Charles Stanley – God’s Love Offered to the Hurting

Charles Stanley

Jesus said, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). His life clearly revealed God’s loving character and compassion towards people. Let’s take a closer look at one of the examples mentioned yesterday: from the Savior’s interaction with the Samaritan woman, we can learn much about our heavenly Father’s tender love and care for us.

• Jesus initiated contact. Much to His disciples’ dismay, Jesus deliberately went out of His way to meet the woman from Samaria. In that day, Jews did not associate with Samaritans and in fact avoided traveling through their region. But God does not adhere to man’s rules or prejudices. He brings a message of hope and new life to all who listen and believe.

• Jesus knew her pain and heartache. She must have felt worthless, abandoned, and unloved after being divorced by five husbands. We all have emotional baggage that weighs us down and causes us pain. Our Father knows when we have deep hurt or secret shame.

• Jesus offered her forgiveness and love. He drew out the details of her situation in a nonjudgmental way so that she would be receptive to His offer of forgiveness and a relationship with God. He understood what she needed—to feel loved, valued, and accepted—and knew a relationship with Him was the answer.

God sees us today as clearly as He saw the Samaritan woman. He knows our hurts, and He wants to bring us healing and restoration. Won’t you accept His love? Submit to the Holy Spirit’s transforming work so that you can be brought to spiritual wholeness.



Our Daily Bread — Costume Or Uniform?

Our Daily Bread

Romans 13:11-14

Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. —Romans 13:14

Eunice McGarrahan gave an inspiring talk on Christian discipleship in which she said, “A costume is something you put on and pretend that you are what you are wearing. A uniform, on the other hand, reminds you that you are, in fact, what you wear.”

Her comment sparked memories of my first day in US Army basic training when we were each given a box and ordered to put all our civilian clothes in it. The box was mailed to our home address. Every day after that, the uniform we put on reminded us that we had entered a period of disciplined training designed to change our attitudes and actions.

“Cast off the works of darkness,” the apostle Paul told the followers of Jesus living in Rome, “and . . . put on the armor of light” (Rom. 13:12). He followed this with the command to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts” (v.14). The goal of this “casting off” and “putting on” was a new identity and transformed living (v.13).

When we choose to follow Christ as our Lord, He begins the process of making us more like Him each day. It is not a matter of pretending to be what we aren’t but of becoming more and more what we are in Christ. —David McCasland

O to be like Thee, O to be like Thee,

Blessed Redeemer, pure as Thou art!

Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;

Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart. —Chisholm

Salvation is free, but discipleship will cost you your life. —Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Bible in a year: Hosea 9-11; Revelation 3


Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Yesterday and Today

Ravi Z

In their 1965 album Help, the Beatles sang, “Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away. Now it looks as though they’re here to stay. Oh, I believe in yesterday…”

Our temptation to live in the “good ole’ days” is captured well in this song. It is not surprising, therefore, that the song has more cover versions than any song ever written—over 3000! For some of us, yesterday always seems to enamor. Somehow it seems the weather was better, the pressure lesser, the prices lower, the traffic slower, the currency stronger, the trees greener, the atmosphere cleaner, the youth kinder, the music softer, the world safer, and the trousers longer! “Oh, I believe in yesterday,” we hear ourselves sighing.

By contrast to the Beatles, country singer Don Williams sings, “Don’t think about tomorrow, it don’t matter anymore. We can turn the key and lock the world outside the door.” While the Beatles voice the temptation to live in our yesterdays, Don Williams voices the temptation to forget our tomorrows. Between or apart from the wishful romanticizing of our yesterdays and the hasty dismissals of our tomorrows, is there a life worth living?

In her novel, The Namesake, Pulitzer Prize winner Jhumpa Lahiri tells the story of Gogol who is named after his father’s favorite author. But growing up in an Indian family in suburban America, the boy starts to hate the awkward name and itches to cast it off. In 1982 on his 14th birthday, his father presents him a specially ordered copy of The Short Stories of Nikolai Gogol. He tells him how he felt a special kinship with the author and that it had taken four months for the book to arrive from Britain, specially ordered for the occasion. To young Gogol the sentiments were not palpable. Time moves on. Gogol’s life moves on. His father dies unexpectedly. The story captures his efforts to reinvent his identity by embracing a new name, exploring meaning in relationships, an education, and a career. For all those years his father’s gift was set aside. But pain has a way of bringing back more than memory. The story ends in the year 2000 when Gogol is 32, divorced and pondering. It is then that he picks up the gift that his father gave him at age 14 and starts to read.

There are some things in life that are irreversible. Had Gogol wished then to start life all over again, there was no way of going back to when he was 14, or spending time with his father once again. Sadly for some of us, there are no replays in real life.

If this was an option the day after the crucifixion, the apostles would have certainly requested a replay. How much they would have desired to go back! Not only that they might be with Jesus, but that they would be right with him. Remember the time you vowed to live a certain way only to break the promise a few days later? Peter felt the same. For those of us who feel like we are the only ones who fail, the gospel writer has a word about the commonness of our humanness: All of the disciples deserted Jesus and fled from him. The problem with the Christ was not that he had asserted a demand, but that he had gently solicited their support. To think that a king would speak in such a fashion to his subjects is beyond imagination. Returning to his disciples in his hour of anguish, he repeatedly found them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked.

How much he had likened himself to us in order to bear away sin. How much he had bent towards humanity, giving visibility to the psalmist’s ascription of “God our Savior who daily bears our burdens for us” (Psalm 68:19). He had given them so much. He had asked for so little. Yet, they had failed him. And still, the great hope of the Christian faith is that, even knowing every past denial and every coming failure of humanity, Jesus comes near today on our behalf.

With the Beatles, one can sing, “I believe in yesterday,” with Don Williams, one can sing, “Don’t think about tomorrow,” but it is only with Jesus the suffering servant, the risen Savior that one can sing, “Because he lives, I can face tomorrow.”

Arun Andrews is a member of the speaking team with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Bangalore, India.


Alistair Begg – Eternal One

Alistair Begg

His were the everlasting ways.

Habakkuk 3:6

What God has done on one occasion, He will do again. Man’s ways are variable, but God’s ways are everlasting. There are many reasons for this most comforting truth.

Among them are the following: The Lord’s ways are the result of wise deliberation; He orders everything according to the counsel of His own will. Human action is frequently the hasty result of passion or fear and is followed by regret and change; but nothing can take the Almighty by surprise or happen contrary to what He has foreseen.

His ways are the outgrowth of an unchanging character, and in them the fixed and settled attributes of God are clearly seen. Unless the Eternal One Himself can undergo change, His ways, which are Himself in action, must remain forever the same. Is He eternally just, gracious, faithful, wise, tender? Then His ways must always be distinguished by the same excellences. Beings act according to their nature: When those natures change, their conduct also varies. But since God cannot know the shadow of turning, His ways will remain everlastingly the same.

Furthermore there is no external reason that could reverse the divine ways, since they are the embodiment of irresistible might. The prophet tells us that the earth is split with rivers, mountains tremble, the sea lifts up its hands, and the sun and moon stand still when Jehovah marches out for the salvation of His people.

Who can prevent Him or say to Him, “What are You doing?” But it is not only might that gives stability; God’s ways are the manifestation of the eternal principles of right and therefore can never pass away. Wrong breeds decay and involves ruin, but the true and the good are marked by a vitality that time cannot diminish.

This morning let us go to our heavenly Father with confidence, remembering that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in Him the Lord is always gracious to His people.


Charles Spurgeon – The blood


“When I see the blood, I will pass over you.” Exodus 12:13

Suggested Further Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:12-22

The blood of Jesus Christ is blood that has been accepted. Christ died—he was buried; but neither heaven nor earth could tell whether God had accepted the ransom. There was wanted God’s seal upon the great Magna Carta of man’s salvation, and that seal was put, in that hour when God summoned the angel, and commanded him to descend from heaven and roll away the stone. Christ was put in the prison house of the grave, as a hostage for his people. Until God had signed the warrant for acquittal of all his people, Christ must abide in the bonds of death. He did not attempt to break his prison; he did not come out illegally, by wrenching down the bars of his dungeon; he waited: he folded up the napkin, laying it by itself: he laid the grave-clothes in a separate place; he waited, waited patiently, and at last down from the skies, like the flash of a meteor, the angel descended, touched the stone and rolled it away; and when Christ came out, rising from the dead in the glory of his Father’s power, then was the seal put upon the great charter of our redemption. The blood was accepted, and sin was forgiven. And now, soul, it is not possible for God to reject you, if you come this day to him, pleading the blood of Christ. God cannot—and here we speak with reverence too—the everlasting God cannot reject a sinner who pleads the blood of Christ: for if he did so, it would be to deny himself, and to contradict all his former acts. He has accepted blood, and he will accept it.

For meditation: Are you still stuck at the point of asking “What proves the resurrection”? Or have you advanced to consider what the resurrection proves (Romans 4:25; Acts 17:31)?

Sermon no. 228

12 December (1858)



John MacArthur – A More Excellent Name

John MacArthur

“He has inherited a more excellent name than they. For to which of the angels did He ever say, ‘Thou art My Son, today I have begotten Thee’? And again, ‘I will be a Father to Him, and He shall be a Son to Me’?” (Heb. 1:4-5).

In our culture, the names we pick for our children don’t have much connection with the child’s character. But in the Bible, God chose specific names that related to some character quality of the individuals who bore them.

The writer of Hebrews was well aware of that when He asked this rhetorical question: “To which of the angels did [God] ever say, ‘Thou art My Son, today I have begotten Thee’? and again, ‘I will be a Father to Him, and He shall be a Son to Me’?” quoting Psalm 2:7 and 2 Samuel 7:14. Of course, the answer is no angel.

The title Son refers to Jesus Christ in His incarnation. Though His sonship was anticipated in the Old Testament (Prov. 30:4), He did not become a Son until He was begotten into time. Prior to that He was eternal God with God. Presenting Jesus as the Son is God’s analogy to help us understand the relationship between the First and Second Persons of the Trinity.

Christ became a Son in two different ways. First, He was not a Son until He came into the world through the virgin birth (Luke 1:35; 3:22). But second, His sonship came to full bloom in His resurrection (Rom. 1:3-4).

The Old Testament prophesied that Christ would come as a Son. In the New Testament He came as a Son in His virgin birth and was declared to be the Son by His resurrection from the dead. Don’t ever get trapped into the heresy of those who claim that Jesus Christ is eternally subservient to God. For a temporary period of time, He set aside what was rightfully His and humbled Himself to become a Son for our sakes.

Suggestion for Prayer:

Thank God for His amazing plan to redeem man through the incarnation of the Second Person of the Trinity.

Praise Him that He became Man to redeem you.

For Further Study:

Read Acts 13:33 and Romans 1:3-4 noting the reason that Christ can be considered God’s Son.


Joyce Meyer – Start Something Good

Joyce meyer

For there shall the seed produce peace and prosperity; the vine shall yield her fruit and the ground shall give its increase and the heavens shall give their dew; and I will cause the remnant of this people to inherit and possess all these things.

—Zechariah 8:12

Start something good in someone’s life today. Sow faith for a healing. Sow hope for a restoration. A sincere compliment can sow confidence in someone who is starving for encouragement. Your forgiveness of an ongoing offense can sow a seed for a miracle breakthrough in that situation.

Pray for someone else’s need, or make a special offering to start something positive in the name of the Lord. Remember, God won’t ask you to sow anything that He doesn’t give you the grace to give.

Enjoy the abundant harvest that is returned to your own life when you sow into someone else’s life.


Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – A Place of Rest


“So there is a full complete rest still waiting for the people of God. Christ has already entered there. He is resting from His work, just as God did after the creation. Let us do our best to go into that place of rest, too, being careful not to disobey God as the children of Israel did, thus failing to get in” (Hebrews 4:9-11).

A Christian leader was asked: “How do you handle the incredible pressure of your schedule – speaking, writing, giving leadership to a great movement that touches the lives of millions of people around the world? How do you do it? You must carry a tremendous load!”

The inquirer was surprised at the response. “No, quite honestly I don’t carry the load. I’m not under any pressure. I made a great discovery, probably the greatest discovery that a Christian can make. In the Christian life there is a place of rest which one enters by faith and obedience. No matter how great the pressure, or how terrible the testing, the supernatural resources of God sustain, empower, bless and encourage us and our Lord carries the load and fights for us.”

Though few Christians ever enter into this rest, it is available to all believers. When the Israelites were on their way to the promised land, God had already prepared the hearts of the inhabitants, filling them with fear. There is reason to believe that they would have capitulated readily. But when the twelve spies returned after forty days of checking out the land, ten of them reported, “There are giants in the land, and we felt like grasshoppers in their sight.” Only Joshua and Caleb said, “Let’s go in and take the land. God has withdrawn His blessing from the people and He will fight for us.”

But three million Israelites agreed with the majority report, and as a result, wandered in the wilderness for forty years. Why did it take so long for them to enter the land God had already given them? Because, as recorded in verse 2, they failed to mix the promises of God with faith.

Why does the average Christian not enter into a place of rest with God – that supernatural life which produces an abundance of fruit? Because he fails to mix the promises of God with faith. That is what this book, Promises, is all about – to remind us daily of our heritage as children of God and to show us how we can draw upon the mighty, inexhaustible resources of deity to live the supernatural life. Are you experiencing the life of the Spirit? Have you entered into God’s rest? If not, you can begin to do so now.

Bible Reading: 2 Thessalonians 1:3-12

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: As an act of faith and obedience, I will enter that place of rest and I will encourage every believer with whom I have contact today to join me in the adventure.




Presidential Prayer Team; H.L.M.- Truth from Error


God’s righteous foundation in America is slowly and systematically being destroyed. Society today often calls right wrong and wrong right. People honor the immoral and ridicule the upright.

The anointing that you received from him abides in you.

I John 2:27

Yet when you put your faith in Jesus, you receive a new nature – one of holiness and righteousness. There is not anything you can do to earn this priceless gift of grace. Therefore your Heavenly Father only sees the righteousness of Christ which covers you. As a result, you can live a righteous life through the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.” (John 14:16-17)

Every day, thank God for the gift of His Holy Spirit. Allow Him to help you discern truth from error. Seek opportunities to be an advocate for God’s righteousness wherever you go. Pray also that your local and national leaders would place their trust in Jesus Christ to relinquish wrong morals and exchange them for His righteousness.

Recommended Reading: John 14:15-21  Click to Read or Listen

Greg Laurie – The Night that Forever Divided Time


“The Savior–yes, the Messiah, the Lord–has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!”

—Luke 2:11

Christmas has been hijacked. I am not just talking about the secularists who want to remove the phrase Merry Christmas and replace it with Happy Holidays. Christmas has been taken and effectively gutted. It’s as though our culture has taken the word Christmas, emptied it of its meaning, dragged it through the gutter, and handed it back, minus its power. The problem is not just with the secularizing of Christmas. Even well-meaning Christians have either romanticized it or made it so sentimental that perhaps they are missing the real story.

As we think about Christmas, we have a sentimental picture in our minds of the manger scene. There is the baby Jesus. There is Joseph. There is Mary. They all, of course, have their own halos. Then there are the shepherds looking on. The wise men are there too, usually in color-coordinated outfits.

The reality is that no one had halos. The wise men didn’t visit Jesus while He was lying in the manger. Matthew’s Gospel says they did not arrive until sometime later (as many as two years later). And the Bible doesn’t say there were three wise men; it says they brought three gifts.

Then there is the way we have romanticized Christmas with images of snowy countrysides and horse-drawn sleighs and frosty windows and red candles. Maybe we are missing its true message and its real beauty.

So let’s peel away the tradition. Let’s peel away the things that cause us not to see the birth of Jesus for what it really was. Learning this does not diminish its impact; it actually enhances its power. After all, this was the night that forever divided time, the night when God Himself came to this earth. It was the night when God stepped out of heaven and entered history.



Max Lucado – He Doesn’t Remember

Max Lucado

I was thanking the Father for His mercy. I began listing the sins He’d forgiven. “Remember the time I. . .”  I was about to thank Him for another act of mercy.  But then I stopped.  Something was wrong. The word “remember” seemed displaced, off-key. It was like a baseball game in December… It didn’t fit.  Does He remember?

Then I remembered His words in Isaiah 43:25, “I am He who blots out your transgressions, and I will not remember your sins.” Wow!  That’s a remarkable promise. God doesn’t just forgive, he forgets.  He destroys the evidence. He clears the hard drive. He doesn’t remember my mistakes.

He doesn’t remember! For all the things He does do, this is the one thing He refuses to do!

From God Came Near