Charles Stanley – Confidence That Empowers

Charles Stanley

Philippians 4:10-13

Our world emphatically proclaims the importance of self-esteem, which is a favorable impression of oneself. Surely, we are told, an individual who values himself highly will accomplish much. Yet Scripture tells us that true confidence flows, not from self, but from our identity in Christ.

In God’s Word, we learn that Paul experienced this appropriate assurance. He expressed certainty regarding the message and ministry God gave him (Rom. 1:16; Gal. 1:15-17). The apostle was also sure of eternal security in Jesus (Rom. 8:37-39). Today’s passage also shows that Paul stood firmly on his belief that He could do anything in God’s will because Jesus was living through him.

The Holy Spirit is the basis for our confidence—not positive thinking, right circumstances, or the ability to think highly of ourselves. Even in the midst of difficulty, we can live with boldness because the Spirit of the living God lives in us and enables us to follow Him.

Of course, we have a role too. The Spirit directs us and strengthens us, but we are responsible to listen, obey, and diligently follow His guidance each day. We can have assurance in an unstable world because almighty God provides everything we need to live triumphantly.

Are you facing situations that make you feel inadequate or insecure? Search the Bible for descriptions of the Lord’s character. Realize that our sovereign, almighty God—the Beginning and the End—lives inside of you through His Holy Spirit. Find your confidence in your Creator, Redeemer, and Friend.

 

 

 

Our Daily Bread — The Journey Begins

Our Daily Bread

2 Peter 1:5-11

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away. —2 Corinthians 5:17

Eighty-one years ago today a 9-year-old boy prayed to ask Jesus to be the Savior of his life. His mother wrote these words in a memory book: “Clair made a start today.”

Clair—my dad—has now walked with Christ for 8 decades. He marks the day when he made his decision to follow Christ as the beginning of his journey. Growing spiritually is a lifelong process—not a one-time event. So how does a new believer feed his faith and continue to grow? These are some things I observed in my dad’s life over the years.

He read the Scriptures regularly to increase his understanding of God and made prayer a daily part of his life (1 Chron. 16:11; 1 Thess. 5:17). Bible reading and prayer help us grow closer to God and withstand temptation (Ps. 119:11; Matt. 26:41; Eph. 6:11; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 1 Peter 2:2). The Holy Spirit began to develop the “fruit of the Spirit” in him as he surrendered his life in faith and obedience (Gal. 5:22-23). We display God’s love through our witness and service.

My dad’s spiritual journey continues and so does ours. What a privilege to have a relationship in which we can “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”! (2 Peter 3:18). —Cindy Hess Kasper

I want my heart to be in tune with God,

In every stage of life may it ring true;

I want my thoughts and words to honor Him,

To lift Him up in everything I do. —Hess

Salvation is the miracle of a moment; growth is the labor of a lifetime.

Bible in a year: Genesis 27-28; Matthew 8:18-34

 

Alistair Begg – The Redeemer’s Never-Ceasing Intercession

Alistair Begg

I have prayed for you.

Luke 22:32

 

How encouraging is the thought of the Redeemer’s never-ceasing intercession for us. When we pray, He pleads for us; and when we are not praying, He is advocating our cause, and by His supplications shielding us from unseen dangers. Notice the word of comfort addressed to Peter–“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but” 1–what? “But go and pray for yourself”?

That would be good advice, but it is not so written. Neither does He say, “But I will keep you watchful, and so you shall be preserved.” That would be a great blessing. No, it is, “But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail.” 2

We little know what we owe to our Savior’s prayers. When we reach the hilltops of heaven and look back upon all the way whereby the Lord our God has led us, how we shall praise Him who, before the eternal throne, undid the mischief that Satan was doing upon earth.

How we shall thank Him because He never held His peace but day and night pointed to the wounds upon His hands and carried our names upon His breastplate! Even before Satan had begun to tempt, Jesus had forestalled him and entered a plea in heaven. Mercy outruns malice. Consider, He does not say, “Satan hath desired to have you.” He checks Satan even in his very desire and nips it in the bud. He does not say, “But I have desired to pray for you.” No, but “I have prayed for you–I have done it already; I have gone to court and entered a counterplea even before an accusation is made.” O Jesus, what a comfort it is that You have pleaded our cause against our unseen enemies; You have unmasked their ambushes. Here is a matter for joy, gratitude, hope, and confidence.

1 Luke 22:31

2 Luke 22:32

 

 

Charles Spurgeon – The war of truth

CharlesSpurgeon

“And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand.” Exodus 17:9

Suggested Further Reading: 2 Timothy 2:1-7

There are many things that should make you valiant for God and for his truth. The first thing I will bring to your remembrance is the fact, that this warfare in which you are engaged is an hereditary warfare; it is not one which you began, but it is one which has been handed to you from the moment when the blood of Abel cried aloud for vengeance. Each martyr that has died has passed the blood-red flag to the next, and he in his turn has passed it on to another. Every confessor who has been nailed to the stake to burn, has lit his candle, and handed it to another, and said, “Take care of that!” And now here is the old “sword of the Lord and of Gideon.” Remember what hands have handled the hilt; remember what arms have wielded it; remember how often it has “pierced to the dividing asunder of the joints and marrow.” Will you disgrace it? There is the great banner: it has waved in many a breeze; long ere the flag of this our land was made, this flag of Christ was borne aloft. Will you stain it? Will you not hand it to your children, still unsullied, and say, “Go on, go on; we leave you the heritage of war; go on, and conquer. What your fathers did, do you again, still keep up the war, till time shall end.” I love my Bible because it is a Bible baptized with blood; I love it all the better, because it has the blood of Tyndale on it; I love it, because it has on it the blood of John Bradford, and Rowland Taylor, and Hooper; I love it, because it is stained with blood.

For meditation: The Christian faith does not change with the course of time; we are still to contend for the truth (Jude 3). The church today has no right to insult the memory of the martyrs by making friends with unbiblical teaching which they bravely opposed with their lives.

Sermon no. 112

11 January (1857)

 

John MacArthur – The Slavery That Frees

John MacArthur

God exalted Christ “and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fulness of Him who fills all in all” (Eph. 1:22-23).

Here Paul uses a graphic analogy to illustrate the relationship of Christ to the church: He is the head; believers are His body. Paul elaborates that we’re to hold “fast to the head [Christ], from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God” (Col. 2:19; cf. Eph. 4:15-16).

Just as the head controls the human body, so Christ governs His Body, the church (cf. 1 Cor. 12:12-31). By His Spirit and His Word He supplies all the resources the church needs to function to His glory. In that way He guarantees that His purposes will be fulfilled.

The church is in fact “the fulness of Him who fills all in all” (Eph. 1:23). The implication is that the incomprehensible, all-sufficient, all-powerful, and utterly supreme Christ is in a sense incomplete–not in His nature, but in the degree to which His glory is seen in the world.

A synonym for “fulness” is “complement.” The church was designed to complement Christ. He is the One who fills all in all”–the fullness of deity in bodily form (Col. 2:9) and the giver of truth and grace (John 1:16). Yet He chooses to reveal His glory in and through the church. Therefore, until the church is fully glorified, Christ will not be fully complemented.

Does your life complement Christ? Do you “adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect” (Titus 2:10)? Do you “let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16)? You have every spiritual resource to do so, so don’t let anything hold you back (Heb. 12:1-2)!

Suggestions for Prayer:

Read Psalm 139:23-24 and pray with David that God will search your heart and reveal any sin that might hinder you from complementing Christ today.

For Further Study:

Read 1 Corinthians 12:1-30

What spiritual gifts are mentioned in this passage?

How does Paul deal with the misconception that some gifts are more important than others (see vv. 14-30)?

As a member of Christ’s Body, you are gifted by the Spirit to minister to others. Are you doing so?

 

Joyce Meyer – Nevertheless

Joyce meyer

Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever. —Isaiah 9:1 NLT

I once read a book that was based entirely on the word nevertheless. It taught the reader to take every problem in his or her life, look at it honestly, and then say, “nevertheless,” and find some offsetting positive thing in the individual’s life that brought the problem into perspective.

It might sound something like this: “I have a lot of hard work to get accomplished in the next two weeks; nevertheless, after that my schedule is much more open, and I will be able to have some fun and get some extra rest.” All mothers get weary from time to time and might say, “My kids are driving me crazy; nevertheless, I’m so blessed to have these children in my life, and I know there are families who can’t have children at all.” A father who has to work two jobs to make ends meet might say, “I am so tired of working all the time; nevertheless, I am thankful that God has provided me with jobs.”

No matter who we are or what our challenge in life is, there is always a “nevertheless”—some positive thing we can look at or talk about that brings the rest of life into perspective. Why don’t you try it? The next time you are tempted to complain about your life in any way, go ahead and state your complaint, and then say, “nevertheless,” and find something positive about your life to offset the complaint.

Trust in Him: No matter what you are going through in life, you can trust God to be with you. Think about your current situation and find your “nevertheless.” Say it out loud to encourage yourself by finding the positive in every situation.

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Love Without Limit

dr_bright

“I have given them the glory You gave Me – the glorious unity of being one, as We are – I in them and You in Me, all being perfected into one – so that the world will know You sent Me and will understand that You love them as much as You love Me” (John 17:22,23).

One day, as I was reading this prayer of Jesus to God the Father, I leaped from my chair in excitement when I realized that God loves me as much as He loves His only begotten Son!

What is more, He loves us unconditionally. That means He loves us not because we are good, or worthy of His love, but simply because of who He is.

Of course, the miracle of it all is that when Jesus, who is the incarnation of God’s love, comes to live within us, that same supernatural love becomes operative within us, enabling us to love others supernaturally as well.

Agape (sacrificial, supernatural and unconditional love) is best described in the well-known and oft-quoted 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians:

“Love is very patient and kind, never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud, never haughty or selfish or rude. Love does not demand its own way. It is not irritable or touchy. It does not hold grudges and will hardly even notice when others do it wrong. It is never glad about injustice, but rejoices whenever truth wins out. If you love someone you will be loyal to him no matter what the cost. You will always believe in him, always expect the best of him, and always stand your ground in defending him.”

Bible Reading: John 17:15-21

Today’s Action Point: When things go wrong today – or any day – I will choose to remember that God loves me just as much as He loves His only begotten Son! And I will tell everyone who will listen about God’s supernatural love for them.

Presidential Prayer Team; C.P. – The Nitty-Gritty

ppt_seal01

“Where the rubber meets the road” is a phrase that means the most important point, the moment of truth, the nitty-gritty. The Word of God takes you to that place. Like the idiom that describes the point of contact between the tire and the pavement, the Bible reveals that point of contact where human nature meets God’s holiness and grace.

For the word of God is living and active…discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Hebrews 4:12

“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. 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.” (Hebrews 4:15-16) Jesus is that point of contact for believers. In His teachings you’ll find “where the rubber meets the road.” He explains that eternity trumps the temporal. Faith and grace wins out over the letter of the law. Mercy shines over judgment.

As you contemplate your life and this year’s goals, meditate in the Word…specifically the words of Jesus. Then pray that your country’s leaders and your fellow citizens will understand John 3:16 and how it presents the nitty-gritty for their lives.

Recommended Reading: I Corinthians 2:1-13

Greg Laurie – Strength in Troubled Times

greglaurie

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. —Matthew 24:35

Where will you turn in a time of crisis? When tragedy hits? When disaster strikes? Will it be your favorite magazine? The morning newspaper? The evening news? You will need something to give you strength and direction in your time of need — and you can’t find a better resource than the Word of God.

As one pastor said, “One gem from that ocean is worth all the pebbles of earthly streams.” Just a single pebble from the ocean of God’s Word can make all the difference when tragedy or hardship strikes. How many in their affliction have found comfort from the Scriptures?

Trusting in what God has said through the Bible can sustain us and give us direction and hope and comfort when we most need it. Inspirational platitudes or clever sayings don’t help — or at least, not for very long — but the Word of God does. It has been said that “he who rejects the Bible has nothing to live by. Neither does he have anything to die by.”

Ideas and philosophies go in and out of style with the passing of years, but the Word of God never goes out of style. It never goes out of date, unlike this morning’s news. The Word of God always will be relevant.

That is why C. S. Lewis said, “All that is not eternal is eternally out of date.”

I urge you to get a good foundation in this Book because it is only a matter of time until hardship strikes you. It happens in every life, without exception. But if you have a good foundation in the Word of God, then you will be ready for difficulty when it comes. Don’t wait until then to try and catch up.

Get that foundation now.