Charles Stanley – Praying in the Spirit

Charles Stanley

John 14:16-21

I am convinced that if Christians truly understood what takes place during prayer, they would call upon the Lord more often and with greater results. The believer’s prayer isn’t simply spoken into empty space; the Holy Spirit is there to guide us in offering God-centered requests, to fill in words we fail to say, and to carry our needs before the Lord.

The Holy Spirit is part of the Trinity, so He knows the mind of God intimately (1 Cor. 2:11). Since He, like the Father, is omniscient and omnipotent, He fully grasps the circumstance we are praying over—even the parts that remain unseen or utterly confusing to us. Also, the Spirit dwells within every believer and knows each one’s mind and heart. With this full knowledge, the Holy Spirit can carry out His responsibility to make our petitions match God’s desires. To that end, He speaks in our spirit and opens our mind to Scripture.

The fact that God gives His Spirit to all believers reveals the value He places on communication between Him and His children. Our Father provides the best possible Helper to ensure that we can be prayer warriors—wise, strong in faith, and fully yielded to Him. But we are none of those things unless we are habitually talking with the Lord.

Christians never have to feel guilty for being uncertain about how to pray. The indwelling Holy Spirit knows our needs and desires—as well as the mind of the Father and the details of every situation. He speaks to God on our behalf while teaching us to pray in accordance with the Father’s will.

Our Daily Bread — Better Than Before

Our Daily Bread

2 Kings 5:1-15

[Naaman’s] flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child. —2 Kings 5:14

As infants, my children had nearly perfect skin. Their flesh was soft—they had no dry elbows or rough patches on their feet. Smooth and new, it contrasted with mine, which was marked by years of various scars and callouses.

As a mighty warrior and the commander of the Syrian army, Naaman may have had scuffed skin and battle scars, but he also had a serious skin disease—leprosy. When a servant suggested that the prophet Elisha could heal him, Naaman visited him. He followed Elisha’s instructions, and his diseased flesh became “like the flesh of a little child” (2 Kings 5:14). This cure left Naaman better off both physically and spiritually. After being healed, he proclaimed, “Now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel” (v.15). Through this miraculous experience, he learned that there is only one true God (1 Cor. 8:6).

Like Naaman, we can learn important lessons about God as a result of our life experiences. Receiving a blessing may show us about His mercy and goodness (Matt. 7:11). Surviving or enduring a trial may help us see God’s sufficiency and care. Growing in knowledge of Him (2 Peter 3:18) will always leave us better off spiritually than we were before. —Jennifer Benson Schuldt

Father, help me to learn more about You

as I travel through this world. Let this

knowledge inspire fresh praise in my heart

and a desire to become more like You.

Lessons about God are embedded in life experiences.

Bible in a year: Daniel 3-4; 1 John 5

Insight

Naaman’s journey of faith started with humility. It was only when he listened to his young slave girl (2 Kings 5:2-4), followed the instructions of Elisha’s servant and his own servants, and humbled himself by washing in the Jordan River that he received healing (vv.8-14).

Alistair Begg – A Golden Sash

Alistair Begg

…with a golden sash around his chest.   Revelation 1:13

One like “a son of man” appeared to John in Patmos, and the beloved disciple noticed that He wore “a golden sash.” A sash, for Jesus was never unprepared while on earth, but always stood ready for service; and now before the eternal throne He continues His ministry as our great High Priest. It is good for us that He has not ceased to fulfill His offices of love, since it is one of our choicest safeguards that He ever lives to make intercession for us. Jesus is never lazy; His garments are never loose as though His offices were ended; He diligently carries on the cause of His people. A golden sash, to declare the superiority of His service, the royalty of His person, the dignity of His state, the glory of His reward. He no longer cries out of the dust, but He pleads with authority, a King as well as a Priest. Our cause is safe enough in the hands of our enthroned Redeemer.

Our Lord presents all His people with an example. We must never unbind our sashes. This is not the time for lying down to rest; it is the season of service and warfare. We need to bind the sash of truth more and more tightly around us. It is a golden sash, and as such it will be our richest ornament. And we greatly need it, for a heart that is not well braced up with the truth as it is in Jesus and with the faithfulness that is fashioned by the Spirit will be easily entangled with the things of this life and tripped up by the snares of temptation. We possess the Scriptures in vain unless we bind them around us like a sash, surrounding our entire nature, keeping each part of our character in order, and giving compactness to our whole being. If in heaven Jesus does not remove the sash, neither should we upon earth. Stand, therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth.

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The family reading plan for December 6, 2014 * Habakkuk 1 * Luke 20

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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 Destroyer destroyed

CharlesSpurgeon

“That through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.” Hebrews 2:14

Suggested Further Reading: Genesis 3:1-15

At last the day arrived; it was telegraphed to the court of hell that at last Christ would die. They rung their bells with hellish mirth and joy. “He will die now,” said he; “Judas has taken the thirty pieces of silver. Let those scribes and Pharisees get him, they will no more let him go than the spider will a poor unfortunate fly. He is safe now.” And the devil laughed for very glee, when he saw the Saviour stand before Pilate’s bar. And when it was said, “Let him be crucified,” then his joy knew no bounds, except that bound which his own misery must ever set to it. As far as he could, he revelled in what was to him a delightful thought, that the Lord of glory was about to die. In death, as Christ was seen of angels, he was seen of devils too; and that dreary march from Pilate’s palace to the cross was one which devils saw with extraordinary interest. And when they saw him on the cross, there stood the exulting fiend, smiling to himself. “Ah! I have the King of Glory now in my dominions; I have the power of death, and I have the power over the Lord Jesus.” He exerted that power, till the Lord Jesus had to cry out in bitter anguish, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” But, how short-lived was hellish victory! How brief was the Satanic triumph! He died; and “It is finished!” shook the gates of hell. Down from the cross the conqueror leaped, pursued the fiend with thunder-bolts of wrath; swift to the shades of hell the fiend did fly, and swift descending went the conqueror after him.

For meditation: The powers of darkness enjoyed only an hour of apparent victory over the Lord Jesus Christ (Luke 22:53), but it resulted in his victory procession with them on public display as his captives (Colossians 2:15).

Sermon no. 166

6 December (1857)

John MacArthur –The Heir of All Things

John MacArthur

“In these last days [God] has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things” (Heb. 1:2).

Since Jesus is the Son of God, He is the heir of all that God possesses.

When Christ first came to earth He became poor for our sakes, that we, through His poverty, might be made rich (2 Cor. 8:9). He had nothing for Himself—He had “nowhere to lay His head” (Luke 9:58). Even His clothes were taken from Him when He died, and He was buried in a tomb that belonged to someone else.

It is beyond our understanding to imagine that the Galilean carpenter who was crucified like a common criminal, naked and bleeding on a cross outside the city of Jerusalem, is the King of kings and Lord of lords. But He is!

As the Son of God, Jesus is the heir of all that God possesses. The apostle Paul explains that all things not only were created by Christ but also for Him (Col. 1:16). Everything that exists will find its true meaning only when it comes under the final control of Christ.

The psalms predicted that Christ would one day be the heir to all that God possesses. The Father, speaking to the Son, says, “Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Thine inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Thy possession'” (Ps. 2:8). God also declared, “I also shall make Him My first-born, the highest of the kings of the earth” (Ps. 89:27; cf. Col. 1:15). “First-born” refers to legal rights—especially those of inheritance and authority.

When Christ comes to earth again, He will completely and eternally inherit all things (Rev. 11:15). And because we have trusted in Him, we are to be “fellow heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:16-17). When we enter into His eternal kingdom, we will jointly possess all that He possesses. We will not be joint Christs or joint Lords, but will be joint heirs. His marvelous inheritance will be ours as well.

Suggestions for Prayer; Thank God for making you a joint heir with Christ. Thank your Lord for allowing that to happen through His death on the cross.

For Further Study; Read Revelation 5:1-14 and 11:15-18, noting how the inhabitants of heaven respond to Christ.

Joyce Meyer – He Wants to Be Involved in Everything

Joyce meyer

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. —Romans 8:14

Being led by the Holy Spirit means allowing Him to be involved in every decision we make, both major and minor. He leads us by peace and by wisdom, as well as by the Word of God. He speaks in a still, small voice in our hearts, or what we often call “the inward witness.” Those of us who desire to be led by the Holy Spirit must learn to follow the inward witness and respond quickly.

For example, if we are engaged in a conversation, and we begin to feel uncomfortable inside, it may be the Holy Spirit signaling us that we need to turn the conversation in another direction or be quiet. If we are about to purchase something, as we feel uncomfortable inside, we should wait and discern why we are uncomfortable. Perhaps we don’t need the item, or we may find it on sale somewhere else, or it may be the wrong time to buy it. We don’t always have to know why; we simply need to obey.

I remember being in a shoe store one time. I had chosen several pairs of shoes to try on when I suddenly felt very uncomfortable. This discomfort increased until I finally heard the Holy Spirit say, “Get out of this store.” I told Dave we had to go, and out we went. I never knew why, and I do not need to know. Maybe God saved me from some harm that was coming my way, or perhaps the people in the store were involved in something unethical. Maybe it was just a test of obedience. As I have said, we don’t always have to know why God leads us in certain ways. Our part is simply to obey His voice.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – The Way to Wisdom

dr_bright

“For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of His mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler for them that walk uprightly” (Proverbs 2:6,7, KJV).

One of my brothers and a sister and I recently stood at the bedside of our 93-year-old mother. The doctor and nurses had just left the room after informing her that she needed a pacemaker for her heart.

After the doctor left, she called us around her. “Now I want you to join with me in prayer,” she said. She began to pray, her countenance radiant from the joyful assurance that God was listening and would answer:

“Father in heaven, I need Your help. I do not know if I need a pacemaker, but You do. Tell me what to do, because You know what is best for me.”

She replied, “God will tell me what to do as He always does.” Later in the day she informed the doctor that she would not need a pacemaker. The doctor was disappointed, and he encouraged her to reconsider.

After he left, I inquired, “Mother, how do you know that you’re not to have a pacemaker?”

“Well,” she replied, “before I prayed I had an impression that this was the right thing to do because the doctor and nurses felt so strongly, but as I prayed God seemed to take away the desire.” Months later we all agreed that she had made the right decision as her health was greatly improved.

For more than 75 years this beloved saint has known the faithfulness of this promise for wisdom. “He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous. He is a buckler for them that walk uprightly.”

Is Christ real? Does He give answers to practical problems of life? Inquire of one who has walked with Him for more than three-quarters of a century and you will have no doubts. To achieve this wisdom, you must seek it with all your heart. The world’s wisdom, great as it may be cannot begin to measure up to the divine wisdom available to one who faithfully reads, studies, and meditates upon God’s Word and who has a close intimate relationship with Him in prayer.

Bible Reading: Proverbs 2:1-5

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will seek God’s supernatural wisdom by diligently studying God’s Word, through prayer and through fellowship with others who walk with God.

Presidential Prayer Team; C.H.- A Plan for Hope

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When Henry Wadsworth Longfellow penned the words to “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day,” he was grieving deeply. His wife had died three years earlier and his country was in the depths of the Civil War – brother against brother. The poet wrote, “And in despair I bowed my head; ‘There is no peace on Earth,’ I said; For hate is strong, and mocks the song; Of peace on Earth, good will to men!”

She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.

Matthew 1:21

However, the hope in today’s verse caused Wadsworth to continue writing. “Then pealed the bells more loud and deep; God is not dead, nor doth He sleep; The wrong shall fail, the right prevail; With peace on Earth, good will to men.” While many in America are suffering this Christmas, there is healing. The birth of Jesus brought hope to a hurt and dying world.

God’s great plan for humanity was to send His son. “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) Pray for all in America – both leaders and citizens – to find and experience His love and salvation this Christmas.

Recommended Reading: Romans 6:15-23

Greg Laurie – Time Does Tell

greglaurie

What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? —Mark 8:36–37

A while ago, I ran into a guy that I once hung out with in school. I hadn’t seen him in about twenty-five years. He had called to say that he was coming to hear me speak, so we arranged to meet beforehand.

As we talked, he told me he had been married twice and was presently divorced. Then he said, “I basically drank my marriages away.” He went on to explain that he had fallen prey to alcoholism and had never gotten free of it. It had ruined his life.

I told him, “You know, in the Bible, God says, ‘You will seek Me and find Me. . . .’ ”

“You can quote your book, and I’ll quote mine,” he said. “I’m in fellowship too—I’m in a twelve-step program.”

We used to hang out and party together, but although I left that lifestyle at age seventeen, he never did. As I look at the course his life has taken and the course my life has taken, it’s clear who really gave up the most.

There might be times as a Christian when you look at unbelievers and think, I don’t know. Maybe they’re having the good time, and I’m not. It might look as though they are having fun today, but there is a price for sin. You will reap what you sow.

If you live for Christ, if you determine to do things God’s way, you won’t regret it. You won’t find happiness or fulfillment through sex, drugs, or drinking. You won’t find it through relationships, success, possessions, or accomplishments. You will find happiness and fulfillment by walking in your Creator’s true purpose for your life: a living, dynamic relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

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