Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Connect the Testaments





May 3: If Life Were a Musical
Judges 4:1–6:10; Philippians 1:19–30; Psalm 65:1–13

Maybe life should be more like a musical or an oratorio—like Les Misérables or Handel’s Messiah. How we feel is often expressed better in song or poetry than anything else. Literary criticism tells us that poets write verse because prose simply can’t capture the emotions they’re feeling. So much of the Bible is poetry, suggesting that maybe, in a way, poems and songs are the language of God.
Deborah and Barak understood this. After Yahweh claimed victory over Israel’s foes through them, they “sang on that day” (Judg 5:1). The Bible records their song. It was epic—the earth trembling (Judg 5:4, 5), the people rejoicing (Judg 5:7), and everyone singing as they recounted “the righteous deeds of Yahweh” and made their way to the city gates (Judg 5:11). This is music, after all; it’s expressive.
Paul breaks out in a type of song in Philippians as well (Phil 2:5–11). His song is a result of his raw excitement from reflecting on the work of the good news of Jesus in himself and others (Phil 1:12–26) and his hope that believers will be filled with “one purpose” (Phil 2:2). To truly worship God, you just have to sing. You have to feel and sound like a poet. God’s too exciting for anything else to suffice.
I know someone who thinks of life as a musical. Life is joy for that person because there’s a soundtrack for everything. If God is at work in everything, then we should want to worship Him constantly. We should sing His praises. We should write about our journeys, speak about them, share them, and experience God’s work among us collectively.
Christianity isn’t meant to be stale or dull—the early church was anything but. It was exciting, like God Himself, because His Spirit was working among believers. And his Spirit is working today. So clap, sing a little louder, and share your story. Find the soundtrack to it all.

How can you praise God more fully?

JOHN D. BARRY


Barry, John D., and Rebecca Kruyswijk. Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012. Print.

Morning and Evening








Morning, May 3      Go To Evening Reading

         “In the world ye shall have tribulation.” 
         — John 16:33

Art thou asking the reason of this, believer? Look upward to thy heavenly Father, and behold him pure and holy. Dost thou know that thou art one day to be like him? Wilt thou easily be conformed to his image? Wilt thou not require much refining in the furnace of affliction to purify thee? Will it be an easy thing to get rid of thy corruptions, and make thee perfect even as thy Father which is in heaven is perfect? Next, Christian, turn thine eye downward. Dost thou know what foes thou hast beneath thy feet? Thou wast once a servant of Satan, and no king will willingly lose his subjects. Dost thou think that Satan will let thee alone? No, he will be always at thee, for he “goeth about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” Expect trouble, therefore, Christian, when thou lookest beneath thee. Then look around thee. Where art thou? Thou art in an enemy’s country, a stranger and a sojourner. The world is not thy friend. If it be, then thou art not God’s friend, for he who is the friend of the world is the enemy of God. Be assured that thou shalt find foe-men everywhere. When thou sleepest, think that thou art resting on the battlefield; when thou walkest, suspect an ambush in every hedge. As mosquitoes are said to bite strangers more than natives, so will the trials of earth be sharpest to you. Lastly, look within thee, into thine own heart and observe what is there. Sin and self are still within. Ah! if thou hadst no devil to tempt thee, no enemies to fight thee, and no world to ensnare thee, thou wouldst still find in thyself evil enough to be a sore trouble to thee, for “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” Expect trouble then, but despond not on account of it, for God is with thee to help and to strengthen thee. He hath said, “I will be with thee in trouble; I will deliver thee and honour thee.”
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Go To Morning Reading      Evening, May 3

         “A very present help.” 
         — Psalm 46:1

Covenant blessings are not meant to be looked at only, but to be appropriated. Even our Lord Jesus is given to us for our present use. Believer, thou dost not make use of Christ as thou oughtest to do. When thou art in trouble, why dost thou not tell him all thy grief? Has he not a sympathizing heart, and can he not comfort and relieve thee? No, thou art going about to all thy friends, save thy best Friend, and telling thy tale everywhere except into the bosom of thy Lord. Art thou burdened with this day’s sins? Here is a fountain filled with blood: use it, saint, use it. Has a sense of guilt returned upon thee? The pardoning grace of Jesus may be proved again and again. Come to him at once for cleansing. Dost thou deplore thy weakness? He is thy strength: why not lean upon him? Dost thou feel naked? Come hither, soul; put on the robe of Jesus’ righteousness. Stand not looking at it, but wear it. Strip off thine own righteousness, and thine own fears too: put on the fair white linen, for it was meant to wear. Dost thou feel thyself sick? Pull the night-bell of prayer, and call up the Beloved Physician! He will give the cordial that will revive thee. Thou art poor, but then thou hast “a kinsman, a mighty man of wealth.” What! wilt thou not go to him, and ask him to give thee of his abundance, when he has given thee this promise, that thou shalt be joint heir with him, and has made over all that he is and all that he has to be thine? There is nothing Christ dislikes more than for his people to make a show-thing of him, and not to use him. He loves to be employed by us. The more burdens we put on his shoulders, the more precious will he be to us.
         “Let us be simple with him, then,
         Not backward, stiff, or cold,
         As though our Bethlehem could be
         What Sinai was of old.”


Spurgeon, Charles H. Morning and Evening: Daily Readings. Complete and unabridged; New modern edition. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2006. Print.

My Utmost for His Highest: Selections for the Year








May 3rd

Vital intercession



Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit. Eph. 6:18.

As we go on in intercession we may find that our obedience to God is going to cost other people more than we thought. The danger then is to begin to intercede in sympathy with those whom God was gradually lifting to a totally different sphere in answer to our prayers. Whenever we step back from identification with God’s interest in others into sympathy with them, the vital connection with God has gone; we have put our sympathy, our consideration for them, in the way, and this is a deliberate rebuke to God.
It is impossible to intercede vitally unless we are perfectly sure of God, and the greatest dissipator of our relationship to God is personal sympathy and personal prejudice. Identification is the key to intercession, and whenever we stop being identified with God, it is by sympathy, not by sin. It is not likely that sin will interfere with our relationship to God, but sympathy will, sympathy with ourselves or with others which makes us say—‘I will not allow that thing to happen.’ Instantly we are out of vital connection with God.
Intercession leaves you neither time nor inclination to pray for your own ‘sad sweet self.’ The thought of yourself is not kept out, because it is not there to keep out; you are completely and entirely identified with God’s interests in other lives.
Discernment is God’s call to intercession, never to fault finding.


Chambers, Oswald. My Utmost for His Highest: Selections for the Year. Grand Rapids, MI: Oswald Chambers Publications; Marshall Pickering, 1986. Print.

Thoughts for the Quiet Hour








May 3

  Be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord
        1 Cor. 15:58

Activity in doing good is one recipe for being cheerful Christians; it is like exercise to the body, and it keeps the soul in health.

Bishop Ryle


Hardman, Samuel G., and Dwight Lyman Moody. Thoughts for the Quiet Hour. Willow Grove, PA: Woodlawn Electronic Publishing, 1997. Print.