Charles Stanley – Effective Prayer

Charles Stanley

Mark 11:24-25

John 14:14 reads, “If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” People sometimes interpret this to mean that any request ending with the words “in Jesus’ name, amen” will automatically be fulfilled.

Yet basing our entire concept of prayer on one isolated verse could lead to a skewed perspective. It is also important to consider . . .

Our Fellowship with God. For the Lord to hear and answer prayers, we must first be saved from our sin through the blood of Jesus. Once we have trusted Christ as Savior, God will hear us only when we walk in righteousness before Him. As we saw yesterday, He understands our weakness and doesn’t expect perfection. But if we knowingly continue in sin and fail to repent, He will not listen.

Our Request. Some people think of the words “in Jesus’ name” as a magic charm, but nothing can force the Lord’s hand. This saying did originate from a good motive, though—the desire to request only what is consistent with Jesus’ character. We should pray in faith, believing that God is able and will do whatever is in His will. And we should readily submit our desires to Him.

Our Motive. The Lord won’t say yes to prayer that will hurt us or derail His purpose. When we bring supplications before Him, we must check our motive. Is our goal to glorify God and let others see Him in us? Or is our motive selfish, greedy, or impure?

Our heavenly Father tells us to pray. And He will answer when our hearts

are clean.

 

 

Our Daily Bread — All Spruced Up

Our Daily Bread

Jude 1:20-25

[Jesus] is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless. —Jude 1:24

Getting our children to look good for church was always a challenge. Ten minutes after arriving at church all spruced up, our little Matthew would look like he didn’t have parents. I’d see him running down the hall with his shirt half untucked, glasses cockeyed, shoes scuffed up, and cookie crumbs decorating his clothes. Left to himself, he was a mess.

I wonder if that is how we look sometimes. After Christ has clothed us in His righteousness, we tend to wander off and live in ways that make us look like we don’t belong to God. That’s why Jude’s promise that Jesus is “able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless” gives me hope (Jude 1:24).

How can we keep from looking like we don’t have a heavenly Father? As we become more yielded to His Spirit and His ways, He will keep us from stumbling. Think of how increasingly righteous our lives would become if we would take time in His Word to be cleansed with “the washing of water by the word” (Eph. 5:26).

What a blessing that Jesus promises to take our stumbling, disheveled lives and present us faultless to the Father! May we increasingly look like children of the King as we reflect His loving care and attention. —Joe Stowell

Lord, thank You for the blessing of being clothed

in Your beautiful righteousness and the promise

that You will keep me from stumbling and present

me faultless before Your Father and my God!

To reflect the presence of the Father, we must rely on the Son.

Bible in a year: Genesis 43-45; Matthew 12:24-50

 

Alistair Begg – Be Wise Unto Salvation

Alistair Begg

He interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.

Luke 24:27

The two disciples on the road to Emmaus had a most profitable journey. Their companion and teacher was the best of tutors, the interpreter one of a thousand, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. The Lord Jesus condescended to become a preacher of the Gospel, and He was not ashamed to exercise His calling before an audience of two persons. Neither does He now refuse to become the teacher of even one. Let us court the company of so excellent an Instructor, for till He is made unto us wisdom we shall never be wise unto salvation.

This unrivaled tutor used as His class-book the best of books. Although able to reveal fresh truth, He preferred to expound the old. He knew by His omniscience what was the most instructive way of teaching, and by turning at once to Moses and the prophets, He showed us that the surest road to wisdom is not speculation, reasoning, or reading human books, but meditation upon the Word of God. The readiest way to be spiritually rich in heavenly knowledge is to dig in this mine of diamonds, to gather pearls from this heavenly sea. When Jesus Himself sought to enrich others, He mined in the quarry of Holy Scripture.

The favored pair were led to consider the best of subjects, for Jesus spoke of Jesus and expounded the things concerning Himself. Here the diamond cut the diamond, and what could be more admirable? The Master of the House unlocked His own doors, conducted the guests to His table, and placed His own choice foods upon it. He who hid the treasure in the field Himself guided the searchers to it. Our Lord would naturally discourse upon the sweetest of topics, and He could find none sweeter than His own person and work. With an eye to these we should always search the Word. O for grace to study the Bible with Jesus as both our teacher and our lesson!

 

 

Charles Spurgeon – Confession of sin–a sermon with seven texts

CharlesSpurgeon

“I have sinned.” Exodus 9:27; Numbers 22:34; 1 Samuel 15:24; Joshua 7:20; Matthew 27:4; Job 7:20; Luke 15:18.

Suggested Further Reading: Psalm 51

Unless there be a true and hearty confession of our sins to God, we have no promise that we shall find mercy through the blood of the Redeemer. “Whoso confesseth (his sins) and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” But there is no promise in the Bible to the man who will not confess his sins. Yet, as upon every point of Scripture there is a liability of being deceived, so more especially in the matter of confession of sin. There are many who make a confession, and a confession before God, who notwithstanding receive no blessing, because their confession has not in it certain marks which are required by God to prove it genuine and sincere, and which demonstrate it to be the work of the Holy Spirit.

the hardened sinner–pharaoh. It is of no use for you to say, “I have sinned,” merely under the influence of terror, and then to forget it afterwards.

the double-minded man—balaam. It is idle and useless for you to say, “I have sinned,” unless you mean it from your heart.

the insincere man—saul. To say, “I have sinned,” in an unmeaning manner, is worse than worthless, for it is a mockery of God thus to confess with insincerity of heart.

the doubtful penitent—achan. The most we can say is, that we hope their souls are saved at last, but indeed we cannot tell.

the repentance of despair—judas. If you have such a repentance as that, it will be a warning to generations yet to come.

the repentance of the saint—job. This is the repentance of the man who is a child of God already, an acceptable repentance before God.

the blessed confession—the prodigal. Here is that which proves a man to be a regenerate character–“Father, I have sinned.”

For meditation: All have sinned. (Romans 3:23) “Thou art the man” (2 Samuel 12:7); but which one?

Sermon no. 113

18 January (1857)

John MacArthur – Proclaiming God’s Preeminence

John MacArthur

We were predestined “to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ should be to the praise of His glory” (Eph. 1:12).

Preeminence implies supreme standing, picturing one who excels over all others in a particular quality or achievement. There is no one more preeminent than God.

Ephesians 1:12 underscores that truth. You were redeemed and granted an eternal inheritance that God might be glorified. Certainly you benefit greatly from salvation, but God’s glory is the primary issue.

Our man-centered culture doesn’t share that perspective. Sadly, its self-seeking and self-glorifying mentality has crept into the church, and even the gospel itself has been subjected to its influence. For example sin is often defined by how it affects man, not how it dishonors God. Salvation is often presented as a means of receiving what Christ offers, not a mandate to obey what He commands. Many modern-day evangelists have reduced the gospel to little more than a formula by which people can live a happy and more fulfilling life. The focus has shifted from God’s glory to man’s benefit.

Such a convoluted gospel fuels the fire of self-love and self-exaltation.

As believers we know better than that. We know that the purpose of life is to glorify God. That means living to His glory is to govern everything we do.

What higher or more noble purpose could life afford? “Forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,” Paul said he pressed “on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13-14). Keep that goal clearly in mind in all you do today. By doing so your day will be to the praise of God’s glory!

Suggestions for Prayer:

Praise God for His preeminence in all things.

Pray for opportunities to speak of His preeminence to others, remembering that they will see Him in your actions as well as your words.

For Further Study:

Read Job 38:42:6

How did God convince Job of His surpassing knowledge and power?

What was Job’s response?

 

Joyce Meyer – God Is Pleased and Delighted with You

Joyce meyer

He brought me forth also into a large place; He was delivering me because He was pleased with me and delighted in me. —Psalm 18:19

You are so valuable to God! You’re worth celebrating and worth taking good care of. You are awesome and there are great possibilities ahead for your life. God has invested Himself in you and given you talents and abilities that equip you to do certain things. You are part of His amazing plan and purpose.

Have you ever taken time to think about what you think about yourself? God thinks you are special and He celebrates you all the time. He doesn’t mention your past sins, and He rejoices over you with singing (see Zephaniah 3:14, 17).

According to Scripture, King David, who wrote our verse for today, was far from perfect, but he believed God was pleased and with him. He made the same statement again in 2 Samuel 22:20. David really knew God’s pleasure and delight in him.

I hope you also know how pleased and delighted God is with you. Can you imagine walking around your house or driving around in your car singing, “God is pleased with me and He delights in me!” Many people would not have that kind of confidence, but we should. We should believe what God says in His Word about how He feels toward us. If you have the courage to begin speaking over yourself that God is pleased and delighted in you, you may feel embarrassed at first, but soon you will begin to walk in new levels of confidence, power, peace and joy.

God may not be pleased with all our behavior, but He is pleased with us if we love Him and want to make progress. When we make positive confessions like the ones I’m suggesting today, we are agreeing with God’s word.

Love Yourself Today: God is not mad at you and He loves you. He’s smiling over you and singing over you because He is pleased and delighted with you.

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – To Keep You From Sin

dr_bright

“How can a young man stay pure? By reading Your Word and following its rules. I have tried my best to find You – don’t let me wander off from Your instructions. I have thought much about Your words, and stored them in my heart so that they would hold me back from sin” (Psalm 119:9-11).

Carl, a Christian leader who had made a mess of his life, wept as he shared his defeat. “As a young Christian, “he said, “I was warned that God’s Word would keep me from sin, or sin would keep me from God’s Word.

“For many years,” he continued, “I studied and obeyed God’s Word faithfully. A few years ago I became very busy and took less and less time for God’s Word. So when temptation came, I had no strength to resist. Now my life and marriage have disintegrated and I am thinking of committing suicide.”

If you do not already have a daily practice of spending time alone with God – studying, reading, memorizing and meditating on His Word, and spending time with Him in prayer – I encourage you to do so, beginning today. The spiritual food of God’s Word is absolutely essential for victorious, supernatural living. Great benefit can be found in listening to recordings of the Old and New Testaments, sermons and Christian music on your cassette player, in your home and in your car as you travel.

Scientists and health nutritionists confirm that our physical well-being is largely determined by the food we eat. For example, many people cannot tolerate high quantities of refined foods, such as sugar, white flour and chocolate. When they eat such foods, they become seriously ill physically, mentally and emotionally. Some have even been known to develop criminal tendencies because of what is often diagnosed as hypoglycemia, caused by poor nutrition.

In like manner, our spiritual bodies are influenced by what we absorb from God’s Word and other scripturally based writings. It is impossible to be happy, healthy, strong, virile and fruitful for God without a regular intake from the Word of God.

Bible Reading: Philippians 4:8,9

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will determine, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to set aside time each day to read the Bible and pray and wait upon God for His leading and maturing in my life.

 

Presidential Prayer Team; C.P. – Listening Obedience

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In I Samuel 15, King Saul looked dedicated and pious, offering up sacrifices to the Lord – but his downfall was assured because of his disobedience. The prophet Samuel told him “to obey is better than sacrifice.” (I Samuel 15:22) In the next chapter, when Samuel anointed David as king, the prophet pointed out how “man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” (I Samuel 16:7)

If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.

Proverbs 28:9

Today’s verse in The Message soberly reads, “God has no use for the prayers of the people who won’t listen to him.” If you expect the Lord to hear you, you must hear Him. Prayer is talking to God, but it’s a two-way conversation. You must also listen to Him by reading and obeying His Word. And with the greatest commandment being to love God and love others, examine your love life to ensure your prayers don’t bounce back from the ceiling.

Think about the practical ways you can hear and obey the Lord, and put them into practice. Then with confidence, and in the name of Jesus, pray often for the nation’s leaders, troops and citizens.

Recommended Reading: Matthew 5:13-26

 

 

Greg Laurie – Lord of All

greglaurie

Whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.—Luke 14:33

It was George Bernard Shaw who said, “There are two sources of unhappiness in life. One is not getting what you want; the other is getting it.”

This statement reminds me of the account in Matthew 19 of the rich young ruler who came to Jesus seeking answers. Here was a man who, of all men, should have been content and fulfilled. He had great influence and affluence. Yet in spite of all his accomplishments, there was something missing in his life. He asked, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?”

Jesus told him, “If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” Jesus was not implying that by keeping the Ten Commandments, a person would be saved. Rather, Jesus held the Ten Commandments up as a mirror to show this man his sin.

The ruler replied, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?”

I think Jesus probably smiled at this. He saw what this man was really all about. So He took it up a notch and said, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

Jesus knew the problem with this young ruler was that possessions had possessed his soul. But Jesus just as easily could have said something completely different to someone else. What is really holding someone back from Christ and from further spiritual progress can vary from person to person.

We would do well to come before Jesus and ask, “Lord, is there anything in my life that is getting in the way of my relationship with You?”