Grace for the Moment

Duration: 365 days

A HOLY TASK

Obey the Lord with great fear. Psalm 2:11

mary and Mary [Magdalene] knew a task had to be done—Jesus’ body had to be prepared for burial. Peter didn’t offer to do it. Andrew didn’t volunteer … So the two Marys decide to do it …

I wonder if halfway to the tomb they had sat down and reconsidered. What if they’d looked at each other and shrugged, “What’s the use?” What if they had given up? What if one had thrown up her arms in frustration and bemoaned, “I’m tired of being the only one who cares. Let Andrew do something for a change. Let Nathanael show some leadership.”

Whether or not they were tempted to, I’m glad they didn’t quit. That would have been tragic. You see, we know something they didn’t. We know the Father was watching. Mary and Mary thought they were alone. They weren’t. They thought their journey was unnoticed. They were wrong. God knew.

from He Still Moves Stones

GENESIS 5-6

Adam’s Family History

This is the family history of Adam. When God created human beings, he made them in his own likeness. He created them male and female, and on that day he blessed them and named them human beings.

When Adam was 130 years old, he became the father of another son in his likeness and image, and Adam named him Seth. After Seth was born, Adam lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. So Adam lived a total of 930 years, and then he died.

When Seth was 105 years old, he had a son named Enosh. After Enosh was born, Seth lived 807 years and had other sons and daughters. So Seth lived a total of 912 years, and then he died.

When Enosh was 90 years old, he had a son named Kenan. 10 After Kenan was born, Enosh lived 815 years and had other sons and daughters. 11 So Enosh lived a total of 905 years, and then he died.

12 When Kenan was 70 years old, he had a son named Mahalalel. 13 After Mahalalel was born, Kenan lived 840 years and had other sons and daughters. 14 So Kenan lived a total of 910 years, and then he died.

15 When Mahalalel was 65 years old, he had a son named Jared. 16 After Jared was born, Mahalalel lived 830 years and had other sons and daughters. 17 So Mahalalel lived a total of 895 years, and then he died.

18 When Jared was 162 years old, he had a son named Enoch. 19 After Enoch was born, Jared lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. 20 So Jared lived a total of 962 years, and then he died.

21 When Enoch was 65 years old, he had a son named Methuselah. 22 After Methuselah was born, Enoch walked with God 300 years more and had other sons and daughters. 23 So Enoch lived a total of 365 years. 24 Enoch walked with God; one day Enoch could not be found, because God took him.

25 When Methuselah was 187 years old, he had a son named Lamech. 26 After Lamech was born, Methuselah lived 782 years and had other sons and daughters. 27 So Methuselah lived a total of 969 years, and then he died.

28 When Lamech was 182, he had a son. 29 Lamech named his son Noah[a] and said, “He will comfort us in our work, which comes from the ground the Lord has cursed.” 30 After Noah was born, Lamech lived 595 years and had other sons and daughters. 31 So Lamech lived a total of 777 years, and then he died.

32 After Noah was 500 years old, he became the father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

The Human Race Becomes Evil

The number of people on earth began to grow, and daughters were born to them. When the sons of God saw that these girls were beautiful, they married any of them they chose. The Lord said, “My Spirit will not remain in human beings forever, because they are flesh. They will live only 120 years.”

The Nephilim were on the earth in those days and also later. That was when the sons of God had sexual relations with the daughters of human beings. These women gave birth to children, who became famous and were the mighty warriors of long ago.

The Lord saw that the human beings on the earth were very wicked and that everything they thought about was evil. He was sorry he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. So the Lord said, “I will destroy all human beings that I made on the earth. And I will destroy every animal and everything that crawls on the earth and the birds of the air, because I am sorry I have made them.” But Noah pleased the Lord.

Noah and the Great Flood

This is the family history of Noah. Noah was a good man, the most innocent man of his time, and he walked with God. 10 He had three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

11 People on earth did what God said was evil, and violence was everywhere. 12 When God saw that everyone on the earth did only evil, 13 he said to Noah, “Because people have made the earth full of violence, I will destroy all of them from the earth. 14 Build a boat of cypress wood for yourself. Make rooms in it and cover it inside and outside with tar. 15 This is how big I want you to build the boat: four hundred fifty feet long, seventy-five feet wide, and forty-five feet high. 16 Make an opening around the top of the boat that is eighteen inches high from the edge of the roof down. Put a door in the side of the boat. Make an upper, middle, and lower deck in it. 17 I will bring a flood of water on the earth to destroy all living things that live under the sky, including everything that has the breath of life. Everything on the earth will die. 18 But I will make an agreement with you—you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives will all go into the boat. 19 Also, you must bring into the boat two of every living thing, male and female. Keep them alive with you. 20 Two of every kind of bird, animal, and crawling thing will come to you to be kept alive. 21 Also gather some of every kind of food and store it on the boat as food for you and the animals.”

22 Noah did everything that God commanded him.

Footnotes:

  1. 5:29 Noah This name sounds like the Hebrew word for “rest.”

New Century Version (NCV)

The Holy Bible, New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

PSALM 2:7-12

Now I will tell you what the Lord has declared:
He said to me, “You are my son.
    Today I have become your father.
If you ask me, I will give you the nations;
    all the people on earth will be yours.
You will rule over them with an iron rod.
    You will break them into pieces like pottery.”

10 So, kings, be wise;
    rulers, learn this lesson.
11 Obey the Lord with great fear.
    Be happy, but tremble.
12 Show that you are loyal to his son,
    or you will be destroyed by his anger,
because he can quickly become angry.
    But happy are those who trust him for protection.New Century Version (NCV)

The Holy Bible, New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

PROVERBS 1:10-19

10 My child, if sinners try to lead you into sin,
    do not follow them.
11 They will say, “Come with us.
    Let’s ambush and kill someone;
    let’s attack some innocent people just for fun.
12 Let’s swallow them alive, as death does;
    let’s swallow them whole, as the grave does.
13 We will take all kinds of valuable things
    and fill our houses with stolen goods.
14 Come join us,
    and we will share with you stolen goods.”
15 My child, do not go along with them;
    do not do what they do.
16 They are eager to do evil
    and are quick to kill.
17 It is useless to spread out a net
    right where the birds can see it.
18 But sinners will fall into their own traps;
    they will only catch themselves!
19 All greedy people end up this way;
    greed kills selfish people.New Century Version (NCV)

The Holy Bible, New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

MATTHEW 3

The Work of John the Baptist

About that time John the Baptist began preaching in the desert area of Judea. John said, “Change your hearts and lives because the kingdom of heaven is near.” John the Baptist is the one Isaiah the prophet was talking about when he said:

“This is a voice of one
    who calls out in the desert:
‘Prepare the way for the Lord.
    Make the road straight for him.’” Isaiah 40:3

John’s clothes were made from camel’s hair, and he wore a leather belt around his waist. For food, he ate locusts and wild honey. Many people came from Jerusalem and Judea and all the area around the Jordan River to hear John. They confessed their sins, and he baptized them in the Jordan River.

Many of the Pharisees and Sadducees came to the place where John was baptizing people. When John saw them, he said, “You are snakes! Who warned you to run away from God’s coming punishment? Do the things that show you really have changed your hearts and lives. And don’t think you can say to yourselves, ‘Abraham is our father.’ I tell you that God could make children for Abraham from these rocks. 10 The ax is now ready to cut down the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.[a]

11 “I baptize you with water to show that your hearts and lives have changed. But there is one coming after me who is greater than I am, whose sandals I am not good enough to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 He will come ready to clean the grain, separating the good grain from the chaff. He will put the good part of the grain into his barn, but he will burn the chaff with a fire that cannot be put out.”[b]

Jesus Is Baptized by John

13 At that time Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan River and wanted John to baptize him. 14 But John tried to stop him, saying, “Why do you come to me to be baptized? I need to be baptized by you!”

15 Jesus answered, “Let it be this way for now. We should do all things that are God’s will.” So John agreed to baptize Jesus.

16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he came up out of the water. Then heaven opened, and he saw God’s Spirit coming down on him like a dove. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love, and I am very pleased with him.”

Footnotes:

  1. 3:10 The ax . . . fire. This means that God is ready to punish his people who do not obey him.
  2. 3:12 He will . . . out. This means that Jesus will come to separate good people from bad people, saving the good and punishing the bad.

New Century Version (NCV)

The Holy Bible, New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.Copyright © 2006 by Max Lucado.

Standing Strong Through the Storm

Duration: 365 days

THE WINNER!

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:57

The five-year-old soccer goalie of Team One was an outstanding athlete, but he was no match for three or four on Team Two who were also very good and they began to score on him. The goalie gave it everything he had, recklessly throwing his body in front of incoming balls, trying valiantly to stop them.

After the third goal was scored against him, he could see it was no use; he couldn’t stop them. He didn’t quit, but he became quietly desperate. Futility was written all over him.

After the fourth goal, the little boy needed help so badly, and there was no help to be had. He retrieved the ball from the net and handed it to the referee. Then he fell to his knees and cried the tears of the helpless and broken-hearted.

His father ran onto the field and said, “Scotty, I’m so proud of you. You were great out there. I want everybody to know that you are my son.”

“Daddy,” the boy sobbed, “I couldn’t stop them. I tried, Daddy, I tried and tried, and they scored on me.”

“Scotty, it doesn’t matter how many times they scored on you. You’re my son, and I’m proud of you. I want you to go back out there and finish the game. I know you want to quit, but you can’t. And, son, you’re going to get scored on again, but it doesn’t matter. Go on, now.” The little guy ran back on to the field and they scored two more times. But it was okay.

I get scored on every day. I try so hard. I recklessly throw my body in every direction. I fume with rage. I struggle with temptation and sin with every ounce of my being – and Satan laughs. And he scores again, and the tears come, and I go to my knees – sinful, convicted, helpless. And my Father rushes right out on the field—right in front of the whole jeering, laughing world—and he picks me up, and he hugs me and he says:

Son, I’m so proud of you. You were great out there. I want everybody to know that you are my son. And because I control the outcome of this game, I declare you – The Winner!”

RESPONSE: Today I will rejoice in my Father’s love and support. I will not give up as the battle rages.

PRAYER: Thank You Lord for Your love and for declaring me a winner!

Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.

Spurgeon at the New Park Street Chapel: 365 Sermons

Duration: 365 days

The two talents

“He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” Matthew 25:22-23

Suggested Further Reading: 1 Chronicles 29:1-17

If by divine grace—(and it is only by divine grace that this can ever be accomplished)—our two talents be rightly used, the fact that we did not have five, will be no injury to us. You say, when such a man dies, who stood in the midst of the church, a triumphant warrior for the truth, the angels will crowd to heaven’s gates to see him, for he has been a mighty hero, and done much for his Master. A Calvin or a Luther, with what plaudits shall they be received!—men with talents, who have been faithful to their trust. Yes, but know ye not, that there is many a humble village pastor whose flock scarcely numbers fifty, who toils for them as for his life, who spends hours in praying for their welfare, who uses all the little ability he has in his endeavour to win them to Christ; and do ye imagine that his entry into heaven shall be less triumphant than the entry of such a man as Luther? If so, ye know not how God dealeth with his people. He giveth them rewards, not according to the greatness of the goods with which they were entrusted, but according to their fidelity thereunto, and he that hath been faithful in the least, shall be as much rewarded, as he that hath been faithful in much. I want you briefly to turn to the chapter to see this. You will note first, that the man with two talents came to his Lord with as great a confidence as the man that had five. “And he said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents; behold, I have gained two talents beside them.”

For meditation: These words, spoken exactly 34 years before the day on which Spurgeon died, remind us not to covet the gifts of a Spurgeon. Our concern, as believers, should not be how much we have got from God, but how much we gladly use whatever we have got for God (1 Corinthians 4:22 Corinthians 8:12).

Sermon no. 175
31 January (1858)365 Days with C.H. Spurgeon, Vol. 1: A Unique Collection of 365 Daily Readings from Sermons Preached by Charles Haddon Spurgeon from His New Park Street Pulpit (365 Days With Series); edited by Terence Peter Crosby; (c) Day One Publications, 1998.