Evening, July 17
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Bible League: Living His Word
"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven."

Jesus' commands in our verses for today are not mere quirks of Christian teaching. Even though they seem counterintuitive in the extreme, they arise from the central core of the Christian faith. Even though we may find it easy to overlook them, they are part and parcel of the Christian walk. Jesus himself left us an example. He prayed, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34). If the pioneer and perfecter of the faith obeyed these commands, then it is incumbent upon us to obey them as well.

Jesus' commands arise from the central core of the Christian faith because they presuppose one of its central teachings. The Apostle Paul, for example, expressed it this way: "it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9). The only reason we are not on the side of the enemies who persecute us, including any Christians who do not treat us well, is due to the gift of God's grace. In and of ourselves we are not superior to them in any way and we do not, therefore, have the right to hate them. Indeed, "There but for the grace of God go I."

Loving and praying for our enemies does not mean that we must reduce ourselves to mere doormats and it does not mean that we may not make use of whatever remedies there are against the forays of those who attack us. Jesus did not unleash the twelve legions of angels because it was unethical to do so, but because he had a prophetic purpose to fulfill (Matthew 26:52-54). Loving and praying for our enemies does mean, however, that we should speak kindly to them, wish them well, return good for evil, pray for their eternal well-being, and the like.

Loving and praying for our enemies is one of the most difficult aspects of the Christian life. It is also, on the other hand, one of the highest expressions of the Christian life.

Bible in a Year
Old Testament Reading
Psalm 22, 23, 24


Psalm 22 -- My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

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Psalm 23 -- The Lord is my shepherd: I shall lack nothing.

  NIV   NLT   ESV   NAS   GWT   KJV   ASV   ERV   DRB


Psalm 24 -- David's Psalm of Glory to God

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New Testament Reading
Acts 20:1-16


Acts 20 -- Paul in Macedonia and Greece; Eutychus Raised; Paul's Farewell to Ephesian Elders

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Reading Plan Courtesy of Christian Classics Etherial Library.
Tyndale Life Application Daily Devotion
These were his instructions to them: “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”
Insight
Jesus was sending 36 teams of two to reach the multitudes. These teams were not to try to do the job without help; rather, they were to ask God for more workers. Some people, as soon as they understand the gospel, want to go to work immediately contacting unsaved people.
Challenge
This story suggests a different approach: begin by mobilizing people to pray. And before praying for unsaved people, pray that other concerned disciples will join you in reaching out to them. In Christian service, there is no unemployment. God has work enough for everyone. Don't just sit back and watch others work—look for ways to help with the harvest.
Morning and Evening by Spurgeon
1 Kings 18:40  Let not one of them escape.

When the prophet Elijah had received the answer to his prayer, and the fire from heaven had consumed the sacrifice in the presence of all the people, he called upon the assembled Israelites to take the priests of Baal, and sternly cried, "Let not one of them escape." He took them all down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there. So must it be with our sins--they are all doomed, not one must be preserved. Our darling sin must die. Spare it not for its much crying. Strike, though it be as dear as an Isaac. Strike, for God struck at sin when it was laid upon his own Son. With stern unflinching purpose must you condemn to death that sin which was once the idol of your heart. Do you ask how you are to accomplish this? Jesus will be your power. You have grace to overcome sin given you in the covenant of grace; you have strength to win the victory in the crusade against inward lusts, because Christ Jesus has promised to be with you even unto the end. If you would triumph over darkness, set yourself in the presence of the Sun of Righteousness. There is no place so well adapted for the discovery of sin, and recovery from its power and guilt, as the immediate presence of God. Job never knew how to get rid of sin half so well as he did when his eye of faith rested upon God, and then he abhorred himself, and repented in dust and ashes. The fine gold of the Christian is oft becoming dim. We need the sacred fire to consume the dross. Let us fly to our God, he is a consuming fire; he will not consume our spirit, but our sins. Let the goodness of God excite us to a sacred jealousy, and to a holy revenge against those iniquities which are hateful in his sight. Go forth to battle with Amalek, in his strength, and utterly destroy the accursed crew: let not one of them escape.

Daily Light on the Daily Path
2 Thessalonians 2:13  But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.

Songs 4:16  "If she is a wall, We will build on her a battlement of silver; But if she is a door, We will barricade her with planks of cedar."

2 Corinthians 7:11  For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter.

Ephesians 5:9,10  (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), • trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.

John 14:16  "I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever;

Romans 5:5  and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Galatians 5:22  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

2 Corinthians 8:2  that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality.

1 Corinthians 12:11  But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.

New American Standard Bible Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, Calif. All rights reserved. For Permission to Quote Information visit http://www.lockman.org.

Morning July 17
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