Day By Day By Grace e-Sword Study Bible

September 23
Nebuchadnezzar Exemplifying God’s Opposition to Pride
All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar . . . he was walking about the royal palace of Babylon. The king spoke, saying, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?” While the word was still in the king’s mouth, a voice fell from heaven: “King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: the kingdom has departed from you.” (Dan_4:28-31)
Our lofty and holy God is committed to graciously revive the hearts of all who walk in humility and lowliness. “Though the LORD is on high, yet He regards the lowly; but the proud He knows from afar” (Psa_138:6). Those who walk in pride experience quite a different response from the Lord. King Nebuchadnezzar exemplified God’s opposition to pride.
Nebuchadnezzar was a powerful king in Babylon. One day, he was in his royal palace reflecting upon the greatness of his kingdom. He concluded that it all came to pass because of his own might and for his own glory. “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?” This prideful evaluation was in stark contrast to David’s earlier humble profession. “Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, the power and the glory, the victory and the majesty; for all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and You are exalted as head over all. Both riches and honor come from You, and You reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; in Your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. Now therefore, our God, we thank You and praise Your glorious name” (1Ch_29:11-13).
Before Nebuchadnezzar had finished his self-centered pronouncement, heaven declared God’s opposition to his pride. “King Nebuchadnezzar . . . the kingdom has departed from you.” The consequences would be appropriately severe. “And they shall drive you from men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. They shall make you eat grass like oxen; and seven times shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses” (Dan_4:32). This radical action was much like another proud ruler experienced in the days of the early church. “So on a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat on his throne and gave an oration to them. And the people kept shouting, ‘The voice of a god and not of a man!’ Then immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give glory to God. And he was eaten by worms and died” (Act_12:21-23).
Lord God almighty, creator of all and ruler over all, I repent of the times I have spoken pridefully, as Nebuchadnezzar did. I long to openly profess David’s humble, God-glorifying perspective day by day throughout my life, Amen.

Our Daily Walk e-Sword Study Bible

September 23
THE HOLIDAY SPIRIT
“Come ye yourselves apart, and rest awhile: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.” — Mar_6:31.
THERE IS something in our blood which cries out at certain times for rest and change. We may love our home, our work, and chance of doing our share in the toil of this work-a-day world, but when the summer comes we long to escape from the crowded city, the arduous toil, and pine for respite and rest. The love of Nature is a sacred heritage from the love of God, and it is His voice that calls to us: “Come, My children, Be glad with Me, breathe the scented air which I have flavoured in its passage through clover-fields, gorse, and heather; rejoice in the woods and flowers, golden sunsets and purple mountains; the glory of the ocean and the sea-shore.”
But we must be unselfish, if we would really enjoy our holiday. It is difficult to resist the temptation to obtain the best possible return for our money, and a little over, even at the expense of others. Always think of some one else—the short Zacchaeus who cannot see over your shoulder! The child who loves to look out of the carriage window; the invalid who cannot stand the draught; the tired mother with the restless children! Look out for daily opportunities for showing the gentleness, sweetness, and unselfishness of the Lord Jesus.
Make time to be alone sometimes. It is a mistake always to be in the presence of another. The soul must be still and quiet. There are accents in the voice of God so deep and still, that the breathing of a companion may make them inaudible. But it is delightful to have a choice friend and companion with whom you can hold sweet fellowship, and “there is a Friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” He will draw near and walk with you, and as He talks with you by the way, your hearts will bum within you.
Remember those who are in poverty, in sickness, and in need, and amidst your own gladness and joy, send a portion unto them for whom nothing is prepared (Neh_8:10-12).
PRAYER
What shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits to me?
I will praise, and bless, and give thee Thanks, all the days of my life. Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honour, and power. AMEN.

Devotional Sermons e-Sword Study Bible

September 23
Aeneas and Dorcas
And it came to pass, as Peter passed throughout all quarters, he came down also to the saints who dwelt at Lydda — Act_9:32
In the City, Peter Found One Who Needed Healing
When the fierce fires of persecution had died out, Peter set forth on a tour of visitation. He was eager to find how the churches had been faring Jesus was whispering to him, “Feed my lambs.” He went from town to town and village to village, comforting, cheering and inspiring and it was in this tour that Jesus led him to the bedside of the palsied disciple in Lydda. Lydda was some thirty miles from Jerusalem on the high road from the capital to the coast. It is a little town that has had a strange and chequered history; its story is full of sieges and assault. Tradition tells us that St. George was born there— St. George, who fought with the dragon; but it is not through St. George, it is through St. Peter, that the name is so familiar to our ears. Aeneas, then, lived in Lydda, and Peter found him there (Act_9:33)— found him, I take it, because he was looking for him. It is the things we look for that we are quick to see, and Peter had won the eyes of Jesus now. If a Jewish merchant had come down to Lydda, he would have discovered much, but never Aeneas. It took a Christian missionary, filled with love, to find this sickbed and show it to the world. What do you find when you go to a strange place? What do you see when you travel in foreign countries? Is it only the mountains and the waterfalls and castles and the dresses so different from those at home? A Christ-touched spirit will see far more than that— it will see the need of saving and of healing The man of science finds new species of plants; the explorer finds strange customs and observances; but the apostle finds a certain man who has been eight years bedridden with the palsy. The boys who read Homer or Virgil have heard of another Aeneas. He was the hero and the champion of Troy. And once, when that Aeneas had been wounded, he was healed by the intervention of the gods. All that is fable; but this story is no fable. Peter said to Aeneas, “Jesus Christ maketh thee whole.” And his palsy left him that very hour, and he arose immediately.
Peter in Joppa Raises Dorcas and Stays with Simon the Tanner
A few miles from Lydda lay the town of Joppa, and Joppa was the seaport of Jerusalem. Those who have read Charles Kingsley’s Heroes, and who remember how Perseus rescued Andromeda, will be interested in knowing that the old world believed that it was at Joppa that Andromeda was chained. It was here that the materials were landed which were used in the building of the Temple. And it was from the port of Joppa that Jonah sailed when he thought to fly from the presence of the Lord. Here, then, lived Tabitha called Dorcas, and Tabitha means gazelle. The gazelle was one type of beauty for the Jew. And whether Tabitha was beautiful in face or not, we all know that she was beautiful in character. Probably she had been a fine sewer as a girl; but in her girlish days it would be fancy work. The fancy work never became real work till the pity of Jesus touched her womanly heart. She was not a speaker; she never addressed meetings. I dare say she envied the ladies who could speak. But she learned that there was a service quite as good as that, and that was the service of a consecrated needle. In the glimpse which our verses give of Tabitha, we see how deeply and sincerely she was mourned. And we can picture the joy of many a home in Joppa when the news came that Tabitha lived again. The tidings traveled through all the town, we read, and many believed in the Lord. And then our passage closes with telling us that Peter lived for a long time with the tanner Simon. Do you know why the Bible tells us Simon’s occupation? It is because the Jews thought tanning disgraceful work. No rigid and formal and self-respecting Jew would ever have demeaned himself by lodging there. And the narrative wishes to show us Peter’s mind and how he was rising above Jewish prejudice, and how he was getting ready for the vision that we shall have to consider in our next lesson.
Peter in Raising Tabitha Imitates His Lord in the Raising of Jairus’ Daughter
Now let us note the close resemblances between the raising of Tabitha and the raising of Jairus’ daughter. Peter had never forgotten that memorable hour, and now he could not follow his Lord too closely. Peter had been boastful and self-willed and impetuous once; he had loved to suggest and dictate and take the lead. But now, with all the past graven on his heart his passion is to follow in Jesus’ steps. Had Jesus put all the mourners from the room? Then Peter must be alone with Tabitha. Had Jesus said Talitha cumi? Then Peter will say Tabitha cumi. Had Jesus taken the maiden by the hand, and given her back again to her rejoicing friends? Then Peter will present Tabitha alive. The one point of difference that I find is this: our verses tell us that Peter knelt down and prayed. In that one clause there lies the difference between the work of Jesus and that of His disciple. For the power of Peter was delegated power. It was Christ who was working and to Christ he must cry. But Jesus was acting in His inherent sovereignty. In His own right He was Lord of life and death.
Three Little Lessons
Three minor lessons shine out from these incidents.
(1) We may witness for Christ even in making a bed The first sign of power demanded of Aeneas was that he should arise and make his bed. Now the words may not quite mean what we understand by them. His bed was a carpet and had to be stowed away. But they do mean that in a little act like that—the rolling up and disposing of a rug—a man may show that Christ has dealt with him. You remember the servant girl who was asked by Mr. Spurgeon what evidence she had to show that she was a Christian, and she replied that she always swept under the mats now. I dare say she never thought about Aeneas, but the two arguments for Christ are close akin. (2) The sight of a man may be better than a sermon. “All that dwelt in Lydda saw him, and turned to the Lord.” And (3) We must help with our hand as well as with our prayer. When Peter was left alone beside dead Tabitha, we read that he kneeled down and prayed. Had he not prayed, he had not wrought the miracle. But when Tabitha sat up, wrapped in her strange garments that hampered her limbs and made it hard to move, then Peter gave her his hand and lifted her up. I wonder if he remembered how Jesus had said, “Simon, Simon, I have prayed for thee,” and then, on that wild night upon the lake, had put forth His hand and held him up? The heart and hand of Jesus had saved Peter. The heart and hand of Peter won back Dorcas. And it takes both the he art that prays and the hand that helps to bring the kingdom even a little nearer.

Rylisms

September 23
Deluxe Diner #3
“Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask Him.” (Mat_6:8)
Care to take yet another stoll with me in the Museum of Memories? The year was 1972. Belinda and I were newlyweds, and “in the ministry.” (That’s preacher-code for broke). We had managed to get into a conference being hosted in Dallas, and during the lunch break we made our way into the downtown area to find a place to eat.
The problem was that we didn’t have much money, so we had to pick and choose carefully.
I remembered a place where I had eaten some months earlier when I had been downtown. It was called Deluxe Diner’s #3. It was a shotgun style café, long and compact. There was just enough room inside for the grill, the cooks, the counter-top, and customers seated on bar stools. That left about a two foot clearance for people to come and go from behind the stools as they were done.
Once you entered the place you suddenly realized that the only reason they named it Deluxe Diner’s 3# was to make you think there were two more somewhere else.
But, they had the best hamburgers in the world, and served them on a “Mount Everest” pile of golden, greasy fries. My mouth is watering even now as I write about ‘em.
We made our way in, sat down and ordered one large double cheeseburger with fries, and two ice teas. We figured we had just enough cash to cover the cost, so we would split the burger and share the fries. You got a lot for your money there.
As we were eating, a business man sitting next to Belinda, opposite of the side I was on, started a conversation with her.
“Good burgers, huh?” he asked.
“Yes they are,” Belinda answered.
And the conversation went on like that for a bit. He said he was a business man with Sun Oil Company, and that he often ate at Deluxe Diner’s #3.
There was a moment in the conversation as I looked across from Belinda at the man, that the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and said, “This man is going to pay for your lunch.”
After several minutes passed the man got up to leave and made his way to the cashier, saying nothing more to us except, “Have a nice day.”
I then prayed, “Lord, I know you told me this man would pay for our lunch, but what am I to do when we leave if the cashier tries to tell me he didn’t do it?”
At that moment I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned to see the businessman. “Son, I just paid for your lunch,” he said, “so don’t let them try and pull anything over on you when you get up to leave.”
Jesus said it best – “Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask Him.” (Mat_6:8).