Charles Stanley – The Cup and the Covenant

Matthew 26:26-30

Jesus’ last meal with His disciples took place during the celebration of Passover. Giving them bread, He said, “Take, eat; this is My body” (Matt. 26:26). Next, offering wine from a shared cup, He told them, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins” (Matt. 26:27-28). Believers today observe the Lord’s Supper as a symbol of cleansing, consecration, and communion.

Jesus’ blood cleanses us from sin. Starting with Adam and Eve, God required a blood sacrifice to cover transgressions (Gen. 3:21; Lev. 17:11). But this was just a temporary solution, as the next offense required yet another sacrifice. Jesus was God’s permanent answer to the problem: He took upon Himself all sin—past, present, and future—and died to pay the full penalty.

When people receive salvation, they are consecrated, or set apart to the Lord. Their sins are forgiven, and they receive eternal life as well as the indwelling Holy Spirit. At times they may forget they belong to the Lord and give in to temptation. The bread and the cup are an opportunity to remember what God expects of His children and to renew a commitment to obey.

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Our Daily Bread — Self-Care

Read: Exodus 18:14-24

Bible in a Year: Deuteronomy 20-22; Mark 13:21-37

Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest. —Mark 6:31

After my husband underwent heart surgery, I spent an anxious night by his hospital bed. Mid-morning, I remembered a scheduled haircut. “I’ll have to cancel,” I said, raking my fingers distractedly through my straggly hair.

“Mom, just wash your face and go to your appointment,” my daughter said.

“No, no,” I insisted. “It doesn’t matter. I need to be here.”

“I’ll stay,” Rosie said. “Self-care, Mom. . . . Self-care. You’re of more use to Dad if you take care of yourself.”

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John MacArthur – Strength for Today – Understanding Who God Is

“Walk . . . with all humility” (Ephesians 4:1-2).

The more we comprehend the greatness of God, the more humble we will become.

God is not given proper respect today. He is often flippantly referred to as “the man upstairs”—more of a buddy than the eternal God. Many see Him as nothing more than a cosmic Santa Claus or an absent-minded grandfather who winks at sin.

Unfortunately, even Christians can be affected by these views. Such sin dishonors God and undermines the next step to humility: God-awareness. Instead of getting our ideas of God from the world, let’s look at what the biblical writers say about Him.

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Wisdom Hunters – God Enables 

The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to go on the heights.  Habakkuk 3:19

God is your enabler for there is nothing you cannot do that He has destined you to accomplish. It is His eternal enablement that carries you forward. The next phase of your character growth may be painful. The development of your business or ministry to the next level could be daunting. The skills you need as a parent are scary, and it seems impossible to balance work, home, and hobbies. But God is bigger than your frailties, fears, and family. He will enable you if you let Him, so do not carry this burden of becoming better alone. Your Savior is your enabler of bigger and better things. In your own strength you will remain frustrated, frazzled, and stuck. There is no amount of self-discipline that by itself can accomplish God’s results.

It is through the empowering of the Holy Spirit that you are able to endure and execute the will of the Lord (Isaiah 63:11). As a child of God, you can offload your fatigue to your heavenly Father and rest in Him. You can outsource your anxieties to the One who can enable you to execute eternity’s agenda. His grace qualifies you to carry out this life’s assignment. You have been crucified with Christ (Galatians 2:20) and sealed by His spirit (Ephesians 4:30). You are a valued member of Christ’s community. Others have traveled this road of trust and did much more than survive. They thrived because the Lord enabled them with His wisdom and grace.

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Truly Rich

“Do you want to be truly rich? You already are if you are happy and good. After all, we didn’t bring any money with us when we came into the world, and we can’t carry away a single penny when we die” (1 Timothy 6:6,7).

If you had the choice of choosing between great wealth and good health and a happy, joyful relationship with our Lord, which would you choose? Though many would choose wealth, I am sure that if you are a Christian, you would gladly choose to live modestly the rest of your life if necessary in order to experience daily the joy of your salvation.

During all of my career, I, an agnostic, had worked hard to successfully develop my business interests. Then, in the providence of God, I was brought face to face with Christ and His Word. “What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?”

It was as though God touched my mind to enable me to understand that I could eat only one meal at a time, wear one suit of clothes at a time and take nothing with me when I die. I understood for the first time that being truly rich does not involve the accumulation of vast wealth, but it involves knowing and doing the will of God – in walking in intimate, vital, personal fellowship with Him daily as a way of life.

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Ray Stedman – How to Shine

Read: Philippians 2:14-15

Do everything without grumbling or arguing… Phil 2:14

That is trustful obedience. Perhaps some of you remember an old radio show character named Lightning. He would always do what he was told, but he kept up a continuing undercurrent of mumbling comments which became quite hilarious. It reminds me of many Christians who claim to reckon on the indwelling God but at the same time mumble and complain. That reveals a basic unbelief. It shows they don’t really believe the trials of their life are sent of the Lord, and they don’t really believe that he is adequate to meet every situation. They are not really expecting him to work, otherwise they wouldn’t be murmuring, grumbling and disputing with one another.

What happens when a Christian behaves in unbelief? As Paul points out, the world around cannot see Christ, so there is no light in their darkness. In other words, if the life your neighbors see in you is explainable only in terms of your human personality and background, what do you have to say to your neighbors that will awaken them to their need of Christ? If the situations you face cause you to react with the same murmuring and discontent and bitterness they have, what’s the difference between your quality of life and theirs? They will simply say, my life is explained in terms of my personality. I like certain sports and entertainment, and certain kinds of music and you like religion — that’s all. Unless there is a quality of life that can be explained only in terms of God there is nothing to challenge the world around. The world waits to see God, and they will as Christians stop their mumbling and complaining and disputing.

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Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – No More of This!

Read: Luke 22:47-53

Lord, shall we strike with the sword? (v. 49)

Why is it that the worst things always happen at night? The worst phone calls always seem to come when it is dark. Our biggest fears and worries always seem to come calling when we are lying in bed, in the darkness. Even when bad things happen during the day, in our memory of them there is no light.

We remember the Garden of Gethsemane as the place where, in the darkness, Jesus was betrayed and arrested. We forget that the Lord also performed there a fascinating miracle. It is the only recorded instance in which Jesus healed someone who had been hurt in an act of violence. Mark says an unnamed disciple cut off the ear of an unnamed slave of the high priest. Matthew adds that Jesus rebuked the disciple. In John the disciple becomes Simon Peter, the slave Malchus, and the severed ear is the right one. But only Dr. Luke tells us that Jesus touched the ear and healed the man. Imagine Jesus looking in the grass for that missing ear and then putting it back where it belonged.

“No more of this!” Jesus says. In Matthew, Jesus adds: “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword” (26:52).

Some measure of defense is necessary in a fallen world. But Jesus died for the sins of the world, which includes the sins of our enemies, and we betray him when we try to defend him with violence. “No more of this!”

Prayer:

Lord, fill me with your peace.

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Presidential Prayer Team; C.H.- Prepping

Did you know around 3.7 million Americans consider themselves preppers? Preppers are people who believe a catastrophic event is likely to happen in the future and prepare for it. These survivalists spend thousands of dollars on food, clothing, shelter and water readying for the end of times.

Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them…to meet the Lord.

I Thessalonians 4:17

Today’s passage also speaks of the end of times. The apostle Paul wrote of a day when Christ will return, starting what some call the Apocalypse. Paul tells the church at Thessalonica, “The Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.” (I Thessalonians 4:16) He goes on to describe how those believers alive on the Earth will rise to meet Jesus in the clouds.

Christ will return. How are you prepping for His arrival? Are you sharing His love with others? Pray for God to “prep” the hearts of your fellow Americans and your national leaders to proclaim Him the one true God.

Recommended Reading: I Thessalonians 5:1-11

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Kids 4 Truth International – God Makes Each of Us Unique

“And the LORD God formed man out of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.” (Genesis 2:7)

Mrs. Gillen watched her sixth-grade students go through a fingerprinting procedure at the school safety fair. A very tall police officer was helping the children place each fingertip in ink, and then carefully press their fingers, one by one, on their papers. As the students compared their fingerprints, they realized that none were alike, not even the fingerprints of the identical twin boys in the class!

Have you ever look closely at your own fingerprints? Have you ever compared them to the fingerprints of your friends or siblings? No one else has your fingerprints. They are uniquely your own. How can this be possible?

Genesis 2:7 shows that God is the One Who created human beings and gave them life. Psalm 139 is another passage that gives a picture of how closely God pays attention in His creative work. David, the writer of this Psalm, describes this kind of special attention to detail way in verses 13-16: “Thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb…. My substance was not hid from thee….thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect…and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.” God knows everyone this closely–each and every single person who has ever lived, who is living now, and who ever will live one day in the future. No wonder David declares in verse 14, “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”

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The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Atonement Day

Today’s Scripture: Psalm 32:5

“I will confess my transgressions to the Lord. ”

Put yourself in the shoes of a devout Jew on the Day of Atonement. He sees the high priest slay a goat as a propitiatory sacrifice. He watches as the priest disappears into the Tent of Meeting, to enter the Most Holy Place and to sprinkle the blood of the slain goat on and before the Mercy Seat. Only the high priest is allowed to enter that room (after ceremonial cleansing), and even then only once a year and only with the blood of the sacrificial animal.

The devout Jew waits with some degree of anxiety for the high priest to return, very conscious that atonement for his sins is conditioned on God’s acceptance of the high priest’s ministry.

Finally, the high priest comes out. He lays his hands on a live goat’s head and confesses over it all the sins of the people, symbolically transferring those sins to the goat. He solemnly confesses, perhaps with weeping, the people’s wickedness and rebellion. Then the goat is led away, bearing their sins into the desert.

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The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – The Power of Intercessory Prayer

Today’s Scripture: Job 40-42

And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor. – Isaiah 59:16 (KJV)

All of us like to see people get along, and a public quarrel is especially embarrassing. I must confess that I was a bit uneasy at times as Job’s story unfolded. It bothered me to hear him utter words he would regret later on. It also bothered me to hear Job and his friends quarreling. And I must admit it bothered me to see that good man in such agony of body, mind, and spirit. But in the end, all things worked together for good.

Two major lessons stand out in these final chapters. One is found in Job 42:5-6, where Job says, “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” This is the response of those to whom God makes a deeper revelation of Himself.

If pride is a troublesome problem for you, spend some time in the presence of Jesus Christ, God’s perfect revelation of Himself. Read the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Ask God to help you see the greatness of the majesty of Christ and the ugliness of sin. When we see God as He is, and we see ourselves as we are, we will fall before Him in repentance.

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