Discipleship Journal

Discipleship Journal Reading Plan: Day 34

Mt 11:20-30; Acts 16:16-40; Ps 26; Ex 7-9

Matthew: Despite Jesus’ mighty works, many remained unrepentant. Having seen Jesus and the works of God, they still rejected the truth and the message of Jesus Christ coming as Savior of the world. Jesus remarks that it would be better to be Sodom on the Day of Judgment. If Sodom had seen the works of God, they would have repented. Are you repenting? This is what we are called to ask ourselves. Following Jesus’ rebuke of these unbeliever, Jesus thanks the Father. God has hidden these things from the wise. You can be wise in this world, and but God has chosen to revealed His truth to even little children! God chooses to reveal His truth to the humble. We are invited to come to Jesus. Come to Him–not just know facts, but  intimately know Jesus as our Savior. We know the eternal rest that He has to offer: the forgiveness of sins, freedom from legalism, and freedom from guilt of trying to earn salvation. All we need to do is: Come. Come to Him. Come to Jesus, and come humbly.
Memorable Verses: Matthew 11:25, 27, 28-30.

Acts: A slave girl (who was possessed) walked around with Paul and Silas proclaiming that they are sharing the way that one can truly be saved. As all this is going on, Paul casts out the demon from the girl. Her owners are outraged (as their motive was for profit). The men were beaten and thrown in prison. This becomes how a prison guard comes to know Jesus Christ–him and his family is saved! The guard bandages their wounds, feeds them, and is filled with joy for the gift of salvation and Jesus’ peace has come upon him and his household! What speaks out to me is the prison guard’s response–not only his response to hearing Paul and Silas wholeheartedly praise God after all they endured, but his action after believing in Christ. He immediately went toward movement to take care of these men. He began to wash their wounds.
Memorable Verse: Acts 16:31
Prison Guard’s Actions: Acts 16:33-34
The Apostles’ Boldness: Acts 16:36-40

Psalm: As much as I’d like to, I’m not sure I can even come to close to praying King David’s prayer where he says, “Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have walked in my integrity and I have trusted in the Lord without wavering.” I mean, can I really honestly pray that prayer? I know my failures all too often. Many times have I failed. Not only do I fail God daily, I fail me too. I fail others. I guess the big point is that I really fail.

In my study Bible (ESV), it has the following commentary:

  • 26:1-3 Prayer for Vindication. For God to vindicate the worshiper is for God to distinguish between the faithful and the impious; perhaps there is the additional nuance of showing the distinction publicly… The faithful are those who take the covenant to heart, and who as a general pattern of life have walked in their integrity and have trusted in the Lord without wavering. They also keep God’s steadfast love…before their eyes and walk in God’s faithfulness–ie, they live by the grace revealed in Ex. 34:6.
  • 26.4-8 Claim of Innocence. Here the psalm describes some of the features of the faithful covenant participant: he refuses to join with the unfaithful (hypocrites, evildoers, wicked) in their crooked schemes, because he renounces their values (cf. 1:1); and he aims to take part in public worship with moral innocence and with delight (love, 26:8) (On the glory as God’s special presence in the sanctuary, see Ex. 40:34-35)
  • 26.9-10 Separate from the Bloodthirsty. These verses amplify the prayer for vindication in v. 1, namely, the desire to be treated differently from the unfaithful.
  • 26.11-12 Confidence and Commitment. The person who owes this ideal, who determines to walk in his integrity, may be sure of God’s continuing care.

I love the help of my study Bible’s commentary, as I seek to “take apart” and “put together” the Scriptures: to know Him and His Truth more. Because of Christ, I can be judged in such a way that I do not have to fear or worry. Jesus Christ has taken all my punishment and continues to forgive me as I fail Him. I love how the commentary for 26.11-12 say it perfectly. I can walk in a pleasing way to the Lord, because of His continuing care. God continues to have abundant, overflowing compassion to me–even when I fail Him. A lot of self-examining questions could be asked, as I study this passage alone. Just a few:

  1. Do I make a habit of self-examining my self and my walk with God?
  2. Do I pursue a life of integrity?
  3. Are there any ways of falsehood that I cling to?
  4. Am I honest?
  5. Do I deliberately pursue God?
  6. Do I have a daily time with Him?
  7. Do I regularly humbly confess my sins to the Lord?
  8. Am I careful who I hang around? (Bad company corrupts good character)
  9. Do I have a heart of thanksgiving–praising Him for His good works? Is it becoming a habit yet? Or, is there room for improvement?

Song: “10,000 Reasons”

Exodus: God is showing the entire world, just who He is! Pharaoh’s heart stayed very stubborn…even through the water turning to blood, frogs, gnats, and flies covering the land, livestock died, festering boils, and a plague of hail. Whew! That’s a lot of mighty works, still Pharaoh refused. He refused to know God even. He refused to let God’s people go. Let me say that again… he refused to know God. He continued to trust in his stubborn heart instead. Every time a moment of relief came, Pharaoh became stubborn again. That’s reveals a lot, as many today face particular situations. Relief came, but Pharaoh’s heart became hard-hearted again. He went back to his old ways. He wouldn’t listen… What I feel my lesson in this is: Be content. Often we want situations to change, and may even offer a vow or promise. Pharaoh’s was that he would “let God’s people go”, yet when the time came he refused to let them go. Relief came, but he failed to keep his word. Relief may have been wanted, but not enough to keep his word. Not enough to learn from the experience. Not enough to recognize and obey God’s Sovereignty. There wasn’t a heart change…Instead, we should be Content in whatever situation you are in. Be genuinely humble. Seeking His face. Recognizing His Sovereignty!
Memorable Verses: Ex. 8:15, 19, 32
Pharaoh Confessed: Ex. 9:27-30, 35

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