Charles Stanley – Humility in the Life of a Believer

Charles Stanley

Philippians 2:1-11

Jesus lived His earthly days with a humble spirit, and He taught that we should demonstrate humility as well. In God’s eyes, those who become like little children are honored (Matt. 18:4); the one who wants to be first must take last place (Mark 9:35); and servanthood is a mark of prominence (Matt. 23:11). With His teachings, our Savior turned the world’s definition of greatness upside down. In heaven, meekness is an attribute of honor.

Humility doesn’t automatically come to individuals who have few material belongings or to those who give their possessions away. The rich can be unassuming people, just as the poor can be proud. Success does not have to lead to pride, nor does defeat automatically mean humbleness. What determines humility is attitude. Jesus promises that those who humble themselves will be exalted by their heavenly Father. However, He warns that those who put themselves first will find that God opposes them (James 4:6).

As we recognize that we can do nothing of value apart from the Lord, we will have started on the road to meekness. When we lay down all our plans and instead accept God’s, we will be leaving our pride behind. If we are misunderstood or treated unfairly but stay where we are until the Lord tells us to speak or move, then we will have begun to live the humble life that pleases our Savior.

Jesus offers to be our Master Teacher so we might learn the godly lessons of humility. Will you let Him serve you in this way?

 

Our Daily Bread — Big Spring

Our Daily Bread

John 4:7-14

The water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. —John 4:14

In Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is a remarkable natural wonder—a pool about 40 feet deep and 300 feet across that Native Americans called “Kitch-iti-kipi,” or “the big cold water.” Today it is known as The Big Spring. It is fed by underground springs that push more than 10,000 gallons of water a minute through the rocks below and up to the surface. Additionally, the water keeps a constant temperature of 45 degrees Fahrenheit, meaning that even in the brutally cold winters of the Upper Peninsula the pool never freezes. Tourists can enjoy viewing the waters of Big Spring during any season of the year.

When Jesus encountered a woman at Jacob’s well, He talked to her about another source of water that would always satisfy. But He did not speak of a fountain, spring, river, or lake. He said, “Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14).

Far greater than any natural spring is the refreshment we have been offered in Christ Himself. We can be satisfied, for Jesus alone, the Water of Life, can quench our thirst. Praise God, for Jesus is the source that never runs dry. —Bill Crowder

Father, it seems that I drink far too often from the

waters of the world that cannot satisfy. Forgive me, and

teach me to find in Christ the water than can quench

the thirst of my heart and draw me ever closer to You.

The only real thirst-quencher is Jesus— the living water.

Bible in a year: Numbers 20-22; Mark 7:1-13

Insight

Having conquered the northern kingdom of Israel, the Assyrians adopted a policy of racial assimilation. They brought in other peoples, who intermarried with the Israelites. The new race, the Samaritans, followed Judaism, although not fully (2 Kings 17:22-33). Because of this corruption (vv.20,22), the Jews despised them (Luke 9:52-54; John 4:9). A Jew traveling from Judea (in the south) to Galilee (in the north) typically avoided Samaria, which was sandwiched between the two regions. Jesus chose to go through Samaria to seek out a woman who needed Him (John 4:3-5,10-15).

 

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Speechless

Ravi Z

There are certain junctures in life when my pen stops moving, and my tangled thoughts seem to only find at their disposure fair-weathered words and deficient clichés. Trying to write a note of condolence, sending a thought of encouragement—sometimes even signing a birthday card—can stop me in my tracks. Looking for words in the midst of death and grief, or life and its best intensity, I often come up empty. Anything I might be able to scrape from my mind seems unbearably inadequate.

Nonetheless, I recognize that it is undoubtedly worse when during such times the words come easily. How do you, without difficulty, tell someone in the dregs of chemotherapy that you are sorry for them? How do you tell someone struggling with addiction to trust that things will work out, that goodness or grace, God or a higher power is with them? How do you offer anything to someone on the brink of death? How do you begin to put into words any sort of comfort that must be bigger than the sorrow—or even the abundance of life—your eyes can see? There are some words that just require our laboring over them, some truths that are too weighty to be tossed lightly into the laps of friend or enemy.

Yet, we do not always labor. Even Christians toss God’s wisdom as if it were something we could hold onto in the first place. I imagine, like Jesus among the Pharisees, God works to undo my well-worded mottos. I don’t understand the truth of incarnation just because I can quote John 3:16. And I can’t explain away the reality that life is hard or death is painful because I believe in the premise of resurrection. Whether our truth-tossing arises out of good intention or pride, Christ is always far more real than this. God will not allow ideas to remain as worthless idols—though shining or polished or well-meaning they are. Christ is more available than cliché, belief, or proverb. He is the living one our creeds will continue to speak of long after we live no more.

When the apostle Paul wrote that nothing can remove the love of Christ—neither “trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword”—he was referring to struggles that were dangerously real to him and the people to whom he was writing. He is insistent that God’s love is more enduring than famine or suffering or injustice. It is stronger than death, as unyielding as the grave. How do you put this in to words without trembling? How do we explain the crucifixion without falling to our knees in shock, in wonder, in speechless gratitude?

Stumbling over words to describe the hope we profess, we can be broken again by the mystery of it all and even our misplacing of it. We can be stopped by our loss of its realness, our overlooking of the immensity of Christ and the immovability of his love. Christ has died; Christ has risen; Christ is coming again. In the silence of our tangled thoughts, the one behind the creeds calls to us over and above the words.

Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

 

Alistair Begg – God’s Infinite Mercies

Alistair Begg

1 Kings 17:16

Consider the faithfulness of divine love. It is clear that this woman had daily necessities. She had to feed her son and herself in a time of famine; and now, in addition, the prophet Elijah was also to be fed. But though the need was threefold, the supply was not spent, for it was constant. Each day she made withdrawals from the jar, but each day it remained the same.

You, dear reader, have daily necessities, and because they come so frequently, you are apt to fear that the jar of flour will one day be empty, and the jug of oil will fail you. Rest assured that, according to the Word of God, this shall not be the case. Each day, though it bring its trouble, it shall also bring its help; and though you should live longer than Methuselah, and your needs should be as many as the sands of the seashore, yet God’s grace and mercy will last through all your necessities, and you will never know a real lack.

For three long years, in this widow’s days, the heavens never saw a cloud, and the stars never wept a holy tear of dew upon the wicked earth: famine and desolation and death made the land a howling wilderness, but this woman was never hungry but always joyful in abundance. So it will be with you. You will see the sinner’s hope perish, for he trusts in himself; you will see the proud Pharisee’s confidence crumble, for he builds his hope upon the sand; you will even see your own plans blown apart, but you will discover that your daily needs are amply supplied. Better to have God for your guardian than the Bank of England for your possession. You might spend the wealth of the nations, but you can never exhaust the infinite mercies of God.

The family reading plan for February 28, 2014 Job 29 | 1 Corinthians 15

 

 

Charles Spurgeon – Particular redemption

CharlesSpurgeon

“Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28

Suggested Further Reading: Matthew 27:45-54

See the Saviour’s limbs, how they quiver! Every bone has been put out of joint by the dashing of the cross into that socket! How he weeps! How he sighs! How he sobs! Indeed, how at last he shrieks in agony, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” O sun, no wonder thou didst shut thine eye, and look no longer upon a deed so cruel! O rocks! no wonder that ye did melt and rend your hearts with sympathy, when your Creator died! Never man suffered as this man suffered. Even death itself relented, and many of those who had been in their graves arose and came into the city. This however, is but the outward. Believe me, brethren, the inward was far worse. What our Saviour suffered in his body was nothing, compared with what he endured in his soul. You cannot guess, and I cannot help you to guess, what he endured within. Suppose for one moment—to repeat a sentence I have often used—suppose a man who has passed into hell—suppose his eternal torment could all be brought into one hour; and then suppose it could be multiplied by the number of the saved, which is a number past all human enumeration. Can you now think what a vast aggregate of misery there would have been in the sufferings of God’s people, if they had been punished through all eternity? And recollect that Christ had to suffer an equivalent for all the hells of all his redeemed. I can never express that thought better than by using those oft-repeated words: it seemed as if hell was put into his cup; he seized it, and, “At one tremendous draught of love, he drank damnation dry.” So that there was nothing left of all the pangs and miseries of hell for his people ever to endure.

For meditation: The secret things of the sufferings of Christ belong to the Lord our God (Deuteronomy 29:29)—we could never begin to take them in. But God has given us a glimpse behind the scenes—meditate on the alternate torment and trust recorded in Psalm 22:1-21.

Sermon no. 181

28 February (1858)

 

John MacArthur – Acknowledging the Ultimate Source of Everything

John MacArthur

“Joyously giving thanks to the Father” (Col. 1:11- 12).

The inseparable link between joy and thanksgiving was a common theme for Paul. In Philippians 4:4-6 he says, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! . . . Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” He told the Thessalonians to “rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:16- 18).

As often as Paul expressed thanks and encouraged others to express theirs, he was careful never to attribute to men the thanks due to God alone. For example in Romans 1:8 he says, “I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world.” He thanked God, not the Roman believers, because he knew that faith is a gift from God.

That doesn’t mean you can’t thank others for the kindnesses they show, but in doing so you must understand that they are instruments of God’s grace.

Thanking Him shows humility and acknowledges His rightful place as the Sovereign Lord and the giver of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17). Those who reject His lordship and refuse to give Him thanks incur His wrath (Rom. 1:21).

Only those who love Christ can truly give thanks because He is the channel through which thanks is expressed to the Father. As Paul says in Colossians 3:17, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” Hebrews 13:15 adds, “Through [Christ] then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.”

As one who is privileged to know the God of all grace, be generous in your praise and thanksgiving today. See everything as a gift from His hand for your joy and edification.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Recite Psalm 136 as a prayer of praise to God.

For Further Study:

From Psalm 136 list the things that prompted the psalmist’s thanksgiving. How can that psalm serve as a model for your own praise?

 

 

Joyce Meyer – Just how much proof of God’s love and abiding presence will you need before you start acting like that’s true?

Joyce meyer

He said, Come! So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water, and he came toward Jesus. But when he perceived and felt the strong wind, he was frightened, and as he began to sink, he cried out, Lord, save me [from death]! Instantly Jesus reached out His hand and caught and held him, saying to him, O you of little faith, why did you doubt? And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat knelt and worshiped Him, saying, Truly You are the Son of God!—Matthew 14:29–33

Let’s take a closer look at this story. Peter believed and stepped out, and then doubt filled his mind, and he started to sink. His rational mind reminded him that people can’t walk on water. As soon as his mind turned from the spiritual and supernatural, he failed.

Jesus had already said, “Take courage . . . Stop being afraid!” (v. 27). Those few words were meant to assure the disciples that both the presence and power of Jesus were there to take care of them. Yet only one man responded—one out of twelve. Peter stepped out and started walking toward the Master . . . then he faltered. He focused on the storm instead of the ¬presence of Jesus, who was only a few feet away from him. As soon as he diverted his attention, doubt and unbelief pressed in on him.

I’ve often wondered if his feet slowly sank into the water or if he instantly plunged downward. The Bible account doesn’t give us that information, but it does tell us Jesus’ response. He grabbed Peter and saved him from the waves, the wind, and the storm.

Even that’s not the end of the story. After Jesus and Peter climbed into the boat, another miracle took place: The storm ceased. It’s easy to spiritualize this incident and point out that whenever Jesus is with us, the storms of life cease and peace fills our hearts. That is true, but this was a real storm, not a figurative or spiritual one, and the winds instantly stopped.

Matthew makes a point of telling us what happened after the storm. During the storm, Peter exercised faith. He believed and he proved it. The others watched and listened, but there was no response from them.

I believe they were still so scared that they hadn’t even moved. They heard Jesus’ voice telling them not to be afraid, but still they didn’t do anything. No one else moved or spoke a word.

Verse 33 tells us that after the storm, the other disciples knelt and worshipped Jesus. I would certainly hope so! Look at the miracles they witnessed. The storm came, the winds blew, and Jesus came to them, walking on the water. He tried to calm their fears by saying, “Stop being afraid,” but they were not ready to hear Him. Only after Peter exhibited his faith and Jesus calmed the storm were they able to say, “Truly You are the Son of God!” I’m glad they were able to say those words—finally. It shows that the message got through. But what took so long? How much proof did they need before they were ready to worship?

How much proof do you need of Jesus’ love and presence in your life?

Lord Jesus, sometimes I’m like one of the fearful disciples, requiring all kinds of proof before I can believe You. How many miracles do I need to see before I can call You the Son of God? Help me to be more like Peter, ready and willing to walk with You in any and all storms of life. Thank You for loving me and encouraging me to follow You in faith. Amen.

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – I Am With You Always

dr_bright

“And then teach new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you; and be sure of this — that I am with you always, even to the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20).

When David Livingstone sailed for Africa the first time, a group of his friends accompanied him to the pier to wish him bon voyage.

Concerned for the safety of the missionary, some of his well-wishers reminded him of the dangers which would confront him in the dark land to which he was journeying. One of the men tried to convince him he should remain in England.

Opening his Bible, Livingstone read the six decisive words that had sealed the matter for him long before: “Lo, I am with you always.”

Then turning to the man who was especially concerned about his safety, Livingstone smiled before he gave a calm reply.

“That, my friend, is the word of a gentleman,” he said. “So let us be going.”

For many years, I have visited scores of countries on each continent, each year traveling tens of thousands of miles, as the director of the worldwide ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ. What a joy and comfort it is to know that I am never outside of His care! Whether at home or abroad, He is always with me, even to the end of the world. I can never travel so far away that He is not with me.

And so it is with you, if you have placed your trust and faith in Jesus Christ. You have His indwelling Holy Spirit as your constant companion – the one who makes possible the supernatural life that is the right and privilege of every believer. How important that we never lose sight of this truth: He is with us always.

Bible Reading: Matthew 28:16-20

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Today I am reminded afresh that Jesus, to whom God has given all authority in heaven and earth, is with me; that He will never leave me nor forsake me; that His supernatural power is available to me moment by moment, enabling me to do all that God has called me to do — if only I will trust and obey Him.

 

Presidential Prayer Team; A.W. – No Room For Error

ppt_seal01

What is tolerance? It’s defined as respecting beliefs or practices different from your own. In mechanical engineering, it means the permitted variation in a measurement of an object. It is how much error is allowed before the long-term is affected. But even small mistakes can have drastic effects on the future. For example, if Apollo engineers had miscalculated the launch trajectory of the moon rockets by just .0003 of a degree, they would’ve missed the moon by 1.25 miles.

The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience.

I Timothy 1:5

In today’s verse, Paul instructed Timothy to stop false teaching occurring in Ephesus. Although the errors may have seemed small entanglements in myths and spiritual genealogies, Paul knew they would affect the future of believers. Paul reminded Timothy to teach in love, with a pure heart and a good conscious, in order to advance God’s work. There could be no tolerance for error because it would divert believers from the goal of the Christian life.

As you share your faith with others, ask God to keep your heart pure, your conscience clean and your faith sincere. Pray for also for the nation’s leaders to be influenced by Christians like Timothy…so they may know His love.

Recommended Reading: II Timothy 2:15-26

Greg Laurie – The Great Thing About Prayer

greglaurie

Never stop praying. —1 Thessalonians 5:17

I clearly remember when I was a new Christian and first began to pray. I had never prayed in my life. I wasn’t aware that I could know God in such a way as to call on Him and listen to Him. I also remember the first time I prayed with a group of other Christians. I was so nervous. With every word, I was convinced I was bombing in my prayer. My heart was pounding and my throat was dry.

Sometimes we think we don’t know how to pray properly because we’re not sure how to phrase certain things. We wonder if we should use some special kind of language or pray in a certain posture. But these aren’t the main issues at all. Far from it! The most important thing is our hearts. The great thing about prayer is that God looks primarily at our hearts. Even if our prayers aren’t perfectly structured, even if they aren’t eloquent, if they come from a heart that is directed toward God, then they are pleasing to Him.

God keeps up with all the latest terminology, so don’t worry about that. He knows what you are saying. He knows what you are thinking. The main thing is to start praying. Just start where you are and speak to God straight from your heart.

Luke 18:1 tells us that Jesus told his disciples a story “to show that they should always pray and never give up” (NLT). So spend time in prayer. You can pray at home. You can pray while you’re stuck in traffic.

We read in the Bible that people of all ages from different walks of life prayed every day, always, in any posture, and under all circumstances. God can hear prayer at any time in any place.

Max Lucado – God in a Real World

Max Lucado

God calls us in a real world. He doesn’t communicate by performing tricks. He’s not a genie, a magician, a good luck charm, or the man upstairs. He is the Creator of the universe who is right here in the thick of our day-to-day world.

And God speaks in our world.  We just have to learn to hear him. Listen for him amidst the ordinary. Do you need affirmation of his care?  Let the daily sunrise proclaim his loyalty. Could you use an example of his power?  Spend an evening reading how your body works. Are you wondering if his Word is reliable?  Make a list of the fulfilled prophecies in the Bible and promises in your life.

Don’t they say only two things in life are certain: death and taxes? Knowing God, he may speak through something as common as the second to give you the answer for the first!

From And the Angels Were Silent

Charles Stanley – The Pattern of Humility

Charles Stanley

Philippians 2:1-11

Humility is characterized by an attitude that does not seek to exalt or assert oneself. In our world, this quality is certainly not found in everybody. But in God’s kingdom, it is an essential attribute for Christ-followers to have.

Jesus’ life was the definition of “humble.” To become a man, He gave up the glory, majesty, and power that were His in heaven. The Lord voluntarily emptied Himself—just as a glass of water is poured out—and for the purpose of serving us, surrendered all that He shared with His Father.

Not only that, but as a man, Jesus took on the role of a lowly servant. He lovingly submitted Himself to His Father’s plan and relinquished even earthly rights to rescue us from sin. He endured criticism, ridicule, unbelief, and, finally, crucifixion in order to help us. His humility knew no limit. He humbled Himself before the Father to become the Lamb of God, and He did so in full view of mankind, even when He was labeled a criminal and unjustly convicted. His life demonstrates the importance of being humble and gives us a clear pattern to follow.

The disciples missed the point until later on, since they didn’t expect a Messiah in the form of a servant. The leaders felt threatened because Jesus’ call to follow His lifestyle would not give them the importance they desired. The crowds were bewildered because they didn’t understand the danger of pride. But the Father saw Jesus’ meekness and was pleased.

What attitude does God see when He looks at you and me?

Our Daily Bread — Consider The Lilies

Our Daily Bread

Psalm 19:1-6

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. —Psalm 19:1

I enjoy nature and giving praise to its Creator, but I sometimes wrongly feel guilty for admiring it too much. Then I remember that Jesus used nature as a teaching tool. To encourage people not to worry, He used simple wildflowers as an example. “Consider the lilies,” He said, and then reminded people that even though flowers do no work at all, God dresses them in splendor. His conclusion? If God clothes something temporary in such glory, He surely will do much more for us (Matt. 6:28-34).

Other portions of Scripture indicate that creation is one of the ways God uses to tell us about Himself:

“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork,” wrote David. “Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge” (Ps. 19:1-2).

“Let the heavens declare His righteousness, for God Himself is Judge,” Asaph said (50:6).

And Paul wrote, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” (Rom. 1:20).

God so loves us and wants us to know Him that He put evidence of Himself everywhere we look. —Julie Ackerman Link

Father, Your love is overwhelmingly evident, yet

so often we miss it. Thank You for the unfailing

reminders of Your grace, love, and mercy. Give

us eyes to see Your beauty in Your creation.

In God’s pattern book of nature we can trace many valuable lessons.

Bible in a year: Numbers 17-19; Mark 6:30-56

Insight

The cosmological argument (first cause) and the teleological argument (argument from design) are two of the many cases for the existence of God. David, however, did not write Psalm 19 to prove God’s existence. Rather, already captivated and awed by the immensity and beauty of the skies, he simply declares that God exists: “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork” (v.1). Nature proclaims and praises the Creator God, who is worthy of our honor and worship. David reflects on how God has revealed Himself to mankind so that we can know Him. First, God reveals Himself through His created works (vv.1-6) and then through His spoken Word (vv.7-14).

 

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Does Religion Poison Everything?

Ravi Z

A common claim made by many atheists is that religion causes evil, suffering, division and war. For example, at the Munk Debate in Toronto in 2010, Christopher Hitchens argued this very point against Tony Blair. Religion, Hitchens claimed, causes sectarianism, division, strife, disagreement, war, poverty and a host of societal evils. In his best-selling book, God is Not Great, Hitchens even wrote that “religion poisons everything.”

How might a Christian respond? Well, first, I’d point out there’s a major problem with Hitchens’ argument. You could remove the word “religion” from his statement “religion poisons everything” and replace it with many other words. Politics, for example. Politics causes division, bloodshed, argument, and war. Politics poisons everything. Or what about money? Money causes crime, resentment, bloodshed, division and poverty. Money poisons everything.

You see the problem is that atheists like Christopher Hitchens have built their worldview on the idea that human beings are essentially good and that the world is getting better—a kind of naïve utopianism. But the world isn’t like that, is it? Rather, it seems to be the case that whatever human beings lay hold off, they use to cause damage. That applies to money, politics, government, science—and religion. The problem is not with religion or politics, the problem is not out there somewhere, the problem lies in here, in the human heart.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the Russian novelist and political commentator, who survived the Russian gulags and wrote with amazing insight into the human condition, once famously said this: “The dividing line between good and evil runs right through the middle of every human heart.” What the world needs, as an answer to violence and injustice, poverty and pain, is not a clever philosophy, not a religious system, not a new politic, not more money, more education—none of these will fundamentally change anything. Rather, it needs individual transformation, a radical transformation of the human heart. Only Jesus Christ offers that possibility if we are willing to surrender our lives to him.

I often find it interesting to point out to my atheist friends that Jesus himself was also anti-religion. He regularly clashed with the religious leaders of his day because he saw empty religion as powerless, damaging, and enslaving. Ultimately that stance led to his crucifixion. And Christians, of course, cannot talk about suffering and evil, pain, and violence, without talking about the example of Jesus, one to whom violence was done. His example has inspired millions if not billions of Christians to give sacrificially, to love their neighbors, to engage in peace making. One of the most powerful recent examples was the Amish School Shooting in 2006. Not only did the families of the victims publically forgive the perpetrator and offer pastoral support to his family, they set up a trust fund to help the wife of the shooter, who had killed himself too. Only Jesus Christ offers the transformative power that makes that kind of choice possible.

Andy Bannister is a member of the speaking team at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Toronto, Canada.

Alistair Begg – Everlasting Love from Ancient Days

Alistair Begg

Micah 5:2

The Lord Jesus had purposes for His people as their representative before the throne, long before they appeared upon the stage of time. It was “from ancient days” that He signed the contract with His Father that He would pay blood for blood, suffering for suffering, agony for agony, and death for death on behalf of His people; it was “from ancient days” that He gave Himself up without a murmuring word.

From the crown of His head to the sole of His foot, He sweat great drops of blood; He was spat upon, pierced, mocked, torn, and crushed beneath the pains of death. All of this was “from ancient days.” Let our souls pause in wonder at God’s purposes from of old. Not only when you were born into the world did Christ love you, but His delights were with the sons of men before there were any sons of men! He often thought of them; from everlasting to everlasting He had set His affection upon them.

Since He has been so long about your salvation, will not He accomplish it? Has He from everlasting been going forth to save me, and will He lose me now? It is inconceivable that having carried me in His hand, as His precious jewel, He would let me now slip from between His fingers. Did He choose me before the mountains were brought forth or the channels of the ocean were formed, and will He reject me now? Impossible! I am sure He would not have loved me for so long if He had not been a faithful Lover. If He could grow weary of me, He would have been tired of me long before now. If He had not loved me with a love as deep as hell and as strong as death, He would have turned from me long ago. What joy above all joys to know that I am His everlasting and inalienable inheritance, given to Him by His Father before the earth was formed! Everlasting love shall be the pillow on which I rest my head tonight.

The family reading plan for  February 27, 2014  Job 28 | 1 Corinthians 14

 

 

Charles Spurgeon – Prayer answered, love nourished

CharlesSpurgeon

“I love the Lord, because he hath heard my voice and my supplication.” Psalm 116:1

Suggested Further Reading: Ephesians 6:18-24

If a beggar comes to your house, and you give him alms, you will be greatly annoyed if within a month he shall come again; and if you then discover that he has made it a rule to wait upon you monthly for a contribution, you will say to him, “I gave you something once, but I did not mean to establish it as a rule.” Suppose, however, that the beggar should be so impudent and impertinent that he should say, “But I intend sir, to wait upon you every morning and every evening,” then you would say, “I intend to keep my gate locked that you shall not trouble me.” And suppose he should then look you in the face and add still more, “Sir, I intend waiting upon you every hour, nor can I promise that I won’t come to you sixty times in an hour; but I just vow and declare that as often as I want anything so often will I come to you: if I only have a wish I will come and tell it to you; the least thing and the greatest thing shall drive me to you; I will always be at the post of your door.” You would soon be tired of such importunity as that, and wish the beggar anywhere, rather than that he should come and tease you so. Yet recollect, this is just what you have done to God, and he has never complained of you for doing it; but rather he has complained of you the other way. He has said, “Thou hast not called upon me, O Jacob.” He has never murmured at the frequency of your prayers, but has complained that you have not come to him enough.

For meditation: In his unchanging willingness and desire to hear his childrens’ requests, God is unlike any person we know. Jesus had to teach this lesson by contrast, rather than by comparison (Luke 11:5-13; 18:1-8).

Sermon no. 240

27 February (1859)

John MacArthur – Attaining Spiritual Stability

John MacArthur

“Strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience” (Col. 1:11).

An alarming number of Christians seem to lack spiritual stability. Many are “carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming” (Eph. 4:14). Others lack moral purity. Many are driven by their emotions rather than sound thinking. Increasingly, therapists and psychologists are replacing pastors and biblical teachers as the heroes of the faith. While we still proclaim a sovereign, all- powerful God, our conduct often belies our creed.

Despite our inconsistences, the power for spiritual stability is ours in Christ as we allow the knowledge of His will to control our lives. Paul describes the working of that power in Colossians 1:11. There the Greek words translated “strengthened” and “power” speak of inherent power that gives one the ability to do something.

The phrase “according to” indicates that the power for spiritual stability is proportional to God’s abundant supply–and it is inexhaustible! The literal Greek says you are being “empowered with all power according to the might of His glory.” That thought is akin to Philippians 2:12-13, where Paul says that the power for working out your salvation comes from God, who is at work in you to will and to work for His good pleasure.

In Colossians 1:11 the result of God’s enabling is “the attaining of all steadfastness and patience.” “Steadfastness” speaks of endurance regarding people; “patience” speaks of endurance regarding things or circumstances. When you are steadfast and patient, you are spiritually stable. Your responses are biblical, thoughtful, and calculated; not worldly, emotional, or uncontrolled. You bear up under trials because you understand God’s purposes and trust His promises.

Paul said, “Be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might” (Eph. 6:10). That is possible when you trust God and rely on the infinite power that is yours in Christ.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Perhaps you know someone who is struggling with spiritual instability. Pray for him or her and ask God to use you as a source of encouragement.

For Further Study:

Psalm 18 is a psalm of victory that David wrote after God delivered him from Saul. Read it, then answer these questions:

What characteristics of God did David mention?

How might those characteristics apply to situations you are facing?

 

Joyce Meyer – Tests and Trials

Joyce meyer

For no temptation (no trial regarded as enticing to sin), [no matter how it comes or where it leads] . . . [has come to you that is beyond human resistance and that is not adjusted and adapted and belonging to human experience, and such as man can bear]. But God is faithful [to His Word and to His compassionate nature], and He [can be trusted] not to let you be tempted and tried and assayed beyond your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure, but with the temptation He will [always] also provide the way out (the means of escape to a landing place), that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently. —1 Corinthians 10:13

Hard times can bring the temptation to give up and become negative, depressed, and angry with God. Life can be difficult, but God will always intervene and His help will always arrive on time. Tonight, purpose in your heart to keep pressing on and rest in His presence. God has promised to deliver you before it is too late!

 

Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – The End Will Come

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“And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it, and then, finally, the end will come” (Matthew 24:14).

I applaud every effort to warn Christians and nonbelievers to be ready for our Lord’s return, as Scripture clearly teaches that He will come again and has delayed His return in order that more people might have a chance to hear the gospel. To this end, we must give priority to taking the gospel to all men everywhere throughout the world.

However, we dare not wrongly interpret the Scriptures, as so many in previous generations have done, resulting in a lack of concern for the souls of men and a failure to correct the evils of society.

God expects us as His children to be His representatives here on earth. We are to love with His love, sharing the message of salvation with all who will listen and helping to meet the needs of widows, orphans and prisoners in His name.

True believers in previous generations have always been at the forefront of moral and social reforms as well as being active in evangelism. Child labor laws, women’s suffrage and abolition of slavery, for example, grew out of a mighty spiritual awakening that swept England through the ministry of John Wesley, George Whitefield and their colleagues.

We in our generation must be no less concerned about injustice wherever we find it. The most important way to solve our social ills, however, is to change the hearts of men by introducing them to our Lord Jesus Christ. Our priority commitment as Christians must be to disciple and evangelize in obedience to our Lord’s command.

Then we should instruct new believers that “loving our neighbors as ourselves” includes helping them where they hurt. But remember, the Lord cares more about the soul than He does about the body. The body will soon perish but the soul will live forever.

Bible Reading: Matthew 24:7-13

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will keep my priorities straight – first sharing the good news of salvation to as many as possible, but at the same time demonstrating love and compassion to widows, orphans, prisoners and all who are in need, in obedience to our Lord’s command.

Presidential Prayer Team; C.P. – Trustworthy

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With over 20 major religions in the world and a wide variety of Christian churches, it’s no wonder people are confused or avoid religion altogether. It gets easier when you know the truth in the form of a person – Jesus. He said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him.

Ephesians 4:15

Yet can Jesus be trusted? He fulfilled upwards to 300 Bible prophecies. He was born of a virgin, healed the sick, cast out demons, raised the dead and taught with authority. Then He was crucified, rose again, promised to return, and ascended into Heaven. The Bible’s prophetic scriptures are still unfolding with astounding accuracy. Once what seemed unimaginable now appears to be just around the corner. If Jesus can’t be trusted, who can?

The Christian’s job is to become more like Him, lovingly reaching out with the gospel and meeting needs. Reread the teachings of the Word of God and see how your life lines up? Pray, too, that God will open the eyes of the leaders and citizens of the United States to see Christ as the truth – and one worthy of their trust.

Recommended Reading: I Peter 4:1-11