April 4

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“Then build an altar there to the Lord your God, using natural, uncut stones. You must not shape the stones with an iron tool.” (Deuteronomy 27:5 NLT).

From: April 4, 2019


Moses instructed Israel to build an altar of “natural, uncut stones” after they crossed the Jordan River and entered the Promised Land. They were to offer burnt offerings on it to celebrate God’s law and provision for his people. But why did God insist that the altar be built with natural, uncut stones?
The most obvious reason for leaving the stones uncut was because God commanded it. For those who trust the Lord, “because God said so” should always suffice.
Perhaps another reason the stones were to be left natural was to prevent the altar from becoming an idol. The pagan peoples of that land made intricately carved, manmade altars in the high places and the Lord did not want his people to worship falsely.
Yet, surely the most meaningful reason is an allegorical one. The stones were to be left natural and uncut because God’s salvation is the work of God alone without any human effort. In this sense, the uncut stones point to Christ. For Jesus is the stone that “was cut out, but not by human hands” (Dan. 2:34). He is the “stone that the builders rejected [that] has become the cornerstone” (Matt. 21:42). As Isaiah prophesied and Peter preached, the Lord has said, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame” (Isa. 28:16, 1 Pet. 2:6). Christ is that Cornerstone laid by God himself.
PRAYER: Lord, thank you for Christ, the Cornerstone and foundation of our salvation. We have believed in Jesus and received freely your great salvation. What wonder and awe we feel as we contemplate the work of salvation you began even before the foundation of the world. There is nothing we can add or subtract to the work of salvation you have provided for us in Christ Jesus. We offer our bodies as living sacrifices in response to your great love and grace. In Jesus’ name, amen.

“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13 NKJV).

From: April 4, 2017

Does God give good gifts when we ask? Can we trust His response to our prayers? If we give ourselves fully to Him in prayer, will He test us with things we don’t want and take away things that we do?
Jesus answered these implied questions by asking His own, “If a son asks any father among you for bread, or fish, or eggs, will he give a rock for bread, a serpent for fish, or a scorpion for an egg?”
I’m sure His hearers must’ve responded with laughter at the ridiculous imagery of His rhetorical questions. “Certainly not!” They no doubt replied.
Jesus taught us to ask, seek, and knock in prayer expecting the Father to answer. We need not worry whether such persistence might cause the Father to give us hurtful or undesirable gifts. For if a sinful, mortal father knows how to give good, certainly the righteous God will give not only good gifts, but even the “Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”
Never doubt the Father’s love and care for you. You can depend on Him to meet your needs when you ask. More than that, He knows your deepest need, namely, the Holy Spirit. For God has sent His Son to reconcile us to Himself, so that we might be adopted into His family by the Spirit of adoption, that we might truly be called children of God.

“The vexation of a fool is known at once, but the prudent ignores an insult.” (Proverbs 12:16 ESV)

From: April 4, 2016

We live in an increasingly thin-skinned world. People seem so easily offended. Nearly every category of humanity is declaring victimhood. Yet, the Bible describes those who are easily offended as foolish. On the other hand, those who ignore an insult are called “prudent” or wise. Jesus is both our model, and our source of strength, for living with this kind of unoffendable wisdom. It was He who declared from the cross, “Father, forgive them they don’t know what they’re doing” (Luke 23:34). His identity was unassailable from others for it rested in the Father’s approval. That’s the key. If our identity depends on the approval of others, we will be continually “vexed” by every felt offense. But if our identity is secure in Christ, we will care only for His approval, wanting only to please Him in everything. When our identity is found in Jesus, we are unoffendable when others insult us.

“Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41-42 NKJV)

From: April 4, 2015

Martha was working hard in the kitchen while her sister, Mary, sat at the feet of Jesus listening. Martha was hurt, feeling that Jesus didn’t care that her sister had left her serving alone. But Jesus approved of Mary’s choice to rest in Him and to enjoy His presence without working. He instructed Martha that resting in Him was the “good part,” the “one thing” needed.
Today is the 7th day of Passion Week, the day we remember Christ’s crucified body lying in the tomb. Just as God finished His creation by making man on the 6th day and rested on the 7th, so Christ redeemed mankind on the 6th day and on the 7th day, rested.
What are you “worried and troubled about” today? Rest in the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who has defeated sin, death and the grave. Rest in Him, for He has already done what is needed to save us.

“For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened” (Luke 11:10 NLT)

From: April 4, 2014

After teaching his disciples how to pray, Jesus explained the importance of persistent prayer. The art of persistent asking seems to be something we’re born with, yet outgrow. Consider the child asking for a cookie. No one has to teach the child persistence. Even the mother with the most determined resolve finds herself giving in to the child’s repetitive request. Why does Jesus use so many “persistent” asking stories, such as the knocking neighbor (Luke 11:5-8) or the persistent widow (Luke 18:1-8), to illustrate how to pray? Is it because the Lord is hard of hearing? Or hesitant to respond? No. The Lord hears and the Lord loves to respond to us. The emphasis on persistence seems more likely to point to our own hearts. That we will be child-like in our dependence on God. The Kingdom economy is one of asking and receiving with childlike faith.

“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice” (Proverbs 12:15 ESV)

From: April 4, 2013

The foolish are know-it-alls. They pridefully think they know more that others and will not hear advice. They stumble and fall in the darkness, but will not admit error. But the wise are humble and listen to advice, seeking the wisdom of others before acting. The most profound implication of this truth is found in how one responds to God’s Word. Are you right in your own eyes like the fool? Or will you wisely listen to the Word’s correction, repenting and choosing to obey?