Totally Committed

‘I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ.’ Philippians 3:8 NKJV

Ever hear of ‘one-way missionaries’? They purchased a one-way ticket to the mission field, and instead of packing a suitcase they stashed their belongings in a coffin, knowing they would never return home.

AW Milne was one of them. Two hundred years ago, he went to Vanuatu in the South Pacific, knowing that head-hunters had martyred every missionary before him. But he didn’t fear for his life because he had already died to himself. For thirty-five years he lived among them and ministered to them. When he died, the tribe buried him in the middle of their village and inscribed these words on his tombstone: When he came there was no light. When he left, there was no darkness.

Nowhere in Scripture does God send us to safe places to do easy things. Faced with the cross, Jesus prayed the ultimate prayer of commitment: ‘Not My will, but Thine, be done.’ (Luke 22:42 KJV)

And today—and every day—He’s asking you to be totally committed to Him. Paul wrote: ‘I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with Him.’ (Philippians 3:7–9 NLT) It’s when you’re willing to remain with Christ in His sufferings that you get to experience the power of His resurrection.

So the word for you today is: be totally committed.

SoulFood: Heb 1–4, Mark 6:14–29, Ps 18:1–29, Pro 11:19–21

word4today an adaptation of The Word For Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2019

Today’s Readings

Hebrews 1–4 ()

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1:1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

For to which of the angels did God ever say,

  “You are my Son,
    today I have begotten you”?

Or again,

  “I will be to him a father,
    and he shall be to me a son”?

And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says,

  “Let all God's angels worship him.”

Of the angels he says,

  “He makes his angels winds,
    and his ministers a flame of fire.”

But of the Son he says,

  “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,
    the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.
  You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
  therefore God, your God, has anointed you
    with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”

10 And,

  “You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning,
    and the heavens are the work of your hands;
11   they will perish, but you remain;
    they will all wear out like a garment,
12   like a robe you will roll them up,
    like a garment they will be changed.
  But you are the same,
    and your years will have no end.”

13 And to which of the angels has he ever said,

  “Sit at my right hand
    until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”?

14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?

2:1 Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.

For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. It has been testified somewhere,

  “What is man, that you are mindful of him,
    or the son of man, that you care for him?
  You made him for a little while lower than the angels;
    you have crowned him with glory and honor,
    putting everything in subjection under his feet.”

Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

10 For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11 For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, 12 saying,

  “I will tell of your name to my brothers;
    in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.”

13 And again,

  “I will put my trust in him.”

And again,

  “Behold, I and the children God has given me.”

14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. 16 For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. 17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

3:1 Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God's house. For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses—as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) Now Moses was faithful in all God's house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over God's house as a son. And we are his house, if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.

Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says,

  “Today, if you hear his voice,
  do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
    on the day of testing in the wilderness,
  where your fathers put me to the test
    and saw my works for forty years.
10   Therefore I was provoked with that generation,
  and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart;
    they have not known my ways.’
11   As I swore in my wrath,
    ‘They shall not enter my rest.’”

12 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. 15 As it is said,

  “Today, if you hear his voice,
  do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”

16 For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? 17 And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? 19 So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.

4:1 Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said,

  “As I swore in my wrath,
  ‘They shall not enter my rest,’”

although his works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.” And again in this passage he said,

  “They shall not enter my rest.”

Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted,

  “Today, if you hear his voice,
  do not harden your hearts.”

For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, 10 for whoever has entered God's rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.

11 Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Mark 6:14–29 ()

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14 King Herod heard of it, for Jesus' name had become known. Some said, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead. That is why these miraculous powers are at work in him.” 15 But others said, “He is Elijah.” And others said, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.” 16 But when Herod heard of it, he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.” 17 For it was Herod who had sent and seized John and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, because he had married her. 18 For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife.” 19 And Herodias had a grudge against him and wanted to put him to death. But she could not, 20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he kept him safe. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed, and yet he heard him gladly.

21 But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his nobles and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee. 22 For when Herodias's daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests. And the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it to you.” 23 And he vowed to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, up to half of my kingdom.” 24 And she went out and said to her mother, “For what should I ask?” And she said, “The head of John the Baptist.” 25 And she came in immediately with haste to the king and asked, saying, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” 26 And the king was exceedingly sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her. 27 And immediately the king sent an executioner with orders to bring John's head. He went and beheaded him in the prison 28 and brought his head on a platter and gave it to the girl, and the girl gave it to her mother. 29 When his disciples heard of it, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.

Psalm 18:1–29 ()

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To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David, the servant of the LORD, who addressed the words of this song to the LORD on the day when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. He said:

18:1   I love you, O LORD, my strength.
  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.
  I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised,
    and I am saved from my enemies.
  The cords of death encompassed me;
    the torrents of destruction assailed me;
  the cords of Sheol entangled me;
    the snares of death confronted me.
  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.
  Then the earth reeled and rocked;
    the foundations also of the mountains trembled
    and quaked, because he was angry.
  Smoke went up from his nostrils,
    and devouring fire from his mouth;
    glowing coals flamed forth from him.
  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.

Proverbs 11:19–21 ()

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19   Whoever is steadfast in righteousness will live,
    but he who pursues evil will die.
20   Those of crooked heart are an abomination to the LORD,
    but those of blameless ways are his delight.
21   Be assured, an evil person will not go unpunished,
    but the offspring of the righteous will be delivered.

Sat 11 May, 2019


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