Charles Stanley – From Rejection to Rejoicing

Charles Stanley

It all begins with understanding where we find true worth: in God, not other people

Rejection came my way early in life. Socially, I was a failure in elementary school. Day after day in the cafeteria, no one talked to me. When I finished my lunch, I would plug my ears and close my eyes to shut out the children who ignored me. And at recess, kids mocked my mismatched clothes, unkempt hair, and my “really religious” family. My poor interpersonal skills only made matters worse. By the time we returned to our classroom, my face was usually blotchy from crying. I felt terribly alone. Surely no one else knew such confusion, isolation and loneliness!

The years since have taught me differently. Most people have felt excluded at one time or another. Like me, some are written off for being unusual. Others are overlooked because they lack certain abilities, physical attractiveness or social skills. And believers are persecuted for trying to live out their faith in a hostile world.

How does God expect us to handle rejection? Is it possible to experience that pain and yet maintain our confidence and peace? I believe the answer is found in examining the life of Christ.

Even nonbelievers typically recognize the important role Jesus played in history. Yet to many of His contemporaries, He was just a carpenter’s son from the country town of Galilee. Like all young men from good Jewish families, Jesus had been schooled in the faith as a boy. However, He hadn’t been groomed to be a rabbi, so in human terms, He didn’t have the most prestigious religious education. Although some saw His miracles and declared Him a prophet, others dismissed Christ’s teachings as uneducated or heretical. Who was he—a man—to claim to be God?  they thought.

That didn’t stop Jesus from challenging the religious leaders and their man-made traditions. He cleverly disarmed their arguments against His teaching. Jesus attacked the profitable animal-selling business they had set up in the temple. He stood silently and peacefully while He was accused and sentenced to crucifixion.

Why was our Savior able to display such confidence and inner strength? I believe it’s because He never forgot who He was—God Himself. Jesus never forgot where He was headed—back to heaven. Our Lord never forgot whom He was aiming to please—His heavenly Father, not people here on earth.

But Jesus is more than a man; He’s one in essence with God Himself. Is it reasonable for us, as mere humans, to find our security in the Creator’s opinion of us as Christ did? Yes, although we will do so imperfectly. Our Helper, the Holy Spirit, can give us the power to look past the disapproval of man and see the affirmation of our heavenly Father. He teaches us to find our identity as children of God when others leave us feeling small and insignificant. The Spirit reminds us that in light of eternity, we are here for only a short time.

In the grand design of eternity, it won’t matter if people excluded us from their clique, disapproved of us, or mocked us for believing in an invisible God. What will matter is whether or not we lived obediently. When rejection feels more tangible than the affirmation of our loving, powerful God, we must choose to focus on what our Creator says about our worth.

The truth is, if you have accepted Christ’s death as payment for your sin and yielded your life to His leadership, you are fully accepted by God. You are 100 percent pleasing to Him. Even if people don’t seek your friendship, the Lord Himself awaits one-on-one time with you. Even if you remain single or your marriage grows stagnant, you are beloved by God. Even if no one else sees you as significant, He calls you part of “a royal priesthood. ” (See Rom. 10:9-10; Col. 1:22; 2 Thess. 2:13; Heb. 13:5; 1 Peter 2:9.)

In the years since elementary school, I’ve come a long way in knowing how to relate to people. Yet, I still get left out or overlooked occasionally. Even now, rejection can reduce me to tears, prompt me to question my self-worth and abilities, and hinder me from pursuing certain friendships.

But it also causes me to seek the face of the Lord with more fervor. Sooner or later, I remind myself that I am God’s precious daughter. When I draw near to Him, even in the midst of a busy day, I sense His comforting presence. Others may belittle or ignore me, but nothing that I do for the Lord goes unnoticed in heaven. No matter how unloved I may feel, my Savior never abandons me.

You, too, hold a special place in God’s heart. So don’t let rejection dictate how you feel about yourself. The Maker of the universe delights in you, His beloved child.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Daily Bread — Two Men

Our Daily Bread

John 11:30-37

He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. . . . Jesus wept. —John 11:33,35

Two men were killed in our city on the same day. The first, a police officer, was shot down while trying to help a family. The other was a homeless man who was shot while drinking with friends early that day.

The whole city grieved for the police officer. He was a fine young man who cared for others and was loved by the neighborhood he served. A few homeless people grieved for the friend they loved and lost.

I think the Lord grieved with them all.

When Jesus saw Mary and Martha and their friends weeping over the death of Lazarus, “He groaned in the spirit and was troubled” (John 11:33). He loved Lazarus and his sisters. Even though He knew that He would soon be raising Lazarus from the dead, He wept with them (v.35). Some Bible scholars think that part of Jesus’ weeping also may have been over death itself and the pain and sadness it causes in people’s hearts.

Loss is a part of life. But because Jesus is “the resurrection and the life” (v.25), those who believe in Him will one day experience an end of all death and sorrow. In the meantime, He weeps with us over our losses and asks us to “weep with those who weep” (Rom. 12:15). —Anne Cetas

Give me a heart sympathetic and tender;

Jesus, like Thine, Jesus, like Thine,

Touched by the needs that are surging around me,

And filled with compassion divine. —Anon.

Compassion helps to heal the hurts of others.

Bible in a year: Genesis 46-48; Matthew 13:1-30

Alistair Begg – Learn at the Feet of Jesus

Alistair Begg

Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.

Luke 24:45

He whom we viewed last evening as opening Scripture, we here perceive opening the understanding. In the first work He has many fellow-laborers, but in the second He stands alone; many can bring the Scriptures to the mind, but the Lord alone can prepare the mind to receive the Scriptures. Our Lord Jesus differs from all other teachers.

They reach the ear, but He instructs the heart; they deal with the outward letter, but He imparts an inward taste for the truth, by which we perceive its savor and spirit. The most unlearned of men become ripe scholars in the school of grace when the Lord Jesus by His Holy Spirit unfolds the mysteries of the kingdom to them and grants the divine anointing by which they are enabled to behold the invisible.

Happy are we if we have had our understandings cleared and strengthened by the Master! How many men of profound learning are ignorant of eternal things! They know the killing letter of revelation, but its killing spirit they cannot discern; they have a veil upon their hearts that the eyes of carnal reason cannot penetrate.

Such was our case a little time ago. We who now see were once utterly blind; truth was to us as beauty in the dark, a thing unnoticed and neglected. Had it not been for the love of Jesus we should have remained to this moment in utter ignorance, for without His gracious opening of our understanding, we could no more have attained to spiritual knowledge than an infant can climb the Pyramids or an ostrich fly up to the stars.

Jesus’ College is the only one in which God’s truth can be really learned; other schools may teach us what is to be believed, but Christ’s alone can show us how to believe it. Let us sit at the feet of Jesus and by earnest prayer call upon His blessed help, that our dull wits may grow brighter, and our feeble understandings may receive heavenly things.

 

 

 

Charles Spurgeon – The beatific vision

CharlesSpurgeon

“We shall see him as he is.” 1 John 3:2

Suggested Further Reading: 1 Peter 1:3-9

Not think about him, and dream about him; but we shall positively “see him as he is.” How different that sight of him will be from that which we have here. For here we see him by reflection. Now, I have told you before, we see Christ “through a glass darkly;” then we shall see him face to face. Good Doctor John Owen, in one of his books, explains this passage, “Here we see through a glass darkly;” and he says that means, “Here we look through a telescope, and we see Christ only darkly through it.” But the good man had forgotten that telescopes were not invented till hundreds of years after Paul wrote; so that Paul could not have intended telescopes. Others have tried to give other meanings to the word. The fact is, glass was never used to see through at that time. They used glass to see by, but not to see through. The only glass they had for seeing was a glass mirror. They had some glass which was no brighter than our black common bottle-glass. “Here we see through a glass darkly.” That means, by means of a mirror. As I have told you, Jesus is represented in the Bible; there is his portrait; we look on the Bible, and we see it. We see him “through a glass darkly.” Just as sometimes, when you are looking in your looking glass, you see somebody going along in the street. You do not see the person; you only see him reflected. Now, we see Christ reflected; but then we shall not see him in the looking-glass; we shall positively see his person. Not the reflected Christ, not Christ in the sanctuary, not the mere Christ shining out of the Bible, not Christ reflected from the sacred pulpit; but “we shall see him as he is.”

For meditation: The sight of Jesus will distress many (Revelation 1:7); are you positively looking forward to seeing him (John 12:21)?

Sermon nos. 61-62

19 January (Preached 20 January 1856)

 

John MacArthur – Embracing the Truth

John MacArthur

“In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation–having also believed” (Eph. 1:13).

After stating salvation from God’s perspective in verse 12, Paul here states it from man’s perspective. Faith in Christ is your response to God’s elective purpose in your life. Those two truths–God’s initiative and man’s response–co-exist throughout Scripture.

Paul rightly called the gospel “the message of truth” because truth is its predominant characteristic. Salvation was conceived by the God of truth (Ps. 31:5); purchased by the Son, who is the truth (John 14:6); and is applied by the Spirit of truth (John 16:13). To know it is to know the truth that sets men free (John 8:32). Believers are people of the truth (John 18:37), who worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24), and who obey the Word of truth (John 17:17).

Yet as profound and powerful as God’s truth is, people have rejected, neglected, redefined, and opposed it for centuries. Some, like Pilate, cynically deny that truth even exists or that it can be known by men (John 18:38). Others foolishly think that denying truth will somehow make it go away.

Perhaps you’ve heard someone say, “Jesus may be true for you but that doesn’t mean He has to be true for me.” That view assumes that belief somehow determines truth. But just the opposite is the case. Truth determines the validity of one’s belief. Believing a lie doesn’t make it true. Conversely, failing to believe the truth doesn’t make it a lie.

The gospel is true because Jesus is true, not simply because Christians believe in Him. His resurrection proved the truth of His claims and constitutes the objective basis of our faith (Rom. 1:4; 1 Pet. 1:3).

You enter this day armed with the message of truth and empowered by the Spirit of truth. Truth is your protection and strength (Eph. 6:14). Lost souls desperately need to hear that truth. Represent it well and proclaim it with boldness.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Thank the Lord that by His Spirit He has enabled you to understand His truth (1 Cor. 2:14-16).

Ask for wisdom and boldness to speak His truth in love (Eph. 4:15).

For Further Study:

Read 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 and Acts 17:30-31.

What key elements of the gospel does Paul list?

What is the relationship between Christ’s resurrection and God’s judgment on sinners?

 

 

Joyce Meyer – It’s Your Future

Joyce meyer

Therefore I always exercise and discipline myself [mortifying my body, deadening my carnal affections, bodily appetites, and worldly desires, endeavoring in all respects] to have a clear (unshaken, blameless) conscience, void of offense toward God and toward men. —Acts 24:16

The Roman poet Horace wrote: “Rule your mind or it will rule you.” The enemy wants your mind; he wants to control or influence as much of your thinking as possible, but you do not have to let him. The key to overcoming him is learning to discipline your thinking, and disciplining yourself to believe you are disciplined is the beginning. As my son once said, “Discipline is a discipline!”

Most people don’t get excited when the subject of discipline comes up. However, if you learn to understand the power, the liberty, the joy, and the victory discipline brings to your life, you will embrace it eagerly.

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – A New Life to Enjoy

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“The Ten Commandments were given so that all could see the extent of their failure to obey God’s laws. But the more we see our sinfulness, the more we see God’s abounding grace forgiving us. Before, sin ruled over all men and brought them to death, but now God’s kindness rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

“Well, then, shall we keep on sinning so that God can keep on showing us more and more kindness and forgiveness? Of course not! Should we keep on sinning when we don’t have to? For sin’s power over us was broken when we became Christians and were baptized to become a part of Jesus Christ; through His death the power of your sinful nature was shattered. Your old sin-loving nature was buried with Him by baptism when He died, and when God the Father, with glorious power, brought Him back to life again, you were given His wonderful new life to enjoy” (Romans 5:20-6:4).

“When I think upon God, my heart is so full of joy that the notes dance and leap, as it were, from my pen,” replied the great musician Haydn when asked why his church music was so cheerful. “And since God has given me a cheerful heart it will be pardoned me that I serve Him with a cheerful spirit.”

A careful reading of 1 John 2 helps us realize that we will not want to sin if we really are children of God, any more than a butterfly would want to crawl on the ground as it once did as a caterpillar. “Someone may say, ‘I am a Christian; I am on my way to heaven; I belong to Christ.’ But if he doesn’t do what Christ tells him to, he is a liar” (1 John 2:4).

“The person who has been born into God’s family does not make a practice of sinning, because now God’s life is in him; so he can’t keep on sinning, for this new life has been born into him and controls him – he has been born again” (1 John 3:9).

Bible Reading: Romans 5:15-19

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will thank God often throughout the day for the fact that I don’t have sin. He has made a way of escape. “For sin’s power over us was broken when we received Christ.” So, I will “resist the devil” and he will flee from me. Today I will enjoy my new life in Christ by demonstrating a joyful spirit.

 

Presidential Prayer Team; H.L.M. – View of God

ppt_seal01

Karl Marx, born in 1818, was educated in German universities and became editor of a Cologne newspaper. Marx denied the existence of God, believing that the individual is the highest form of being. He believed people make themselves successful by their own efforts and that society, composed of the common man, should rule and overthrow the reigning government by force. He and Fredrich Engels collaborated on their philosophical ideals that eventually formed the basis for communism. As a result, millions of people have been slaughtered in many countries.

Learn by us not to go beyond what is written.

I Corinthians 4:6

Everything in your life – your attitudes, motives, desires, actions and words – is influenced by your view of God. Nothing has greater priority than knowing your Heavenly Father accurately and recognizing that all physical and spiritual riches are from Him. Having this view of God eliminates the sin of pride, which can lead to corruption and great human tragedy.

Spend time each day this year learning more about the attributes of God. As you read the Bible, ask Him to reveal something about His character to you. Remember also to pray that your government leaders would humbly recognize their own frailty and personally seek to know God and His Word.

Recommended Reading: Psalm 33:13-22