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When the Lord Strengthens Your Foes (Tuesday, November 14, 2017)

Judges 3:12 And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done evil in the sight of the LORD.
13 And he gathered unto him the children of Ammon and Amalek, and went and smote Israel, and possessed the city of palm trees.

Introductory Thoughts

God certainly works in mysterious ways! At times, in order to bring about His desired plan in the lives of His own people, the Lord strengthens the hands of His enemies. This can prove painful to the people of God but serves as a stark reminder that God is a jealous God (Exodus 34:14). He does what it takes to bring His people back into a proper fellowship with Him; however, the situation is never intended to be permanent. God merely waits for the moment when the hearts of His people turn toward Him again. When this happens, the Lord acts swiftly on behalf of His people to destroy that enemy once strengthened for the purpose of chastening His children (Judges 3:15-30). The only delay is the hardness of man’s heart in turning toward the Lord.

Devotional Thoughts

• (For children): Israel should have easily smitten the city of Ai for the people were few in number. Because the children of Israel had sinned, the Lord strengthened the people of Ai (Joshua 7:2-5, 11-12). When the sin was put away, God again gave a great victory to His people (Joshua 8:1).
• (For everyone): Have you ever had a time where you felt as though the Lord enabled your enemies to gain an advantage over you? For what purpose did the Lord strengthen your enemies? Did you ever turn your heart back to following after the Lord?
• Any advantage the enemy gets over you must first be allowed by the Lord. Has your enemy been strengthened against you?

Prayer Thoughts

• Repent before the Lord for anything hindering your fellowship with Him.
• Ask God to show you when He has strengthened your enemy.

SONG: GREAT IS THY FAITHFULNESS

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The Weekness of Strength (Monday, November 13, 2017)

1 Samuel 2:9 He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail.

Introductory Thoughts

The Bible repeatedly demonstrates that strength can be one’s own worst enemy. For instance, the Israelites were strong when they made the decision to keep some of the Canaanites in the land (Joshua 17:13; Judges 1:28). This decision would eventually cost the people of God dearly. Additionally, strength can be dangerous because it deceives. It leads people to think that they are more powerful and capable than they really are. In and of itself, the Bible makes it clear that strength is simply not enough: “for by strength shall no man prevail” (1 Samuel 2:9). According to the psalmist, “There is no king saved by the multitude of an host: a mighty man is not delivered by much strength. An horse is a vain thing for safety: neither shall he deliver any by his great strength” (Psalm 33:16-17). This psalm shows the vanity of trusting in multitudes, strength, or even mighty animals for safety.

Devotional Thoughts

• (For children): The Philistines relied on the strength of their champion Goliath to defeat Israel (1 Samuel 17:3-11). David won because he knew to look to the Lord for his strength (1 Samuel 17:42-51). Nebuchadnezzar was deceived into thinking his own strength built Babylon, but God showed him differently (Daniel 4:30-33; Jeremiah 17:5).
• (For everyone): Read 2 Chronicles 26:14-23. Uzziah’s name spread far abroad because he was “marvellously helped.” What went wrong when Uzziah became strong?
• Read Ecclesiastes 9:11. Have you depended on strength in times of battle? Have you learned the disappointments of trusting your own strength in times of temptation?

Prayer Thoughts

• Ask God to remind you of the insufficiency of your strength.
• Ask the Lord to strengthen you with His strength.

SONG: GOD WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU

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Church Day (Sunday, November 12, 2017)

Strength—found 543 times in 500 Old Testament verses and fifty-eight times in fifty-six New Testament verses

Variations: strength, strengthen, strengthened, strengthenedst, strengtheneth, strengthening, strong, stronger, strongest, strongly

Last usage in the Old Testament: Zechariah 12:5 (strength)

First usage in the New Testament: Matthew 12:29 (strong)

Interesting fact: The Bible mentions the phrase “strong hold(s)” twenty-seven times. In this particular phrase, the word strong is used as an adjective describing a hold, thus a strong hold is supposed to indicate a place of safety. For the New Testament Christian, the final instance serves an important purpose and may be of greatest importance. In that passage, we are told that “the weapons of our warfare are . . . mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds” (2 Corinthians 10:4). By understanding the meaning of the phrase strong holds, this particular passage demonstrates that the spiritual weapons at the Christian’s disposal can tear down the false notions of safety that the Devil often presents to the minds of believers.

Bible study tip: When studying the tabernacle, the temple, and the priestly garments, etc., it would be wise to sketch the scriptural description from the words of scripture. You may not be a skilled artist, but allowing the scripture to guide what you draw will make the scripture the authority and help you to realize the actual elements. There are many renditions of these biblical elements with some of them designed upon faulty bible versions and false interpretations of men. Your sketch in hand may help you to find the most accurate representation in your search for a quality rendering.

Sunday, Day 309—Church Day (no devotional)
Monday, Day 310—The Weakness of Strength
Tuesday, Day 311—When the Lord Strengthens Your Foes
Wednesday, Day 312—Church Night (no devotional)
Thursday, Day 313—Give Not Thy Strength unto Women
Friday, Day 314—Be Strong, and Do It
Saturday, Day 315—To Shew Himself Strong
Day 309: Church Day
Habakkuk 3:19 The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.

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As a Thief In the Night (Saturday 11, 2017)

2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

Introductory Thoughts

“The day of the Lord” is going to be a time of judgment (Isaiah 13:6). It is a day that is not to be desired (Amos 5:18-20). This day begins shortly before the second coming of Christ and extends to the dissolving of the heavens and earth (2 Peter 3:10-11) lasting approximately 1,000 years (2 Peter 3:8). Sometime after Christ removes the church (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), He will establish the time of Jacob’s trouble in order to turn the Jews back to Himself. At the end of this time of terrible tribulation, the Lord Jesus will return as a thief in the night (1 Thessalonians 5:1-4) to make up His jewels (Malachi 3:17), and every eye will see Him (Revelation 1:7).

Devotional Thoughts

• (For children): Thieves usually operate in darkness (Job 24:16; John 3:19-20). The onset of the day of the Lord will be very unpleasant (Joel 2:11, 31; Malachi 4:5; Jude 1:14-15). Saved people living now do not fear this time because the Rapture removes Christians before this day (1 Thessalonians 5:9; Titus 2:13).
• (For everyone): Why does it make sense that the Lord’s second coming will be as a thief in the night? What people group actually make up the Lord’s jewels?
• The Lord purchased the church. Therefore, He need not come as a thief to gather what He has purchased. What is different about His second coming (Revelation 16:15)?

Prayer Thoughts

• Thank the Lord for saving you by His marvellous grace.
• Ask the Lord to deal with your loved ones before it is too late.

SONG: BEHOLD HE COMES!

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Crucified With Thieves (Thursday, November 9, 2017)

Matthew 27:33 And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull,
34 They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink.
35 And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.
36 And sitting down they watched him there;
37 And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
38 Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left.

Introductory Thoughts

Crucifixion was one of the most gruesome forms of capital punishment in the Roman Empire. The Bible tells us that the Lord Jesus was crucified alongside two thieves. According to Roman law, crucifixion was a just punishment for someone guilty of being a thief (Luke 23:41). Another thief named Barabbas was also condemned and should have been the third thief crucified (John 18:40). Instead, the people pleaded for the life of this thief and demanded that the giver of all things be crucified. It is interesting that the Lord Jesus rebuked the Jews for coming out against Him as a thief with swords and staves to take Him to be judged (Matthew 26:55). The Lord was certainly no thief, but He allowed Himself to be crucified with and for thieves. Why did He allow this? The Bible says it was because His love compelled Him to “bear the sins of many” (Hebrews 9:28).

Devotional Thoughts

• (For children): Many publicans were thieves and were hated (Luke 3:12-13; Matthew 9:10-13; Matthew 18:17; Luke 19:2, 7). The Lord will cleanse from any sin including theft (1 John 1:9; Isaiah 55:7; Luke 18:13-14; Luke 19:8-9).
• (For everyone): One of the thieves turned to the Lord in faith while hanging upon the cross. How is this only possible because of the Lord’s willingness to die the death of a thief?
• No thieves shall inherit the kingdom of God, but there will be plenty in Heaven who lived as thieves prior to trusting in Christ (1 Corinthians 6:10-11). This is only possible because Christ died in their place.

Prayer Thoughts

• Thank the Lord for dying the death of a thief.
• Ask God to help you tell other thieves of Christ’s death.

SONG: HALLELUJAH, WHAT A SAVIOUR!

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Let No Man Suffer As a Thief (Tuesday, November 7, 2017)

Let None of You Suffer as a Thief
1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.
15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.
16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.

Introductory Thoughts

Life is full of suffering that occurs for various reasons. Yet, the Christian is admonished never to suffer as a result of his wrongdoing. Christians frequently suffer wrongfully and should never be ashamed for suffering for the name of Christ. Yet every Christian is admonished not to suffer “as a thief” (1 Peter 4:15). When a man puts his faith in the finished work of Christ, he becomes a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17) and should live differently. The Bible says, “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth” (Ephesians 4:28). This means that a saved man, although previously a thief, should labour so that he may have to give to others rather than taking from them. Only the power of the gospel can take a thief and make him a generous person. What an amazing witness to the transformation of the gospel!

Devotional Thoughts

• (For children): Part of suffering is bearing shame when we do wrong. This includes theft (Romans 6:21). There is no shame in suffering for Christ (1 Peter 4:16). Paul did not want to be ashamed in anything (Philippians 1:20). God expects us to work for what we get.
• (For everyone): It is thought that Onesimus stole from Philemon (Philemon 1:11, 18-19). Did Paul expect things to be different when Onesimus returned to Philemon (Philemon 1:15-16)?
• According to Ephesians 4:28, a man goes from stealing to giving and labouring when he gets saved. Why are labouring and stealing considered opposites?

Prayer Thoughts

• Ask the Lord to give you a heart to labour and give.
• Thank God for the transformation of salvation.

SONG: AMAZING GRACE!

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Church Day (Sunday, November 5, 2017)

Stealing—found forty-eight times in forty-five verses

Variations: steal, stealeth, stealing, stole, stolen

First usage: Genesis 30:33 (stolen)

Last usage: Ephesians 4:28 (stole, steal)

Defined: to take something or someone away secretly or without right

Interesting fact: Genesis chapter 31 contains 17 percent (eight out of forty-eight) of the occurrences of the variations of steal or stole. Interestingly, this single chapter contains both major concepts of the words steal and stole: (1) to take things not belonging to you (Genesis 31:19, 30, 32, 39) or (2) to go away secretly (Genesis 31:20, 26, 27).

Bible study tip: The Bible incorporates several three-word phrases with the word “of” surrounded by the same word at the beginning and end. The only difference is that the closing word is plural (i.e., king of kings, heaven of heavens). The purpose of this use identifies the first word as superior to all those included in the latter grouping.

Sunday, Day 288—Church Day (no devotional)
Monday, Day 289—Thou Shalt Not Steal
Tuesday, Day 290—Out of the Heart
Wednesday, Day 291—Church Night (no devotional)
Thursday, Day 292—The Thief Cometh
Friday, Day 293—Whose Is Partner with a Thief
Saturday, Day 294—If a Man Shall Steal
Day 288: Church Day
Leviticus 19:11 Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another.

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Change Demands Strength (Friday, November 3, 2017)

Deuteronomy 3:28 But charge Joshua, and encourage him, and strengthen him: for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which thou shalt see.

Introductory Thoughts

Change frequently results in much fear and uncertainty. As such, change must be met and handled with strength. Young Joshua, upon the passing of Moses, assumed the leadership of the Israelites; thus the Lord repeatedly emphasized Joshua’s great need for strength (Deuteronomy 3:28; Deuteronomy 31:7, 23; Joshua 1:7, 9). Joshua would not be successful without unwavering strength and resolve, and this strength originated not with Joshua but the God he served. Likewise, David, as a dying man, charged his son Solomon by saying, “I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and shew thyself a man” (1 Kings 2:2). In times of change, weakness breeds panic and fear that only the strength from God can overcome.

Devotional Thoughts

• (For children): When Ezra led the second group of captives back to Jerusalem, he needed strength (Ezra 7:27-28, 9). David needed strength when his city had changed (1 Samuel 30:3-8). Paul needed strength when his life changed (1 Timothy 1:12-13).
• (For everyone): Are you facing extreme or difficult changes in your life? Are you afraid or uncomfortable in the face of these changes? Why is it so important that you face these changes in God’s strength?
• What would have been different in Israel had Joshua or Solomon been weak in the face of the difficult changes? How would their weakness have harmed others?

Prayer Thoughts

• Ask God for strength in times of adversity.
• Ask the Lord to help you be a testimony of strength for others.

SONG: ABIDE WITH ME!

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