Morning, February 19
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Bible League: Living His Word
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us

What does the author of Hebrews mean by the "great cloud of witnesses?" In the previous chapter of Hebrews we are told of the great heroes of faith from Old Testament times. These are the ones who in their own unique ways ran the race God set before them and triumphed. Like them, we who now live in New Testament times should run the race God sets before us. We are not literally surrounded by this cloud of witnesses, but we should run the race as if they were looking down on us and cheering us on to the same kind of victory they achieved through faith.

There are three things we should do in order to run our race well:

First, we should throw off "everything that hinders." These are the things in life that keep us from running a good race. It could be anything. The hobby that we spend too much time on; the unnecessary material things we accumulate and have to take care of; the relationships that add nothing to our lives; and countless other distractions.

Second, we should throw off the "sin that so easily entangles." Apart from the evil of it all, sin is a major distraction. It takes time to sin and it takes time to deal with the consequences of sin. Sin is like a detour from the race of life. It adds nothing to the achievement of our goal. It trips us up in the race we are running.

Finally, we should "run with perseverance." The great heroes of faith maintained their faith all the way to victory. So, likewise, we should run in faith all the way to victory. There will be temptations to quit the race, to slow down, to get side-tracked. We should push through these things and run with perseverance on to the goal.

Maybe it would do us some good if every so often we looked up to the clouds to see if there are any heroes of faith up there watching us and cheering us on.

Bible in a Year
Old Testament Reading
Numbers 1, 2


Numbers 1 -- The Census of Israel Totals 603,550, Exempting Levites

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Numbers 2 -- Arrangement of the Tribal Camps

  NIV   NLT   ESV   NAS   GWT   KJV   ASV   ERV   DRB


New Testament Reading
Mark 3:1-21


Mark 3 -- Jesus Heals on the Sabbath, Chooses the Twelve, discusses Beelzebub, Mother and Brothers

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Reading Plan Courtesy of Christian Classics Etherial Library.
Tyndale Life Application Daily Devotion
Finally, I confessed all my sins to you
        and stopped trying to hide my guilt.
        I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the LORD.”
        And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.
Insight
What is confession? To confess our sin is to agree with God, acknowledging that he is right to declare what we have done as sinful, and that we are wrong to desire or to do it.
Challenge
It is to affirm our intention of abandoning that sin in order to follow him more faithfully.
Morning and Evening by Spurgeon
Ezekiel 36:37  Thus saith the Lord God; I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them.

Prayer is the forerunner of mercy. Turn to sacred history, and you will find that scarcely ever did a great mercy come to this world unheralded by supplication. You have found this true in your own personal experience. God has given you many an unsolicited favor, but still great prayer has always been the prelude of great mercy with you. When you first found peace through the blood of the cross, you had been praying much, and earnestly interceding with God that he would remove your doubts, and deliver you from your distresses. Your assurance was the result of prayer. When at any time you have had high and rapturous joys, you have been obliged to look upon them as answers to your prayers. When you have had great deliverances out of sore troubles, and mighty helps in great dangers, you have been able to say, "I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears." Prayer is always the preface to blessing. It goes before the blessing as the blessing's shadow. When the sunlight of God's mercies rises upon our necessities, it casts the shadow of prayer far down upon the plain. Or, to use another illustration, when God piles up a hill of mercies, he himself shines behind them, and he casts on our spirits the shadow of prayer, so that we may rest certain, if we are much in prayer, our pleadings are the shadows of mercy. Prayer is thus connected with the blessing to show us the value of it. If we had the blessings without asking for them, we should think them common things; but prayer makes our mercies more precious than diamonds. The things we ask for are precious, but we do not realize their preciousness until we have sought for them earnestly.

"Prayer makes the darken'd cloud withdraw;

Prayer climbs the ladder Jacob saw;

Gives exercise to faith and love;

Brings every blessing from above."

Daily Light on the Daily Path
Proverbs 2:6  For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.

Proverbs 3:5  Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.

James 1:5  But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

1 Corinthians 1:25  Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

1 Corinthians 1:27,29  but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, • so that no man may boast before God.

Psalm 119:130  The unfolding of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple.

Psalm 119:11  Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You.

Luke 4:22  And all were speaking well of Him, and wondering at the gracious words which were falling from His lips; and they were saying, "Is this not Joseph's son?"

John 7:46  The officers answered, "Never has a man spoken the way this man speaks."

1 Corinthians 1:30  But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,

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.

Evening February 18
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