Charles Stanley – God’s Special People

Charles Stanley

1 Peter 2:9-10

Sometimes, even believers have trouble remembering their purpose in life. In the busyness of our day-to-day activities, it is rather easy to forget how wonderfully and purposefully designed we are in the eyes of our Creator. Yet 1 Peter 2:9-10 brings our focus back to God, showing us that He made us to be . . .

  1. A chosen race. You did not have to fight for a place in the house of the Lord. Instead, He chose you. The God of the universe actively sought you out because He wanted an unending relationship with you. You were selected by God Himself!
  2. A royal priesthood. In the days of the Old Testament, a king could not be a priest, and a priest could not be a king. The two offices were separate and distinct. However, in Christ, God has called every believer into a new category. We are now sons and daughters of the King, and we have unrestricted, intimate access to almighty God. We are royal priests.
  3. A holy nation. The word holy simply means “set apart.” The Holy Spirit has sealed all believers as children of God (Eph. 4:30), and nothing can ever dissolve their relationship with the Father.
  4. God’s own possession. Do you realize how valuable you are to the heavenly Father? You are worth so much to Him that He purchased your eternal salvation at great cost: the life of His only Son (1 Cor. 6:20).

Nothing about you takes our omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent God by surprise. He made you to be His representative in the world and therefore knows you completely. Does your life reflect your God-given position?

Our Daily Bread — Mosaic

Our Daily Bread

Ephesians 2:10-22

We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works. —Ephesians 2:10

For 3 weeks every fall season, our city becomes an art gallery. Nearly 2,000 artists from around the world display their creations in galleries, museums, hotels, parks, city streets, parking lots, restaurants, churches, and even in the river.

Among my favorite entries are mosaics made from small pieces of colored glass. The winning entry in 2011 was a 9 x 13-foot stained-glass mosaic of the crucifixion by artist Mia Tavonatti. While viewing the artwork, I heard the artist discuss how many times she had cut herself while shaping the pieces of glass for her mosaic.

As I gazed at the beautiful rendition of what was a horrific event, I saw more than a representation of the crucifixion—I saw a picture of the church, the body of Christ. In each piece of glass I saw an individual believer, beautifully shaped by Christ to fit together into the whole (Eph. 2:16,21). In the artist’s story, I recognized the shedding of Jesus’ blood so that this unity could take place. And in the finished artwork, I saw the act of love required to complete the project despite pain and sacrifice.

We who believe in Christ are a work of art created by God to show the greatness of a Savior who makes something beautiful out of the broken pieces of our lives. —Julie Ackerman Link

The church’s one foundation

Is Jesus Christ her Lord,

She is His new creation,

By water and the Word. —Stone

Christ gave everything to make something beautiful of His church.

Bible in a year: Jeremiah 24-26; Titus 2

Alistair Begg – Folly of Doubt

Alistair Begg

…and they were unaware until the flood came, and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.    Matthew 24:39

The doom was universal. Neither rich nor poor escaped: the learned and the illiterate, the admired and the despised, the religious and the profane, the old and the young all sank in one common ruin. Some had doubtless ridiculed the preacher, but where were their merry jests now? Others had threatened Noah for his zeal, which they regarded as madness. What happened to their boastings and hard speeches? The critic who judged the old man’s work drowns in the same sea that covers his sneering companions. Those who spoke patronizingly of the good man’s faithfulness to his convictions, but did not share them, have sunk to rise no more, and the workers who for pay helped to build the wondrous ark are all lost also. The Flood swept them all away and made no single exception. Even so, outside of Christ, final destruction is sure to everyone; no rank, possession, or character will be enough to save a single soul who has not believed in the Lord Jesus. My soul, consider this widespread judgment and tremble at it.

How incredible was the general apathy! They were all eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the awful morning dawned. There was not one wise individual upon earth outside of the ark. Folly duped the whole race: folly as to self-preservation, the most fooling of all follies. Folly in doubting the most true God: the most malignant foolishness. Is it not strange, my soul? All men are negligent of their souls until grace gives them reason; then they leave their madness and act like rational beings, but not until then.

All, blessed be God, were safe in the ark; no ruin entered there. From the huge elephant down to the tiny mouse all were safe. The timid hare was equally secure with the courageous lion, the helpless lamb as safe as the laborious ox. All are safe in Jesus. My soul, are you in Him?

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The family reading plan for November 1, 2014 * Hosea 7 * Psalm 120, 121, 122

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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 security of the Church

CharlesSpurgeon

“As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about his people from henceforth even for ever.” Psalm 125:2

Suggested Further Reading: Jude 17-25

As the Church always has been preserved, the text assures us she always will be, henceforth even for ever. There is a nervous old woman here. Last Saturday night she read the newspaper, and she saw something about five or six clergymen going over to Rome: she laid down her spectacles, and she began crying, “Oh! The Church is in danger, the Church is in danger.” Ah! Put your spectacles on; that is all right; never mind about the loss of those fellows. Better gone; we did not want them; do not cry if fifty more follow them; do not be at all alarmed. Some church may be in danger, but God’s church is not. That is safe enough; that shall stand secure, even to the end. I remember with what alarm some of my friends received the tidings of the geological discoveries of modern times, which did not quite agree with their interpretation of the Mosaic history of the creation. They thought it an awful thing that science should discover something which seemed to contradict the Scriptures. Well, we lived over the geological difficulty, after all. And since then there have been different sets of philosophic infidels, who have risen up and made wonderful discoveries; and poor timid Christians have thought, “What a terrible thing! This surely will be the end of all true religion; when science can bring facts against us, how shall we be able to stand?” They just waited about another week, and suddenly found that science was not their enemy, but their friend, for the Truth, though tried in a furnace, like silver seven times, is ever a gainer by the trial. To those that hate the church, she shall ever be a thorn in your side! Oh! you that would batter her walls to pieces, know this, that she is impregnable.

For meditation: The enemies of the church build on an unsteady foundation of deliberately ignoring facts (2 Peter 3:5). The church is built on the immovable rock Christ Jesus (Matthew 16:18) and she shall not be moved (Psalm 46:5).

Sermon no. 161

1 November (1857)

John MacArthur – The Heroes of Faith

John MacArthur

“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval” (Heb. 11:1-2).

Christian faith produces righteous deeds.

Hebrews 11 has been called “The Heroes of Faith,” “The Faith Chapter,” “The Saints’ Hall of Fame,” “The Honor Roll of the Old Testament Saints,” and “The Westminster Abbey of Scripture.” Those are appropriate titles because this chapter highlights the virtues of faith as demonstrated in the lives of great Old Testament saints. It also reminds us that without faith, it is impossible to please God.

Such a reminder was necessary for the first-century Hebrew people because Judaism had abandoned true faith in God for a legalistic system of works righteousness. Its message is valid today since our devotion to Christ can easily degenerate into a religion of rules and regulations.

While affirming the primacy of faith, the writer of Hebrews doesn’t undermine the importance of righteous works. Quite the contrary. He exhorts us “to stimulate one another to love and good deeds” (10:24) and to pursue holiness so others will see Christ in us and be drawn to Him (12:14).

Yet righteous works are the by-product of true salvation, not its means. As the apostle Paul wrote, “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10). Apart from faith, all attempts to please God through good works alone are as useless and offensive to Him as filthy rags (Isa. 64:6). That’s why Paul gladly set all his Jewish legalistic practices aside, counting them as rubbish. He wanted only “the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith” (Phil. 3:9).

This month we’ll study the heroes of faith listed in Hebrews 11. As we do, remember they weren’t perfect people. But their faith was exemplary and by it they gained God’s approval. I pray that’s true of you as well.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Thank God for the gift of faith.
  • Undoubtedly you know people who are trying to please God by their own efforts. Pray for them and take every opportunity to tell them of true salvation through faith in Christ

For Further Study

Select one of the individuals mentioned in Hebrews 11 and read the Old Testament account of his or her life.

Joyce Meyer – Shake It Up

Joyce meyer

And He Who is seated on the throne said, See! I make all things new. —Revelation 21:5

Although I want to be dependable and faithful, I don’t always want to be predictable. Sometimes I get bored with myself, and I have to ask God for a creative idea to shake up my life a little.

Doing something outrageous means different things to different people. For one it might mean climbing Mount Everest and to another it might mean a clothing style change. I have always liked lots of glitz and everything very fancy. My children kept trying to get me to keep up with changing styles and I firmly resisted for quite a while. They kept saying, “C’mon Mom, start styling.” At first I told them, “I can’t dress like that; I am sixty-two.”

Then God told me to stop making decisions based on my age, and I decided I would do something outrageous, something totally unexpected, and change my dress code. My children finally convinced me that just because I was in my sixties, I didn’t have to dress like it. They wanted me to wear jeans, boots, and belts hanging on my hips. One day I made a decision that I was going to shock them, so I changed my wardrobe style. I have decided that from now on I am going to dress up-to-date no matter how old I am.

Lord, keep me fresh and new and alive in my attitudes and perspectives. Help me to shake it up today and break out of my rut. Amen.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – A Place Prepared for You

dr_bright

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself, that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:3, KJV).

Recently my 93-year-old father went to be with the Lord. Though I was saddened to realize that I would never see him again in this life, and I shed a few tears of sorrow for myself, at the same time I rejoiced in the knowledge that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.

My father is now rejoicing in the presence of our wonderful God and Savior. One day I shall join with him, my mother (who is still living at 93), all my brothers and sisters who have declared their faith in Christ, and multitudes of other loved ones, friends and saints to spend eternity in that place where “eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard…what God hath prepared for those who love Him.”

“I cannot think what we shall find to do in heaven,” mused Martin Luther. “No change, no work, no eating, no drinking, nothing to do.”

“Yes,” responded a friend, “‘Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us.'”

“Why, of course,” said Luther, “that sight will give us quite enough to do!”

Joy of joys, you and I not only have been given purpose and power for living the supernatural, abundant life – by the indwelling Holy Spirit – but we have also been promised a place in His presence when this life is over. And, as Luther realized, we will then worship Him face to face throughout the endless ages of eternity.

We need not know exactly what heaven will be like; we need only know who will be there – our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. That assurance and anticipation should motivate us to live the kind of supernatural life that burdens and concerns us about the needs of others, moment by moment, day by day.

Bible Reading: John 14:27-31

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Today I will meditate on the glory and beauty of my heavenly Father and my eternal home where I shall worship and have fellowship with my Lord throughout eternity. I will encourage loved ones, friends and strangers alike to prepare to go there also when their work on earth is done

Presidential Prayer Team; G.C. – Prepare

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Do you believe you are living in the last days of human history? Many do, loudly heralding the nightly news as proof of the beginning of tribulations and the imminent return of Christ to Earth. What can you do to manage the precarious days in which we live?

Then Joshua said to the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.”

Joshua 3:5

After forty years of wandering in the wilderness, the nation of Israel was on the brink of entering a new land and a new era in their history. On the eve of their procession, Joshua told them to consecrate themselves in preparation to receive God’s provision. The word “consecrate” means to separate oneself from anything that would hinder a good relationship with God. America’s first president followed that example. After taking the oath of office, George Washington walked directly to St. Paul‘s Chapel to kneel before God, dedicating his service and America’s future.

General George S. Patton said, “Prepare for the unknown by studying how others in the past have coped with the unforeseeable and the unpredictable.” Today, prepare for whatever lies ahead – first with thanksgiving for God’s past blessings, and then in humble dedication to God’s provision for the future.

Recommended Reading: Psalm 77:1-3, 11-15

Greg Laurie – Finish with Joy     

greglaurie

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. —1 Corinthians 9:24

There are some events in the Olympics that don’t interest me at all. When it comes to track and field, however, I really sit up and take notice. I love to watch the runners—whether it’s relay races, long distance runs, or the short sprints. (Probably because I ran track in high school.)

During a recent Olympics, I was watching one of the long distance events. One of the runners started off back in the pack. Gradually he moved up toward the middle. With about four laps to go, he suddenly broke ahead and took the lead. I thought, Is he going to make it? Could he possibly win? But it wasn’t to be. In those last laps he fell back again. The next thing I knew, he was in second place, third place, fourth place, fifth place. He didn’t even win a medal.

I know what it’s like to be in the last lap of a race. You’re giving it your all, but your legs feel like rubber—as if you have no control over them. They feel like they are burning inside, and it’s so difficult to just keep running, let alone reach for a burst of speed.

The apostle Paul often used athletic terms to describe what it is to be a Christian. In today’s opening passage, He wrote about running in such a way as to receive the prize. He told the Ephesians that he had finished his race with joy.

Let’s not quit running our race. Let’s run to win a prize. Let’s finish with joy. In a normal race, we know where the finish line is. We know how many miles or laps we have to run to finish the contest. But when it comes to life, you and I don’t really know when we will round that last bend or run that last step. Even though we think we have a long way to go, we might be right at the tape. What an encouragement to live each day for Jesus as though it were our last.

Run well today. Reach for the prize.

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