April 23

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“Then Satan entered into Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve disciples. and he went to the leading priests and captains of the Temple guard to discuss the best way to betray Jesus to them. They were delighted, and they promised to give him money.” (Luke 22:3-5 NLT).

From: April 23, 2018

JUDAS CHOSE MONEY OVER HIS MASTER
The name Judas has become a byword for betrayal. Once a popular Hebrew name prior to the 1st century, who would name a baby “Judas” after the one from Iscariot has so ruined it? Yet, should we be so quick to distance ourselves from the name and the betrayal it portrays? For haven’t we all betrayed Christ in some fashion?
 
The betrayal of Judas is made all the worse for his favored position, for he was one of the Twelve. He was hand-picked by Jesus and entrusted with the disciples’ money bag. Yet, there lay his great weakness and therefore the strength of Satan’s temptation. Judas loved money. And Satan identified his natural passion and lust, fanning it into the flame of betrayal. This is how Satan works. He identifies our natural desire and worms his way into our thinking, so that we are convinced that we deserve to have our lust gratified. The love of money was the crack in Judas’ heart that allowed Satan’s entrance.
 
Judas chose money over his Master. This led to the most heinous betrayal in human history. Yet, don’t we all have a little of Judas in us? Aren’t we tempted to put our love of another person, a valued possession or some particular passion, ahead of our love of Christ? Be careful of loving anyone or anything before Christ. For this is where Satan will seek a place to tempt us to betray our beloved Savior.

“Therefore I also said, ‘I will not drive them out before you; but they shall be thorns in your side, and their gods shall be a snare to you.’” (Judges 2:3 NKJV).

From: April 23, 2017

The Israelites did not completely obey the Lord’s command to make no covenants with, nor allow any altars to the pagans of the Promised Land. Since they allowed them to stay in the land, the Lord said they would become “thorns” in their side and that their false gods would be a “snare” to them. Their failure to completely obey the Lord set the stage for the painful cycle of five recurring themes in the book of Judges: Rebellion, Rebuke, Repentance, Rescue, and Rest.
 
As you read the book of Judges, watch for these five themes. The Israelites will rebel, God rebukes them, they finally repent, God sends a judge to rescue them and they find rest (usually for 40 years or a generation). It’s exhausting to read because the Israelites are so unfaithful. Yet, God’s faithfulness remains consistent throughout!

“They said to him, “Where will you have us prepare it?” (Luke 22:9 ESV)

From: April 23, 2016

When Jesus told Peter and John to go and prepare the Passover, they asked, “Where?” Jesus didn’t respond with an address, but with a set of circumstances and a person. He told them that they would meet a man carrying a jar of water as they entered Jerusalem and that they should follow him to the place. He even told them what to ask when they got there.
Have you ever experienced this kind of direction and help from the Lord? Peter and John were ready to obey, but needed direction. Sometimes we are ready to obey, but we don’t pause to ask the Lord for help. We come up with our own plans, rather than asking the Lord for where He wants us to go. What joy to hear the Lord’s voice saying, “Follow the man with the water jar!”

“So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12 NKJV)

From: April 23, 2015

Understanding that our days are numbered can motivate us to live life with a sense of urgent importance. “Urgent,” because putting off till tomorrow means eventually running out of tomorrows. If the Lord has put it on your heart, then do it now! And “important,” because we often fill our days with unimportant things. Prayerfully consider what is most important, then focus on those things every day. This is not a morbid state of mind, being aware of your limited days. This is wisdom, not wasting the time God has given you on planet earth. Don’t waste your life!

“This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease” (Psalm 91:2-3 NLT)

From: April 23, 2014

Psalm 91 was a favorite of my father’s. While lying in a hospital bed fighting cancer, he had our pastor read this Psalm to him regularly. He loved to meditate on its meaning. Psalm 91 is part of Book IV in the Psalms, which has five divisions or books organizing its 150 psalms. According to Spurgeon, the ancient rabbis saw a kind of “echo” of the Pentateuch in the Psalms. He described the Psalms as the Congregation’s “five-fold” response to God’s “five-fold word” in the Torah. Describing Psalm 91, Spurgeon said:
“It is impossible that any ill should happen to the man who is beloved of the Lord; the most crushing calamities can only shorten his journey and hasten him to his reward. Ill to him is not ill, but only good in a mysterious form. Losses enrich him, sickness is his medicine, reproach is his honor, death is his gain. No evil in the strict sense of the word can happen to him, for everything is overruled for good. Happy is he who is in such a case. He is secure where others are in peril, he lives where others die.” (The Treasury of David, Vol. 2, Part 2, 93)

“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12 ESV)

From: April 23, 2013

Understanding that our days are numbered can motivate us to live life with a sense of urgent importance. ‘Urgent’ – because putting off till tomorrow means eventually running out of tomorrows. If the Lord has put it on your heart, then do it now! And ‘important’ – because we often fill our days with unimportant things. Prayerfully consider what is most important, then focus on those things every day. This is not a morbid state of mind, being aware of your limited days. This is wisdom, not wasting the time God has given you on planet earth. Don’t waste your life!