Tuesday, February 27, 2024

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“Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? … I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed” (Luke 16:3).
In this chapter we have a story about a steward who had charge of his master’s goods. Evidently he had been misusing them, and in modern language, he was going to be fired. But rather than look at the actual story here, let us look at what the steward said. He recognized that he was not able to do manual work (digging), and he was ashamed to live from the charity of others (begging), so he made some other arrangements. We do not need to be concerned about those other arrangements for now, but only to notice that he knew what kind of work he could do, and what he could not do.
It is a good thing to recognize our natural abilities when we are young, for we each have skills of different kinds. Some are well equipped to work with their hands, and these people often become carpenters, tool and die makers, surgeons, etc. Others are bent toward using their minds to make a living, and these people may become internet technology people, or possibly get into business administration. It is sad that some young people today never seem to find out what they are good at doing; they end up going from one job to another, not liking any of them. I have known young people who spent most of their lives trying to figure out what to do. Others are not motivated to go out and earn their own living at all, and set up their own homes, but prefer to continue living with their parents even as adults. If we have trouble in this, we can ask the Lord to help us, for He loves to guide us in the right way. But we must remember that no job in this world is perfect; they all involve doing things that we may not like doing. This is good training; keep it up and do your best!
When it comes to our spiritual gifts, again, as we have seen, a time of training is often necessary in our lives. We would never think of undertaking a complicated job in natural things without having the proper training. The Lord knows how to put us through situations that train us for what He wants us to do. Often He will give us something to do that is quite simple, and then, as we progress, He leads us on to bigger things. The great thing to remember is that our service for the Lord is for His glory, and not for our own recognition. We must be content to look forward to reward in heaven, and not expect it down here.
             
January 2024
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February 2024
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March 2024
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Growing in Grace Blog by Bible Truth Publishers

Monday, February 26, 2024

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“He [God] said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob … Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth My people the children of Israel out of Egypt” (Exodus 3:6, 10).
Here we have the important message that God had for Moses; it was now time for him to go back to Egypt, to face the new Pharaoh, and to bring the children of Israel out of Egypt. But if you read the chapter carefully, you will find that now Moses makes every possible excuse not to go. Forty years before he was ready to go in his own natural strength, but now, after forty years of looking after sheep, he does not want to go, even when the Lord Himself calls him.
First of all, he says, “Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh?” (vs. 11). He did not feel like a very important person anymore. Then Moses wants to know what name he was to say, when the people might ask him who sent him. The Lord gave him a name suitable for God — “I AM THAT I AM” (vs. 14). Then Moses protested that the people would not believe that God had sent him. (Exodus 4:1). So the Lord graciously gave him two miraculous signs to show them. Then Moses said, “I am not eloquent” (Exodus 4:10), which means that he thought he could not speak well enough. Finally, Moses asked the Lord to send someone else — see Exodus 4:13.
All this is very sad, for when the Lord tells us to do something, He always gives us whatever we need to do it. He will give us the courage, the strength, the right words, the money, the help — whatever we need. But Moses once again was looking at himself, and not at the Lord. At last the Lord tells him that He will send his brother Aaron to speak for him, and Moses agrees to go.
In these incidents in the life of Moses, we see two main difficulties that we as Christians have in serving the Lord. Sometimes we are too eager to go out and do something in our own strength, and this usually happens when we are young. We saw that in Moses when he killed the Egyptian who was mistreating an Israelite. But now, when Moses is eighty years old, we find his doing the opposite — making all kinds of excuses why he should not go and deliver God’s people! It seems that he had become rather timid during his forty years of keeping sheep. Eventually he went, but the Lord became angry when he made so many excuses. It is important for us not to fall into either one of these ways of acting towards the Lord. Let us be ready to accept His training, but be ready to go when He calls us.
             
January 2024
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February 2024
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March 2024
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Growing in Grace Blog by Bible Truth Publishers

Sunday, February 25, 2024

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“And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed … and God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses” (Exodus 3:2, 4).
This was a very strange sight that Moses saw, for here was a bush on fire, yet it did not burn up. Have you ever seen a fire burning, yet the material being burned did not burn up? No, I am sure you have not, and neither have I. Whenever we make a fire, we have to put wood on it, and after a while, the wood burns up, and we have to add more. But this bush did not burn up. Naturally Moses went over to take a closer look at this unusual sight. When he went over there, the Lord called to him out of the middle of the bush, and repeated his name twice.
This was a very important occasion in Moses’ life, for finally, after forty years, God was going to send him back to Egypt, to speak to Pharaoh, and to deliver His people. But first God had to get Moses’ attention, by having a bush burn, but without burning up. This bush was a picture of the people of Israel. They had been slaves in Egypt for many years, and the hard work they had to do, and the abuse they suffered, was like the fire in the bush. The bush should have burned up, and the people of Israel should not have survived in Egypt either, but God was with them, and He saw to it that they multiplied, in spite of the way the Egyptians treated them.
The people of God today are like that too. All through the history of Christianity, God’s people (those who are saved) have been persecuted, sometimes even killed. Yet the Lord has seen to it that His people were not wiped out; rather they have multiplied in times of persecution. Also, there will come a time when the Lord will come and take us home to be with Himself, and deliver us from this world, just as He delivered His people Israel.
When the Lord spoke to Moses, He reminded him to take off his shoes, for he was now in the Lord’s presence. Moses did so, and also covered his face, for he did not want to look at God. But now the Lord told him that He (God) had seen how difficult it was for His people in Egypt, and that He was going to deliver them.
There are seven people recorded in the Bible, to whom the Lord spoke by calling their names twice. When this happened, it meant that the Lord had something very important to say to them. See if you can find the other six! Here are some hints — three more are in the Old Testament, and three are in the New Testament. One was a young woman.
             
January 2024
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February 2024
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March 2024
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Growing in Grace Blog by Bible Truth Publishers

Saturday, February 24, 2024

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“Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian” (Exodus 3:1).
At first glance, this might not sound like a very interesting verse for us to consider, for it merely tells us how Moses kept sheep in the land of Midian. But if we think about it, we realize that it must have been a very different life than what Moses had been used to in the court of Pharaoh. One day he was an important man, looked upon as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, and perhaps with some responsibilities in the government of Egypt. Then he has to run away to save his life, and finds himself in a desert place, keeping a flock of sheep. I grew up on a farm, but we did not raise sheep, and I never had to spend all day outside, looking after animals. I remember thinking that Moses’ job as a shepherd must have been quite boring! And it went on for a long time — forty years!
However, the Lord knew that Moses needed this time alone with Him, and the Lord used that time to teach Moses many things. First of all, Moses had to learn that he could not go out in human energy to deliver the people of Israel from Pharaoh. No, it must be in God’s strength, so that God received the glory. Also, he had to learn that for God to work, we must wait for God’s time. God has a right time for everything to happen, and He was going to wait until the king who wanted to kill Moses had died. Then another king took over, and it was with him that Moses had to deal.
More than this, Moses probably learned much simply from keeping the sheep. Sheep are interesting creatures, for on the positive side, they are rather hardy animals, and can put up with quite a bit of bad weather. They can survive in harsh climates, even where there is a lot of snow. But on the negative side, they are somewhat stupid, and get lost easily. Also, they tend to follow one another, so that if one sheep goes a certain way, all the others will often follow, even into danger. They do not do well on their own; they need a shepherd to look after them, to protect them, and to lead them to good pasture and water.
The people of God are often compared to sheep in the Bible, and they too need a shepherd. If Moses was going to lead the people of Israel, he would learn from keeping sheep what it would be like to be their leader. Forty years is a long time, but God knew that Moses needed that time away from a busy place.
It is sometimes the same in our lives. We too need to learn God’s ways, and sometimes He puts us in a place where we do not seem to be doing much of anything. But this may be God’s training ground for us, and we should not resent it. It might have seemed to Moses as if he were spending the best years of his life keeping sheep, but as we will see, the Lord gave him the strength to lead His people, even when he was older.
             
January 2024
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February 2024
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Growing in Grace Blog by Bible Truth Publishers

Friday, February 23, 2024

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“And he [Moses] spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren. And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand” (Exodus 2:11-12).
When Moses was forty years old, and as we have seen, “mighty in words and deeds,” he knew that the Lord was going to use him to deliver his brethren, the Israelites, from the position of slaves in Egypt. As a strong young man, he was angry when he saw an Egyptian mistreating one of the Israelites. He recognized them as his brethren, and as we see in our verses today, he stepped in to protect the one who was being hurt by the Egyptian. When he did not see anyone else who was looking, he killed the Egyptian and buried him in the sand.
Was this the right thing to do? The Egyptians had no right to make slaves of the Israelites, and to abuse them, for God had used an Israelite, Joseph, to save Egypt from famine some years before. Then the Israelites had moved down to Egypt at Pharaoh’s invitation and had not done anything to harm the Egyptians. But when they became too numerous, the Egyptians decided to make slaves of them. Moses had a right motive in trying to help his people, but in all these things, we must wait God’s time. Moses was trying to deliver the people in his own strength, and it did not work. If you read the chapter (Exodus 2), you will see that even his own people resented Moses’ interference, and asked, “Who made thee a prince and a judge over us?” (Exodus 2:14). More than this, Pharaoh found out about Moses’ killing the Egyptian, and wanted to kill Moses. Moses had to spend forty years way out in the lonely desert before he was ready to undertake the job of delivering his people.
Sometimes in our lives we really want to do something for the Lord, and perhaps it is a good thing to do. But the Lord often needs to train us first, just as He trained Moses. If we attempt to act too soon, God may not bless it, for we may be acting in our own strength. The Lord wants us, as He wanted Moses, to go in His strength. God’s training may take some time, but it is worth it, for then we act in the right way, and at the right time.
             
January 2024
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February 2024
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Growing in Grace Blog by Bible Truth Publishers

Thursday, February 22, 2024

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“By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter” (Hebrews 11:24).
Yesterday we saw how Moses was rescued from the waters of the Nile River in Egypt, and became (as everyone thought) the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. As a result, we read that he was “learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians” (Acts 7:22). He was also “mighty in words and in deeds” (Acts 7:22), but in all of his upbringing in the court of Pharaoh, Moses had not forgotten that he was not really the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. Somehow he had found out, perhaps from his own family, that he was an Israelite and not an Egyptian. Yet it is interesting that as a young man, he must have looked like an Egyptian, for when he went away to the land of Midian, the young women there told their father that an Egyptian had helped them water their flock.
But the time came when Moses had to make a decision. He could remain in Pharaoh’s court, and very possibly become the next Pharaoh of Egypt, or he could choose to “suffer affliction with the people of God” (Hebrews 11:25). We know that Moses chose to identify himself with his own people Israel, for they were the people of God. As a result he had to leave Egypt for a while, but then God eventually brought him back to deliver His people from the slavery to which the Egyptians had put them.
In each of our lives, there comes a point when we have to decide what direction to take in our life. If we know the Lord Jesus as our Savior, the world around us will try to get us to “enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season” (Hebrews 11:25). But these pleasures are only for this life, and as we have seen in another meditation, nothing in this world can satisfy our longing hearts. How much better it is to make the choice Moses made, even though it may sometimes be a difficult path! But Moses wanted to live for eternity, not merely for time, and he chose to identify with a nation of slaves instead of with those in a position of power. But it was worth it, for the Lord was with him, and it is recorded that the Lord spoke to Him “mouth to mouth … and the similitude (likeness) of the Lord shall he behold” (Numbers 12:8). Later on, in the New Testament, he appeared with Elijah and the Lord Jesus on the mount of transfiguration. Surely it was well worth it to give up some temporary pleasure, in order to honor the Lord! This is so important for us to remember as young Christians!
             
January 2024
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February 2024
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Growing in Grace Blog by Bible Truth Publishers

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

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“And she called his name Moses: and she said, Because I drew him out of the water” (Exodus 2:10).
I am sure that most of you, and perhaps all of you, know the story of Moses. But did you know that his name means “drawn out”? His name was actually given to him by Pharaoh’s daughter, because she had been the one to find him in the little ark of bulrushes in the river. His name was not given to him by his own parents. But it was a suitable name, and it is the name by which he was known all his life.
It took a great deal of faith on the part of Moses’ parents to keep their little son, for you will remember that Pharaoh had said that all the boy babies were to be thrown into the river. Of course they would drown, but Moses’ mother did put him into the river; only she made him a little ark of bulrushes to keep him from drowning. When Pharaoh’s daughter came down to the river to bathe, she and her attendants found Moses in the ark, and God put it into her heart to feel sorry for him. The Bible tells us that he was “a goodly child,” meaning that he was a beautiful baby. She was attracted to him and wanted to keep him. Surely the Lord arranged all this, for He had special plans for Moses.
All this has a lesson for us too. In the Bible, Egypt is a picture of the world around us, and is under the control of Satan. Satan does not want children from Christian homes to grow up and live for the Lord; rather, he wants them to be swallowed up by this world, and be spiritually dead. But Christian parents will want to protect their children from the influence of the world, and the ark of bulrushes is a picture of this protection. We have to live in this world, and sometimes mix with it, but we do not have to experience spiritual death from it.
The water also speaks of death, but someone else has already passed through those waters of death — the Lord Jesus Himself. Now children can be taken out of those waters, and Moses is given back to his real mother, to nurse him for Pharaoh’s daughter. Because of this, everyone assumed he was the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.
             
January 2024
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February 2024
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March 2024
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Growing in Grace Blog by Bible Truth Publishers

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

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Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little” (Luke 7:47).
The Lord Jesus said these words to a prominent Pharisee who had asked Him to come to his home for a meal. During the meal, a woman of the city came in, shed tears on the feet of the Lord Jesus, wiped them with her hair, kissed His feet, and then anointed His feet with ointment she had brought. The Pharisee knew this woman was a sinner and found fault with all this. But the Lord Jesus asked the Pharisee, “If two people each owed a debt, and one owed a large amount while the other owed a small amount, and the creditor forgave them both, which of them would love the creditor most?” The Pharisee answered correctly by saying that the one who owed the most would be the most grateful and love the creditor the most.
Then the Lord Jesus used this illustration to show the Pharisee that the woman, who had many sins, was more grateful than the Pharisee, who thought he was a good man. He also had not treated the Lord Jesus very well. In Jesus’ time on earth the roads were dusty, and since they wore sandals, their feet got very dirty. When you arrived at a home, there was no air conditioning, and no ice for your drink. When the Lord Jesus came to the Pharisee’s house, he did not offer to wash the Lord’s feet, or anoint his head with oil, or give him a welcoming kiss. All these courtesies were normal in the society of that day. But the woman had done all three to the Lord’s feet, because she knew her sins were forgiven.
The Pharisee was probably outwardly a good man, but what he did not realize was that his heart was just as bad as the heart of the woman who washed the Lord’s feet. Perhaps she was more open in the way she sinned, so that everyone knew about it, but the Pharisee’s heart was no better He too needed a Savior and should have realized that the One who could save him was sitting there in his house. Sad to say, he probably thought he was good enough for God’s presence without needing salvation, and there is no record that he ever got saved.
We must remember that all our hearts are the same, for “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). The more we realize how much we have been forgiven, the more we will love the Lord Jesus for what He has done for us.
             
January 2024
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February 2024
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March 2024
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Growing in Grace Blog by Bible Truth Publishers

Monday, February 19, 2024

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“These things I command you, that ye love one another” (John 15:17).
One of the commandments that God has given us in the New Testament is to love one another. This commandment is so important that it is repeated twelve times over, and by different Bible writers too. The Lord Jesus Himself said it three times, the Apostle Paul said it twice, Peter says it once, and John says it six times. We really need to pay attention to this commandment!
When we extend our love to others, we expect them to love us in return. That way, we can have a happy relationship. But the word for love that is used in the Bible to tell us to love one another is a word in the Greek language that means a kind of love that does not need someone to love us in return for our love. It just keeps on loving, even if the person we love does not love us. That is hard to do, but it is what God did for us. He loved us when we were sinners, and did not want Him. His love gave His Son to die for us, and the Lord Jesus went to Calvary’s cross because He loved us.
Now, when we accept the Lord Jesus as our Savior, God gives you and me a new life in Christ. This new life has the ability to love as God loves, and this is a wonderful thing. In the Old Testament, the Israelites were told to love God; in fact, it was the first of the ten commandments. But the natural man could not do this; he did not have the capacity to love that way. John calls this an old commandment (1 John 2:7) because it was a commandment that man could not keep until he had new life in Christ. Now, when we are told to love one another, it is called a new commandment. This is because those who are saved now are able to love one another like this.
It is rather sad that God has to repeat this commandment so many times, but He knew how difficult it would be for Christians to love one another the way that they should. How easily we can get bothered about little things! The Lord Jesus said that this was the way people would recognize His followers, by seeing how much they loved one another. As we have already said, this is one of the most important commandments to remember!
             
January 2024
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February 2024
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31 1 2 3 4 5 6
       
Notes:
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
Growing in Grace Blog by Bible Truth Publishers

Sunday, February 18, 2024

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“If ye love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15).
When the Lord Jesus said this to His disciples, He was giving them His last instructions before He went to the cross to suffer and die for them. He told them many things, for He was getting them ready to live in this world without His being with them constantly. They felt very sad that He was going away from them, for they had become accustomed to being in His company for several years. They had trusted in Him, and depended on Him for everything. But now He was going to the cross, and then back to heaven.
Before He went away, He gave them some commandments. These commandments were not like the law in the Old Testament, with a long list of “do’s” and “don’ts.” Those Old Testament commandments were intended to show man how guilty he was before God, for no one could ever keep them properly. But the New Testament commandments are different; they are for those who already have new life in Christ. We do not keep these commandments in order to be saved; rather, we keep them because we are saved, and want to please the One who saved us.
I remember reading about a Christian couple who bought a home, and when they moved in, the wife said to her husband, “I do not like the color of the kitchen; would you paint it white for me?” Do you think her husband did that? Yes, he did, because he loved his wife, and wanted to please her. Then, after he had painted the kitchen white, his wife said, “Would you mind trimming it in yellow?” Her husband did that too, because he wanted to please her. As you may imagine, she was very happy working in her newly-painted kitchen. Best of all, she knew that her husband loved her enough to do it for her.
The New Testament commandments are like that. The Lord has told us what would please Him, and if we love Him, we will want to keep His commandments. Our love for the Lord Jesus is shown by our willingness to keep His commandments.
             
January 2024
S M T W T F S
31 1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31 1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
             
February 2024
S M T W T F S
28 29 30 31 1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
             
March 2024
S M T W T F S
25 26 27 28 29 1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31 1 2 3 4 5 6
       
Notes:
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
Growing in Grace Blog by Bible Truth Publishers