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NIV LIFE JOURNEY BIBLE
By Henry Cloud John Townsend
ZondervanCopyright © 2012 Henry Cloud and John S. Townsend
All right reserved.
Chapter OneTHE BEGINNING
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
3 And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night." And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.
6 And God said, "Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water." 7 So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. 8 God called the vault "sky." And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.
9 And God said, "Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear." And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground "land," and the gathered waters he called "seas." And God saw that it was good.
11 Then God said, "Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds." And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.
A psalm of David.
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name's sake. 4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Of David. A psalm.
1 The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;
17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Re pent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near."
JESUS CALLS HIS FIRST DISCIPLES
18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will send you out to fish for people." 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.
21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
JESUS HEALS THE SICK
23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sick ness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demonpossessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them. 25 Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.
INTRODUCTION TO THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT
5 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them.
3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
SALT AND LIGHT
13 "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
14 "You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine be fore others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
THE FULFILLMENT OF THE LAW
17 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
God Is the Source of Life
In the beginning there was God, and God created the heavens and the earth. Everything starts out with God as the source. This is point number one in the Bible. Nothing was in creation before God, and everything that exists came from him. This includes all the "stuff" of life—the resources, the principles, the purposes, the meaning—everything. He is the source, period.
After making the "stuff," God made humankind; he created Adam and Eve (see Genesis 2:7,22). So when we think about embracing (or restoring) life, we need to remember that life came from God. We think we know that, but we sometimes take it too lightly.
We understand that living things came from him. But we have to take that realization deeper than just creation. We have to understand it to mean that it includes his bringing life to dead situations in our lives. God is not only Creator but also "Re-creator" of life. Facing situations in our lives means that we realize that God is the one who can create new life in those situations. It becomes the theology of how one overcomes a depression or heals a marriage or rescues a failing business career. In other words, "How do I bring this marriage or this business career back to life?"
The Bible's answer to all these questions is "God." There is a person behind it all who will create and give us life and growth. God is the source of life. He is the source of growth as well.
Some people advocate using willpower and trying harder to solve problems. This approach can be described simply: Whatever the problem behavior is, just stop doing it.
The problem with this thinking is that it assumes that our will has more power and ability than it does. Just as our hearts and minds are distorted by the fall, so is our power to make right decisions. And while these are good suggestions, and we should choose whatever we are able to do that is right, sometimes our will power fails. We need help. Just as David knew he couldn't face his physical enemies without God's strength, we cannot face our own struggles without the power of God. We do best when the words of David become our own: "Lord, do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me" (Psalm 22:19).
If we depend on willpower alone, we are guaranteed to fail, as any addict will attest to. And when we only depend on ourselves, we are denying the power of the relationship promised in the cross. If all we need is our will to overcome evil, we certainly don't need a Savior (see 1 Corinthians 1:17). The truth is, willpower alone is useless against self-boundary, or self-control, struggles. We need something outside of ourselves, the power of God's Spirit, to renew our hearts, minds and wills. This is something we just cannot do on our own or through any earthly power:
They have lost connection with the head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow ... Why ... do you submit to [the world's] rules: "Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!"? These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence. (Colossians 2:19–23)
Excerpted from NIV LIFE JOURNEY BIBLE by Henry Cloud John Townsend Copyright © 2012 by Henry Cloud and John S. Townsend. Excerpted by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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