Charles Stanley – Fear or Faith?

Charles Stanley

Ephesians 5:15-17

Many believers will go through life missing divine opportunities because they are afraid to live as God intends. Fear can paralyze us into inaction—then our life fills with lost chances to serve, minister, or see the Lord’s work up close. Consider the 11 disciples who stayed in the boat when Peter got out and walked to Jesus. How many times must each man have regretted choosing safety over the intense joy of stepping on water next to the Son of God? But Andrew, John, and the others missed their opportunity. Unfortunately, many Christians stay in the boat all their lives. At the end, these same folks probably wonder why their lives seemed empty.

We easily succumb to fear’s potency when we attempt to endure trouble in our own strength. We weren’t created to live in such a way. God designed us to function best when we allow Jesus Christ’s divine power to supplant our weakness. As he stood on the surface of the Sea of Galilee, Peter looked around at the fierce wind and remembered that no human can walk on water. His own strength was inadequate to keep him afloat, and he quickly sank. Jesus’ greater power was sufficient to lift Peter from the sea and carry them both safely to the boat.

Apprehension can paralyze the believer and consequently freeze the Lord’s plan. But responding with faith to God’s directions unleashes divine power and sets His work in motion. The moment that we step out of the boat and move away from the familiar boundaries of our limited strength, we walk by faith.

Our Daily Bread — A Different Outcome

Our Daily Bread

Proverbs 30:1-9

Give us this day our daily bread. —Matthew 6:11

When the man learned he had won hundreds of millions of dollars, he expressed noble desires. He wanted to start a charitable foundation, put laid-off workers back on the job, and do nice things for his family. Already wealthy, he told reporters that this wouldn’t change him.

A few years later, a follow-up article described a different outcome. Since winning, the man had run into legal problems, lost his personal reputation, and squandered away all of his money.

A thoughtful man by the name of Agur wrote words that anticipate such heartbreak. Brought low by the awareness of his own natural inclinations (Prov. 30:2-3), Agur saw the dangers of having too much or too little. So he prayed, “Give me neither poverty nor riches—feed me with the food allotted to me; lest I be full and deny You, and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or lest I be poor and steal, and profane the name of my God” (vv.8-9).

Agur saw the special challenges that come both with wealth and poverty, but also with our own tendencies. Each gives us reason for caution. Together they show our need for the One who taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” —Mart DeHaan

Lord, as we seek Your face today to ask for what we

need, help us to keep in mind that You are as wise in

what You don’t give us as what You do give us. So often,

You rescue us from our own sinful tendencies. Thank You.

Discontentment makes rich people poor, while contentment makes poor people rich.

Bible in a year: Ezekiel 1-2; Hebrews 11:1-19

Insight

The book of Proverbs is known for its practical wisdom. It provides insight into relationships, work ethic, wealth, education, and many other topics. Yet despite the many words of instruction intended to make us wise and help us to live rightly, there are reminders to be humble regardless of our level of wisdom or knowledge. Agur’s humility (30:2-3) came from recognizing who God is and who he is in relationship to God (vv.4-5). Proper recognition of God leads to an appropriate response to Him (vv.7-9).

Alistair Begg – God’s Power on Our Behalf

Alistair Begg

Summon your power, O God, the power, O God, by which you have worked for us.   Psalm 68:28

It is wise, as well as necessary, to beseech God continually to strengthen what He has worked in us. Failure to do so finds many Christians blaming themselves for those trials and afflictions of spirit that arise from unbelief. It is true that Satan seeks to flood the fair garden of the heart and make it a scene of desolation, but it is also true that many Christians leave open the floodgates themselves and let in the dreadful deluge as a result of carelessness and lack of prayer to their strong Helper.

We often forget that the Author of our faith must be the Preserver of it also. The lamp that was burning in the temple was never allowed to go out, but it had to be replenished every day with fresh oil; in the same way, our faith can only live by being sustained with the oil of grace, and we can only obtain this from God Himself. We will fail if we do not secure the needed sustenance for our lamps. He who built the world upholds it, or it would fall in one tremendous crash. He who made us Christians must maintain us by His Spirit, or our ruin will be speedy and final.

So let us, then, evening by evening, go to our Lord for the grace and strength we need. We have a strong argument to plead, for it is His own work of grace that we ask Him to strengthen—”the power . . . by which you have worked for us.” Do you think He will fail to protect and provide that? Let your faith simply take hold of His strength, and all the powers of darkness, led by the master fiend of hell, cannot cast a cloud or shadow over your joy and peace. Why faint when you can be strong? Why suffer defeat when you may conquer? Take your wavering faith and faltering graces to Him who can revive and replenish them, and earnestly pray, “Summon your power, O God . . . by which you have worked for us.”

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The family reading plan for November 15, 2014 * Amos 4 * Psalm 148, 149, 150

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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 – Awake! Awake!

CharlesSpurgeon

“Therefore let us not sleep as do others; but let us watch and be sober.” 1 Thessalonians 5:6

Suggested Further Reading: Titus 1:7- 2:8

“Let us watch.” There are many that never watch. They never watch against sin; they never watch against the temptations of the enemy; they do not watch against themselves, nor against “the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eye, and the pride of life.” They do not watch for opportunities to do good, they do not watch for opportunities to instruct the ignorant, to confirm the weak, to comfort the afflicted, to succour them that are in need; they do not watch for opportunities of glorifying Jesus, or for times of communion; they do not watch for the promises; they do not watch for answers to their prayers; they do not watch for the second coming of our Lord Jesus. These are the refuse of the world: they watch not, because they are asleep. But let us watch: so shall we prove that we are not slumberers. Again: let us “be sober.” Albert Barnes says, this most of all refers to abstinence, or temperance in eating and drinking. Calvin says, not so: this refers more especially to the spirit of moderation in the things of the world. Both are right: it refers to both. There be many that are not sober; they sleep, because they are not so; for insobriety leadeth to sleep. They are not sober—they are drunkards, they are gluttons. They are not sober—they cannot be content to do a little business—they want to do a great deal. They are not sober—they cannot carry on a trade that is sure—they must speculate. They are not sober—if they lose their property, their spirit is cast down within them, and they are like men that are drunken with wormwood. If on the other hand, they get rich, they are not sober: they so set their affections upon things on earth that they become intoxicated with pride.

For meditation: The Christian in the pew should aim at the same standards as those which he expects to see in the Christian in the pulpit (1 Corinthians 11:1).

Sermon no. 163

15 November (1857)

John MacArthur – Rebuking the World

John MacArthur

“By faith Noah . . . condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith” (Heb 11:7).

Your actions and words should rebuke our godless society.

Genesis 6:5 says, “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Before moving in judgment against the most evil and corrupt society in history, God appointed Noah to build an ark, which became a symbol of life and salvation to all who believed God. For those who disbelieved, it represented impending death and judgment.

Concurrent with constructing the ark, Noah preached about coming judgment. Peter called him “a preacher of righteousness” (2 Pet. 2:5), and every board he cut and nail he drove in was a living illustration of the urgency of his message.

God’s warning was stern and His message horrifying, but His patience and mercy prevailed for 120 years. As Peter said, “The patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark” (1 Pet. 3:20). The people had ample warning of judgment, but they chose to disregard Noah’s message.

As sad as the account of Noah’s day is, perhaps the greatest tragedy is that man’s attitude toward God hasn’t changed since then. Jesus said, “The coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. For as in those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking, they were marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away, so shall the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matt. 24:37-39).

Like Noah, you are to proclaim righteousness to an evil and perverse generation by your works and your life. Be faithful to do so even if people don’t want to listen. After 120 years of diligent work and faithful preaching by Noah, only eight people entered the ark. But God’s purposes were accomplished and the human race was preserved.

Suggestions for Prayer; Sometimes you’ll encounter people who scoff at God’s judgment and mock your testimony. Don’t be discouraged. Pray for them and be available to minister to them whenever possible.

For Further Study; Read 2 Peter 3. What effect should the prospect of future judgment have on your present behavior?

Joyce Meyer – Enjoy Life Like a Child

Joyce meyer

Unless you repent (change, turn about) and become like little children [trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving], you can never enter the kingdom of heaven. —Matthew 18:3

As a believer you can have the abundant quality of life that comes from God. He is not impatient or in a hurry. He takes time to enjoy His creation, the works of His hands. And He wants you to do the same.

Joy is available to you if you know how to tap into it. I have learned that simplicity brings joy and complication blocks it. Instead of getting entangled with the complications of religion you must return to the simplicity of believing and maintaining a Father/child relationship.

God wants you to approach life with childlike faith. He wants you to grow up in your behavior but remain childlike in your attitude of trust and dependence on Him. Let your Father tuck you in tonight. Living your life with the simplicity of a child will change your whole outlook in a most amazing way.

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Overwhelming Love

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“But despite all this, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ who loved us enough to die for us” (Romans 8:37).

Today I prayed with a beloved friend who is dying of cancer. As he and his precious wife and I held hands, we lifted our voices in praise to God, knowing that He makes no mistakes, that “all things work together for good to those who love Him,” and that he is fully aware of my brother’s body riddled with pain as a result of cancerous cells that are on a warpath. Together we claimed that victory which comes from an unwavering confidence in Christ’s sufficiency.

The victory comes, of course, through Christ who loved us enough to die for us. Such love is beyond our ability to grasp with our minds, but it is not beyond our ability to experience with our hearts. God’s love is unconditional and it is constant. Because He is perfect, His love is perfect, too.

The Scriptures tell of a certain lawyer who asked Jesus, “Sir, which is the most important command in the Law of Moses?”

Jesus replied, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. The second most important is similar: Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”

The question may come to your mind: “Why does God want our love?”

From a human standpoint, this could appear selfish and egotistical. But God, in His sovereignty and love, has so created man that he finds his greatest joy and fulfillment when he loves God with all his heart and soul and mind, and his neighbor as himself.

Early in my Christian life, I was troubled over the command to love God so completely. But now the Holy Spirit has filled my heart with God’s love. And as I meditate on the “overwhelming victory” that He gives us, I find my love for Him growing.

Bible Reading: Romans 8:35-39

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: His great love and “overwhelming victory” for me prompts me to respond with supernatural love for Him and for others

Presidential Prayer Team; C.H. – Stick to Your Roots

ppt_seal01

Tabasco is famous for their hot sauce. This iconic condiment label is known as a “heritage brand.” Started by Edmund McIlhenny in 1868, the company now has fifth generation family working in its midst. Its business ideal to stick to its roots generated success.

It was seen that they were better in appearance and fatter in flesh than all the youths who ate the king’s food.

Daniel 1:15

The prophet Daniel was a “heritage” man as well. When Daniel was taken into exile and placed in the king’s courts, he politely refused the royal food. He didn’t want to risk eating something considered ceremonially unclean by Jewish standards. As today’s verse shows, in keeping with his faith and Jewish heritage, Daniel was healthier than any of the other men in the court. Daniel’s faith was so strong others could actually see a difference in him.

Can others see your belief in God? In a society where success and money are hailed as king, it’s easy to move away from a Christian heritage. Ask God to make your walk with Him apparent in all you do. Praise Him for your nation’s leaders, and pray for them to remember the Christ-centered ideal this country was built upon.

Recommended Reading: Daniel 1:8-20

Greg Laurie – The Person God Uses

greglaurie

Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.

—Colossians 3:23

When I was eighteen and a new believer, I quickly came to understand where the phrase starving artist came from. All I knew how to do was draw cartoons, so I was doing that as well as some freelance graphics on the side. I was trying to make ends meet, but most of all, I longed to be used by God. So I would hang around Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, waiting for an opportunity just to do something.

One day one of the pastors said to me, “Greg, I need you to do something for the church.” I said, “What is it?” Preach the gospel to the ends of the earth? Pray for the sick? I’m ready. Here am I, send me!

“We need you to buy a doorknob.”

“A doorknob?”

“Yes,” he said. “We need you to go to Sears and buy a new doorknob for the church door.”

It was a little job, but I was excited for the opportunity. I was on a mission from God to buy a doorknob. I went to Sears. There must have been three hundred kinds of doorknobs in every size, shape, and finish. I finally bought one and took it back to the church. I was so excited. (It turned out to be the wrong size . . . but I tried!)

Are you excited for any opportunity to serve the Lord, even if it’s a little one? The issue really isn’t big jobs or little jobs. It’s that you are doing it for the Lord. Is that fact alone enough for you? Is it enough that God would want to guide you and use you? If so, then you’re the kind of person He is looking for right now.

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