Charles Stanley – Clothed With Power

Charles Stanley

Luke 24:44-49

The power of the Holy Spirit is the dynamic, supernatural control and authority of almighty God. It is the strength by which we are enabled to serve. Tragically, too many of God’s people attempt to carry out supernatural work in their own human strength.

The Spirit of God indwells all believers. But there is a considerable distinction between having the Holy Spirit within us and the Holy Spirit releasing His power in our life. Consider the difference between a sedan and a race car. Both vehicles run, but what is under the hood of the race car makes it far more powerful than the sedan. When God’s Spirit enables you, your performance will be like that of a race car.

We often think that the power of the Holy Spirit is available only to pastors and missionaries. However, the truth is that this power is offered to every person who is willing to serve God and meet the requirements given in Scripture. First, we must be convicted of our inadequacy. This means acknowledging we cannot work for God without the aid of His Spirit. Next, recognizing and admitting our inadequacy grows out of a pure life. Confessing sin and repenting are necessary to maintain fellowship with God. When we allow deliberate sin to enter our life, we short-circuit the power of the Holy Spirit. Finally, every person who appropriates divine energy has an active prayer life.

When we trust in God to provide the stamina for the work He calls us to do, we are clothed in power. Is your confidence in yourself or in Him?

Our Daily Bread — God Whispers “Fish”

Our Daily Bread

Luke 5:1-10

From now on you will catch men. —Luke 5:10

A number of years ago our sons and I enjoyed some days together drifting and fishing the Madison River in Montana with two fishing guides who also served as our boatmen.

The guide I drew was a man who had lived on the river all his life and knew where the big trout held. He was a quiet man who spoke scarcely two dozen words in all the time he was with us, but his few words enlivened my days.

We were fishing with small flies in choppy water. My eyesight was not what it once was, and I was missing most of the takes. My guide—who was also a soul of patience—began to alert me by murmuring “fish” when he saw a trout rising under the fly. When I heard his cue, I lifted the tip of my rod and . . . voilà! A trout on the end of my line!

I’ve often thought of that guide and Jesus’ declaration to His fishermen-disciples, “From now on you will catch men” (Luke 5:10). There are great opportunities that come our way every day—people circling around us, searching for that elusive “something” for which their souls crave—occasions to show the love of Christ and speak of the hope that is in us. These are opportunities we might miss if not alerted.

May the Great Angler, who knows every heart, whisper “fish” in our ears and may we have ears to hear. —David Roper

All through this day, O Lord, let me touch as

many lives as possible for You—through the words

I speak, the prayers I breathe, the letters I write,

and the life I live.

When the Spirit prompts, take action.

Bible in a year: Ezekiel 27-29; 1 Peter 3

Insight

Luke 5:1-10, where Jesus called Simon Peter to be a disciple, was probably the third time the two had met. The first time was in John 1:40-42, where Andrew, himself a new follower of Christ, brought Simon to Jesus. The second seems to be in Mark 1:29-31, when Jesus healed Simon’s mother-in-law.

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The Embodied Song of Lament

Ravi Z

A sales receipt long tucked between the pages of a book can tell a story of its own. I am known for using the receipt handed to me at checkout as a bookmark for the purchase I don’t wait long to read. Discovered years later, it often seems like a clue, giving away a snapshot of a former day—the date of the transaction, the location of the store, the other books I bought along with the one I chose to read first. Something more seems to be said about the book itself and the thoughts going through my head at the time—a memoir chosen on a road-trip far from home, a hardback on spirituality acquired during a transition in college majors. It is a glimpse at myself in time, a day in the past speaking to the present one: I was here. I was searching. I was alive.

A receipt fell out of a book I was rereading not too long ago. It was tucked in the pages of a small book depicting the fragmented thoughts of a grieving father. Written by a professor of philosophical theology, Lament for a Son relays the beating heart and exasperated soul of a man forced by a tragic accident to bury his son at 25. The sales receipt that marked the pages furthered the illustration of grief therein. The book was purchased exactly a year after my father died.

There is a language of loss that we share as humans, though many of us need help remembering how to speak it. Rediscovering the memory of sitting in a bookstore on an anniversary that almost seemed offensive, I am struck with this thought. We need the language of lament–not a language that simply tries to transport us elsewhere. We need permission to voice the broken hope within our wary bodies.. We need to know lament is a song we are allowed to sing presently, as is.

In the preface of Lament for a Son, author Nicholas Wolterstorff relays a brief interchange with a friend who told him that he had given copies of the book to all of his children. Confused, Wolterstorff asked why he would want to give away a book of so much despair and pain. “Because it is a love-song,” came the reply. Returning to the preface, the author writes, “Yes, it is a love-song. Every human lament is a love-song.” And then he asks a question that begins not the escape, but the outpouring that is the entire book: “Will love-songs one day no longer be laments?”

I remember a story recounted by a Christian counselor that utters a similar sentiment. A woman who had a history of abuse and a difficult past had been coming for treatment and had been showing signs of healing. Yet one day the woman came in and announced what she felt was another sign of her brokenness that needed to be worked on. She described her recent tendency to cry in the presence of her physician as he showed concern for her as a person with significant health problems. She felt her tears were an indication of something more that needed to be examined.

The counselor immediately thought of the woman in the gospels who responded to Jesus with weeping, even washing his feet with her tears and drying them with her hair. Luke writes, “[A]s she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them” (Luke 7:38). Her tears seem at once an expression of life, marking in gratitude the feet of the one who gave voice to the lament within her—in the context of a love-song. The woman in counseling identified immediately with this physical reaction to Christ, eventually learning to see her own tears as a lament of a world that is marked by suffering, and a sign of the God who knows all too well this sting.

The message of a human and wounded Jesus Christ is powerfully relevant to a hurting world. We live before a God who gives us reason to utter the words of loss in the pits of our stomachs, even as we are given the gift a God who physically bore our sorrow.  If every human lament is a love-song, Jesus is the embodied hope that God is singing in the midst of it, perhaps at times using our own tears to call us toward his own broken body and the stripes that mercifully, thankfully heal.

Alistair Begg – The Master Builder

Alistair Begg

For whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice, and shall see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel.  Zechariah 4:10

Small things marked the beginning of the work in the hand of Zerubbabel, but none should despise it, for the Lord had raised up one who would persevere until the work was completed with shouts of joy. The plumb line was in good hands. Here is the comfort of every believer in the Lord Jesus. Let the work of grace be ever so small in its beginnings, the plumb line is in good hands. A master builder greater than Solomon has undertaken to raise the heavenly temple, and He will not fail nor be discouraged till the pinnacle shall be raised. If the plumb line were in the hand of any merely human being, we might fear for the building, but the pleasure of the Lord will prosper in Jesus’ hand.

The works did not proceed irregularly and without care, for the master’s hand carried a good instrument. If the walls had been built in a hurry without proper supervision, they might have been out of line; but the plumb line was used by the chosen overseer. Jesus is always watching the construction of His spiritual temple, to ensure that it is built securely and well. We are for speed, but Jesus is for judgment. He will use the plumb line, and that which is out of line must come down, every stone of it. This explains the failure of many a flattering work, the overthrow of many a glittering profession. It is not for us to judge the Lord’s Church, since Jesus has a steady hand and a true eye and can use the plumb line well. Do we not rejoice to see judgment left to Him?

The plumb line was in active use—it was in the builder’s hand, a sure indication that he meant to bring the work to completion. Lord Jesus, how glad we would be to see You at Your great work. O Zion, the beautiful, your walls are still in ruins! Rise, glorious Builder, and make her desolations to rejoice at Your coming.

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The family reading plan for November 26, 2014 * Micah 1 * Luke 10

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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 – Preaching! Man’s privilege and God’s power!

CharlesSpurgeon

“For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.” Mark 6:20.

Suggested Further Reading: James 1:19-25.

If you would hear the word to profit, you must hear it obediently. You must hear it as James and John did, when the master said “Follow me,” and they left their nets and their boats and they followed him. You must do the word as well as hear it, yielding up your hearts to its sway, being willing to walk in the road which it maps, to follow the path which it lays before you. Hearing it obediently, you must also hear it personally for yourselves, not for others, but for yourselves alone. You must be as Zaccheus, who was in the sycamore tree, and the Master said, “Zaccheus, make haste and come down; for today I must abide at thy house.” The word will never bless you till it comes home directly to yourself. You must be as Mary, who when the Master spoke to her she did not know his voice, till he said unto her, “Mary”, and she said, “Rabboni.” There must be an individual hearing of the truth, and a reception of it for yourself in your own heart. Then, too, you must hear the truth penitently. You must be as that Mary, who when she listened to the word, must needs go and wash the feet of Jesus with her tears, and wipe them with the hairs of her head. There must be tears for your many sins, a true confession of your guilt before God. But above all you must hear it believingly. The word must not be unto you as mere sound, but as matter of fact. You must be as Lydia, whose heart the Lord opened; or as the trembling gaoler, who believed on the Lord Jesus with all his house and was baptized immediately. You must be as the thief, who could pray, “Lord, remember me,” and who could believe the precious promise given, “Today shalt thou be with me in Paradise.”

For meditation: To want to hear the preaching of God’s Word and to enjoy hearing it are good things as far as they go, but by themselves they do not go far enough (Ezekiel 33:30-32).

Sermon no. 347

26 November (Preached 25 November 1860)

John MacArthur – Rejecting the World’s Passing Pleasures

John MacArthur

“By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin” (Heb. 11:24-25).

The world has little to offer compared to the riches of Christ.

For forty years Moses enjoyed the best of everything Egypt had to offer: formidable wealth, culture, education, and prestige (Acts 7:22). Yet he never forgot God’s promises toward his own people, Israel.

Then, “when he was approaching the age of forty, it entered his mind to visit his brethren, the sons of Israel. And when he saw one of them being treated unjustly, he defended him and took vengeance for the oppressed by striking down the Egyptian. And he supposed that his brethren understood that God was granting them deliverance through him; but they did not understand” (vv. 23-25).

Somehow Moses knew he was to deliver his people from Egyptian oppression. Although it would be another forty years before he was fully prepared for the task, by faith he forsook the pleasures and prestige of Egypt and endured ill-treatment with God’s chosen people.

Humanly speaking, Moses made a costly choice. He seemed to be sacrificing everything for nothing. But the opposite was much more the case since Moses considered “the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the [greater] reward” (Heb. 11:26).

Sometimes obedience to Christ seems very costly, especially when evil people prosper while many who faithfully serve God suffer poverty and affliction. Asaph the psalmist struggled with the same issue: “Behold, these are the wicked; and always at ease, they have increased in wealth. Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure” (Ps. 73:12-13).

But be assured that the eternal rewards of Christ far outweigh the passing pleasures of sin. The wicked have only judgment and hell to look forward to; you have glory and heaven. So always choose obedience, and trust God to guide your choices, just as He did with Moses.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Praise God that the righteous will one day be fully rewarded.
  • Seek God’s grace to be obedient when you’re faced with difficult choices.

For Further Study

Read Stephen’s account of Moses in Acts 7:20-39.

 

Joyce Meyer – You Can’t “Catch” Holiness

Joyce meyer

Thus says the Lord of hosts: Ask now the priests to decide this question of law: If one carries in the skirt of his garment flesh that is holy [because it has been offered in sacrifice to God], and with his skirt or the flaps of his garment he touches bread, or pottage, or wine, or oil, or any kind of food, does what he touches become holy [dedicated to God’s service exclusively]? And the priests answered, No! [Holiness is not infectious.] Then said Haggai, If one who is [ceremonially] unclean because he has come in contact with a dead body should touch any of these articles of food, shall it be [ceremonially] unclean? And the priests answered, It shall be unclean. [Unholiness is infectious.]—Haggai 2:11-13

Holiness has been defined as “separation to God,” a separation that should result in “conduct befitting those so separated.” In the New Testament, the same Greek word translated holiness is also translated sanctification, which the Greek dictionary says “cannot be transferred or imputed.” That means that holiness is an individual possession, one that is built up little by little. It cannot be given to or taken from another person.

In other words, you and I cannot become holy by going through a prayer line or by having hands laid on us or by associating with someone else who is holy. As we see in this passage from the Old Testament prophet Haggai, unholiness is infectious; holiness is not. What that means is that you and I can associate with someone who is living a sinful life, and that individual’s sinfulness can rub off on us. We can catch it like a disease.

But holiness is not like that. It can’t be picked up by contact or exposure; it has to be chosen on purpose.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Calm in the Storm

dr_bright

“Immediately after this, Jesus told His disciples to get into their boat and cross to the other side of the lake while He stayed to get the people started home. Then afterwards He went up into the hills to pray. Night fell, and out on the lake the disciples were in trouble. For the wind had risen and they were fighting heavy seas. About four o’clock in the morning Jesus came to them, walking on the water! They screamed in terror, for they thought He was a ghost. But Jesus immediately spoke to them, reassuring them. ‘Don’t be afraid!’ He said” (Matthew 14:22-27).

I had flown at least a couple of million miles in the last thirty years, but this was the most violent storm I had ever encountered. Vonette and I were on our way from New York City to Washington, when suddenly the airplane began to buck like a wild mustang with its first rider. It felt as though no one was in control. The lightening was constant and for nearly fifteen minutes we seemed to be surrounded by a ball of fire. We had good reason to believe that the plane would soon plummet to earth.

The disciples had shouted to the Lord, “Save us, we’re sinking!” In the same manner, Vonette and I began to pray.

Then, as we called upon God, our petitions turned to praise and thanksgiving. We were reminded of the biblical storm and we prayed, “Oh Lord, You have not lost Your power over nature. We ask You to still the storm and to save us, though we’re ready to meet with You if need be. If You have something yet for us to do in this life, we ask You not to allow the enemy to destroy us and all these other passengers.”

Almost immediately the turbulence stopped. The plane was righted, and we continued on our course, though we discovered later that the plane had been severely damaged.

One of the greatest blessings to come from this experience was the indescribable peace that enveloped us as we considered that at any moment we could plummet to earth and our lives could be snuffed out. I asked the Lord why the disciples were so fearful during the storm while Vonette and I had such peace and confidence that He was in control. The answer was that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, etc, and the disciples had not yet been filled with the Spirit at the time of their Galilean storm experience. Later they went to their martyrs’ deaths with the same peace that God gives to all who place their faith and trust in Him.

Bible Reading: John 6:16-21

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: The mighty power which Jesus demonstrated when He walked this earth centuries ago still abides in Him, and He abides in me. Therefore, I shall claim supernatural miraculous power whenever the occasion demands

Presidential Prayer Team; J.R. – Spider Salvation

ppt_seal01

A young Marine whose name is lost to history was separated from his unit in the jungles of Saipan during a fierce battle of World War II. He crawled into a cave as the enemy approached and awaited the inevitable. The Japanese were meticulously flushing out and executing stragglers, and there was no chance they would overlook the Marine’s hideout. “Lord,” he prayed, “if it be your will, please protect me. But whatever your will, I love and trust you. Amen.”

The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

James 5:16

As he sat in terror while the enemy drew closer, he caught sight of a lone spider as it spun a strand of silk across the cave entrance. “Lord, what I need is a brick wall,” the Marine thought, “and you send me a spider web!” But when the Japanese approached a few minutes later, they looked at the cave entrance and continued on their way…reasoning that no one could be inside because the intricate and fragile spider web was undisturbed.

As you pray for America and her leaders today, remember that God’s ways are higher – and often quite different – than yours. It is not for you to question His means or His timing. Just do His will, pray ceaselessly, and trust that He will respond faithfully.

Recommended Reading: Psalm 91:1-8

Greg Laurie – The Man in Satan’s Grip  

greglaurie

When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him. —Isaiah 59:19

In Mark 5, the Bible tells us of a man who was possessed by demons, had superhuman strength, and was able to break chains with his bare hands. This dangerous and frightening man lived among the tombs and on the mountains.

But underneath this horrendous exterior was a tortured soul. It’s a picture of Satan’s ultimate goal. This is really what the Devil wants to do. He wants to destroy your life. Although it’s true that God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life, it’s also true that Satan hates you and has a horrible plan for your life. The Devil knows his judgment is certain. He knows that Jesus is indeed coming again. For that reason, he’s pulling out all the stops, redoubling his efforts.

The good news is that although the Devil may be feverishly at work 24/7, God isn’t sleeping, either!

This story had a very happy ending. Jesus came into this poor, tormented man’s life and made him into an altogether different kind of a person. Jesus cast out the legion of demons, which went into a herd of pigs . . . and over a cliff into the sea. It was a dramatic transformation for this man.

Jesus can transform your life, too. Let Him lift up a standard against the Enemy in your life today.

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

Max Lucado – Thank God—For Everything

Max Lucado

A person never runs out of reasons to say “thanks.” Just the word lifts the spirit!  To say, “thanks” is to celebrate a gift. Something. Anything. In Scripture the idea of giving thanks is not a suggestion or a recommendation. It’s a command. It carries the same weight as “love your neighbor” and “give to the poor.” More than a hundred times, either by imperative or example, the Bible commands us to be thankful.

If quantity implies gravity, God takes thanksgiving seriously. Ingratitude is the original sin. Adam and Eve had a million reasons to give thanks. They lived in a perfect world. Then Satan slithered into the garden and, just like that, Eden wasn’t enough. Oh, the hissing we hear. “Don’t you want more?”

So thank God. Moment by moment. Day by day. Thank him…for everything!

From Before Amen