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Heart Hunger

I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. John 6:35

Riding along with my husband on some errands, I scrolled through emails on my phone and was surprised at an incoming advertisement for a local donut shop, a shop we had just passed on the right side of the street. Suddenly my stomach growled with hunger. I marveled at how technology allows vendors to woo us into their establishments.

As I clicked off my email, I mused over God’s constant yearning to draw me closer. He always knows where I am and longs to influence my choices. I wondered, Does my heart growl in desire for Him the way my stomach did over the idea of a donut?

In John 6, following the miraculous feeding of the five thousand, the disciples eagerly ask Jesus to always give them “the bread that . . . gives life to the world” (vv. 33–34). Jesus responds in verse 35, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” How amazing that a relationship with Jesus can provide constant nourishment in our everyday lives!

The donut shop’s advertisement targeted my body’s craving, but God’s continuous knowledge of my heart’s condition invites me to recognize my ongoing need for Him and to receive the sustenance only He can provide.

Dear God, remind me of my need for Your daily bread of presence.

Jesus alone offers the only bread that truly satisfies.

By Elisa Morgan 

INSIGHT

The heart hunger described in today’s devotional was modeled by Jesus. In Matthew 4:4, Jesus told the Enemy, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Then in John 4:34, He told His followers, “My food . . . is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.” Jesus’s passion for the Father and His purposes is the greatest example we can have of true spiritual heart hunger. While we cannot perfectly reflect that desire, we can learn to long for the Father’s presence and provision—just as Jesus did.

For more on spiritual hunger and spiritual satisfaction, check out the Discover the Word conversations “Satisfied” at https://discovertheword.org/series/satisfied-3.

Bill Crowder

Blessing Your Enemies

Luke 6:27-28

As stories of the persecuted church reach us, we learn about Christians who respond to imprisonment, beatings, and harassment with unimaginable grace and dignity. These saints have learned to obey Christ’s command to “love your enemies” (Luke 6:27), even in the harshest of circumstances.

We may never face physical persecution for our faith, but we will run across people who hate and mistreat us. The most natural response is to dislike them in return, but harboring ill will and bitterness chokes our witness and poisons our souls. Instead, Jesus instructs us to love our adversaries and treat them well.

The Greek word for this kind of love is agape—this is not a feeling based on the other person’s likability or favor toward us but, rather, an action of the will that does what is best for the other person. It’s the type of love God has and, therefore, is not something we can muster within ourselves. But as the Holy Spirit produces His fruit in us, agape love will flow through us, even to our enemies.

When someone wrongs or hurts us, it’s an opportunity to be a witness for Christ. Rather than harboring animosity or seeking revenge, we are told to pray for our adversary. Instead of begging the Father to defeat our enemy, we can ask Him for the strength to express genuine Christlike love in the face of opposition. That’s the kind of prayer God is delighted to answer. And when we are privileged to meet the need of one who despises us, we might just see an amazing change in his life.

Foolish Talk

“Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.” (Ephesians 5:4)

In the book of Ephesians are included several guidelines for the Christian’s speech—how we should talk and what we should talk about. These are not easy rules to follow but are necessary if we would please our Savior and be effective in our Christian lives and witness.

As our text indicates, vulgar talk, idle chatter, and coarse jesting should “not be once named among you, as becometh saints” (5:3). “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers” (4:29).

The same applies to bitter, angry, malicious speech. “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice” (4:31). And certainly our communications should be true and trustworthy. “Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor” (4:25).

Thus, our words should not be crude or obscene, idle or foolish, bitter or angry, false or malicious. Instead, they should be good words, true words, gracious words, intended to edify—that is, build up—our hearers in their own Christian lives.

Further, if we would win others to Christ, we must always be “speaking the truth in love” (4:15). What we say to them must be fully in accord with both biblical truth and genuine Christian love. Finally, we should “be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (5:18-20). Gracious, edifying words can only come from a thankful heart. HMM

Lift up your heads, O ye gates

Psalm 24

The psalmist David saw by the eye of prophecy the ascension of our Lord, and sang of it in—Psalm 24.

Psalm 24:1-3

All creation belongs unto the Lord, and the whole universe is his domain; but there is an abode of special glory where he more fully reveals himself to those whom he regards as peculiarly his own. The psalmist asks who these can be, and how it is that they are qualified to climb the kill whereon the divine palace is built. He describes their character and their leader.

Psalm 24:4, 5

None can enter but the altogether pure in life and motive, the faithful and the upright. Jesus alone of our race perfectly answers to this description, and therefore he it is who leads the way and opens heavens gate for those whom he has made meet to enter.

Psalm 24:7

These verses reveal to us the great representative man, who answered to the full character laid down, and therefore by his own right ascended the holy hill of Zion. We see him rising from amidst the little group upon Olivet, and as the cloud receives him, angels reverently escort him to the gates of heaven. The ancient gates of the eternal temple are personified and called upon “to lift up their heads,” as though, with all their glory, they were not great enough for the all-glorious King. Let the highest heavens put on unusual loftiness in honour of “the King of glory.”

Psalm 24:8

The watchers at the gate, hearing the song, look over the battlements and ask “Who is this King of glory?” A question full of meaning and worthy of the meditation of eternity. Who is he in person, nature, character, office, and work? What is his pedigree? what his rank and what his race? The answer given in a mighty wave of music is, “The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle? We know the might of Jesus by his victories over sin, death, and hell, and we clap our hands as we see him leading captivity captive in the majesty of his strength.

Psalm 24:9

The words are repeated with a pleasing variation. There are times of deep, earnest feeling when repetitions are not vain, but full of force. Doors were often taken from their hinges when easterns would show welcome to a guest, and some doors were drawn up like a portcullis, and may possibly have protruded from the top; thus literally lifting up their heads. The picture is highly poetical, and shows how wide heavens gate is set by the ascension of our Lord. Blessed be God, it has never since been closed. The open gates of heaven invite the weakest believer to enter.

Psalm 24:10

The closing note is inexpressibly grand. Jehovah of hosts, Lord of men and angels, is the King of glory, and he it is who, having once descended to earth, now returns to his throne. The ascended Saviour is here declared to be the Head and Crown of the universe, the King of Glory. Our Immanuel is hymned in sublimest strains: Jesus of Nazareth is Jehovah Sabaoth.

 

Our Lord is risen from the dead;

Our Jesus is gone up on high;

The powers of hell are captive led—

Dragg’d to the portals of the sky.

 

There his triumphal chariot waits,

And angels chant the solemn lay;—

“Lift up your heads, ye heavenly gates!

Ye everlasting doors, give way.”

 

“Who is the King of glory, who?”

The Lord of glorious power possess’d,

The King of saints and angels too:

God over all, for ever bless’d!

 

Is Yours a “Frozen” Unbelief

Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief (Hebrews 3:12)

Study the life of faithful Noah and you will know what he would say if he could come and counsel you today: “Whenever you hear God’s truth,” he would say, “you will go either in the direction you are moved, or you will just wait.

“If you wait, you will find that the next time you hear the truth, it will not move you quite as much. The next time, it will move you less—and the time will come when that truth will not move you at all!”

We need that message in our generation, for there is a distressing kind of “frozen” unbelief all around us. Men and women are paying little heed to any of God’s warning signals.

As a farm boy, I learned the lesson of little chicks—an easy prey for hawks overhead. The mother hen heard the high-pitched cry of the soaring hawk and gave her own special “cluck-cluck” of warning. Her chicks scampered to her side and soon she had them all tucked safely under her feathers.

Thank God, there is a true faith that is not ashamed to move in the direction of the Ark of Safety!

 

Uncover And Confess Sin

He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” Prov. 28:13

Here is the way of mercy for a guilty and repenting sinner. He must cease from the habit of covering sin. This is attempted by falsehood, which denies sin; by hypocrisy, which conceals it; by boasting, which justifies it; and by loud profession, which tries to make amends for it.

The sinner’s business is to confess and forsake. The two must go together. Confession must be honestly made to the Lord Himself; and it must include within itself acknowledgment of the wrong, sense of its evil, and abhorrence of it. We must not throw the fault upon others, nor blame circumstances, nor plead natural weakness. We must make a clean breast of it, and plead guilty to the indictment. There can be no mercy till this is done.

Furthermore, we must forsake the evil: having owned our fault, we must disown all present and future intent to abide in it. We cannot remain in rebellion and yet dwell with the King’s Majesty. The habit of evil must be quitted, together with all places, companions, pursuits, and books, which might lead us astray. Not for confession, nor for reformation, but in connection with them we find pardon by faith in the blood of Jesus.

 

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