Today’s Reading

When [Digory] had come close up to [the gates] he saw words written on the gold with silver letters; something like this:

Come in by the gold gates or not at all,

Take of my fruit for others or forbear,

For those who steal or those who climb my wall

Shall find their heart’s desire and find despair.

“Take of my fruit for others,” said Digory to himself. “Well, that’s what I’m going to do. It means I mustn’t eat any myself, I suppose. . .

He knew which was the right tree at once, partly because it stood in the very center and partly because the great silver apples with which it was loaded shone so and cast a light of their own down on the shadowy places where the sunlight did not reach. He walked straight across to it, picked an apple, and put it in the breast pocket of his Norfolk jacket. But he couldn’t help looking at it and smelling it before he put it away.

It would have been better if he had not. A terrible thirst and hunger came over him and a longing to taste that fruit. He put it hastily into his pocket; but there were plenty of others. Could it be wrong to taste one? After all, he thought, the notice on the gate might not have been exactly an order; it might have been only a piece of advice—and who cares about advice? Or even if it were an order, would he be disobeying it by eating an apple? He had already obeyed the part about taking one “for others.”

From The Magician’s Nephew
Compiled in A Year with Aslan

The Magician’s Nephew. Copyright © 1955 by C. S. Lewis Pte., Ltd. Copyright renewed © 1983 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. A Year With Aslan: Daily Reflections from The Chronicles of Narnia. Copyright © 2010 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Extracts taken from The Chronicles of Narnia. Copyright © C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. 1950-1956. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.


Morning And Night

Today’s Reading

Morning

“The sweet psalmist of Israel.”
2 Samuel 23:1

Among all the saints whose lives are recorded in Holy Writ, David possesses an experience of the most striking, varied, and instructive character. In his history we meet with trials and temptations not to be discovered, as a whole, in other saints of ancient times, and hence he is all the more suggestive a type of our Lord. David knew the trials of all ranks and conditions of men. Kings have their troubles, and David wore a crown: the peasant has his cares, and David handled a shepherd’s crook: the wanderer has many hardships, and David abode in the caves of Engedi: the captain has his difficulties, and David found the sons of Zeruiah too hard for him. The psalmist was also tried in his friends, his counsellor Ahithophel forsook him, “He that eateth bread with me, hath lifted up his heel against me.” His worst foes were they of his own household: his children were his greatest affliction. The temptations of poverty and wealth, of honour and reproach, of health and weakness, all tried their power upon him. He had temptations from without to disturb his peace, and from within to mar his joy. David no sooner escaped from one trial than he fell into another; no sooner emerged from one season of despondency and alarm, than he was again brought into the lowest depths, and all God’s waves and billows rolled over him. It is probably from this cause that David’s psalms are so universally the delight of experienced Christians. Whatever our frame of mind, whether ecstasy or depression, David has exactly described our emotions. He was an able master of the human heart, because he had been tutored in the best of all schools–the school of heart-felt, personal experience. As we are instructed in the same school, as we grow matured in grace and in years, we increasingly appreciate David’s psalms, and find them to be “green pastures.” My soul, let David’s experience cheer and counsel thee this day.

Evening

“And they fortified Jerusalem unto the broad wall.”
Nehemiah 3:8

Cities well fortified have broad walls, and so had Jerusalem in her glory. The New Jerusalem must, in like manner, be surrounded and preserved by a broad wall of nonconformity to the world, and separation from its customs and spirit. The tendency of these days break down the holy barrier, and make the distinction between the church and the world merely nominal. Professors are no longer strict and Puritanical, questionable literature is read on all hands, frivolous pastimes are currently indulged, and a general laxity threatens to deprive the Lord’s peculiar people of those sacred singularities which separate them from sinners. It will be an ill day for the church and the world when the proposed amalgamation shall be complete, and the sons of God and the daughters of men shall be as one: then shall another deluge of wrath be ushered in. Beloved reader, be it your aim in heart, in word, in dress, in action to maintain the broad wall, remembering that the friendship of this world is enmity against God.

The broad wall afforded a pleasant place of resort for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, from which they could command prospects of the surrounding country. This reminds us of the Lord’s exceeding broad commandments, in which we walk at liberty in communion with Jesus, overlooking the scenes of earth, and looking out towards the glories of heaven. Separated from the world, and denying ourselves all ungodliness and fleshly lusts, we are nevertheless not in prison, nor restricted within narrow bounds; nay, we walk at liberty, because we keep his precepts. Come, reader, this evening walk with God in his statutes. As friend met friend upon the city wall, so meet thou thy God in the way of holy prayer and meditation. The bulwarks of salvation thou hast a right to traverse, for thou art a freeman of the royal burgh, a citizen of the metropolis of the universe.

Bible Gateway

When Something is Taking More of You

Suzie Eller August 20, 2018
SUZIE ELLER

“‘I have the right to do anything,’ you say — but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’ — but I will not be mastered by anything.” 1 Corinthians 6:12 (NIV)

For the past several weeks I’ve been doing my best to make my phone a tool, rather than a part of my life. This realization came one day as the phone was plugged in a mere 10 feet away, yet I felt tugged several times to pick it up.

Why was I so pulled?

The truth was my phone had been in my hands more often than not for a while.

Sometimes I woke in the night and reached for it, which made going back to sleep that much harder. However, like a courtroom defense attorney, I listed all the reasons why having my phone nearby or in my hand was acceptable. It’s my calendar. It’s how I stay in touch with family and friends. Social media allows me to minister to others.

Even as I listed those bullet points, I felt the Holy Spirit tugging at my heart. My phone had a greater hold on me than it should.

In today’s key verse, the Apostle Paul is teaching the church about things that can have a hold on us. This is a common theme in Paul’s teaching. He often brought it to a heart-level as believers debated about the right thing to do — whether it was the choices they made with their body, what they ate or drank, or the day they chose to worship.

“‘I have the right to do anything,’ you say — but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’ — but I will not be mastered by anything” (1 Corinthians 6:12).

Paul encouraged them to look past the reasons they could or could not do something, asking one question: Is this beneficial?

Another question might be: “Is this God’s best for me?”

As I shared my dilemma with a few friends, several admitted they’d also struggled. One had her phone in her hands when with her children, and she often didn’t hear what they were saying. Another told a story of attending an important event. When she left, she’d missed a lot of it because she was otherwise engaged with social media and texts. One confessed she became anxious if her phone wasn’t in plain sight.

That day we made a pact to make a plan.

My plan was to put it on ring so I could hear if someone called, but otherwise to leave it at a distance. I chose not to use my phone for social media (unless traveling) but to use my computer instead. This made my time on social media much more intentional. I quickly realized that what I called a bad habit was more of an addiction. I itched to have my phone in my hand. I longed to scroll through social media, to read books through my e-reader app, and to check email and news apps and so much more. There were times I picked it up without thinking, and an hour later, I was still online.

Yet I persisted. After two weeks of sticking to my plan, the pull eased. My phone became a really great tool again, rather than a lifeline.

When something — no matter what it is — takes more from us than it gives, we are wise to put it down. We are wise to give it less of us, so we have more to offer those around us.

As we do, we lean into God’s best for us, and that’s a gift.

Father, that thing that has a hold on me, I can make excuses for it. I can even reason it away. Today I put aside my excuses, and I choose Your best for me. Thank You that You lead me toward what’s beneficial and away from those things that potentially have power over my heart. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
John 8:36, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (NIV)

Colossians 3:17, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Imagine Jesus walks up to you and invites you to come with Him on an adventure. You don’t know where you’re going or what you’ll be doing, but you know you want to go. Join Suzanne Eller with her devotional, Come With Me, and discover what it means to truly follow Jesus wherever He leads. Get your copy of this timeless devotional today to help you draw closer to Jesus through every step of your journey, free with a gift of your choice. Click here to learn more.

CONNECT:
Join Suzie on her blog where she shares, “3 Ways to Know If Something is Beneficial or Not.” You can also connect with Suzie on Instagram.

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Paul encouraged believers not to be brought under the power of anything other than the power of God’s love. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal if anything has more of you than it should. Make a plan. Invite God into the process.

We’d love to hear from you! Let us know how today’s message impacted you in the comments section.

© 2018 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105
www.Proverbs31.org

What the Resurrection Means

Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)

The meaning of the resurrection is that God is for us. He aims to close ranks with us. He aims to overcome all our sense of abandonment and alienation.

The resurrection of Jesus is God’s declaration to Israel and to the world that we cannot work our way to glory but that he intends to do the impossible to get us there.

The resurrection is the promise of God that all who trust Jesus will be the beneficiaries of God’s power to lead us in paths of righteousness and through the valley of death.

Therefore, believing in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead is much more than accepting a fact. It means being confident that God is for you, that he has closed ranks with you, that he is transforming your life, and that he will save you for eternal joy.

Believing in the resurrection means trusting in all the promises of life and hope and righteousness for which it stands.

It means being so confident of God’s power and love that no fear of worldly loss or greed for worldly gain will lure us to disobey his will.

That’s the difference between Satan and the saints. O, might God circumcise our hearts to love him and to rest in the resurrection of his Son.

Bible Gateway