Friday, January 19

crossmartin1
Lift High the Cross!

Genesis 15

After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” 2 But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.” 4 And behold, the word of the Lord came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.” 5 And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 6 And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.

7 And he said to him, “I am the Lord who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to possess.” 8 But he said, “O Lord God, how am I to know that I shall possess it?” 9 He said to him, “Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” 10 And he brought him all these, cut them in half, and laid each half over against the other. But he did not cut the birds in half. 11 And when birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away.

12 As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram. And behold, dreadful and great darkness fell upon him. 13 Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. 14 But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. 15 As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. 16 And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”

17 When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces. 18 On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, 19 the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, 20 the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, 21 the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites and the Jebusites.”

Psalm 18:1-30

I love you, O Lord, my strength. 2  The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. 3  I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies. 4 The cords of death encompassed me; the torrents of destruction assailed me; 5 the cords of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me. 6 In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears. 7  Then the earth reeled and rocked; the foundations also of the mountains trembled and quaked, because he was angry. 8  Smoke went up from his nostrils, and devouring fire from his mouth; glowing coals flamed forth from him. 9  He bowed the heavens and came down; thick darkness was under his feet. 10  He rode on a cherub and flew; he came swiftly on the wings of the wind. 11  He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him, thick clouds dark with water. 12  Out of the brightness before him hailstones and coals of fire broke through his clouds. 13  The Lord also thundered in the heavens, and the Most High uttered his voice, hailstones and coals of fire. 14  And he sent out his arrows and scattered them; he flashed forth lightnings and routed them. 15  Then the channels of the sea were seen, and the foundations of the world were laid bare at your rebuke, O Lord,at the blast of the breath of your nostrils. 16  He sent from on high, he took me; he drew me out of many waters. 17  He rescued me from my strong enemy and from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me. 18  They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the Lord was my support. 19  He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me. 20  The Lord dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he rewarded me. 21  For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my God. 22  For all his rules were before me, and his statutes I did not put away from me. 23  I was blameless before him, and I kept myself from my guilt. 24  So the Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight. 25  With the merciful you show yourself merciful; with the blameless man you show yourself blameless; 26  with the purified you show yourself pure; and with the crooked you make yourself seem tortuous. 27  For you save a humble people, but the haughty eyes you bring down. 28  For it is you who light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness. 29  For by you I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall. 30  This God—his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.

Matthew 10:5-25

5 These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, 6 but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay. 9 Acquire no gold or silver or copper for your belts, 10 no bag for your journey, or two tunics or sandals or a staff, for the laborer deserves his food. 11 And whatever town or village you enter, find out who is worthy in it and stay there until you depart. 12 As you enter the house, greet it. 13 And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14 And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town. 15 Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.

Persecution Will Come
16 “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 17 Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, 18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. 19 When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. 20 For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. 21 Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, 22 and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 23 When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

24 “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25 It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household.

Questions to Ponder:

Do you understand that Jesus did not come to bring peace to this world? He sent his disciples out into a hostile world and warned them that they would be persecuted, hated for his name’s sake. He warned that they would be treated as he was. Are you willing to speak to others about the Lord, regardless of the consequences? Are you willing to be like Jesus? 

In what ways would your life have to change if you were to be more like Jesus?

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