Morning, January 13
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Bible League: Living His Word
A large crowd was following Jesus. He turned around and said to them, "If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison--your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters--yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple.

Jesus often used hyperbole in his teaching. "Hyperbole" may be defined as a figure of speech that makes use of exaggeration in order to strongly emphasize a point one is trying to make. Hyperbolic statements are not usually meant to be taken literally. Thus, they need to be interpreted in light of the point that is trying to be made.

In our verses for today, the point Jesus is trying to make is that discipleship comes first. Jesus is not literally saying that one must hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, or even one's own life in order to be a good disciple. Rather, he's saying that nothing should come before being his disciple. If a relative could somehow come between a person and discipleship, then discipleship should come first, not that one should literally hate the person. After all, it was Jesus himself who said we should even love our enemies (Matthew 5:44).

Likewise, the point Jesus makes about carrying one's cross is also hyperbolic. He's not saying that every single disciple must literally carry the instrument of their own death, as Jesus himself would do, but that nothing should come before discipleship. If it comes down to discipleship or not carrying one's cross, then, again, discipleship should come first. In that case, one should willingly go to their death, even carrying the instrument of death in the process.

Being a disciple of Jesus is the most important thing one can do in life. It is not surprising, then, that Jesus would use hyperbole in order to underscore the point. It forces us to question our own priorities. Is there anything before discipleship in our own lives?

Bible in a Year
Old Testament Reading
Genesis 31, 32


Genesis 31 -- Jacob Leaves for Canaan; Laban Pursues

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Genesis 32 -- Jacob Prepares to Meet Esau, Wrestles with God

  NIV   NLT   ESV   NAS   GWT   KJV   ASV   ERV   DRB


New Testament Reading
Matthew 10:24-42


Matthew 10 -- Christ Sends out His Twelve Apostles, enabling them with power to do miracles

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Reading Plan Courtesy of Christian Classics Etherial Library.
Tyndale Life Application Daily Devotion
The land must never be sold on a permanent basis, for the land belongs to me. You are only foreigners and tenant farmers working for me.
Insight
God was saying that the people would one day possess land in Canaan, but in God's plan, only God's ownership was absolute. He wanted his people to avoid greed and materialism.
Challenge
If you have the attitude that you are taking care of the Lord's property, you will make what you have more available to others. This is difficult to do if you have an attitude of ownership. Think of yourself as a manager of all that is under your care, not as an owner.
Morning and Evening by Spurgeon
1 Kings 22:48  Jehoshaphat made ships of Tharshish to go to Ophir for gold: but they went not; for the ships were broken at Ezion-geber

Solomon's ships had returned in safety, but Jehoshaphat's vessels never reached the land of gold. Providence prospers one, and frustrates the desires of another, in the same business and at the same spot, yet the Great Ruler is as good and wise at one time as another. May we have grace today, in the remembrance of this text, to bless the Lord for ships broken at Ezion-geber, as well as for vessels freighted with temporal blessings; let us not envy the more successful, nor murmur at our losses as though we were singularly and specially tried. Like Jehoshaphat, we may be precious in the Lord's sight, although our schemes end in disappointment.

The secret cause of Jehoshaphat's loss is well worthy of notice, for it is the root of very much of the suffering of the Lord's people; it was his alliance with a sinful family, his fellowship with sinners. In 2 Ch. 20:37, we are told that the Lord sent a prophet to declare, "Because thou hast joined thyself with Ahaziah, the Lord hath broken thy works." This was a fatherly chastisement, which appears to have been blest to him; for in the verse which succeeds our morning's text we find him refusing to allow his servants to sail in the same vessels with those of the wicked king. Would to God that Jehoshaphat's experience might be a warning to the rest of the Lord's people, to avoid being unequally yoked together with unbelievers! A life of misery is usually the lot of those who are united in marriage, or in any other way of their own choosing, with the men of the world. O for such love to Jesus that, like him, we may be holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners; for if it be not so with us, we may expect to hear it often said, "The Lord hath broken thy works."

Daily Light on the Daily Path
Isaiah 26:3  "The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You.

Psalm 55:22  Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.

Isaiah 12:2  "Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; For the LORD GOD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation."

Matthew 8:26  He said to them, "Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?" Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm.

Philippians 4:6,7  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. • And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Isaiah 30:15  For thus the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, has said, "In repentance and rest you will be saved, In quietness and trust is your strength." But you were not willing,

Isaiah 32:17  And the work of righteousness will be peace, And the service of righteousness, quietness and confidence forever.

John 14:27  "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.

Revelation 1:4  John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace, from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne,

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 January 12
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