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January 19

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“Therefore hear the parable of the sower” (Matthew 13:18 NKJV).

From: January 19, 2020

FOUR HEART CONDITIONS

In Jesus’ parable of the sower, He described four heart conditions that determined their receptivity to the gospel. Jesus explained the meaning of the parable to His disciples. He explained that the “seed” is the gospel, the “sower” is the one who preaches the gospel, and the four types of “soil” are the four types of hearts. In addition, the “birds” who ate the seed represent the wicked one, the devil.
 
The four soils or heart conditions were:
1) THE HARD HEART. Represented by the soil on the wayside or path, which is hardened so that the seed does not penetrate and the birds eat it.
2) THE SHALLOW HEART. Represented by the stony soil. The seed sprouts quickly but has no root, so that it does not persevere when troubles come.
3) THE DIVIDED HEART. Represented by the seed that fell among thorns. It sprouted but was choked by thorns representing the cares of this world.
4) THE RECEPTIVE HEART. Represented by the good soil which hears the word of God and receives it, bearing much fruit.
 
Which heart condition best represents your heart?
 
PRAYER: Dear Father, our hearts are receptive to Your Word today, but we have not always been so. There have been times when Your Word fell on our hearts when they were resistant or distracted by worldly care. Forgive us. Help us to always be receptive to Your Word. For we never outgrow hearing and applying the gospel to our lives. In Jesus’ name, amen.

‘“It is beyond my power to do this,” Joseph replied. “But God can tell you what it means and set you at ease.”’ (Genesis 41:16 NLT).

From: January 19, 2019

THE DREAMER GIVES GOD THE GLORY

Joseph had thoughtlessly shared his dreams with his older brothers, predicting how they would one day bow down to him. In their jealousy, they sold him into slavery. Yet after years in slavery and prison, Joseph had changed. He was humbled, giving God all the glory for any power lent to him for interpreting dreams. He stood before mighty Pharaoh, a worshiper of false gods and one who had the power of life and death over his subjects, yet Joseph responded by attributing true power and glory to God. For he knew that God was over all, even Pharaoh. And he trusted his future into God’s hands.
 
PRAYER: Lord, teach us to be humble with the insights and knowledge that You give us. Whatever we have You have given us. May we always give You glory. In Jesus name, Amen.

‘“It is beyond my power to do this,” Joseph replied. “But God can tell you what it means and set you at ease.”’ (Genesis 41:16 NLT).

From: January 20, 2018

THE DREAMER GIVES GOD THE GLORY
Joseph had thoughtlessly shared his dreams with his older brothers, predicting how they would one day bow down to him. In their jealousy, they sold him into slavery. Yet after years in slavery and prison, Joseph had changed. He was humbled, giving God all the glory for any power lent to him for interpreting dreams. He stood before mighty Pharaoh, a worshiper of false gods and one who had the power of life and death over his subjects, yet Joseph responded by attributing true power and glory to God. For he knew that God was over all, even Pharaoh. And he trusted his future into God’s hands.

“Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt” (Genesis 39:1 NKJV).

From: January 19, 2017

Joseph was “taken down to Egypt.” The Lord’s plan to elevate Joseph over his brethren, and one day rescue them from famine, led downward. The dreamer found himself in a nightmare. Down, down, down he went. The once favored son was betrayed by his brethren, stripped of his robes, thrown into a pit, sold into slavery, falsely accused, and left forsaken in a prison. Yet, Joseph’s character never crumbled, nor did his faith fail. He kept on trusting the Lord. And the Lord lifted him up to save his family. If Genesis 38 revealed the wickedness of humanity, then chapter 39 foreshadowed God’s eternal plan to rescue it.
 
The story of Joseph points to Jesus. For the beloved Son of God would one day remove His divine robes, and make “Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and come in the likeness of men” (Phil. 2:6-7), He would be betrayed by His brethren and become “obedient to the point of death, even death on the cross. Therefore God will highly exalt Him and give Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:8-11).
 
Just as Joseph’s betraying brothers later bowed before him, so rebellious humanity will one day bow before the Lord Jesus. Reading the Scriptures, we should always look for Jesus. Looking with spiritual eyes, we will see Him on every page.

“How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9 ESV)

From: January 19, 2016

After the ugly sexual sins of the previous chapter, it’s refreshing to see Joseph resisting temptation and maintaining his purity. Yet, surprisingly he is not immediately rewarded, but falsely accused and imprisoned for it. The world doesn’t reward righteousness, but God does. And even though Joseph was fallen from favored son to household slave, and then from slave to prisoner, God had not left him. In the midst of his low estate, God was with Joseph. No matter the circumstance, God gave Joseph favor before those in authority over him. And Joseph was found faithful in every place, so that in the fulness of time, God elevated him to the right hand of Egypt’s royal throne.

“But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it” (Matthew 13:16-17 NKJV)

From: January 19, 2015

Ever since God told Adam and Eve about the Seed that would crush the serpent’s head, believers had looked for the Messiah. Generation after generation, the Word of the Lord came to prophets enlarging their understanding and anticipation of His coming. But their lives passed without hearing or seeing the Desire of all nations. Yet, when the Christ did come to God’s chosen people, the ones He had prepared throughout the centuries to receive Him, they received Him not. Only a remnant had eyes to perceive and ears to understand that the Messiah had come. Today, it is the same. Only a few perceive and understand the gospel and receive Jesus as Lord. Only a remnant look for and anticipate His return. What grace that God would open our blind eyes and deaf ears, so that we might know the Son! What a blessing to be a member of the remnant that He calls to be His own!

“For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes— so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them” (Matthew 13:15)

From: January 19, 2014

When Jesus was asked why He taught in parables, he answered with this quotation from Isaiah about the “hardened” hearts of the people. Jesus was aware of their unreceptive hearts, yet still poured out His. The Lord and His gospel still have that affect on people’s hearts. It either penetrates, making the heart new and receptive or it hardens it even more. When it is made new, it responds in sympathetic resonance to the sound of God’s heart. But when it is hard, sin dampens its heart strings, so that it is deaf to God’s love.

“Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings” (Psalm 17:8)

From: January 19, 2013

David’s psalm is a prayer asking God to keep His eyes on him at all times and to protect him from harm. The phase “apple of my eye” is found in several other places in Scripture, is used by Shakespeare, and many a grandparent might use it today in speaking of a grandchild. The metaphor seems to refer to the small reflection an image makes on the round (like an apple) pupil of the human eye. David boldly asks God to favor him like a little child saying, “Look at me Daddy!” And more, “Don’t take your eyes off of me. Make me the center of your attention.” Such a request reveals David’s intimate prayer life. Can we pray like David?

“The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest” (Matthew 13:23)

From: January 19, 2012

Jesus compares God’s Word to a seed and the human heart to soil. He names types of soil that illustrate four heart conditions- hardened path, rocky, weedy, and good. Which is yours?

“Joseph found favor in his eyes” (Genesis 39:4)

From: January 19, 2011

Whether enslaved or in prison, Joseph was faithful. Stop complaining about your boss or your situation. Bloom where you are planted. And God will give you favor with those over you.