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January 3

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“I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustained me” (Psalm 3:5 NKJV).

From: January 3, 2020

THE GIFT OF SUSTAINING SLEEP

Anyone who has experienced a sleepless night filled with worry and fear knows what a gift it is to be able to lay down and sleep. David understood this. For he had spent many a sleepless night as a young man hiding from Saul. Now, as an old man, when sleep was already made more difficult by the creaks and groans of old joints and poor digestion, David had to hide in the wilderness from the betrayal of his own son, Absalom. For Absalom had started a revolt and sought his own father’s throne. Such betrayal from one’s own family is painful to both body and soul.
 
Yet, David cried out to the Lord. He described the trouble he was in and called on the Lord to be his shield and protector. And the Lord heard David’s cry. That night David lay down and slept. When others would’ve laid awake all night worried that they might be killed in their beds, David slept soundly. And awoke knowing that the Lord had sustained him.
 
Have you ever wondered who takes care of things while we sleep? Who stands guard? Who keeps the planet spinning and orbiting the sun? Who makes sure we remember to breathe while we sleep? And when we awake, do we remember to thank the Lord for sustaining us? What a gift from the Lord is sustaining sleep.
 
PRAYER: Dear Father, we are but flesh and we get tired and weary. But You have provided sleep for us that our bodies might be recharged for a new day. Yet we often lay sleepless because of worry and fear. Forgive us. Help us to pray as David did. Help us to do as the apostle Paul instructed, to not be anxious, but by prayer and petition to let you know what troubles us. For You are our peace and our comfort. You sustain us even while we sleep. In Jesus’ name, amen.

“But Noah found favor with the Lord” (Genesis 6:8 NLT).

From: January 3, 2019

HOW TO FIND FAVOR WITH GOD  

Out of all the peoples of the earth, Noah “found favor with the Lord.” The word “favor” might also be translated “grace” or “acceptance.” This “favor” says more about God than it does Noah. For although Noah was recorded as righteous and blameless, the most revealing attribute was that “he walked in close fellowship with God.”
 
Because of God’s favor, Noah and his family were saved from the floods of judgment by being found safe in the ark of God. The wrath of God was poured out on those outside and upon the ark itself, yet those within the Ark were saved.
 
The ark is a picture of Christ. Those within Christ have found favor with the Lord. Only those in Christ will be saved at the final judgment. For “there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1).
 
PRAYER: Lord, thank you that we can find favor with You in Christ Jesus. We confess our sins to You and thank you for the forgiveness we have in Jesus. O what joy we have knowing we are safe in the ark of Christ. In Jesus name. Amen.

“Look! I am about to cover the earth with a flood that will destroy every living thing that breathes. Everything on earth will die” (Genesis 6:17 NLT).

From: January 3, 2018

The Lord warned Noah about the coming worldwide deluge. He gave Noah specific instructions on how to build the ark, so that he, his family, and representatives from each animal kind would be saved from the flood.
 
Do you believe this account? Jesus did. He often referred to Noah and the flood when He spoke of the last days and His second coming:
 
“But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matt. 24:37-39).

“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matthew 3:11 NKJV).

From: January 3, 2017

John the Baptist described his baptism as one of “water unto repentance.” Those who received John’s baptism were publicly confessing their sin and committing themselves to a changed life. Yet, John’s ministry was preparatory. His main purpose was not to baptize, but to prepare the way for the Christ that was coming after him. Those that received Christ would be baptized “with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” Both water and fire are seen as symbols for the Spirit in the Bible. With the coming of Christ, a new covenant had arrived when believers would be washed in the cleansing water of the Holy Spirit, and purified within by the Spirit’s “refining fire” (Malachi 3:2).

“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry” (Matthew 4:1-2 ESV)

From: January 3, 2016

God seems to have favorite numbers. Both the number 40 and the number 3 are significant in today’s OYB reading. The number 40 generally symbolizes a period of testing, trial or preparation. We see the number in both our OT and NT readings today. Noah and his family were kept safe in the ark while God sent 40 days and nights of rain to flood the earth (Gen. 7:12). And in Matthew’s gospel, Jesus was led into the wilderness for 40 days of testing by the “Spirit.” This time of “temptation” points back to at least two events in the OT: 1) The Israelites 40 years of wandering in the wilderness and 2) Adam and Eve’s 3-part temptation in the garden. The 40 days for Jesus marked his preparation for public ministry, just as the 40 years for Israel marked their preparation for entering the promised land.
And the 3-part temptation by the devil was familiar too. Notice the similarity between Satan’s temptation of Eve (Gen. 3) and later, of Jesus:
1) Eve: “good for food;” Jesus: “stones to bread”
2) Eve: “delight to the eyes” Jesus: “let the people see the angels save you”
3) Eve: “wise like God;” Jesus: “give your worship to me instead of God”
Of course, the difference is that Adam and Eve succumbed to temptation, but Jesus overcame it.
The apostle John reminds us that in Christ, we can be “overcomers” too. Notice the three temptations listed by John and then the promise.
“For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world… Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God” (1 John 2:16, 5:5).

“So Noah, with his sons, his wife, and his sons’ wives, went into the ark because of the waters of the flood” (Genesis 7:7 NKJV)

From: January 3, 2015

There is much about the book of Genesis (From the Greek translation meaning “beginnings”) that troubles the modern mind. In today’s reading we encounter the incredible longevity of man (Methuselah lived to 969 years), the building of an ark to save Noah, his family, and a remnant of the animals of the land and air, and finally, a worldwide deluge. Some view these stories as myth or fairy tale, yet Jesus referred to Noah and the flood as a literal event. Both Matthew and Luke record Jesus’ words describing the “days of Noah” as a foreshadowing of the end times when He would return to judge the living and the dead (Matt. 24:37-38, Luke 17:26-27). If Jesus referred to Noah and the flood as literal past and predictive of the future, then so do I. That’s why I’ve decided to believe into Christ our Ark. for “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1).

“But Jesus told him, ‘No! The Scriptures say, “People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God'” (Matthew 4:4)

From: January 3, 2014

After Jesus was baptized, He fasted 40 days and nights in the wilderness, where He was tempted by Satan. Adam and Eve were tempted too, but in the garden. They were well fed and satisfied. Jesus was hungry, thirsty and tired. Satan used the same bag of tricks on both. The first Adam sinned after the devil caused them to doubt God’s Word asking, “Did God really say?” (Gen. 3:1). The “last Adam” (1 Cor. 15:22; 45) overcame by His righteousness, answering every temptation with the Word of God. We have this same Word available to us to overcome temptation.

“Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4)

From: January 3, 2013

Jesus was tempted by Satan in the same three ways as Eve. However, Jesus responded with Scripture to Satan’s attack. Jesus doesn’t question God’s Word, He stands on it! Who do you want to be like, the one who doubts the Word or the One who stands on it?

“But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God'” (Matthew 4:4)

From: January 3, 2012

Jesus quotes Deut. 8:3 to overcome the devil’s 1st temptation. We can learn from Him. Fill your mind with God’s Word and be able to resist the evil one.