Charles Stanley – Called to Serve

Charles Stanley

Matthew 20:20-28

Christians are identified by a variety of names in the Bible—such as believers, brothers, and saints—but one title we seldom call ourselves is “servants of Christ.” However, that is exactly what the Lord tells us to be. After His disciples wrangled about who was the greatest, Jesus turned their worldly thinking upside down with a call to become great in the kingdom by being a servant of all.

Christ is not just our Savior but also our Lord and Master, and we are to follow His example. Just as He served His Father by caring for people, so we serve our God by lovingly meeting the temporal and spiritual needs of those around us.

Service is essential for spiritual growth. God is always at work in the believer’s life, transforming his character into the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29). A major hindrance in this process is self-centeredness. Serving others is one of the tools that the Lord uses to set us free from the slavery of selfishness.

Service is required to achieve God’s purpose for our lives. The Lord has designed specific works for each of us to accomplish in our lifetime (Eph. 2:10). If we only take in and never give out, we will miss much of what He has planned for us.

Never forget that you have a high calling, which is realized only by lowering yourself to the level of a servant. Look for the opportunities that the Lord will give you today to serve someone. Take your place alongside Christ, who was the ultimate servant of all.

Our Daily Bread — Horse Power

Our Daily Bread

Job 39:19-25

I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. —Psalm 139:14

Think for a moment of the power, beauty, and majesty of a galloping horse—his head held high, his mane flying in the wind, and his legs working in unison to provide speed, power, and abandon.

What a wonderful example of God’s magnificent creation is the horse! God created it not just for our amazement and enjoyment but also as a complement to the human race (Job 39). Properly trained, the horse is fearless when we need a courageous companion. The horse was used to carry the soldier faithfully into conflict with speed (v.24) and anticipation (v.25).

Although God was using creation to teach Job about His sovereignty, we can also be reminded through this passage about our own value in God’s world. We are created not simply as a beautiful creature with a job to do but also as a creature made in God’s image. The power of the horse is amazing, but the value of each human transcends all other creatures.

God created us uniquely to have a relationship with Him and to live with Him forever. While we praise God for the magnificence of the creatures of nature, we also stand in awe that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Ps. 139:14). —Dave Branon

Thank You, our Almighty God and Father, for Your

creation. You have provided so many majestic

creatures for us to enjoy, but help us to recognize with

thankfulness the special place we have in creation.

Of all God’s creation, only humans can experience re-creation.

Bible in a year: Jeremiah 37-39; Hebrews 3

Insight

In the midst of his pain (Job 1–3), Job seeks to understand why he has to suffer so much. Instead of explaining why He allowed evil to exist or human beings to suffer (chs. 4–37), God confronted and confounded Job with more questions concerning His creation. Job 38–42 is not an explanation of why man has to suffer, but a revelation of who God is! God reveals Himself as Creator (ch. 38), Sustainer (ch. 39), and Controller of all creation (chs. 40–42). Job didn’t need to fully understand cosmology, meteorology, zoology, hippology, or God’s immutable ways (Isa. 55:8-9). He only needed to trust the omnipotent and transcendent Creator God who is “very compassionate and merciful” (James 5:11; see Job 42:2-3).

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Beyond Thoughts

Ravi Z

I would like to begin by telling a story about an event that took place some years ago when I was beginning my studies, an event that has had a major impact on my approach to the ministry to this day. I had a neighbor who was deeply committed to a version of the New Age movement. He and I had many conversations about God in the course of several months. He was a highly educated man with a couple of PhDs to his name, and so he provided me with an opportunity to test my training. But the training I was receiving in apologetics was good, and I soon realized that I could not only answer the questions he was asking about my faith in God, I could also poke holes in his worldview in a way that forced him to check books out of the local library to try and put his worldview back together. And I was feeling very good about myself. I was actually getting it!

Finally I decided to challenge him to consider giving his life to Christ. His reaction surprised me; he did not seem to care at all about what I was telling him. So I said to him, can you please explain to me what is going on? You don’t seem to care about what I am telling you. His answer was even more baffling to me. He said to me, “Listening to you asking me to become a Christian is like listening to a naturalist asking me to become a naturalist.”

I said to him, “What in the world do you mean. I just asked you to consider giving your life to the God who created you, and you are accusing me of being an atheist? What do you mean?”

He said to me, “All you Christians have are statements and creeds. You think that if people accept those statements and creeds, everything will be okay. When I pray, I get in touch with powers that you know nothing about.”

And that was one of the most convicting things anyone has ever said to me. Because what this man was saying to me was essentially this: “Yes, you can say a lot of very convincing things about your faith, but does your faith really rise beyond well-argued propositions?”

In his book, Beyond Opinion, Ravi Zacharias says that the greatest obstacle to the reception of the Gospel is not its inability to provide answers; it is the failure on the part of Christians to live it out. J. I. Packer writes similarly in his classic book, entitled, Knowing God: “From current Christian publications you might think that the most vital issue for any real or would-be Christian in the world today is church union, or social witness, or dialogue with other Christians and other faiths, or refuting this or that -ism, or developing a Christian philosophy and culture… it is tragic that….so many in our day seem to have been distracted from what was, is, and always will be the true priority for every human being—that is, learning to know God in Christ.”(1)

Whatever your position of faith, it is helpful to occasionally step back and ask a similar question of priority. Whatever your calling in life, what is the ultimate goal of all that you do?

The Bible addresses this question in many places, in both the Old and New Testaments, but none so much as in the person of Christ himself. If there is a message we hear loudest in his coming to earth it is this. The primary call of God is to know God, to be near God, not to serve God or to argue on God’s behalf. The end is knowing God. Even the scriptures were given to us a means to that end. For when all is said and done, when the dust settles, it is the eternally incarnate Son of God who lies behind the hauntingly inescapable question, “Who do you say that I am?” It is a question we must answer, with our words and with our lives. There is no neutral ground.

No, Christians don’t have only statements and creeds on which to stand. We stand on holy ground, before a holy God. And how wonderful it is when the curtain is pulled back, and we see God for Who God truly is, and we are able to say with Peter, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God?”

J.M. Njoroge is a member of the speaking team at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

(1) J. I. Packer, Knowing God (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1993), 279.

Alistair Begg – Power of Blood

Alistair Begg

This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you.    Hebrews 9:20

There is a strange power in the very name of blood, and the sight of it is always moving. A kind heart cannot bear to see a sparrow bleed and, unless familiarized by use, turns away with horror at the slaughter of a beast. As to the blood of men, it is a consecrated thing: It is murder to shed it in anger; it is a dreadful crime to squander it in war. Is this solemnity occasioned by the fact that the blood is the life, and the shedding of it the token of death? We think so. When we rise to contemplate the blood of the Son of God, our awe is greater yet, and we shudder as we think of the guilt of sin and the terrible penalty that the Sin-bearer endured. Blood, always precious, is priceless when it streams from Immanuel’s side.

The blood of Jesus seals the covenant of grace and makes it certain forever. Covenants of old were made by sacrifice, and the everlasting covenant was ratified in the same manner. What comfort that our salvation rests upon the sure foundation of divine commitments that cannot be dishonored! Salvation by the works of the law is a frail and broken vessel whose shipwreck is sure; but the covenant vessel fears no storms, for the blood ensures the whole. The blood of Jesus made His covenant valid. Wills are of no power unless the testators die.

In this light the soldier’s spear is a blessed aid to faith, since it proved our Lord to be really dead. There can be no doubt about that matter, and we may boldly appropriate the legacies that He has left for His people. Happy are they who see their title to heavenly blessings assured to them by a dying Savior. But does this blood not speak to us? Does it not bid us sanctify ourselves unto Him by whom we have been redeemed? Does it not call us to newness of life and incite us to entire consecration to the Lord? O that the power of the blood might be known and felt in us tonight!

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The family reading plan for November 6, 2014 * Hosea 12 * Psalm 135, 136

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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 – Let us pray

CharlesSpurgeon

“But it is good for me to draw near to God.” Psalm 73:28

Suggested Further Reading: James 4:1-8

Draw near to God with living, loving prayer; present the promise, and you shall obtain the fulfilment. Many things I might say of prayer; our old divines are full of high praise concerning it. The early fathers speak of it as if they were writing sonnets. Chrysostom preached of it as if he saw it incarnate in some heavenly form. And the choicest metaphors were gathered together to describe in rapturous phrase the power, nay, the omnipotence of prayer. Would to God we loved prayer as our fathers did of old. It is said of James the Less, that he was so much in prayer that his knees had become hard like those of a camel. It was doubtless but a legend, but legends are often based on truths. And certain it is that Hugh Latimer, that blessed saint and martyr of our God, was accustomed to pray so earnestly in his old age, when he was in his cell, that he would often pray until he had no strength left to rise, and the prison attendants had need to lift him from his knees. Where are the men like these? Oh angel of the covenant, where can you find them? When the Son of Man comes shall he find prayer on the earth? Ours are not worthy of the name of supplication. Oh that we had learned that sacred art, that would draw near to God, and plead his promise. Cowper has put several things together in one hymn.

Prayer clears the sky; “Prayer makes the darkened cloud withdraw.”

Prayer is a heaven-climber; “Prayer climbs the ladder Jacob saw.”

Prayer makes even Satan quake; “For Satan trembles when he sees,

The weakest saint upon his knees.”

For meditation: Do you regard your prayer-life as a dead, boring routine? May God teach us to draw near to him and enjoy the relationship in a living and meaningful way (Luke 11:1-4).

Sermon no. 288

6 November (1859)

John MacArthur – Leaving a Righteous Legacy

John MacArthur

“By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks” (Heb 11:4).

The character of your life will determine the legacy you leave to others.

Bible scholar James Moffatt wrote, “Death is never the last word in the life of a . . . man. When a man leaves this world, be he righteous or unrighteous, he leaves something in the world. He may leave something that will grow and spread like a cancer or a poison, or he may leave something like the fragrance of perfume or a blossom of beauty that permeates the atmosphere with blessing.”

That’s illustrated in the lives of Adam and Eve’s first sons: Cain and Abel. Cain was an unrighteous man who sought to please God by his own efforts. God rejected him (Gen. 4:5). Abel was a righteous man who worshiped God in true faith. God accepted Him (v. 4).

In a jealous rage, Cain murdered Abel, becoming the first human being to take the life of another. He forever stands as a testimony to the utter tragedy of attempting to please God apart from true faith. For “without faith,” Hebrews 11:6 says, “it is impossible to please Him.” Cain tried and failed—as have millions who have followed in his footsteps.

Abel, on the other hand, was the first man of faith. Prior to the Fall, Adam and Eve had no need of faith in the same way as their descendants. They lived in the paradise of Eden and had direct contact with God. Their children were the first to have need of faith in its fullest sense.

Cain’s legacy is rebellion, heartache, and judgment. Abel’s is righteousness, justice, and saving faith. His life proclaims the central message of redemption: righteousness is by faith alone.

What legacy will you leave to those who follow? I pray they will see in you a pattern of righteousness and faithfulness that inspires them to follow suit.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Praise God for righteous Abel and all who have followed his example.
  • Ask Him to guard you from ever rebelling against His Word.

For Further Study

Read Genesis 4:1-16 and 1 John 3:11-12.

  • What was God’s counsel to Cain after rejecting his offering?
  • Why did Cain kill Abel?
  • How did God punish Cain?

Joyce Meyer – Experience God’s Peace and Rest

Joyce meyer

The Lord . . . has given peace and rest to His people. —1 Chronicles 23:25

This declaration of David speaks of a God who has faithfully given peace and rest to His people—down through the ages, and still today.

In your busy world, your days are often filled to overflowing with all kinds of work and activities that can drain you of your physical energy and leave your mind reeling from the sheer volume.

I’m sure it was the same in David’s day. The pace may have been slower but the responsibilities were just as demanding and draining. But David knew the secret to receiving the goodness of God was thanking and praising the Lord both morning and evening.

If you feel drained from a trying day, spend some quiet time with the Lord before you go to bed. Tell Him how much you thank Him and praise Him for being with you today . . . and for the peace and rest you are about to experience as you lie down to sleep.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – How to Obey God’s Laws

dr_bright

“So now we can obey God’s laws if we follow after the Holy Spirit and no longer obey the old evil nature within us” (Romans 8:4).

Are you not glad that the Word of God make things so simple? If we really want to obey God’s laws, His resources are available to us. First and foremost, the Holy Spirit abides within to guide us. While it is true that we have all of the Holy Spirit at the time of conversion, we cannot expect the full blessing and power of God until the Holy Spirit has full control of all of us.

As we appropriate the fullness of His Holy Spirit by faith, we are supplied with supernatural power to obey God’s laws. That supernatural power, even, is contingent upon our cooperation in that we must not only commit ourselves to the Holy Spirit but we must also be familiar with the Word of God if we are indeed to obey its commands.

Obedience is a key word in the Christian life. This verse points it out quite clearly, for we either obey God’s laws or we obey the old evil nature. The choice is ours as we are controlled and empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Someone has well pointed out that all of life, really, is nothing more nor less than a series of choices. The secret of the successful Christian life is in making the right choices. And even the wisdom to make the right choices is available – as a gift from God.

That leaves us, you and me, without excuse. We can, if we choose, through the enabling of the Holy Spirit, obey God’s laws and thus accomplish His purpose for us as believers.

Bible Reading: Galatians 5:16-26

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Drawing upon the supernatural resources of the Holy Spirit I choose to obey God’s laws rather than yield to the pull of my old evil nature

Presidential Prayer Team; H.L.M. – Godly Foundation

ppt_seal01

The Ten Commandments are a summary of the law given to God’s people through Moses. Jesus’ summary in the book of Matthew also adds “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Yet, just like the Ten Commandments, it reflects God’s expectations for His followers: to love Him and to love people.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

Matthew 22:37

The Pilgrims are a great example of people who embraced these biblical principles. Ninety-nine percent of the colonial population professed to be followers of the Lord. Their purpose, as stated in the Mayflower Compact, was to plant colonies “for the glory of God and advancement of the Christian faith.” In fact, the Pilgrims’ reason for coming to America was to share the gospel with the Native Americans.

As you spend time with the Lord, remember to thank Him for blessing America with a unique heritage rooted in the Bible. Remember also to look for daily opportunities to share His love through your actions and your words. Intercede for your local and national leaders to embrace a true love for God and His commandments. Pray, finally, that Americans would embrace God’s purposes for this country.

Recommended Reading: Deuteronomy 6:1-9

Greg Laurie – Needing a Recharge     

greglaurie

O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and glory. Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you! —Psalm 63:1–3

When I travel, I take my laptop with me to work on my messages. But often I must work off the battery, so whenever I have the opportunity, I will plug in to the nearest electrical outlet. Why? Because my battery runs down and needs a recharge.

Sometimes that’s the way it is for us as believers. We come to church and get plugged in spiritually. Then we try to run off that energy all week long. We don’t realize we need the power of Christ at all times, in every situation, every conversation, every circumstance in which we find ourselves. In other words, we need a constant power source. We need to be plugged in all the time.

In Psalm 63, David was praying, “Lord, I want to walk with you all the time. Yes, I have seen your glory in the sanctuary, but I want that all week long.”

I can’t help but think of the prophet Elijah, who became physically, emotionally, and spiritually depleted in his warfare with the enemies of God. An angel of the Lord found him curled up under a bush in the desert, wanting to die. The angel provided him with some bread, let him rest, and then woke him up for another heavenly meal. The angel said, “Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you” (1 Kings 19:7). We, too, become run down and spiritually depleted. And God has a wonderful meal waiting for us every day in the Word of God, served by the Holy Spirit Himself.

Elijah needed to plug in again, and so do we. We need to make time for God and His Word in our day. Sometimes that means just grabbing it where we can. Read some Scripture verses when you get up in the morning. Listen to some worship or a Bible study on your way to work or school. Take the moments where you can find them to plug in and stay tapped into all that God has for you.

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

Max Lucado – Strength in Prayer

Max Lucado

Jesus prayed! He would even disappear for an entire night of prayer. I’m thinking of one night in particular. The day began with the news of the death of John the Baptist. Grief-stricken, Jesus sought to retreat with His disciples, yet spent the day teaching and healing people who followed him. When it was discovered the crowd had no food, Jesus multiplied bread out of a basket and fed the entire multitude. In the span of a few hours, he battled sorrow, stress, demands and needs. He deserved to rest. Yet when evening came, he told the crowd to leave and the disciples to board their boat.

Mark 6:46 tells us, “He went up into the hills by himself to pray.” Lord, teach us to pray like that! To find strength in prayer. Teach us to experience a heart connection with God instead of settling for a prayer wish list for God!