
did. He becomes our personal Savior when we believe on Him, as did Mary.
He is also "the Savior of the world" (John 4:42; I John 4:14), and
the "Savior of all men" in the sense that His work on the cross is
sufficient to save all who will receive Him.
There are eight other verses in the New Testament in which "Savior"
is taken as synonymous with "God." The final occurrence of "Savior" is
one of these, and it is in one of the greatest doxologies of the Bible.
"To the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and
power, both now and ever. Amen" (Jude 25).
There are many today who see the man Jesus as a great teacher and
example, but who reject His deity. There are many others who believe in
a cosmic deity of some kind, but are unwilling to believe that He could
become uniquely incarnate in a perfect Man. How urgent it is that we
believe and teach that our Creator must also become our Savior if we are
ever to be saved. We must "trust in the living God, who is the Savior of
all men, specially of those that believe" (I Timothy 4:10). Then we can
rejoice, with Mary, in "God my Savior." HMM
May 9, Saturday ACELDAMA
"And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as
that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say,
The field of blood" (Acts 1:19).
Never was a tract of land more fittingly named than Aceldama, an
Aramaic word meaning "field of blood," for it had been purchased with
blood money, "the price of blood" (Matthew 27:6). The purchaser had been
Judas (through the "executors" of his estate, as it were, following his
suicide), but the blood he sold, to acquire the price of the field, he
had deemed "innocent blood."
The miserable thirty shekels of silver which consummated this
transaction was the price of a slave in ancient Israel (Exodus 21:32),
but this slave was none other than God incarnate, so the thirty pieces
of silver -- the price set by the religious leaders of Israel -- was the
price for the sale of God.
The prophet Zechariah, more than 500 years before, had acted out a
prohecy of these strange events: "So they weighed for my price thirty
pieces of silver....A goodly price that I was prised at of them"
(Zechariah 11:12,13). Next, according to both prophecy and fulfillment,
this blood money was cast down in the temple and then used to buy the
potter's field (Zechariah 11:13; Matthew 27:5,7,8).
These and many other such details in these accounts constitute a
remarkable type and fulfillment of prophecy, and thus a testimony of
both divine inspiration and divine foreordination. But, more than that,
it is a striking picture of the price of our salvation, for the "field
of blood" typifies that great field of the world (Matthew 13:38) and
Christ is the Man who, searching for "treasure hid in a field...selleth
all that He hath, and buyeth that field" (Matthew 13:44). All that He
had -- the very blood of His life -- was willingly shed that we, dead in
sins and hidden in the world, might be "purchased with His own blood"
(Acts 20:28). HMM
May 10, Sunday THE FAITH OF OUR MOTHERS
"When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee,
which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I
am persuaded that in thee also" (II Timothy 1:5).
The "dearly beloved son" (v.2) of the Apostle Paul, was a young
disciple whose strong and sincere Christian faith was due, more than
anything else, to the lives and teachings of a godly mother and
grandmother. As Paul wrote to Timothy, in his last letter, "from a child
thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise
unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus" (II Timothy
Timothy's mother was a Christian Jew (Acts 16:1), but his father
was a Greek who evidently was not a believer. In the ideal Christian
home, the father is to assume spiritual leadership (Ephesians 5:22,25;
6:4), but countless fathers, for some reason, are either unable or
unwilling to do this. Many have been the homes where a mother or
grandmother, usually by default, has had to assume this all-important
responsibility, and the Christian world owes these godly women a great
debt of gratitude. The writer himself was raised in such a home, and
much of his own concern for the Word of God is due to the concerned
dedication of a Christian mother and two Christian grandmothers.
It is significant that the fifth of God's Ten Commandments requires
children to honor their parents, and it is the only one of the ten which
carries a special promise: "Honor thy father and mother; which is the
first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou
mayest live long on the earth" (Ephesians 6:2,3). Every godly parent is
worthy of real honor, every day -- not just once each year. And when a
Christian mother, like Timothy's mother, must assume all the
responsibility for leading her children in the ways of God, she deserves
very special praise. HMM
May 11, Monday THE BEGINNING OF THE CREATION
"But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and
female" (Mark 10:6).
These words of the Lord Jesus Christ ought to settle once and for
all, for those who take His words seriously, the controversial question
of the age of the earth. The earth was created essentially at the same
time, He said, as the creation of Adam and Eve. Christ was quoting from
Genesis 1:27: "...male and female created He them." This greatest of
God's creative works was "from the beginning of the creation," not 18
billion years after the beginning of the creation, as modern old-earth
One can understand why atheists believe in evolution and an almost
infinitely old universe, for they really have no other alternative. One
who believes in a personal God, on the other hand, only dishonors God if
he believes such humanistic speculations rather than God's Word. God is
omniscient and omnipotent, as well as loving and merciful, and He would
never do anything like this. The great ages assumed by evolutionary
geologists supposedly involved billions of years of suffering and dying
by billions of animals before man ever evolved. Surely this would have
been the most inefficient, wasteful, and cruel method that ever could
have been devised for "creating" human beings. Since man's creation was
God's main purpose, there is no conceivable reason why He would waste
billions of years in such a meaningless charade as this before getting
to the point. In fact, the only reason He took six days was to serve as
a pattern for man's work week (Exodus 20:8-11).
In fact, the Lord Jesus Christ was not only a creationist, but was,
Himself, the Creator of all things (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16; etc.).
Therefore, He is the best possible witness as to when He created man and
woman, and He said it was "from the beginning of the creation!" HMM
May 12, Tuesday THE UNJUST STEWARD
"And the Lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done
wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser
than the children of light" (Luke 16:8).
This parable of the unjust steward has perplexed many Christians, for
it seems to indicate that the Lord approved of dishonesty. "Make to
yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness" (v.9), also seems
to contradict verse 13, when He said, "Ye cannot serve God and mammon."
The apparent contradiction vanishes, however, when we realize Christ
was not commending the dishonesty of the steward, but his accute
business sense and concern for the future. Neither does the Lord approve
of greed or covetousness, but He does exhort believers to be as prudent
in investing their money for the eternal future as shrewd worldlings are
in feathering their earthly nests. Sad to say, it is common experience
that, by this measure, "the children of this world" do conduct their
affairs "in this generation" far more shrewdly than "the children of
light." Even more sadly, the latter often even try to follow the example
of the ungodly in "laying up for themselves treasures upon earth,"
rather than "treasures in heaven" (see Matthew 6:19,20).
The Lord would exhort us, on the other hand, to use our money ("the
mammon of unrighteousness") to make true friends, "that, when ye fail,
they may receive you into everlasting habitations" (v.9). The "unjust
steward" was trying to insure his own earthly future, hoping to make
temporal friends by bribing them with money that was not even his own.
How much wiser it is for us to use whatever money the Lord has
entrusted to us to make true friends, helping to bring them to Christ
and building them up in the faith. Then, when we "fail" from this life,
we shall enjoy their fellowship and gratitude in the "everlasting
habitations" of eternity. HMM
May 13, Wednesday IN A MOMENT OF TIME
"And the devil, taking Him up into an high mountain, shewed unto Him
all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time" (Luke 4:5).
It is interesting that there are just three "moments" mentioned in
the New Testament, and that there are three different Greek words so
translated, each used one time only in the Bible. Furthermore, each of
these three "moments" is used in a context which is anticipatory of the
First of all, Satan tempted Jesus by flashing before His eyes a
vision of the whole world, offering it to Him immediately, without His
having to endure the cross, if He would rule it for the devil. Here the
Greek word for "moment" is stigme, meaning a "point," like a period
after a sentence. In an infinite "time line," it would be just a dot on
the line, a "point" in time. Satan's apparent dominion over this world,
though it lasts six thousand years or so, is only a moment compared to
eternity, and Jesus knew this was a poor bargain.
One day, in fact, He will return to reclaim the world from Satan. At
that great day, "we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling
of an eye" (I Corinthians 15:51,52). In this passage, the unique word is
atomos, meaning an indivisible particle. That is, in an "atom of time,"
too instantaneous to measure, we shall be changed to be like Him in "His
glorious body" (Philippians 3:21).
Right now, however, our bodies are weak and easily beset with pain
and sickness. Nevertheless, we are assured that "our light affliction,
which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and
eternal weight of glory" (II Corinthians 4:17). The word here is
parautika, referring specifically to the present moment. What we must
endure "here and now" is so brief compared to the eternity "then and
there" that it is not even "worthy to be compared with the glory which
shall be revealed in us" (Romans 8:18). HMM
May 14, Thursday HEAVEN OPENED
"And He saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye
shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending
upon the Son of man" (John 1:51).
In Jacob's dream (Genesis 28:12), angels were ascending and
descending on a great ladder between earth and heaven. Christ promised a
future reality, in which He, Himself, would be the ladder to the opened
But that was to be "hereafter." Until Christ came to die and rise
again, heaven was closed, for nothing unclean could enter there, and
death had "passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Romans 5:12).
Even those who died in faith could only be "comforted" in "Abraham's
bosom" deep "in the heart of the earth" (Luke 16:22,25; Matthew 12:40),
because "it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should
take away sins" (Hebrews 10:4).
Then Christ died and rose again "to put away sin by the sacrifice of
Himself" (Hebrews 9:26). In His spirit, "He also descended first into
the lower parts of the earth" and "when He ascended up on high, He led
captivity captive" (Ephesians 4:8,9), leading all pre-Calvary saints
with Him into heaven. Then was fulfilled the wonderful scene predicted
in Psalm 24:7, "Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye
everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in."
Since that wonderful day, when Christ ascended back to heaven, "to be
absent from the body" is "to be present with the Lord" (II Corinthians
5:8). Heaven someday will even receive our resurrected bodies. John
prophesied it this way: "I looked, and behold, a door was opened in
heaven: and the first voice...said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee
things which must be hereafter" (Revelation 4:1). Heaven thenceforth
will be open eternally to all the redeemed. "The gates of it shall not
be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there" (Revelation
May 15, Friday THE POETRY OF GOD
"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works,
which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them" (Ephesians
The word "poem" is derived from the Greek poiema. Used only twice in
the New Testament, it refers to great works of God, Himself. Thus, God
is the divine poet who has created two great masterpieces -- artistic
creations of marvelous intricacy and surpassing beauty.
The first is the entire physical universe: "For the invisible things
of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood
by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that
they are without excuse" (Romans 1:20). In this key verse, poiema is
translated "things that are made." Everything in the universe, animate
and inanimate, constitutes a marvelous product of God's creative
forethought and inventive skill. If a beautiful poem requires a poet to
create it, so much the more does the complex cosmic Poem of the universe
demand a great Poet of consummate wisdom and infinite power. The
rejection of the Poet and the message of the Poem not only leaves one
"without excuse" (v.20), but facing "the wrath of God" (v.18).
Yet an even more amazing poem is the work of transforming redemption
accomplished in a lost soul saved by grace through faith (Ephesians
2:8). For then it is we, ourselves, who become His poem! This also is a
great creative masterpiece, for "we are His workmanship (same word,
Greek poiema), created in Christ Jesus unto good works." A life once
dead in sin, now born again and walking in good works -- this is God's
greatest poetic masterpiece of all!
Both the mighty universe and the soul made new in Christ are special
creations of God, and both manifest His greatness and His love. "Thanks
be unto God for His unspeakable gift" (II Corinthians 9:15) of grace.
May 16, Saturday IN TIME OF TROUBLE
"For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion: in the
secret of His tabernacle shall He hide me; He shall set me up upon a
rock" (Psalm 27:5).
In this psalm of praise, David expresses his confidence in the Lord,
even though "the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to
eat up my flesh" (v.2). In spite of the danger, he looks to God for
safety. "The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The
LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid" (v.1). Why
did God preserve David? The answer is at least twofold:
First, David had a heart for God. "One thing have I desired of the
LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to
inquire in His temple" (v.4). "Thy face, LORD, will I seek" (v.8).
"Teach me thy way, O LORD" (v.11).
The second reason is the nature of God, Himself. God, by His very
nature, hates evil and extends grace toward His own. He is pictured here
as a warrior conquering the evil enemies of David. His laws forbid their
actions; His gospel robbed these evildoers of their grip; His final
kingdom will be rid of them. Until God's justice, His gospel and His
purpose all fail, we can be sure that He will act.
In our text, David is hidden in the Lord's "pavilion." The word,
which literally means a protective covering, was used for the tent of
the commander-in-chief. Here, with the commander-in-chief, is the most
fortified, guarded, and safe area of the battleground. If the pavilion
falls, the battle is lost, and God has failed. Hidden in His pavilion,
we are as safe as He. He sees to it that we are not frightened (v.13)
amid the din of battle, and we shall share in the ultimate victory.
In this world, we have tumultuous war; in the next, unbroken peace.
Assured of the outcome, we can "wait on the LORD: (and) be of good
courage" (v.14). JDM
May 17, Sunday THE INDWELLING TRINITY
"To know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might
be filled with all the fulness of God" (Ephesians 3:19).
One of the great doctrines of Christianity is the doctrine of the
indwelling Holy Spirit of God, who lives in the heart of each believer
who trusts in Christ for salvation. "Know ye not that your body is the
temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God?" (I
At the same time, God is one God, so all three persons of the Godhead
must, through the Spirit, likewise indwell the believer. Note Paul's
prayer for the believers in the Ephesian church (Ephesians 3:14-19).
(1) "That He would grant you...to be strengthened with might by His
Spirit in the inner man" (Ephesians 3:16). This request acknowledges the
indwelling Spirit. Christ also prayed for this: "And I will pray the
Father, and He shall give you another Comforter...the Spirit of
truth...for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you" (John 14:16,17).
(2) "That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith" (Ephesians
3:17), that we might "know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge"
(v.19). Here is the indwelling Son. This is also revealed in Galatians
2:20 ("Christ liveth in me") and Colossians 1:27 ("Christ in you, the
hope of glory").
(3) "That ye might be filled with all the fulness of God"
(Ephesians 3:19). This can only refer to the indwelling Father, as well
as the entire tri-unity of the Godhead. Can this indwelling be ours?
Note also that the entire prayer was addressed in the first place to
"the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Ephesians 3:14). This, likewise,
is a reflection of Christ's promise: "If a man love me, he will keep my
words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make
our abode with him" (John 14:23). "Filled with all the fulness of God!"
What a wonderful privilege -- and responsibility -- is ours. HMM
May 18, Monday EASY BELIEVISM AND TRUE FAITH
"And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His
name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of
these things" (Luke 24:47,48).
The above commandment is a part of Christ's Great Commission, and it
is important to note that "repentance" was to be preached along with
"remission of sins," both of them "in His name." The fact that
"repentance...in His name" is essentially synonymous with "believing in
Him," is evident from Peter's message to the Gentiles in Cornelius'
home: "Through His name whosoever believeth in Him shall receive
remission of sins" (Acts 10:43).
Repentance and faith are like two sides of the same coin; one cannot
exist without the other. True repentance (the transformation of one's
mind in its entire attitude toward God, submitting to His sovereign
holiness and hatred of sin) is essentially synonymous with true faith
(full commitment to, and trust in, the person and work of God's Son as
one's Creator, Redeemer, and personal Savior).
The problem is that what has become known as "easy believism" is
widespread among Christian "soul winners," and multitudes have become
"professing Christians," simply on the basis of a mental and verbal,
least-common denominator "statement of faith," and/or some kind of
"conversion experience," all of which are meaningless without genuine
repentance. Repeating a prayer at the end of a gospel tract does not
save, if it consists merely of words.
Repentance is not merely sorrow for past sins, but a complete change
of mind, and this can only be proved real (even to the believer himself)
by a changed life. Both Jews and Gentiles "should repent and turn to
God, and do works meet for repentance" (Acts 26:20), and this should be
paramount in our witnessing as well. HMM
May 19, Tuesday BUILDING-VINE-BODY
"For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God"
There are three wonderful figures in the New Testament which depict
the relationship of the individual believer to all other believers and
to Christ Himself. Christians are like little branches in the great
Vine, which is Christ. They are stones in a great Building of which He
is the foundation and corner stone. They are all members of the great
Body of which He is the head. In each case, they have been placed "in
Christ," and they derive all life and meaning from Him.
As a stone lying alone on the ground is useless and ugly, so would be
a professing Christian who is not truly in Christ. But we, "as lively
stones, are built up a spiritual house" (I Peter 2:5) as "the household
of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets,
Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the
building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through
the Spirit" (Ephesians 2:19-22).
Similarly, a branch without its vine and roots is lifeless. Jesus
said: "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I
in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do
nothing" (John 15:5).
The members of a body are functionless without the head to direct
them. "But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body,
as it hath pleased Him" (I Corinthians 12:18), and it is intended that
we "may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
From whom the whole body fitly joined together...maketh increase of the
body unto the edifying of itself in love" (Ephesians 4:15,16).
Outside of Christ, we are useless and lifeless and directionless. In
Him, we become a beautiful temple, a fruitful vine, and a strong body.
May 20, Wednesday THE MINISTRY AND THE WORD
"Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you
by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God" (II
We, as emissaries of God, must be about the business of imploring
people to "be reconciled to God," for God "hath reconciled us to Himself
by Jesus Christ" (v.18) and has a desire to see many others likewise
Paul tells us that God "hath given to us the ministry of
reconciliation" (v.18) and "committed unto us the word of
reconciliation" (v.19). What is the difference?
In the first case, the word ministry is translated from the Greek
word which means service. The right to serve is given to us by God, just
as a gift is given. Prior to this passage, we are taught the "ministry"
(4:1) which we have is in reality a "treasure in earthen vessels" (4:7).
We always should remember that God does not need us to do His will, but
that in His grace, He has chosen to use us in various ways.
In the second case, the teaching is quite different, for it is the
magnificent word (Greek logos) being dealt with. Christ is referred to
as "the Word" (John 1:1). The "Word of God is quick (alive)" (Hebrews
4:12), and through it we are "born again" (I Peter 1:23). A study of
this grand theme demands that the logos is no less than the eternal Word
of God -- that aspect of the triune Godhead which communicates directly
to man, whether written or incarnate. Here it is the "Word of
reconciliation" (II Corinthians 4:19) which is committed to us.
The verb "commit" literally means "to place," and implies a deep and
important trust, a whole-hearted commitment. "Greater love hath no man
than this, that a man lay down (same verb) his life for his friends"
The Word has been carefully placed in our trust, to guard, believe,
and to apply. The privilege of sharing it with others is a rich and
gracious gift. JDM
May 21, Thursday THE DEEP SLEEP
"And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he
slept: and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead
thereof" (Genesis 2:21).
This is the first of seven occurrences of the unusual term "deep
sleep" (Hebrew tardema) in the Old Testament. In each case, it seems to
refer to a special state induced by the Lord Himself, in order to convey
an important revelation to, or through, the person experiencing it.
In Adam's case, God made a bride for him during his deep sleep, from
whose seed would be born all the nations of the earth. "And the rib,
which the LORD God had taken from man, made He a woman, and brought her
unto the man" (v.22). The covenant God made with Adam and Eve delegated
dominion over the earth to their descendants.
The second deep sleep was that which "fell upon Abram" (Genesis
15:12), when God passed between the sacrificial animals and established
His great covenant with him, promising that from his seed would be born
the chosen nation. "And I will make of thee a great nation" (12:2). The
Abrahamic covenant also delegated the central land of the earth to
Isaac's descendants (15:18-21) and promised that "in thee shall all
families of the earth be blessed" (12:3).
But Adam was a type of Christ and Abraham was a type of Christ, and
their deep sleeps pre-figured His own deep sleep of death on the cross.
There He became the last Adam and the promised Seed, dying to give life
to His great Bride and living again to establish a holy nation of the
redeemed, fulfilling all of God's ancient covenants, and instituting the
eternal New Covenant in His own blood.
When Adam fell into a deep sleep, a bride was born; when Abraham fell
into his deep sleep, a nation was born. But when Christ slept deeply in
death, on the cross and in the tomb, death and hell were judged, and a
new world was born. HMM
May 22, Friday THE SUN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
"But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise
with healing in His wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves
of the stall" (Malachi 4:2).
This is the very last of the numerous Messianic prophecies of the Old
Testament. After this, there were four centuries of silence from heaven,
as far as inspired Scriptures were concerned. Thus this prophecy must
have special significance.
The Messiah ("Christ") is called "the Sun of righteousness," in
contrast to "all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly" that "shall
burn as an oven" when "the day cometh" (v.1) -- that "great and dreadful
day of the LORD" (v.5), and it "shall burn them up, saith the LORD of
The Sun of righteousness clearly refers to the coming Savior, for He
will come "with healing in His wings." The sun does not have wings, of
course, so many commentators think this word refers to the rays of the
sun, with their life-sustaining energy. However, the Hebrew word means
"wings," and nothing else. It is as though the sun is rising rapidly on
great wings, dispelling the world's darkness with its light, dispensing
healing to its sin-sick soul.
The Sun of righteousness, of course, can be none other than God,
Himself, for "the LORD God is a sun and shield" who "will give grace and
glory" to "them that walk uprightly" (Psalm 84:11). It is the Lord Jesus
Christ, the "light of the world" (John 8:12), coming "from heaven with
His mighty angels (His `wings'?). In flaming fire taking vengeance on
them that know not God" (II Thessalonians 1:7,8).
But "you that fear my name" in that day "shall be mine, saith the
LORD of hosts,...when I make up my jewels" (Malachi 3:17). In the last
prophecy of the Old Testament, Christ is the rising Sun; in the last
prophecy of the New Testament (Revelation 22:16), He is "the bright and
morning Star." HMM
May 23, Saturday BABES IN CHRIST
"Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye
children, but in understanding be men" (I Corinthians 14:20).
The Christian life is entered by the new birth, so that everyone who
is genuinely born again must begin as a spiritual babe. "Except ye be
converted, and become as little children," said the Lord Jesus, "ye
shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3).
Furthermore, they should continue to be as innocent children insofar
as "malice" (Greek kakia, literally meaning "wickedness" or "evil") is
concerned. This is an attribute which should diminish, not grow, in a
The sad truth, however, is that many born-again Christians remain
spiritual babes in attributes which should characterize strong men and
women of God. Paul equated the term "babes in Christ" with carnality,
characterized by "envying, and strife, and divisions" (I Corinthians
3:1,3). Paul also speaks of those Christians as "children" who are
"tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine"
(Ephesians 4:14). He urges each one to be "speaking the truth in love,"
so that we "may grow up into Him (Christ) in all things" (Ephesians
Spiritual growth, of course, can come only through spiritual food and
spiritual exercise. "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the
word, that ye may grow thereby" (I Peter 2:2). "But strong meat
belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use
have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil" (Hebrews
Christians should become mature, both in understanding and in
behavior. The last reference to growth in the Bible applies to each
Christian: "But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and
Savior Jesus Christ" (II Peter 3:18). HMM
May 24, Sunday THE DUTY OF REJOICING
"But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them
ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love
thy name be joyful in thee" (Psalm 5:11).
It may seem strange to think of rejoicing as a Christian duty, but
the Scriptures do contain many commands to rejoice, and many of these
are given in circumstances of grief or danger, as is the case of our
beautiful text verse.
"Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice" (Philippians
4:4), Paul wrote from a Roman dungeon. In the upper room, the night
before He was to die on a cross, the Lord Jesus said to His disciples:
"These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you,
and that your joy might be full" (John 15:11). And then He said: "They
shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that
whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service" (John 16:2).
But then He said again: "Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask,
and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full" (John 16:24).
If David could rejoice while fleeing from murderous enemies, if Paul
could rejoice while chained unjustly in a Roman prison, if the disciples
could experience fulness of joy while facing martyrdom, and if the Lord
Himself, "for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross,
despising the shame" (Hebrews 12:2), then our Christian duty of
rejoicing in all circumstances may not be such an unseemly command after
We can rejoice, as our text reminds us, "because thou defendest
them." Furthermore, He, Himself, provides the joy, for "the fruit of the
Spirit is...joy" (Galatians 5:22). It is not that the Christian will
never know sorrow, for Christ Himself was "a man of sorrows" (Isaiah
53:3). But He also was a man of joy and, in Him, we can be like Him --
"as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing" (II Corinthians 6:10). HMM
May 25, Monday CHRISTIAN FREEDOM
"For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not
liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another"
Liberty has always been a cherished concept to Americans, ever since
the patriotic call of Patrick Henry for liberty or death. It was also a
burning issue with the Jews at the time of Christ, chafing under Roman
rule as they were. Many early Christians were actually slaves, or even
in prison for their faith. All those in bondage have longed to be free,
and wars and revolutions have been fought to gain their freedoms.
But the worst bondage of all is slavery to sin. No army can free a
man from sin, and if he dies in sin, he will continue in bondage
forever. Among the last words of the Bible are these: "He that is
unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be
filthy still" (Revelation 22:11).
It is only Christ who can set a sinner free. Christ died for our
sins, and through faith in Him we receive full pardon and liberty. "Our
old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed,
that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed
from sin....Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of
righteousness" (Romans 6:6,7,18).
There is no greater or truer freedom than freedom in Christ. "If the
Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed" (John 8:36).
Because of Christ, the very creation itself, now groaning and travailing
in pain under the curse of sin, one day soon "shall be delivered from
the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of
God" (Romans 8:21).
In Christ we now have freedom to live unto righteousness. "Being made
free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto
holiness, and the end everlasting life" (Romans 6:22). HMM
May 26, Tuesday PARADOXES OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE
"Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise
in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise" (I
The true Christian life is so uniquely different from the life of
the natural man that its characteristics must often be expressed in
terms of paradoxical contrasts. For example, as our text emphasizes,
that which passes for "the wisdom of this world is foolishness
with God" (I Corinthians 3:19).
This profound truth has many implications for us as Christians. "My
strength is made perfect in weakness," says the Lord. "Most gladly
therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of
Christ may rest upon me" (II Corinthians 12:9). Thus, to be strong, we
must be weak, and to be lifted high, we must stoop low, for "he that
shall humble himself shall be exalted" (Matthew 23:12). Not only so, but
"whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant" (Matthew
Note especially II Corinthians 6:8-10: "...as deceivers, and yet
true; As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as
chastened, and not killed; As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor,
yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things."
All such ascriptions apply, first of all and most of all, to Christ
Himself, our perfect example: "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus
Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor,
that ye through His poverty might be rich" (II Corinthians 8:9).
Thus, "if we be dead with Him, we shall also live with Him: If we
suffer, we shall also reign with Him" (II Timothy 2:11,12). "I am
crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth
in me" (Galatians 2:20). All such descriptions may seem paradoxical, but
they are real and true. HMM
May 27, Wednesday THE STARS ALSO
"And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day,
and the lesser light to rule the night: He made the stars also" (Genesis
On the fourth day of Creation Week, God made the two lights for day
and night, and then -- almost like an afterthought -- "He made the stars
also." Nothing, of course, is an afterthought with God, but this
emphasizes the relative importance of these parts of His creation.
Whether or not the earth is the geographical center of the universe,
Earth is the center of God's interest in the universe. This is where He
created man and woman in His own image, and where He will reign over His
creation in the ages to come.
The primary purpose of the stars, as well as the sun and moon, was
"to divide the day from the night; and...to be for signs, and for
seasons, and for days, and years: and...to give light upon the earth"
(Genesis 1:14,15). They could not fulfill these functions, of course, if
their light could not be seen on the earth, so we can be sure that these
heavenly bodies and their light rays were created -- like Adam and Eve
-- "full-grown," in a state of functioning maturity.
All that can be known scientifically about the stars must be
determined from their light intensity and spectra. (Their distances can
be measured geometrically only to about 300 light-years.) Any other
information -- any greater distances, size, temperature, etc. -- must be
derived by inference, based on some theory of stellar evolution.
Although the stars all look alike (even through a telescope, they all
appear as mere points of light), these calculations have shown that each
one is unique, as revealed long ago in Scripture: "One star differeth
from another star in glory" (I Corinthians 15:41). Those who believe can
learn more about them in the ages to come, for "they that be wise shall
shine...as the stars for ever and ever" (Daniel 12:3). HMM
May 28, Thursday THE FIRST STONE
"For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth
not" (Ecclesiastes 7:20).
When the self-righteous men in the crowd surrounding the woman caught
in the act of adultery were about to stone the woman (apparently
indifferent to the man with whom she had been caught!), the Lord Jesus
turned them all away with His suggestion that the privilege of casting
the first stone should go to one who was without sin of his own (John
8:7). They realized that He knew the condition of their sinful hearts,
and "being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one"
This incident is a perpetual reminder that "the Father...hath
committed all judgment unto the Son" (John 5:22), not to any one of us.
We are not qualified to judge others, since we ourselves are also
sinners -- saved sinners, perhaps, but sinners.
One of the most certain doctrines of Scripture is the universality of
sin in human experience. "There is none that doeth good, no, not one,"
the Scripture says (Romans 3:12). "For all have sinned, and come short
of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). "Death passed upon all men, for that
all have sinned" (Romans 5:12). "The Scripture hath concluded all under
sin" (Galatians 3:22). "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and
doeth it not, to him it is sin" (James 4:17). "For whosoever shall keep
the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all" (James
2:10). These and many other Scriptures tell us clearly that, while we
urgently need to judge sin in ourselves, we are not qualified to condemn
others, at least not on a personal level.
Only the Lord Jesus Christ, being Himself sinless (I Peter 2:22) can
judge a sinner. Thus it is only He who could be made sin for us (II
Corinthians 5:21) and thereby forgive sins and bring salvation. HMM
May 29, Friday PROSPERITY VERSUS CONTENTMENT
"But godliness with contentment is great gain" (I Timothy 6:6).
In this day of Madison-Avenue sales pressures and an ever-increasing
array of technological gadgets and creature comforts, the Christian
virtue of contentment is a rare commodity. There is even a widespread
error among born-again Christians that material prosperity is a token of
spirituality and divine approval on an affluent life style.
Instead of a blessing, however, such affluence (if it comes) should
be regarded as a testing, for Jesus said: "unto whomsoever much is
given, of him shall be much required" (Luke 12:48). Paul was perhaps the
most faithful and fruitful Christian who ever lived, yet he died
penniless, in a Roman dungeon. His own testimony concerning material
possessions and standards of living was this: "I have learned, in
whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be
abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am
instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to
suffer need" (Philippians 4:11,12).
In the context of our key verse above, the Apostle Paul has actually
been warning young Pastor Timothy against the influence of those who
suppose, among other things, "that gain is godliness," and who think
that their material prosperity is proof of their spiritual prosperity.
"From such" says Paul, "withdraw thyself" (I Timothy 6:5). Material gain
in no way either produces or denotes godliness; rather, godliness itself
is the gain, if accompanied by contentment in Christ (otherwise, of
course, it is not true godliness)! Even the most impoverished believer
can acquire riches in heaven, where it really counts. In the meantime:
"Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such
things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor
forsake thee" (Hebrews 13:5). HMM
May 30, Saturday A CALL TO REMEMBRANCE
"I have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times. I
call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart:
and my spirit made diligent search" (Psalm 77:5,6).
It is so easy to forget. The burdens and pressures of these present
times easily drown out the voices of the past.
God, however, remembers. It is good also for us to consider the olden
days, not simply in sad nostalgia, but for our guidance in the present.
With reference, particularly to those instances which the Lord selected
to be recorded in Scripture, "they are written for our admonition" (I
Corinthians 10:11). Not only were they written as warnings, but also for
comfort. "For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for
our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures
might have hope" (Romans 15:4).
To the Christian, an annual Memorial Day should have still an
additional special meaning. Not only do we desire to honor those who
died for their country (and many of us do, indeed, recall with deep love
and respect close friends and family members in this honored company),
but also to remember those who lived for the Lord, and whose lives and
ministries have helped guide us to the light for our own difficult
pathways today. Parents and teachers, authors and preachers, counselors
and friends -- many of whom have already gone to be with the Lord --
deserve to be remembered and honored, for it will make that great future
Homecoming Day all the more blessed when we are all together, with the
Lord, when He returns (I Thessalonians 4:17).
Most importantly of all, of course, we must remember the Lord, not
annually, but always. "I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I
will remember thy wonders of old. I will meditate also of all thy work,
and talk of thy doings" (Psalm 77:11,12). HMM
May 31, Sunday OWNERSHIP CLAUSE
"The earth is the LORD's, and the fulness thereof; the world, and
they that dwell therein" (Psalm 24:1).
"Earth" means the habitable part of our world as we know it today. It
is the "dry land" that God called "earth" in Chapter 1 of Genesis. Other
verses in Scripture reiterate Psalm 24's "ownership clause": "For all
the earth is mine" (Exodus 19:5); "know how that the earth is the
LORD's" (Exodus 9:29).
"The fulness thereof" further defines what the Lord means by "earth."
If there is any doubt in one's mind as to the truth of who owns the
earth, God doubles the emphasis by adding a word that elsewhere in the
Bible is translated "all that is therein." In essence, Psalm 24:1 says,
"The whole earth is the LORD's and all the parts that make up the
Upon what is Psalm 24's ownership clause based? God gives us the
foundation of His claim in verse 2. "For He hath founded it...." He
claims ownership, and then tells us that is His right, because He has
"founded" the earth. Founded means "to settle," or "establish."
Elsewhere, this word is translated "ordain," or "foundation." "The
earth...He hath established for ever" (Psalm 78:69). He has "laid the
foundation of the earth" (Psalm 102:25). The concept of creation is also
used with the word "founded" in Psalm 89:11: "The heavens are thine, the
earth also is thine: as for the world and the fulness thereof, thou hast
Psalm 24 continues, "Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or
who shall stand in His holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure
heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn
What gives God the right to make the rules about who shall stand in
His presence? In His wisdom, He lays the foundation of ownership before
He establishes any rules. God's position, as Creator and Owner of all,
gives Him the right to make the rules! CJH
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