Charles Stanley – God Acts on our Behalf

Charles Stanley

Life Principle 14

God acts on behalf of those who wait for Him.

Isaiah 64:4

In this hurry-up world, waiting for anything can cause us to lose our temper and our good sense—more frequently than we care to admit! No one enjoys waiting in line. We don’t like waiting at stoplights. We don’t like waiting for dinner. We don’t even like waiting for good things, like for fish to bite. We want what we want right now.

Yet the Word of God insists that we learn some of life’s greatest lessons while we wait. Waiting rooms can be hard classrooms, but God promises vast rewards to those who wait for Him. God plans to use the long pauses in our lives for our blessing . . . if we let Him.

Why does God so often ask us to wait? Let’s consider five major rewards of waiting.

  1. We discover God’s will.

“The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him” (Lam. 3:25). God does not allow delays in giving us the desire of our heart to lead us along. Rather, we know that even as we wait, He is working all things together for our good and His glory (Rom. 8:28). Yet, as we eagerly anticipate His provision, we must keep our eyes on Him—listening for His voice and direction. In that way, we learn to do His will and our relationship with Him grows deeper.

  1. We receive supernatural energy and strength.

God invites us to claim His promise in Isaiah 40:29–31: “He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.”

Just as God deepens our relationship with Him through times of waiting, He also increases our energy, faith, endurance, and strength. We grow in the likeness of Christ and all of His attributes—including in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22, 23). Surely, waiting on Him is never wasted time!

  1. We win battles.

“Wait for the Lord, and He will save you” (Prov. 20:22). How wonderful to see the Lord rescue us and bless us with His favor. When we do things our way, in our own hurried time, we end up defeated. But when we wait on God and obey His commands, He ensures our victory and keeps us from foolish and precipitous acts.

  1. We see the fulfillment of our faith.

“Those who hopefully wait for Me will not be put to shame” (Is. 49:23). In the end, we’ll never feel embarrassed for waiting on God; it’s always the smart thing to do. Although others may encourage us to forge ahead instead of waiting on the Lord, we must remember that He is the only One who can truly help us and that He will never let us down. And when we trust Him and obey, surely we will see the fulfillment of every hope we’ve entrusted to Him.

  1. We see God working on our behalf.

Isaiah spoke of the God “who acts in behalf of the one who waits for Him” (Is. 64:4). What a wonderful promise! While we actively wait, He actively works. Think of this: every single day, we have the greatest Mediator working on our behalf. Even when things seem to go wrong, He is making sure that everything works according to His purpose.

Although waiting can be one of the more difficult things in the Christian life, it is not wasted time. God gives us instructions through periods of actively waiting. He may change our circumstances while we wait. He keeps us in step with Himself and prepares us for His answers. He uses the time to sift our motives and strengthen our faith. And when we choose to wait, God rewards us with blessings both large and unexpected.

Think of waiting on God as something like planting a garden. You put a seed under the soil and water it. And then you wait.

And wait.

And wait.

After the sun and rain nourish the earth, the seeds begin to grow; and one day, finally, you begin to see evidence of what you’ve planted. Now, suppose you had grown impatient and dug up your seeds because nothing seemed to be happening? You would have ruined your garden.

Remember, some fruit takes a long time to mature—and the One who wants to bring it forth in our lives knows exactly how long we need to wait. Therefore, trust Him and be patient, because He is producing the most wonderful and precious fruit that you could ever hope for or imagine.

Adapted from The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible, © 2009.

Back to 30 Life Principles

 

Our Daily Bread — For Sale— “As Is”

Our Daily Bread

Revelation 5:1-12

For you were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood. —Revelation 5:9

A house listed for sale “As Is” usually means the seller is unable or unwilling to spend any money to repair it or make it attractive. Any necessary repairs or desired improvements are the responsibility of the buyer after the purchase is complete. “As Is” on a real estate listing is equivalent to saying, “Buyer beware. Home may require significant further investment.”

How remarkable that when Jesus died, He paid the highest price for each of us, regardless of our condition. Revelation 5 describes a scene in heaven where only “The Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David” is found worthy to open and read a sealed scroll (vv.3-5). He appears as a Lamb and becomes the object of praise in a new song, “For You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth” (vv.9-10).

Jesus Christ willingly purchased us for God with His blood. We were bought “as is,” faults, defects, needed renovation included. By faith we are now under His ownership, in the process of remodeling for God’s glory. How wonderful that God knew us, loved us, and bought us just as we are. —David McCasland

Jesus paid it all,

All to Him I owe.

Sin had left a crimson stain;

He washed it white as snow. —Hall

God knows us inside and out. No renovation project is too big for Him.

Bible in a year: Ezekiel 37-39; 2 Peter 2

Alistair Begg – Ready for Battle

Alistair Begg

Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon.  Revelation 12:7

War always will rage between the two great sovereignties until one or the other is crushed. Peace between good and evil is an impossibility; to pretend otherwise would signal a victory for the powers of darkness. Michael will always fight; his holy soul is vexed with sin and will not endure it. Jesus will always be the dragon’s foe, and not in any quiet sense but actively, vigorously, with full determination to exterminate evil. All His servants, whether angels in heaven or messengers on earth, will and must fight; they are born to be warriors. At the cross they enter into a covenant never to make a truce with evil; they are a warlike company, firm in defense and fierce in attack. The duty of every soldier in the army of the Lord is every day, with all his heart and soul and strength, to fight against the dragon.

The dragon and his angels will fight back; they are incessant in their onslaughts, prepared to use every kind of weaponry. We are foolish to expect to serve God without opposition: The more zealous we are, the more we can expect to be attacked by the ruffians of hell. The church may become lazy, but her great antagonist does not; his restless spirit never allows the war to pause; he hates the woman’s seed and would happily devour the Church if he could. The servants of Satan share a great deal of the old dragon’s energy and are usually an active crew. War rages all around, and to dream of peace is dangerous and futile.

Glory be to God, we know the end of the war. The great dragon will be cast out and forever destroyed, while Jesus and those who are with Him will receive the crown. So let us sharpen our swords tonight, and ask the Holy Spirit to make us ready for the conflict. Battle was never so important, and the crown never so glorious. Every one to their positions as warriors of the cross, and may the Lord tread Satan under your feet shortly!

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The family reading plan for November 30, 2014 * Micah 5 * Luke 14

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Devotional material is taken from “Morning and Evening,” written by C.H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg.

Charles Spurgeon – Manasseh

CharlesSpurgeon

“Then Manasseh knew that the Lord he was God.” 2 Chronicles 33:13

Suggested Further Reading: Romans 1:18-25

It takes ten thousand times more faith to be an unbeliever than to be a believer in God’s revelation. One man comes to me and tells me I am credulous, because I believe in a great First Cause who created the heavens and the earth, and that God became man and died for sin. I tell him I may be, and no doubt am very credulous, as he conceives credulity, but I conceive that which I believe is in perfect consistency with my reason, and I therefore receive it. “But,” saith he, “I am not credulous—not at all.” Sir, I say, I should like to ask you one thing. You do not believe the world was created by God. “No.” You must be amazingly credulous, then, I am sure. Do you think this Bible exists without being made? If you should say I am credulous, because I believe it had a printer and a binder, I should say that you were infinitely more credulous, if you assured me that it was made at all, and should you begin to tell me one of your theories about creation—that atoms floated through space, and came to a certain shape, I should resign the palm of credulity to you. You believe, perhaps, moreover, that man came to be in this world through the improvement of certain creatures. I have read that you say that there were certain monads—that afterwards they grew into fishes—that these fishes wanted to fly, and then wings grew—that by and by they wanted to crawl, and then legs came, and they became lizards, and by many steps they then became monkeys, and then the monkeys became men, and you believe yourself to be cousin ape to an orang-utan. Now, I may be very credulous, but really not so credulous as you are.

For meditation: If Manasseh, the greatest of idolaters (2 Chronicles 33:3), could be converted and worship the one true God, your most ardent evolutionist neighbours or colleagues can be converted and worship the God who created them!

Sermon no. 105

30 November (1856)

John MacArthur – An Unlikely Heroine

John MacArthur

“By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace” (Heb. 11:31).

Rahab illustrates the depth and breadth of God’s amazing grace.

Our final Old Testament hero of faith is an unlikely addition to the list. Not only was she a prostitute, she also was a Gentile—and a Canaanite at that.

The Canaanites were an idolatrous, barbaric, debauched people, infamous even among pagans for their immorality and cruelty. Yet in the midst of that exceedingly wicked society, Rahab came to faith in the God of Israel.

Joshua 2:9-11 records her confession of faith to the two men Joshua had sent into Jericho as spies: “I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. And when we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath” (emphasis added).

Rahab demonstrated the genuineness of that profession by risking her life to hide the spies from the king of Jericho, who sought to capture them.

Because Rahab lied to protect the spies (vv. 4-5), some people question the validity of her faith. Surely genuine believers wouldn’t lie like that—or would they? Abraham did. Sarah did. Isaac did. Jacob did. But the important thing to understand is that God honored their faith, not their deception.

As with all the heroes of faith before her, Rahab’s faith wasn’t perfect, nor was her knowledge of God’s moral law. But because she trusted God, she was spared during Jericho’s conquest, then given an even greater honor. She became the mother of Boaz, who married Ruth, the great-great-grandmother of David, thereby becoming an ancestor of the Lord Jesus Christ (Matt. 1:5).

Suggestions for Prayer; Praise God for receiving even the vilest sinner who turns to Him in faith.

For Further Study; Read all about Rahab in Joshua 2:1-24, 6:22-25, and James 2:25.

Joyce Meyer – Your Attitude Speaks for You

Joyce meyer

A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. —Matthew 12:35 NLT

You don’t always have to verbalize your thoughts for people to see them. Think about how you act on a first date with someone you like. You show signs of acceptance and approval. You smile a lot, and you encourage him or her with your eyes and head nods to show your interest. You haven’t said a word, but your body language says: “I like you!”

Now think about how you act when you are in the grocery line and the cashier is taking forever. You shift your weight from side to side, cross your arms, huff, or even roll your eyes. Again, your posture speaks for you. You may think your thoughts are hidden, but your thoughts show up in your attitudes, body language, words, and actions. Make sure you display a good attitude.

Power Thought: I will think good, godly thoughts so I can have a good heart and attitude.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Peace and Joy

dr_bright

“Always be full of joy in the Lord; I say it again, rejoice! Let everyone see that you are unselfish and considerate in all you do. Remember that the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs and don’t forget to thank Him for His answers. If you do this you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:4-7).

Don and Ann wanted with all their hearts to please the Lord and worked at being victorious Christians. They diligently kept their quiet time and memorized Scripture, and they were faithful in church attendance. They did everything right. But as they said, “Even though we’ve claimed the fullness of the Holy Spirit by faith and tried to understand and apply identification truths [in which they sought to identify themselves with Christ, his crucifixion, burial and resurrection,] we just don’t seem to be enjoying the Christian life. There’s something missing.”

“In Philippians 4,” I told them, “you will find a surefire spiritual formula for victory in the Christian life. Just allow the Holy Spirit to make this passage a reality to you and apply the following as He enables you:

As an act of your will, decide that you’re going to be full of the joy of the Lord. You are the one who decides whether you’re going to rejoice or be discouraged and sad. Demonstrate before all men an unselfish, considerate attitude. Remember that the Lord can come at any moment, and be prepared.

Do not worry about anything.

Pray about everything.

Thank Him in faith for His answers.”

The results of practicing these steps is the most priceless and wonderful experience one can know, the supernatural peace of God that cannot be purchased or acquired in any other way. In order to succeed in this formula for supernatural living, of course, you must already be studying the Word of God, applying its truths to your life daily, living in the power of the Holy Spirit and sharing your faith in Christ with others.

Bible Reading: Isaiah 12:1-5

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Today, as an act of my will, I shall claim the supernatural resources of God by faith and continue to experience and share the abundant life which is the heritage of all who trust and obey Him

Presidential Prayer Team; C.P. – Responsibility

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When God called Ezekiel to speak to Israel, He strictly warned him that if he didn’t declare His message, He would hold him responsible. He also forewarned Ezekiel that Israel wasn’t going to listen to him. Ezekiel may have wondered, then, why God sent him to preach in the first place. If he did question it, Ezekiel nevertheless obeyed, trusting in God’s direction and purposes.

Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel.

Ezekiel 3:17

Though God knew Israel, as a whole, would not turn to Him, He gave individuals opportunity to repent. “But if you warn the righteous person not to sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live, because he took warning, and you will have delivered your soul.” (Ezekiel 3:21) The gospel message is one of repentance and salvation (Mark 16:15-16).

Take responsibility every day to pray for United States citizens and leaders to turn to God in obedience. Trust Him for His answers. Thank the Lord for the leaders who do serve in ways that please Him…and be careful to take responsibility by being ready to reply to anyone “who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” (I Peter 3:15)

Recommended Reading: I Peter 3:8-17

Charles Stanley – Changing Our Focus

Charles Stanley

John 15:18-21

There is nothing that can touch a believer’s life unless it comes through the permissive will of God. That means He has complete control, even when it feels as if Satan has been allowed to run rampant through our personal life.

Trapped in Roman confinement, Paul knew that God could rescue him; after all, He had removed Peter’s chains (Acts 12:7). But Paul was not simply waiting around for liberation. Because he believed God did everything for a reason, he earnestly continued doing kingdom work—even while bound in chains.

Indeed, the Lord has a purpose for whatever He brings into a person’s life. Though we may desperately wish for our circumstances to change, God will allow us to go through a given situation when it will ultimately bring about the most favorable result. If we let Him complete the work instead of trying to extricate ourselves, we will see a positive outcome.

Paul’s time in prison proved a benefit for the gospel, though logically, the spread of the Word should have been severely hindered by the confinement of such a great preacher. In two years he had been guarded by many of the elite praetorian soldiers (Phil. 1:13), and we know what Paul would have talked to them about during their shifts—Christ!

There are no verses in the Bible that say believers are promised an easy life. In fact, the Word warns the opposite and says we will see trouble (John 16:33). But we, like Paul, can choose to live above our circumstances by realizing that God has a plan to use our experiences for our good and the benefit of others.

Our Daily Bread — Happy Ending

 

Our Daily BreadRevelation 21:1-7

I saw a new heaven and a new earth. —Revelation 21:1

In its “plot,” the story of the Bible ends up very much where it began. The broken relationship between God and human beings has healed over at last, and the curse of Genesis 3 is lifted. Borrowing images from Eden, Revelation pictures a river and a tree of life (Rev. 22:1-2). But this time a great city replaces the garden setting—a city filled with worshipers of God. No death or sadness will ever darken that scene. When we awake in the new heaven and new earth, we will have at last a happy ending.

Heaven is not an afterthought or an optional belief. It is the final justification of all creation. The Bible never belittles human tragedy and disappointment—is any book more painfully honest?—but it does add one key word: temporary. What we feel now, we will not always feel. The time for re-creation will come.

For people who feel trapped in pain or in a broken home, in economic misery or in fear—for all of us—heaven promises a timeless future of health and wholeness and pleasure and peace. The Bible begins with the promise of a Redeemer in the book of Genesis (3:15) and ends with that same promise (Rev. 21:1-7)—a guarantee of future reality. The end will be the beginning. —Philip Yancey

Beyond earth’s sorrows, the joys of heaven;

Eternal blessings with Christ my Lord;

Earth’s weeping ended, earth’s trials over,

Sweet rest in Jesus, O blest reward! —Gilmore

The gains of heaven will more than compensate us for the losses of earth.

Bible in a year: Ezekiel 35-36; 2 Peter 1

Insight

The reality of a new heaven and a new earth (Rev. 21:1) is not a New Testament idea that begins with or is exclusive to the apostle John. Peter also spoke of this new heaven and earth as a world filled with God’s righteousness (2 Peter 3:13). And the Old Testament prophet Isaiah described the “new heavens and a new earth” (Isa. 65:17-25; 66:22) 700 years before the birth of Christ.

 

 

Alistair Begg – A Holy Anointing

Alistair Begg

Spices for the anointing oil. Exodus 35:8

Much use was made of this anointing oil under the law, and that which it represents is of primary importance under the Gospel. The Holy Spirit, who anoints us for all holy service, is indispensable to us if we would serve the Lord acceptably. Without His help our religious services are just an empty show, and our inward experience is a dead thing. Whenever our ministry is without unction, what miserable stuff it becomes! And the prayers, praises, meditations, and efforts of private Christians are no better.

A holy anointing is the soul and life of godly devotion, its absence the most serious of all calamities. To go before the Lord without anointing would be like a common Levite thrusting himself into the priest’s role—his religious services would be sins, not sacrifices. May we never embark upon holy tasks without sacred anointings. They fall upon us from our glorious Head; from His anointing we who are but the skirts of His garments receive a generous unction. Choice spices were mixed with great skill and care to form the anointing oil, to let us see how rich are all the influences of the Holy Spirit.

All good things are found in the divine Comforter. Matchless consolation, infallible instruction, immortal quickening, spiritual energy, and divine sanctification are all mixed with other excellencies in the heavenly anointing oil of the Holy Spirit. It imparts a delightful fragrance to the character and person of the one upon whom it is poured. Nothing like it can be found in all the treasures of the wealthy or the secrets of the wise. It is not to be imitated. It only comes from God, and it is freely given, through Jesus Christ, to every waiting soul. Let us seek it, for we may have it, even this very evening. O Lord, anoint Your servants.

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The family reading plan for November 29, 2014 * Micah 4 * Luke 13

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Devotional material is taken from “Morning and Evening,” written by C.H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg.

Charles Spurgeon – The warning neglected

CharlesSpurgeon

“He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him.” Ezekiel 33:5

Suggested Further Reading: Haggai 1:1-6

Men have got time. It is the want of will, not want of way. You have time, sir, have you not, despite all your business, to spend in pleasure? You have time to read your newspaper—have you not time to read your Bible? You have time to sing a song—have you no time to pray a prayer? Why, you know when farmer Brown met farmer Smith in the market one day, he said to him, “Farmer Smith, I can’t think how it is you find time for hunting. Why, man, what with sowing and mowing and reaping and ploughing, and all that, my time is so fully occupied on my farm, that I have no time for hunting.” “Ah,” said he, “Brown, if you liked hunting as much as I do, if you could not find time, you’d make it.” And so it is with religion, the reason why men cannot find time for it is, because they do not like it well enough. If they liked it, they would find time. And besides, what time does it want? What time does it require? Can I not pray to God over my ledger? Can I not snatch a text at my breakfast, and think over it all day? May I not even when I am busy in the affairs of the world, be thinking of my soul, and casting myself upon a Redeemer’s blood and atonement? It wants no time. There may be some time required; some time for my private devotions, and for communion with Christ, but when I grow in grace, I shall think it right to have more and more time, the more I can possibly get, the happier I shall be, and I shall never make the excuse that I have not time.

For meditation: How much time do you make to spend alone with God each day? What do you do with him for the rest of the day? (Colossians 3:23).

Sermon no. 165

29 November (1857)

 

John MacArthur – Conquering in Conflict

John MacArthur

“By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they had been encircled for seven days” (Heb. 11:30).

Faith is the key to spiritual conquest.

Forty years had lapsed since the Israelites refused to enter the Promised Land. That unbelieving generation had perished in the wilderness. Now Joshua was leading a new generation into the land. The first obstacle they faced was Jericho—a well- fortified city that was near the mouth of the Jordan River.

Some city walls of that day were wide enough at the top to allow two chariots to ride side-by-side. That was probably true of Jericho because of its strategic location. That, coupled with the caliber of its army, made the city virtually impregnable— especially to unsophisticated Israelites, who lacked military training.

But what is impossible for man is easy for God. And the stage was set for Him to demonstrate His power and for the Israelites to demonstrate their faith and humility.

One can only imagine how embarrassed the Hebrew people felt as they marched around Jericho once a day for six days. That certainly is not your typical military strategy. But on the seventh day, after marching around the city seven times with the priests blowing their rams’ horns, the priests gave one final blast, the people all shouted out loud, and the walls of the city collapsed (Josh. 6:20). Faith had reduced a formidable obstacle to a crumbled ruin.

Can you identify some spiritual obstacles you’ve faced recently? How did you handle them? You’ll always have them to deal with in your Christian walk, but don’t fret. See them as opportunities to exercise faith and see God’s power on display in your life. Continue to trust the Lord and demonstrate your faith by courageously doing what He has called you to do.

Suggestions for Prayer; Ask God to help you humbly trust in God’s power when you face spiritual conflicts.

For Further Study; Read about the conquest of Jericho in Joshua 6:1-21. Note each occasion where the people obeyed one of Joshua’s commands without hesitation.

Joyce Meyer – Here’s the Verdict

Joyce meyer

Therefore, [there is] now no condemnation (no adjudging guilty of wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live [and] walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit. —Romans 8:1

Most believers know we need to ask forgiveness right away when we sin. We also know God forgives us, but we often continue to feel guilty.

Let me state clearly: Jesus has already paid for everything you will ever do wrong. You do not need to add your misery to His sacrifice. When you do something wrong, if you repent sincerely, then in that instant, God forgives it and forgets it—completely. Claim your forgiveness, for¬get your sins, and go on and enjoy your life.

Guilt tormented me for many years. If I didn’t feel wrong, I didn’t feel right! But the good news of the Gospel is that sin no longer has any power over us. We do not have to bear the guilt of our sins.

Today’s scripture makes it clear that you don’t have to live under condemnation. God wants to forgive your sin; to cleanse you from everything you have ever done wrong; He wants to remove the burden you carry. This is why Jesus died.

Every time you do something wrong, repent quickly and ask God to forgive you. When the devil tries to make you feel guilty, open your mouth and shout: ” I am forgiven! God loves me, and I will not live under this burden of guilt!” Don’t let something God has forgotten about waste your time, rob your peace, and steal your joy.

Love Yourself Today: Agree with God that you are forgiven, and extend forgiveness to yourself.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Just as He Promised

dr_bright

“God, who called you to become His child, will do all this for you, just as He promised” (1 Thessalonians 5:24).

Have you ever substituted your own name in a promise like that? I have, and the result is staggering, overwhelming. “God, who called Bill Bright to become His child, will do all this for me, just as He promised.”

Include your name in the verse, and the effect will be the same for you. It is incredible that before the very foundation of the world God chose and called you and me to become His children. His foreknowledge makes possible many of the mysteries we puzzle over today.

Your sanctification (setting apart) – and mine – depends upon God, and since He has begun a good work in us, He will see it through to completion. God requires holiness (another word for sanctification) and He is the resource upon whom we may call for accomplishment of that requirement.

While it is true we will never be completely and totally holy in this life, it is equally true that provision is made for us to be holy. Every moment that you and I are under the control of God’s Holy Spirit, is a moment that we are holy! Looked at in that light, the task of acquiring holiness does not seem so impossible to attain.

The principle is clear: God never gives a command without the enablement to obey it.

Bible Reading: 2 Thessalonians 3:3-5

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will see myself as a child of God, the beneficiary of His multitudinous blessings, capable of living a supernatural life and bearing fruit for His glory through His enablement

 

Presidential Prayer Team; G.C. – The Stump

ppt_seal01

A withered tree stump; no lovely arching branches or majestic trunk, just old and ugly – could it possibly be good for anything but the fire? Isaiah 10 talks about how God chops down the arrogant like one felling tall trees. The actual people being addressed are the decedents of Israel. They had forgotten God and become disobedient. Great foreign armies came and enslaved them. It was a dark time.

There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.

Isaiah 11:1

Then Isaiah 11 tells of a shoot coming up from a old stump…and there is not just a hint of life in the new sprout, there is an abundance of it. It will become the source of life for all! Isaiah is using the analogy of the tree stump to foretell that God will still bring the Messiah through Israel’s descendants. When Jesus sacrificed Himself on the cross, He not only paid the price for all people’s disobedience towards God, He released believers from the heritage of sin.

Give thanks today for the amazing gift of your Savior’s sacrifice. Pray that many across America will believe and convey a heritage of abundant life to every dry and dark place in the land.

Recommended Reading: Isaiah 10:33-11:5

Greg Laurie – Life During Life       

`greglaurie

I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. —John 10:10

An interest in life on Mars seems to run in cycles. At this writing, our nation has a new exploration robot prowling around and digging little holes in the dirt near the Martian north pole.

A few years ago, I was even interviewed for an article about life on other planets. I said, “I don’t see anything in the Bible that would indicate there is life on other planets, but if there is, God created it.” They closed the article with another of my statements: “Maybe we shouldn’t be so worried about life on other planets and ask ourselves the question, ‘Is there life on Earth, and are we living it the way God wants us to?’ ”

We often wonder whether there is life after death. But is there life during life? That is a question we all should consider.

When I was seventeen, that was my question. I wasn’t so concerned with what happened beyond the grave at that age because I thought I would live a long, long time. My primary concern at that time was, “What’s life all about? What’s the purpose of life?” I knew in my heart there had to be more than what I’d experienced to that point. I was desperately searching for some kind of meaning in life. I just had to know.

Thankfully, I didn’t have to look very far because there was a group of very outspoken Christians on my high school campus. They practiced what they preached, and I was intrigued by them. So I began to watch them. I saw that they were experiencing a dimension of life that I had never known. Not long after that, I gave my life to Jesus and discovered the truth of Jesus’ great statement from John 10:10: “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” That’s what I had been searching for: life during life.

Ask the Lord to point you toward someone today who may be searching for that very thing.

Today’s devotional is an excerpt from Every Day with Jesus by Greg Laurie, 2013

Charles Stanley – Living Above Your Circumstances

Charles Stanley

Philippians 1:12-18

Paul wrote his letter to the Philippians during a long and unjust imprisonment. However, this short epistle is full of rejoicing. Paul never complains or casts blame for his situation, because he has learned to live above his circumstances.

Most people have a different response to difficulty. First, in an attempt to make themselves feel better, they try blaming someone else for the problem, but this results only in broken relationships. Next, they complain, which gets pity from others but enhances the problem in their own minds. Finally, they search for a way out of the situation and usually make things worse in the process.

Paul knew that there was a strategy for living above one’s circumstances rather than merely muddling through them: He shifted his focus. Instead of examining his problem and whining about it, he looked to God. Praise came from his lips: “I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Phil. 3:8).

God wants to hear our honest concerns and even anger or confusion about our trials, but He also wants us to trust Him to see us through. Focusing on the Lord and praising Him does not mean we pretend to enjoy tough times—that would be insincere. But we can honestly acknowledge that He is in control of the situation and will guide our every step, just as He promised (Prov. 3:5-6).

Believers have a simple choice. We can wallow in self-pity, or we can look to Jesus Christ and learn to live above our circumstances. Which of the two will you choose?

Our Daily Bread — Amani

Our Daily Bread

1 Samuel 16:14-23

God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. —2 Timothy 1:7

Amani, which means “peace” in Swahili, is the name of a Labrador retriever pup that has some special friends. Amani lives with two young cheetahs at the Dallas Zoo. Zoologists placed the animals together so the cheetahs could learn Amani’s relaxed ways. Since dogs are generally at ease in public settings, the experts predict that Amani will be a “calming influence” in the cheetahs’ lives as they grow up together.

David was a soothing influence in King Saul’s life when a “distressing spirit” troubled him (1 Sam. 16:14). When Saul’s servants learned of his problem, they thought music might ease his affliction. One servant summoned David, who was a skilled harpist. Whenever the king became troubled, David would play the harp. “Then Saul would become refreshed and well” (v.23).

We crave refreshment and well-being when we are plagued by anger, fear, or sadness. The God of the Bible is a “God of peace” (Heb. 13:20-21), One who gives His Holy Spirit to everyone who believes in Him. When we’re agitated or anxious, we can remember that God’s Spirit produces power, love, and self-control (2 Tim. 1:7). God’s influence in our lives can create a calming effect—one that leads to comfort and wholeness. —Jennifer Benson Schuldt

We’re grateful, Father, for the peace that You

offer for our hearts. Nothing has the power

to take that away. Thank You that Your

peace has come to stay.

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.” —Jesus

Bible in a year: Ezekiel 33-34; 1 Peter 5

Ravi Zacharias Ministry –   A Prayer for Bread

Ravi Z

Huckleberry Finn first heard about prayer from Miss Watson, who told him that prayer was something you did everyday and that you’d get what you asked for. So he tried three or four times praying for hooks to complete his fishing line, but when he still didn’t get what he asked for decided that “No, there ain’t nothing in it.”

Prayer is a curious activity. It is one we seem, at times, regardless of belief or creed, almost inclined naturally toward, while other times, like Huck, almost as naturally conclude we either can’t make it work or conclude there ain’t nothing in it.

One day Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples asked him to teach them how to pray. Jesus said to them, “When you pray, say:

‘Father, hallowed be your name.

Your kingdom come.

Give us each day our daily bread.

And forgive us our sins,

for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.

And do not bring us to the time of trial.’”(1)

*The Lord’s Prayer, which Christian’s still hold and practice today, comes out of this context—that is, out of a plea for help with prayer and out of the praying of Jesus himself. It is not just the good advice Jesus had to offer about praying; it is his praying. In fact, giving his followers this prayer, Jesus, like John, was following a common rabbinic pattern. When a rabbi taught a prayer, he would use it to teach his disciples the most distinctive, concise, essential elements of his own teachings. Thus, disciples would learn to pray as their teacher prayed, and from then on, when a disciple’s prayer was heard, it would sound like that of his teacher’s prayers, bearing his own mark and posture before God.

As this suggests, when Christians pray the Lord’s Prayer today, it is simultaneously an offering of the voice of Jesus, a declaration of belonging to him, and a pronunciation of the lessons he wanted his followers most to learn.

Somewhat different than fishing hooks, the prayer for daily bread is foundational; a literal need. News of world food shortages, urban food deserts, the prevalence of malnourishment, and volatile food prices remind us with repetition that cries for basic provision are appropriate and necessary. Fifteenth century theologian Martin Luther spoke of the prayer for daily bread as the plea for “everything included in the necessities and nourishment for our bodies such as food, drink, clothing, shoes, house, farm, fields, livestock, money, property, an upright spouse, upright children, upright members of the household, upright and faithful rulers, good government, good weather, peace, health, decency, honor, good friends, faithful neighbors, and the like.”(2) In other words, bread is not merely the private concern of those who need something to eat. It is far broader than this, including far more than bread, and far more than isolated individuals before God. Our daily bread is something friends, neighbors, communities, economic situations, and governments affect collectively. Christ’s prayer for daily bread, then, is a prayer for food and clothing, but also for good neighbors, good rulers, and good conscience as we face need and want and hope together.

As such, a prayer for daily bread can be a reminder that we do not live in a vacuum before God or the world. Rather, we live in communities where we are responsible for one another. So if we pray for daily bread, like Jesus, we pray for God’s care and provision. But subsequently, we are praying against the things in life that prevent God’s provisions. This may well be corruption or systems of social injustice; it may also be our own hardened hearts, fearful dispositions, or a self-consumed and consuming living. When our neighbor prays for daily bread, our neighbor prays for our help.

To pray the words Jesus invited us to pray means we pray out of the same paradox in which Jesus prayed himself. He was both the Son who knew he would need the Father’s provision to get through the days before him and the Son who poured out his life for the crowds and individuals that needed him. Praying for daily bread, we are simultaneously the wealthy who can respond in gratitude for all that God has given us and the impoverished who cry out for the daily bread we need and the God who sustains all things. We are both the rich and the poor, united to our neighbors in ways we are constantly invited to imagine. We join ancient ancestors who prayed for physical nourishment in the desert, and with them know that we are still hungry. In difficult days, in plentiful days, the invitation of Christian prayer is the invitation of the Spirit to join in a united cry—”Give us this day our daily bread”—placed before the bread of life who comes to give life to the world.

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

(1) Luke 11:1-4.

(2) Martin Luther, “The Small Catechism,” The Book of Concord, 357.