Charles Stanley – Is It a Need or a Desire?

Charles Stanley

Romans 8:32

In the fourth chapter of Philippians, Paul declares that God will “supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (v. 19). When we read that passage and apply it to our daily lives, we must be careful to interpret it correctly.

For that to happen, it’s imperative that we understand the difference between needs and desires. A need is something that is essential in order for you and me to each become the person God desires us to be or to accomplish the things He’s called us to do. On the other hand, a desire is something we believe will bring enjoyment to our lives. The key word here is enjoyment, which describes a temporary pleasure; we tend to desire things that will bring us happiness for a season but then fades away.

It’s important to note that there is absolutely nothing wrong with a desire, as long as it’s within God’s will and is an outflow of a Spirit-filled life. God is a wonderful, loving heavenly Father who loves to shower His grace upon us (Matt. 7:11). However—and this is critical—we must remember that God never promises to supply all of our desires. He surely provides many of them, but only at His discretion and for His own glory. Therefore, your inability to acquire a large-screen television, for example, is not indication that God is unfaithful.

What do you need in order to become the person God has called you to be? What do you desire that will help you gain more enjoyment in life? Keep a list of these things, and make both categories a regular part of your prayer life.

Our Daily Bread — The Warmth Of The Sun

Our Daily Bread

Psalm 6

I am weary with my groaning; all night I make my bed swim; I drench my couch with my tears. —Psalm 6:6

On a November day in 1963, the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson and Mike Love wrote a song quite unlike the band’s typically upbeat tunes. It was a mournful song about love that’s been lost. Mike said later, “As hard as that kind of loss is, the one good that comes from it is having had the experience of being in love in the first place.” They titled it “The Warmth of the Sun.”

Sorrow serving as a catalyst for songwriting is nothing new. Some of David’s most moving psalms were penned in times of deep personal loss, including Psalm 6. Though we aren’t told the events that prompted its writing, the lyrics are filled with grief, “I am weary with my groaning; all night I make my bed swim, I drench my couch with my tears. My eye wastes away because of grief” (vv.6-7).

But that’s not where the song ends. David knew pain and loss, but he also knew God’s comfort. And so he wrote, “The LORD has heard my supplication; the LORD will receive my prayer” (v.9).

In his grief, David not only found a song, he also found reason to trust God, whose faithfulness bridges all of life’s hard seasons. In the warmth of His presence, our sorrows gain a hopeful perspective. —Bill Crowder

Heavenly Father, life can be so wonderful, but also so

hard. Help us to seek You in the good times as well as

the bad. Help us to always be mindful that You are our

sure hope in a world that doesn’t always seem to care.

A song of sadness can turn our hearts to the God whose joy for us is forever.

Bible in a year: Ezekiel 18-19; James 4

Insight

This individual lament, a prayer of penitence, was written by David during a time of prolonged and severe distress (Ps. 6:2-3,5). His plight emboldened his enemies to launch a personal attack and to gloat over his misfortune (vv.7-8,10). David acknowledged that his trouble was a consequence of specific wrongdoings committed, and that God was angry and was disciplining him (v.1). Anguished by his lack of intimacy with God and exhausted by his sorrowing over his sins, in repentance David, on the basis of God’s mercies (vv.2,4), asked for forgiveness, favor, and restoration. David concluded his prayer with the assurance that those who truly repent will receive God’s mercy (vv.9-10).

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – What’s the fuss about Zeitgeist?

Ravi Z

Questions and Answers seeks to address today’s frequently asked apologetic and theological questions. RZIM staff writers will present resources for further study, and concise responses for specific questions. RZIM envisions Questions and Answers as a first step in pursuing further study, resources, and responses to many challenging questions concerning the Christian faith.

 

Zeitgeist, The Movie is one of the latest installments of internet media out to debunk Christianity.    Zeitgeist has created a furor with over one million viewers tuning in on Google.  The movie claims that Christianity is simply one among many of the “dying god” myths.

In addition, the book Shattering the Christ Myth deals specifically with the “dying god” myths on which Zeitgeist is based.  An online apologetics site, Tektonics, provides additional bibliographic resources for further study, as well.

With regards to the claim that all religious systems essentially believe the same thing or have the same origin, one simply needs to examine world religions to know that is not true.  World religions make very different claims about the nature of reality, why we are here, where we are going, and what is the nature of all the evil in the world.  For a comprehensive look at World Religions, you may want to take a look at any or all of the following resources:

  1. Winfried Corduan, Neighboring Faiths (InterVarsity Press).
    2. Dean Halverson, Compact Guide to World Religions (Bethany House).
    3. Stephen Neill, The Christian Faith and Other Faiths (InterVarsity Press)
    4. Harold Netland, Dissonant Voices (Eerdmans)

 

Finally, if you want to explore more, some have found Nicholas Perrin’s book, Lost In Transmission: What We Can and Cannot Know about the Words of Jesus, to be a helpful resource.  Perrin discusses the “Christ myths,” and provides an excellent defense of the New Testament as a trustworthy and reliable source for knowing the real Jesus.

 

An excellent critique of the Zeitgeist movie can be found on Dr. John Stackhouse’s blog and at the Centre for Public Christianity

 

Alistair Begg – The Cornerstone of the Building

Alistair Begg

The power of his resurrection. Philippians 3:10

The doctrine of a risen Savior is exceedingly precious. The resurrection is the cornerstone of the entire building of Christianity. It is the keystone of the arch of our salvation. It would take a volume to set out all the streams of living water that flow from this one sacred source, the resurrection of our dear Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. But to know that He has risen, and to have fellowship with Him as such—communing with the risen Savior by possessing a risen life, seeing Him leave the tomb by leaving the tomb of worldliness ourselves—this is even more precious still. The doctrine is the basis of the experience, but as the flower is more lovely than the root, so is the experience of fellowship with the risen Savior more lovely than the doctrine itself.

I would have you believe that Christ rose from the dead so as to sing of it and derive all the consolation that it is possible for you to extract from this well-affirmed and well-witnessed fact; but I beseech you, do not rest contented even there. Though you cannot, like the disciples, see Him visibly, yet I urge you to aspire to see Christ Jesus by the eye of faith; and though, like Mary Magdalene, you may not touch Him, yet you may be privileged to converse with Him and to know that He is risen, you yourselves being risen in Him to newness of life.

To know a crucified Savior as having crucified all my sins is a high degree of knowledge; but to know a risen Savior as having justified me, and to realize that He has bestowed upon me new life, having made me a new creature through His own newness of life—this is a noble style of experience. Short of it, none should rest satisfied. May you both “know him and the power of his resurrection.” Why should souls who are made alive with Jesus wear the grave—clothes of worldliness and unbelief? Rise, for the Lord is risen.

________________________________________

The family reading plan for November 22, 2014 * Jonah 1 * Luke 6

________________________________________

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

Charles Spurgeon – The loved ones chastened

CharlesSpurgeon

“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” Revelation 3:19

Suggested Further Reading: Job 12:1-6

See how the righteous are cast down. How often is virtue dressed in the rags of poverty! How frequently is the most pious spirit made to suffer from hunger, and thirst, and nakedness! We have sometimes heard the Christian say, when he has contemplated these things, “Surely, I have served God in vain; it is for nothing that I have chastened myself every morning and vexed my soul with fasting; for lo, God hath cast me down, and he lifteth up the sinner. How can this be?” The wise of the heathen could not answer this question, and they therefore adopted the expedient of cutting the intricate knot. “We cannot tell how it is,” they might have said; therefore they flew at the fact itself, and denied it. “The man that prospers is favoured of the gods; the man who is unsuccessful is obnoxious to the Most High.” So said the heathen, and they knew no better. Those more enlightened people who talked with Job in the days of his affliction, did not get much further; for they believed that all who served God would have a hedge about them; God would multiply their wealth and increase their happiness; while they saw in Job’s affliction, as they conceived, a certain sign that he was a hypocrite, and, therefore God had quenched his candle and put out his light in darkness. And alas! Even Christians have fallen into the same error. They have been apt to think that if God lifts a man up, there must be some excellence in him; and if he chastens and afflicts, they are generally led to think that it must be an exhibition of wrath. Now hear the text, and the riddle is all made clear; listen to the words of Jesus, speaking to his servant John, and the mystery is solved. “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”

For meditation: God is good to his children, both providing for them and disciplining them (Deuteronomy 8:1-5). Teachings such as the “Prosperity Gospel” and “Healing being in the Atonement” miss the point that such blessings are guaranteed to the believer only in the Glory (Revelation 21:3-7).

Sermon no. 164

22 November (1857)

John MacArthur – The Reluctant Patriarch

John MacArthur

“By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even regarding things to come” (Heb. 11:20).

When you disobey God, you forfeit joy and blessing.

Isaac is a fascinating Old Testament character. He was Abraham’s long-awaited son, the covenant child, the child of promise. Yet aside from that, he was rather ordinary, passive, and quiet. Just over two chapters of Genesis center on him, whereas the other patriarchs (Abraham, Jacob, and Joseph) command about twelve chapters each.

In the final analysis, Isaac believed God and submitted to His will. But overall, his spiritual character seems more reluctant than resolute.

After a famine prompted Isaac to move his family to Gerar (a Philistine city on the border between Palestine and Egypt), he received a vision from the Lord. In it God passed on to Isaac the covenant promises He had made to Abraham: “Sojourn in this land and I will be with you and bless you, for to you and to your descendants I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I swore to your father Abraham. And I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven, and will give your descendants all these lands; and by your descendants all the nations of the earth shall be blessed” (Gen. 26:3-4).

You would think such promises would infuse Isaac with boldness and confidence, yet no sooner had he received them, then he lied to the men of Gerar about his wife, Rebekah, because he feared they might kill him to have her (v. 7).

It was only with great difficulty and prodding that the Lord finally brought Isaac into the Promised Land, where He once again repeated the covenant promises (vv. 23-24).

Later in his life Isaac even sought to bless his son Esau after Esau had sold his birthright to Jacob (25:33). Only after he realized that God’s choice of Jacob was irreversible did Isaac acquiesce.

Isaac is a vivid reminder of how believers can forfeit joy and blessing by disobeying God. But he’s also a reminder of God’s faithfulness—even toward reluctant saints.

Is your obedience reluctant or resolute?

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Thank God for His unwavering faithfulness to you.
  • Seek His forgiveness when your obedience is reluctant or withheld altogether.
  • Ask Him to teach you to love Him in the same unwavering, resolute way He loves you.

For Further Study

Read of Isaac in Genesis 25:19—26:34.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Mighty Weapons

dr_bright

“I use God’s mighty weapons, not those made by men, to knock down the devil’s strongholds. These weapons can break down every proud argument against God and every wall that can be built to keep men from finding Him. With these weapons I can capture rebels and bring them back to God, and change them into men whose hearts’ desire is obedience to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4,5).

Joe came to share with me how his leader in a particular Christian organization had been most unfair to him. He was being relieved of his responsibilities and replaced by another who, in his opinion, was not nearly as well qualified. As we talked it became apparent that Satan easily could sabotage the ministry.

After listening to Joe’s grievances for some time, seeking to know the truth of the matter, I inquired as to his walk with God. “Is there any sin in your life? Do you know for sure that you’re filled with the Holy Spirit?” Then I brought the other party into private conference and inquired as to his relationship with God. “Is there any sin in your life? Do you know for sure that you’re filled with the Holy Spirit?” Both assured me that they were filled with the Spirit and that they genuinely desired to know and do the will of God. I was convinced that they were both sincere.

How then could two men without sin in their lives and who claimed to be filled with the Holy Spirit be at such odds? I sought further truth. In the meantime, we brought to bear the weapons of prayer and the Word of God. God says that when brothers are at odds we should claim in prayer the release of His supernatural wisdom to resolve the matter, and, finally, claim by faith that Satan will be routed, that all of his influence will be overcome.

The counseling required several hours. I talked to one individual, then the other, then both of them together. Finally, we were on our knees praising God and then embracing each other, and the men genuinely felt that their relationship with each other and with the Lord had been fully restored. Satan had lost another battle. Another miracle had happened. Another tragedy had been averted and the Body of Christ had been spared another scandal.

What are those weapons? A holy life, the Holy Spirit, prayer, the Word of God, faith, truth – these are the weapons of God for supernatural warfare. Learn how to use them for His glory.

Bible Reading: Ephesians 6:10-17

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Whenever Satan attacks me, or I observe conflicts in the Body of Christ due to his influence, I will seek to defeat him by using God’s mighty weapons and will teach other Christians how to apply them in times of spiritual battle

Presidential Prayer Team; H.L.M. – Shining Light

ppt_seal01

The late President Ronald Reagan once said, “The source of our strength in the quest for human freedom is not material, but spiritual.” It was evident that Reagan was a political leader whose Christian faith helped shaped his presidency – and changed the world. He also is remembered for a presidency that restored optimism to America. During his funeral service, former U.S. Senator John Danforth referred to verses from the book of Matthew in his message.

The glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.

Revelation 21:23

“You are the light of the world, a city set on a hill cannot be hid,” said Danforth, quoting the first verse in the passage. “It was [Reagan’s] favorite theme from his first inaugural address to his final address from the oval office. For him, America was the shining city on a hill.”

Give thanks for those leaders in America who love the Lord and who publicly proclaim their faith. Ask God to give them courage to shine His light everywhere they go and in all the decisions they make. Then consider how you can be more available to God to declare the light of His love to your neighbors and coworkers to His glory!

Recommended Reading: I John 5:1-12

Greg Laurie – Ready and Willing        

greglaurie

Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” —Acts 8:30

Tell me, was the prophet talking about himself or someone else?

That was the question the Ethiopian dignitary had for Philip (see Acts 8:34, NLT). It’s a good thing Philip knew the Bible because if he didn’t, he would have had to say, “I don’t know. Can I get back to you?” But this was an opportunity that had to be seized.

That is why the Bible reminds us time and time again to prepare ourselves for such opportunities. Paul wrote to Timothy, “Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15, NLT).

Philip had prepared himself for the opportunity that was waiting for him. And you must prepare yourself for the opportunity that might be waiting for you today, tomorrow, or the next day.

I have found that when I am sharing the gospel—whether it’s preaching or one on one—the most powerful tool I have is the Word of God. In speaking of His Word, God said,

The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it. (Isaiah

55:10-11, NLT)

I know that Greg Laurie’s word can accomplish zero sometimes. But God’s Word “always produces fruit” (verse 11). Let’s hide it in our hearts and minds. Then, like Philip, we’ll be ready for the opportunities God sends our way.

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