Charles Stanley – Living Amidst False Teachers

Charles Stanley

Jude 1:17-19

We all know how dangerous incorrect teaching can be in our Christian walk. Today, we will be looking at ways to identify false teachers. This will help us be prepared for the things Satan might send our way.

First, false teachers are mockers. That is, they attack or attempt to discredit the Word of God or the church. When such a message is presented passionately and intelligently, even sincere people can get caught up in anti-church sentiment and find themselves doubting the truth of Scripture.

Second, false teachers will follow after their own lusts. For these people, the interpretation of Scripture becomes a matter of selective beliefs. They arrange their theology to justify their sinful habits and desires.

Third, false teachers are divisive. They try to come across as superior to their listeners by claiming an experience that elevates them to a “higher level,” or by professing a more advanced spirituality that others could never hope to achieve.

Fourth, false teachers are worldly-minded. They are not interested in the true teaching of God’s Word but are focused on what they can achieve, how many people will follow them, or how much they can earn through their teaching.

True Spirit-led teachers avoid these traps and recognize that two important keys are humility and unity with the listener (Phil. 2:1-4). And when receiving instruction, a wise believer will pray for the Holy Spirit’s discernment in order to distinguish truth from error (1:9-10).

 

 

 

 

Our Daily Bread — In Harmony

Our Daily Bread

1 Peter 4:7-11

As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. —1 Peter 4:10

I love playing the 5-string banjo. But it has one drawback. The fifth string will harmonize with only a limited number of simple chords. When other musicians want to play more complicated music, the banjoist has to adapt. He can lend marvelous melodic tones to a jam session only by making the right adjustments.

Just as musicians adjust with their instruments, we as believers also need to make adjustments with our spiritual gifts if we want to harmonize with others to serve God. For instance, those who have the gift of teaching must coordinate with those who have the gift of organizing meetings and with those who make sure meeting rooms are set up and cleaned. All of us have spiritual gifts, and we must work together if God’s work is to get done.

The apostle Peter said, “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10). Stewardship requires cooperation. Think about your spiritual gifts (Rom. 12; 1 Cor. 12; Eph. 4; 1 Peter 4). Now reflect on how you can dovetail their use with the gifts of other believers. When our talents are used in a complementary way, the result is harmony and glory to God. —Dennis Fisher

Without a note we sing in tune,

An anthem loud we bring,

When willingly we give our gifts

Of labor to our King. —Branon

Keeping in tune with Christ keeps harmony in the church.

Bible in a year: Exodus 1-3; Matthew 14:1-21

 

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Temporarily Able Bodied

Ravi Z

My friend Sylvia is a paraplegic. She has not been able to use her legs since she was a high school girl. A horrible accident took away her ability to walk or to run, and left her without any discernible feeling in the lower half of her body—her spine severed, the nerves do not receive the necessary information to register sensation or stimulation.

Prior to her accident, Sylvia was an aspiring athlete. Without the use of her legs, this aspiration would be put on hold, but not permanently. Though she is paralyzed in body, she is not paralyzed in spirit. And she eventually competed in several World Championships and in the Paralympic Games. Her determination to excel at world-class competitions, despite her injury, and her intention to live a full-life has been an immense inspiration to me.

Sylvia uses a term for people like me who have the use of our legs. We are “TAB’s”—Temporarily Able Bodied. Every day I wake up with a new ache or pain, or I see my stamina waning, I recognize the truth of her naming me a “TAB.” I truly am temporarily able bodied—at some point in my life, I will need assistance in many of my daily tasks.

Sylvia is not one to ask for help: she drives, works at least a 40 hour week and has traveled the world. She has mastered the art of navigating the world in a wheelchair. Yet, there are times when even this accomplished athlete needs some assistance. She is grateful for the technology that has developed excellent, lightweight wheelchairs. She is grateful for friends who can reach for the pan in the high cabinetry when we have gathered for home-cooked meals.  And she was grateful when we helped her out of the wheelchair and into the lake so she could swim one beautiful summer day not too many years ago. She welcomes the kind of assistance that develops her abilities in spite of her disability.

While I cannot begin to imagine what it must be like to be physically paralyzed like my friend Sylvia, I certainly understand the emotional, spiritual and psychological paralysis that results from trauma or duress. After suffering my own form of paralyzing accident, I experienced what I could only describe as a numbing paralysis. While my body functioned, my mind and heart were paralyzed. I could not create any momentum to move me past the questions that imprisoned me or the doubts that bound me. Initiative fled away, drive and determination left me. I was stuck and unable to move. All that had propelled me forward in the past stalled, stopped, and froze. I was, practically speaking, immobile.

I know that my emotional, psychological and spiritual paralysis doesn’t compare to my friend Sylvia’s being a paraplegic. But it did help me understand what it must feel like to lack the freedom to move and to have a sense of being able.

The gospels are filled with stories about paralytics. But the story that always gets my attention occurs in Mark’s gospel. Jesus was teaching in Capernaum in a house that was filled to capacity with listeners. There was not any more room for anyone, let alone a paralytic being carried on a cot by four friends. Yet the crowded house would not deter these determined friends. They were so determined to get their friend to Jesus that they got up onto the roof of the house, with their paralyzed friend, removed the portion of the roof above where Jesus was teaching, and lowered their friend down on his pallet.(1)

I’m not sure how the owners of the house felt when part of their roof was removed, but Jesus, the gospel tells us, saw their faith—faith that went to extraordinary lengths to bring their friend to him. As a result of their faith, Jesus declared that the paralytic’s sins were forgiven. To demonstrate his authority to forgive sins, Jesus then heals him and tells him to “rise, take up your pallet and go home.” And immediately, the paralytic jumps up (perhaps for the first time) and went out before everyone so that “they were all amazed and glorified God.”

In periods of paralysis, we are forced to depend on others, perhaps even relying on the faith, courage, and strength of those who see our abilities even through our disability. Something very beautiful and healing occurs when we allow others to offer us assistance. In my own paralysis, friends gathered around to help me. They did the things I could not do any longer. They said the prayers on my behalf; they believed on my behalf. When I slowly began to move again, they held my arms and steadied my legs. I came to experience a kind of healing because of the assistance and help of my friends. Their faith inspired movement in me towards the God who heals. Indeed, those who are willing to carry the cots of their paralyzed friends embody God’s healing love and care.

There will always be times in life that inhibit forward movement—or any movement at all. In those times, we trust that there will be others to help carry us and care for us.  And when we are moving along, perhaps with such momentum that we could miss those lying in cots along our path, may the same kind of care and determination to help others cause us to stop, pick them up, and carry them with faith to Jesus.

Margaret Manning is a member of the speaking and writing team at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Seattle, Washington.

(1) Mark 2:1-12

 

Alistair Begg – Weakness in Triumph

Alistair Begg

And he was very thirsty, and he called upon the Lord and said, ‘You have granted this great salvation by the hand of your servant, and shall I now die of thirst . . . ?’

Judges 15:18

Samson was thirsty and ready to die. The difficulty was totally different from any that the hero had met before. Merely to get thirst quenched is nothing like so great a matter as to be delivered from a thousand Philistines! But when the thirst was upon him, Samson felt that particular difficulty to be more weighty than the great past difficulty out of which he had so specially been delivered.

It is very usual for God’s people, when they have enjoyed a great deliverance, to find a little trouble too much for them. Samson slays a thousand Philistines and piles them up in heaps, and then faints for a little water! Jacob wrestles with God at Peniel and overcomes Omnipotence itself, and then goes “limping because of his hip!” 1 Strange that there must be a shrinking of the sinew whenever we win the day. As if the Lord must teach us our littleness, our nothingness, in order to keep us within bounds.

Samson boasted right loudly when he said, “I have slain a thousand men.” His boastful throat soon grew hoarse with thirst, and he betook himself to prayer. God has many ways of humbling His people.

Dear child of God, if after great mercy you are laid very low, your case is not an unusual one. When David had mounted the throne of Israel, he said, “I am this day weak, though anointed king.” You must expect to feel weakest when you are enjoying your greatest triumph. If God has wrought for you great deliverances in the past, your present difficulty is only like Samson’s thirst, and the Lord will not let you faint, nor allow your enemy to triumph over you. The road of sorrow is the road to heaven, but there are wells of refreshing water all along the route. So, tested and tired pilgrim, cheer your heart with Samson’s words, and rest assured that God will deliver you before long.

1 Genesis 32:31

Charles Spurgeon – The personality of the Holy Spirit

CharlesSpurgeon

“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever: Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him: for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” John 14:16,17

Suggested Further Reading: Acts 2:32-39

Observe here, that each person is spoken of as performing a separate office. “I will pray,” says the Son—that is intercession. “I will send,” says the Father—that is donation. “I will comfort,” says the Holy Spirit—that is supernatural influence. Oh! if it were possible for us to see the three persons of the Godhead, we should behold one of them standing before the throne with outstretched hands crying day and night, “O Lord, how long?” We should see one girt with Urim and Thummim, precious stones, on which are written the twelve names of the tribes of Israel; we should behold him crying unto his Father, “Forget not thy promises, forget not thy covenant;” we should hear him make mention of our sorrows, and tell forth our griefs on our behalf, for he is our intercessor. And if we could behold the Father, we should not see him a listless and idle spectator of the intercession of the Son, but we should see him with attentive ear listening to every word of Jesus, and granting every petition. Where is the Holy Spirit all the while? Is he lying idle? Oh, no; he is floating over the earth, and when he sees a weary soul, he says, “Come to Jesus, he will give you rest.” When he beholds an eye filled with tears, he wipes away the tears, and bids the mourner look for comfort on the cross. When he sees the tempest-tossed believer, he takes the helm of his soul and speaks the word of consolation; he helps the broken in heart, and binds up their wounds; and ever on his mission of mercy, he flies around the world, being everywhere present. Behold how the three persons work together.

For meditation: Salvation is all of God—the work is all done by him. And yet he grants to believers the privilege of being co-opted as his fellow-workers to advertise the gospel on his behalf (2 Corinthians 5:18-6: 1).

Sermon no. 4

21 January (1855)

 

John MacArthur – Reflecting God’s Ownership

John MacArthur

You were sealed with the Holy Spirit “with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory” (Eph. 1:14).

Yesterday we saw that God seals us with the Holy Spirit as a pledge of our eternal inheritance. Here Paul says He does so “with a view to the redemption of [His] own possession.” That refers to when God takes full possession of all that is rightfully His.

Everything is God’s by creation, but Satan has usurped God’s rulership to become the “god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4) in whose power the whole world currently lies (1 John 5:19). Consequently, all creation is in bondage to decay and “groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time” (Rom. 8:22, NIV). It eagerly awaits the time when the curse of Genesis 3 is reversed, all Christians are fully glorified, and sin is eternally vanquished. What a glorious time that will be!

You are God’s special possession because you are His by redemption as well as creation. In Revelation 5:9 the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders sing to the Lord, “Worthy art Thou . . . for Thou wast slain, and didst purchase for God with Thy blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.” In Acts 20:28 Paul charges the Ephesian elders to guard carefully “the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.”

That makes you a priceless commodity to God–part of “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God” (1 Pet. 2:9-10).

As God’s special possession, you should reflect His ownership and sovereign rule in everything you do. Remember, “you are not your own . . . for you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Cor. 6:19-20).

Suggestions for Prayer:

Thank God that you are His treasured possession.

Seek His Spirit’s leading in proclaiming His excellencies to others through your words and deeds.

Ask Him to teach you to esteem other believers as highly as He does.

For Further Study:

Read Ephesians 2:1-13, noting the spiritual privileges and responsibilities that are yours in Christ.

 

 

Joyce Meyer – Wait for the Lord

Joyce meyer

Keep the charge of the Lord your God, walk in His ways, keep His statutes, His commandments, His precepts, and His testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may do wisely and prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn. —1 Kings 2:3

When you pray, wait for the Lord. This means to look for, to expect, and to hope in God. This isn’t a passive state of mind, but one of expectancy.

Tell Him, “God, I have my hope in You. I believe that You are working on my problems. I believe that You are making arrangements for my day. You are posting angels all throughout my walk, everywhere along my path where You already know I am going to walk today. Thank you, Lord, that You are a pioneer who has already gone before me and made a way for me to have a blessed day.”

 

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Sure Road to Faith

 

dr_bright“So then, faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17, KJV).

Martin Luther said he studied his Bible in the same way he gathered apples. First, he shook the whole tree, that the ripest might fall; then he shook each limb, and when he had shaken each limb, he shook each branch, and after each branch, every twig; and then he looked under every leaf. He admonishes us:

“Search the Bible as a whole, shaking the whole tree. Read it rapidly, as you would any book. Then shake every limb – study book after book.

“Then shake every branch, giving attention to the chapters when they do not break the sense. Then shake each twig, by careful study of the paragraphs and sentences. And you will be rewarded if you will look under each leaf, by searching the meaning of the words.”

Seek to know the Lord with all your heart. While you may have no difficulty in worshiping the omnipotent God, you cannot really know God unless you study His Word. The one who spoke and caused the worlds to be framed is waiting to reveal Himself to you personally.

Faith is not given to those who are either undisciplined or disobedient. Faith is a gift of God which is given to those who trust and obey Him. As we master His Word and obey His commands, our faith continues to grow.

It is my strong conviction that it is impossible to ask God for too much if our hearts and motives are pure and if we pray according to the Word and will of God.

Every time you and I open and read God’s Word carefully, we are building up our storehouse of faith. When we memorize the Word, our faith is being increased. When we study or teach a Sunday school lesson, or hear a sermon faithfully expounding the Word, we are growing in faith.

Bible Reading: Hebrews 11:1-6

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will read, study, memorize and meditate upon God’s Word daily, knowing that in the process my faith will grow, for “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”

 

Presidential Prayer Team; G.C. – Start With Gusto!

ppt_seal01

What if you were as enthusiastic about something, anything, as Julia Child was about French cooking? Fifty years after she wrote her first cookbook, the world still feels the impact. While many disagree with how Julia used her influence, it’s indisputable that her unbridled passion for the art of cooking captured a global audience.

His delight is in the law of the Lord.

Psalm 1:2

The Bible talks about delighting in the law of the Lord. This might seem to be an unlikely pairing: delight and law. What the writer of Psalms is alluding to is the very thing Julia possessed – enthusiasm. She didn’t try to be cool and ironic. No…she was so thrilled to tell you how to cook, she’d inadvertently sling a raw chicken leg across the cabinet in excitement.

How passionate are you about God’s Word and the work He is doing today? Do you still believe His law is love and His passion is peace for all who believe in Him? Start this year off with gusto. Don’t get lost in the lies of unbelief. Delight yourself in the law of the Lord, and put His passion into practice. Then pray for more of your nation’s leaders to discover God and become enthusiastic about Him!

Recommended Reading: Psalm 84:1-7  Click to Read or Listen

 

 

Greg Laurie – Thankful in Everything

greglaurie

Powered by His Spirit

In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. — 1 Thessalonians 5:18

In her remarkable book The Hiding Place, Corrie ten Boom relates an amazing story about the importance of being thankful. Corrie and her sister Betsie were held in a concentration camp known as Ravensbück, where they lived in barracks that were plagued with fleas. Fleas were everywhere — in their hair and on their bodies. One day Betsie told Corrie they needed to give thanks for the fleas.

Corrie thought Betsie had gone too far. She couldn’t imagine thanking God for fleas. But Betsie insisted, reminding her sister that the Bible said, “In everything give thanks.” Still, Corrie didn’t want to thank God for the fleas. But as it turned out, Corrie and Betsie

were trying to reach the other women in their barracks with the message of the gospel, and they had been holding Bible studies. They found out later that because of the fleas, the guards would not go into those barracks, and therefore, the women were able to have their Bible studies. As a result, they had the freedom to minister to numerous women. So God can even use fleas.

If the Bible said, “In some things give thanks,” I would say, “No problem there!”

But it says, “In everything give thanks.” And that is not an easy thing to do.

This verse doesn’t say we should give thanks for everything as much it says in everything. There are some things that happen, and I am not glad they happened. But I am glad that, in spite of the tragedies, God is still on the throne, and He is still in control of all circumstances that surround my life.

 

 

Max Lucado – Blessed are the Merciful

Max Lucado

Could someone actually be forgiven a debt of millions and be unable to forgive a debt of hundreds? Could a person be set free and then imprison another? You don’t have to be a theologian to answer those questions; just look in the mirror.

Who among us hasn’t begged God for mercy on Sunday and then demanded justice on Monday? Is there anyone who doesn’t, at one time or another, show contempt for the riches of God’s kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?

Look into the face of the One who forgave you.  Who wept when you pleaded for mercy.  Look into the face of the Father who gave you grace when no one else gave you a chance. “Blessed are the merciful,” Jesus said (Matthew 5:7). Why? “Because they will be shown mercy.”

You see, forgiving others allows us to see how God has forgiven us!

From The Applause of Heaven