Charles Stanley – When Fear Grips Us

Charles Stanley

Isaiah 41:10

All throughout the Scriptures, the Lord encourages us not to be afraid or anxious. As His children, we have no basis for fear. Of course, there are reasons for us to be extremely cautious about what we do and where we go, but God’s people are not to live in a state of anxiety.

If you think about it, you can identify at least six anxieties that are basic to all mankind. They are the fear of criticism, illness, old age, death, poverty, and losing a loved one. Although these are universal worries, they are in reality symptoms of something deep inside that feeds our fears.

Some of the root causes are:

A basic sense of inadequacy. Because of distorted thinking, we frequently feel incompetent to tackle certain challenges or tasks that should be possible for us to accomplish.

The tendency to set unrealistic standards for ourselves. We can go through life trying to measure up to lofty expectations that are self-imposed rather than goals set by God.

An innate sense of unworthiness. It’s amazing how many people will not succeed in life because they just don’t feel they deserve it.

In the midst of our fears and anxieties, we need to remember God’s promise in today’s passage. He reassures us, “Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” It is important that we look up at Him and not around at our circumstances.

 

Our Daily Bread — Precious In God’s Eyes

Our Daily Bread

Psalm 116

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints. —Psalm 116:15

In response to the news that a mutual friend of ours had died, a wise brother who knew the Lord sent me these words, “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints” (Ps. 116:15). Our friend’s vibrant faith in Jesus Christ was the dominant characteristic of his life, and we knew he was home with God in heaven. His family had that assurance as well, but I had been focused only on their sorrow. And it’s appropriate to consider others during their grief and loss.

But the verse from Psalms turned my thoughts to how the Lord saw the passing of our friend. Something “precious” is something of great value. Yet, there is a larger meaning here. There is something in the death of a saint that transcends our grief over their absence.

“Precious (important and no light matter) in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints (His loving ones)” (The Amplified Bible). Another paraphrase says, “His loved ones are very precious to him and he does not lightly let them die” (The Living Bible). God is not flippant toward death. The marvel of His grace and power is that, as believers, our loss of life on earth also brings great gain.

Today we have only a glimpse. One day we’ll understand it in the fullness of His light. —David McCasland

So when my last breath

Shall rend the veil in twain

By death I shall escape from death

And life eternal gain. —Montgomery

Faith builds a bridge across the gulf of death.

Bible in a year: Exodus 23-24; Matthew 20:1-16

 

 

Alistair Begg – Our Inheritance Through Christ

Alistair Begg

Ephesians 1:11

When Jesus gave Himself for us, He gave us all the rights and privileges that went with Himself; so now, although as eternal God He has essential rights to which no creature may venture to pretend, yet as Jesus, the Mediator, the federal Head of the covenant of grace, He has no heritage apart from us. All the glorious consequences of His obedience unto death are the joint riches of all who are in Him, and on whose behalf He accomplished the divine will.

See, He enters into glory, but not for Himself alone, for it is written, “Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf.”1 Does He stand in the presence of God? Christ appears “in the presence of God on our behalf.”2 Consider this, believer: You have no right to heaven in yourself; your right lies in Christ.

If you are pardoned, it is through His blood; if you are justified, it is through His righteousness; if you are sanctified, it is because He is made of God unto you sanctification; if you shall be kept from falling, it will be because you are preserved in Christ Jesus; and if you are perfected at the last, it will be because you are complete in Him. Thus Jesus is magnified–for all is in Him and by Him; thus the inheritance is made certain to us–for it is obtained in Him; thus each blessing is the sweeter, and even heaven itself the brighter, because it is Jesus our Beloved in whom we have obtained all.

Where is the man who shall estimate our divine portion? Weigh the riches of Christ in scales and His treasure in balances, and then think to count the treasures that belong to the saints. Reach the bottom of Christ’s sea of joy, and then hope to understand the bliss that God has prepared for them that love Him. Overleap the boundaries of Christ’s possessions, and then dream of a limit to the fair inheritance of the elect. “All are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.”3

1 – Hebrews 6:20

2 – Hebrews 9:24

3 – 1 Corinthians 3:22-23

Charles Spurgeon – The shameful sufferer

CharlesSpurgeon

“Who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2

Suggested Further Reading: Luke 9:18-22, 51-53

You have an enemy who all his life long has been your enemy. His father was your enemy, and he is your enemy too. There is never a day passes but you try to win his friendship; but he spits upon your kindness, and curses your name. He does injury to your friends, and there is not a stone he leaves unturned to do you damage. As you are going home to-day, you see a house on fire; the flames are raging, and the smoke is ascending up in one black column to heaven. Crowds gather in the street, and you are told there is a man in the upper chamber who must be burnt to death. No one can save him. You say, “Why that is my enemy’s house;” and you see him at the window. It is your own enemy—the very man; he is about to be burnt. Full of lovingkindness, you say, “I will save that man if I can.” He sees you approach the house; he puts his head from the window and curses you. “An everlasting blast upon you!” he says; “I would rather perish than that you should save me.” Do you imagine yourself, then, dashing through the smoke, and climbing the blazing staircase to save him; and can you conceive that when you get near him he struggles with you, and tries to roll you in the flames? Can you conceive your love to be so potent, that you can perish in the flames rather than leave him to be burned? You say, “I could not do it; it is above flesh and blood to do it.” But Jesus did it. We hated him, we despised him, and, when he came to save us, we rejected him. When his Holy Spirit comes into our hearts to strive with us, we resist him; but he will save us; nay, he himself braved the fire that he might snatch us as brands from eternal burning.

For meditation: The wonderful determination of Christ and his insistence on carrying out his Father’s will despite all the attempts to distract him (Matthew 16:21-23; 26:51-54; Luke 13:31-33).

Sermon no. 236

30 January (1859)

 

 

John MacArthur – Serving the Supreme One

John MacArthur

God exalted Christ “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet” (Eph. 1:21-22).

Yesterday we saw that Christ has both an exalted name and an exalted, authoritative position. In verses 21-22 Paul elaborates on the extent of Christ’s authority, which is “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion.”

“Rule,” “authority,” “power,” and “dominion” are designations for angelic beings, whether good or evil (cf. Eph. 6:12; Col. 1:16). In His incarnation Christ was made lower in rank than the angels that He might suffer death on our behalf (Heb. 2:9). Now He has “become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they” (Heb. 1:4), and the Father commands all the angels to worship the Son (v. 6).

But Christ’s rule extends far beyond angelic beings. In Ephesians 1:21 the phrase “every name that is named” is a general reference to any form of authority–whether angelic or human, eternal or temporal. Now and forever Christ is the Supreme One! Ultimately every knee will bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord (Phil. 2:10-11).

The implications of that truth are staggering. For example Christ precedes the Great Commission of Matthew 28:19-20, the heart of Christian evangelism and discipleship, with this significant statement: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.”

Ultimately your evangelism and discipleship efforts will bear fruit because they are backed by the authority of Christ Himself. Does that encourage you to seize every opportunity to share Christ and His Word with others? It should!

Be faithful today, realizing that you represent the One in whom lies all authority. Nothing can thwart His purposes.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Ask the Holy Spirit to direct you to a lost soul or anyone else you can encourage from the Word. Be sensitive to His leading.

For Further Study:

Read Colossians 1:15-23

What was Christ’s role in creation (vv. 15-17)?

What is His role in the church (v. 18)? In salvation (v. 23)?

What place have you given Him in your life?

 

 

Joyce Meyer – Prepare to Love Others

Joyce meyer

The night is far gone and the day is almost here. Let us then drop (fling away) the works and deeds of darkness and put on the [ full] armor of light. —Romans 13:12

Before your feet touch the floor in the morning, put on the full armor of God with which you can quench all the fiery darts of the enemy (See Ephesians 6:13–17). Put on the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, and the readiness of the gospel of peace.

Don’t let the devil steal your peace in the morning. Start talking to God before you even get out of bed. Tell Him, “I love You, Lord, and I need Your help today. Please strengthen me to walk in the fruit of the Spirit. Help me walk in love all day long. Help me to keep my thoughts on You, Lord.”

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – He Knew His Future

dr_bright

“Jesus answered and said unto them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up'” (John 2:19, KJV).

A missionary in Turkey sought to teach the truth of the resurrection of Christ to a group of people.

“I am traveling, and I have reached a place where the road branches off in two ways,” he said. “I look for a guide, and find two men – one dead, and the other alive. Which of the two must I ask for direction – the dead or the living?”

“Oh, the living!” cried the people.

“Then,” said the missionary, “why send me to Mohammed, who is dead, instead of to Christ, who is alive?”

Jesus is the only person who has ever accurately predicted his own resurrection. He said He would be raised from the dead on the third day after dying on the cross for our sins, and He was!

Further, He was seen on many different occasions after His resurrection – once by as many as 500 people. He still lives today in the hearts of all who have placed their faith in Him, demonstrating His life of love and forgiveness through them.

Whenever men meet the living Christ, they are changed. The whole course of history has been changed because of Him.

“The gospel not only converts the individual, but it also changes society,” historian Philip Schaff wrote. “Everywhere the gospel has been preached, dramatic change has resulted. It has established standards of hygiene and purity, promoted industry, elevated womanhood, restrained antisocial customs, abolished human sacrifices, organized famine relief, checked tribal wars and changed the social structure of society.

“Born in a manger and crucified as a malefactor, He now controls the destinies of the civilized world and rules a spiritual empire which embraces one-third of the inhabitants of the globe.”

Bible Reading: John 2:20-25

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will reflect often today on the fact that the risen Christ of history is the same loving Savior who now lives within me, offering me His love, His peace, His comfort, His wisdom, His strength. I will claim by faith His resurrection life to enable me to live supernaturally each moment of every day.

 

Presidential Prayer Team; J.R. – Authentic Living

ppt_seal01

One veteran televangelist promises healing if you just place your hand on the television screen. Another says the Lord revealed a miracle involving the numbers two, seven and three…and therefore you must send him $273 in the next eight minutes to receive a financial windfall. Others guarantee your “seed” offering will produce double or triple favor from God. When you add it all up, it comes to $34 billion annually in religious financial fraud, according to research from the International Bulletin of Missionary Research. That’s more than is given to Christians to support global missions.

We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word.

II Corinthians 4:2

Sadly, the many slick-suited charlatans who “tamper” with God’s Word turn off many by falsely preaching that financial prosperity and boundless good health are always just a donation away. But if you want your loved ones, friends and co-workers to know Christ, you must be humble, guileless and an example of unimpeachable integrity.

God is looking for authenticity, and Americans are, too. And it’s not too late or too hopeless to pray for your nation’s leaders! May they fulfill the hope of President John Adams, who wrote: “May none but honest and wise men ever rule.”

Recommended Reading: Colossians 3:12-17

Greg Laurie – Promises . . . with a Prerequisite

greglaurie

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

—Psalm 91:1

Without question, Psalm 91 is a real gem among the psalms. Next to Psalm 23, it probably has brought more encouragement and comfort throughout the centuries than any other psalm.

But it’s worth noting that the blessings promised in Psalm 91 aren’t for just anyone. They are specifically given to believers — and not just to believers in general. These benefits are targeted toward believers who specifically meet the requirements found within the psalm. Psalm 91 is full of what we call conditional promises. In other words, God promises to do certain things for us, hinging on our doing certain things that are required.

There’s still time to sign up for the spring trip to Israel with Pastor Greg happening April 28–May 10. »

 

Verse 1 begins, “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High . . .” The word dwells could be translated as “quiet and resting, enduring and remaining with consistency.” It is very similar to the word abide, which we see often in the New Testament. Jesus said, “He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit” (John 15:5). That word abide means “to stay in a given place, to maintain unbroken fellowship and communion with another.”

Here’s what God is saying: If you want to experience the promises of Psalm 91 — My protection, My provision, and My blessing — you must dwell in the secret place of the Most High. You must remain in constant fellowship with Me.”

We have relationship with God because we have put our faith in Jesus Christ and have turned from our sin. But are we living in constant fellowship with God? Many believers aren’t.

God is interested in a relationship with you — not just on Sundays, but throughout the week. He wants you to dwell in the secret place of the Most High.

 

Max Lucado – His Idea, His Home

Max Lucado

Would that I could make everything new—but I can’t. But God can. “He restores my soul,” wrote the shepherd (Psalm 23:3). He doesn’t camouflage the old, he restores the new. The Master Builder will pull out the original plan and restore it. The vigor, the energy, the hope. He will restore the soul.

When you see how this world grows stooped and weary, and then read of a home where everything’s made new, doesn’t it make you want to go home? Would you really rather have a few possessions on earth than eternal possessions in heaven? Would you honestly give up all of your heavenly mansions for a second-rate sleazy motel on earth?

“Great,” Jesus said, “is your reward in heaven” (Matthew 5:12). He must have smiled when he said that. His eyes must have danced, and his hand must have pointed skyward. He should know. It was his idea. It was his home.

From The Applause of Heaven