Evening, October 17
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Bible League: Living His Word
Then Peter replied, "I see very clearly that God shows no favoritism. In every nation he accepts those who fear him and do what is right."

In ancient times, the focus of God's redemptive concern for the people of earth kept getting narrower because of sin. At first, the focus was on the line of Adam and the whole human race. With the murder of Abel, however, God excluded the line of Cain and narrowed His focus to the line of Adam's son Seth. Then, when there was a great increase in sin, God excluded everyone except those in the line of Seth's descendant Noah. Later, His focus narrowed to Noah's descendant Abraham and the Israelites. When the sin of the Northern Kingdom of Israel led to their conquest and deportation, God's focus narrowed to the Southern Kingdom of Judah. Finally, His redemptive focus centered on the remnant of Judah that returned from the Babylonian Captivity.

Given this narrowing of focus, given this favoritism for the remnant of Judah, one can see why the early Jewish Christians thought that the great salvation we have in Christ Jesus was also limited to the Jewish people. It took a major revelation to disabuse them of this notion once and for all. The Apostle Peter was given a spectacular vision that, in short, showed him and the church as a whole that the narrowing process had been ended and God's redemptive focus had been enlarged (Acts 10:9-16). As our verses for today indicate, he saw that Jesus Christ had definitively overcome sin and the devil and made possible the enlargement of God's redemptive concern.

Thus, in our present dispensation God no longer shows favoritism to any particular group of people. The Apostle Paul put it this way, "There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28). Paul's point is not that these distinctions no longer exist, but that they're not significant when it comes to salvation. Salvation is not limited to the Jews, or to males, or to the free. All may come before God in the name of Jesus.

It follows from all this, therefore, that we may not limit the reach of the gospel message, for the offer of salvation has been extended by God Himself to one and to all.

Happily, this means that the offer has also been extended to you.

Bible in a Year
Old Testament Reading
Isaiah 62, 63, 64


Isaiah 62 -- Zion's New Name

  NIV   NLT   ESV   NAS   GWT   KJV   ASV   ERV   DRB


Isaiah 63 -- God's Vengeance and Redemption

  NIV   NLT   ESV   NAS   GWT   KJV   ASV   ERV   DRB


Isaiah 64 -- Prayer for God's Mercy

  NIV   NLT   ESV   NAS   GWT   KJV   ASV   ERV   DRB


New Testament Reading
1 Thessalonians 5


1 Thessalonians 5 -- The day of the Lord; Respect, Love, Peace, Encouragement, Patience, Kindness and Joy

  NIV   NLT   ESV   NAS   GWT   KJV   ASV   ERV   DRB


Reading Plan Courtesy of Christian Classics Etherial Library.
Tyndale Life Application Daily Devotion
For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.
Insight
When we are not motivated by love, we become critical of others. We stop looking for good in them and see only their faults. Soon the unity of believers is broken.
Challenge
Have you talked behind someone's back? Have you focused on others' shortcomings instead of their strengths? Remind yourself of Jesus' command to love others as you love yourself. When you begin to feel critical of someone, make a list of that person's positive qualities. If there are problems that need to be addressed, it is better to confront in love than to gossip.
Morning and Evening by Spurgeon
Isaiah 40:11  He shall gather the lambs with his arm.

Our good Shepherd has in his flock a variety of experiences, some are strong in the Lord, and others are weak in faith, but he is impartial in his care for all his sheep, and the weakest lamb is as dear to him as the most advanced of the flock. Lambs are wont to lag behind, prone to wander, and apt to grow weary, but from all the danger of these infirmities the Shepherd protects them with his arm of power. He finds new-born souls, like young lambs, ready to perish--he nourishes them till life becomes vigorous; he finds weak minds ready to faint and die--he consoles them and renews their strength. All the little ones he gathers, for it is not the will of our heavenly Father that one of them should perish. What a quick eye he must have to see them all! What a tender heart to care for them all! What a far- reaching and potent arm, to gather them all! In his lifetime on earth he was a great gatherer of the weaker sort, and now that he dwells in heaven, his loving heart yearns towards the meek and contrite, the timid and feeble, the fearful and fainting here below. How gently did he gather me to himself, to his truth, to his blood, to his love, to his church! With what effectual grace did he compel me to come to himself! Since my first conversion, how frequently has he restored me from my wanderings, and once again folded me within the circle of his everlasting arm! The best of all is, that he does it all himself personally, not delegating the task of love, but condescending himself to rescue and preserve his most unworthy servant. How shall I love him enough or serve him worthily? I would fain make his name great unto the ends of the earth, but what can my feebleness do for him? Great Shepherd, add to thy mercies this one other, a heart to love thee more truly as I ought.

Daily Light on the Daily Path
Matthew 6:13  And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.'

Psalm 93:1,2  The LORD reigns, He is clothed with majesty; The LORD has clothed and girded Himself with strength; Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved. • Your throne is established from of old; You are from everlasting.

Nahum 1:3  The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, And the LORD will by no means leave the guilty unpunished. In whirlwind and storm is His way, And clouds are the dust beneath His feet.

Romans 8:31  What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?

Daniel 3:17  "If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king.

John 10:29  "My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.

1 John 4:4  You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.

Psalm 115:1  Not to us, O LORD, not to us, But to Your name give glory Because of Your lovingkindness, because of Your truth.

1 Chronicles 29:11,13,14  "Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O LORD, and You exalt Yourself as head over all. • "Now therefore, our God, we thank You, and praise Your glorious name. • "But who am I and who are my people that we should be able to offer as generously as this? For all things come from You, and from Your hand we have given You.

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 October 17
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