Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 (Today’s Date is 12 – 13 – 14)

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 (KJV)

13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

Charles Stanley – Lessons From a Life Well Lived

 

2 Timothy 4:6-8

Paul’s second letter to Timothy was written from prison. This time the apostle felt certain that the emperor would have him executed. But God’s faithful servant was ready to take the next step of faith.

We shouldn’t be surprised that Paul met death with calm acceptance. He lived every day—from his conversion on the Damascus Road to his final moments—in service to God, which meant consenting to whatever hardship he was asked to bear in Jesus’ name. “I have fought the good fight,” he reported to Timothy. From his letters, we know that Paul battled the same enemies we face—the flesh, the world, and Satan (Rom. 7:14-25; 1 Cor. 4:11-13; Eph. 6:12). When you’re tempted to think that he was somehow more holy than you, meditate on these passages. Paul persevered by faith, just as we must.

Even with his profound wisdom and skill as an apostle, missionary, and statesman, Paul wasn’t so different from you and me. He was not perfect, and he had spiritual defeats. But he didn’t stay down. He got back into the fight. For this and for the life he lived, Paul anticipated the rich rewards of eternity. And he pointed out that heaven’s treasures were “not only to [him], but also to all who have longed for [Jesus’] appearing” (2 Tim. 4:8 NIV).

Paul struggled as believers often do. But he kept the faith, and you can, too. Fight the good fight, friend. Battle your enemies by choosing to trust, obey, and rely upon the Lord. You will bring honor to Him and store up treasures in heaven for yourself.

Our Daily Bread — Another Hero Of Christmas

 

Matthew 1:18-25

Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. —Matthew 1:19

For most of my life, I missed the importance of Joseph in the Christmas story. But after I became a husband and father myself, I had a greater appreciation for Joseph’s tender character. Even before he knew how Mary had become pregnant, he decided that he wasn’t going to embarrass or punish her for what seemed to be infidelity (Matt. 1:19).

I marvel at his obedience and humility, as he not only did what the angel told him (v.24) but also refrained from physical intimacy with Mary until after Jesus was born (v.25). Later we learn that Joseph was willing to flee his home to protect Jesus (2:13-23).

Imagine the pressure Joseph and Mary must have felt when they learned that Jesus would be theirs to raise and nurture! Imagine the complexity and pressure of having the Son of God living with you every moment of every day; a constant call to holiness by His very presence. What a man Joseph must have been to be trusted by God for this task! What a wonderful example for us to follow, whether we’re raising our own children or those born to others who are now entrusted to us.

May God grant us the strength to be faithful like Joseph, even if we don’t fully understand God’s plan. —Randy Kilgore

We know, Father, that Your wisdom is far above our

limited understanding. We thank You that we can rely

on You to carry out Your good plans for us.

You are worthy of our faithfulness.

The secret of true service is absolute faithfulness wherever God places you.

Bible in a year: Hosea 12-14; Revelation 4

Insight

Each of the two New Testament accounts of Jesus’ birth has a different focus. Luke focuses on Mary and the angel’s message to her, the journey to Bethlehem, and the birth of Jesus. Matthew focuses on Joseph, telling of the angelic messenger who assured Joseph of the miraculous nature of the Christ child.

Alistair Begg – Seek Much Grace

 

Give me children, or I shall die.  Genesis 30:1

The cry of Rachel for physical children should be more than matched by the believer’s longing for spiritual children. Our great object in living is to glorify God, and we mainly achieve this end by the winning of souls. We must see souls born unto God. If we do not win souls, we should mourn as the farmer who sees no harvest, as the fisherman who returns to his cottage with an empty net, or as the hunter who has roamed in vain over hill and dale. Ours should be Isaiah’s language uttered with many a sigh and groan—”who has believed what they heard from us, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”1 As ambassadors of peace we should not cease to weep bitterly until sinners weep for their sins. If we intensely desire to see others believing in the Lord Jesus, we must act in accordance with the principle and pattern of Scripture. We must depend entirely upon the Spirit of God. Do we not fail in many of our efforts because we practically, though not doctrinally, ignore the Holy Spirit? His place as God is on the throne, and in all our enterprises He must be the beginning, the middle, and the end; we are instruments in His hand and nothing more.

We must be most of all clear upon the great soul-saving doctrine of the Atonement. “He made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”2 This truth that Christ died in the place of sinners gives rest to the conscience by showing how God can be just and the justifier of whoever believes. This is the great net of gospel fishermen; the fish are drawn or driven in the right direction by other truths, but this is the net itself.

We must declare the love of God in Christ Jesus. Always keep His abounding mercy connected to His unerring justice. Never exalt one attribute at the expense of another. Let boundless mercy be seen in calm consistency with stern justice and unlimited sovereignty.

Believer, are you longing to see spiritual offspring? Do not let the sun set on this day without imploring God to show Himself strong in this regard. Beseech Him, “Give me children, or I shall die.”

Editor’s note: This meditation replaces Spurgeon’s original devotional, on Isaiah 54:12 and was adapted from Charles Spurgeon’s Lectures to Students, page 375.

1) John 12:38   2) 2 Corinthians 5:21

________________________________________

The family reading plan for December 13, 2014 * Haggai 2 * John 3

________________________________________

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

Charles Spurgeon – The Holy Spirit and the one church

 

“These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.” Jude 19

Suggested Further Reading: Romans 8:5-13

The Holy Spirit when he comes in the heart comes like water. That is to say, he comes to purify the soul. He that is to-day as foul as he was before his pretended conversion is a hypocrite and a liar; he that this day loves sin and lives in it just as he was accustomed to do, let him know that the truth is not in him, but he hath received the strong delusion to believe a lie: God’s people are a holy people; God’s Spirit works by love, and purifies the soul. Once let it get into our hearts, and it will have no rest till it has turned every sin out. God’s Holy Spirit and man’s sin cannot live together peaceably; they may both be in the same heart, but they cannot both reign there, nor can they both be quiet there; for “the Spirit lusteth against the flesh, and the flesh lusteth against the Spirit;” they cannot rest, but there will be a perpetual warring in the soul, so that the Christian will have to cry, “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” But in due time the Spirit will drive out all sin, and will present us blameless before the throne of his Majesty with exceeding great joy. Now, answer this question for thyself, and not for another man. Hast thou received this Spirit? Answer me.

For meditation: When the Holy Spirit enters a person at the new birth, he begins to change that person for the better; but that involves declaring war on the flesh (Galatians 5:17). An intensified awareness of one’s sinfulness can be very distressing (Romans 7:24), but the believer can take courage in the knowledge that God is at work. Those who know nothing of these experiences since professing conversion should examine their professed faith, no matter what other experiences of the Spirit they may claim to have had.

Sermon no. 167

13 December (1857)

John MacArthur – Worship of Distinction

 

“When He again brings the first-born into the world, He says, ‘And let all the angels of God worship Him'” (Heb. 1:6).

Jesus Christ is greater than angels because He is worshiped.

Even though Jesus Christ humbled Himself and was made lower than the angels for a time, angels are still to worship Him. Since angels are to worship Him, then Christ must be greater than them.

Angels have always worshiped Christ, only they worshiped Him as God. It wasn’t until His incarnation that angels were commanded to worship Him as God’s Son. It is a sin to worship anyone or anything but God—in fact, note how sternly the apostle John was rebuked for worshiping angels (Rev. 19:10; 22:8-9). So the very fact that angels are to worship Christ verifies that Christ is indeed God.

At present, the angels don’t fully understand the entire picture of God’s redemptive plan. Peter tells us that the prophets didn’t understand all that they wrote, “seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow” (1 Pet. 1:11). Then he added, “Things into which angels long to look” (v. 12). They are still trying to figure out things they don’t understand.

But that won’t always be the case. Notice that Hebrews 1:6 says, “When He again brings the first-born into the world” (emphasis added). God already brought Christ into the world once—at the second coming He will bring Him into the world in blazing glory. Then the fullness of the prophecy of Psalm 97:7 quoted in Hebrews 1:6 will come to pass: “Let all the angels of God worship Him.”

In His second coming Christ is revealed in full glory as the Son. More than ever we have reason to join the heavenly chorus in declaring, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing” (Rev. 5:12).

Suggestion for Prayer; Thank God for His wonderful plan of salvation. Ask Him to make it more real to you every day.

For Further Study; Read Revelation 5:1-11 and note the reactions of the angels to the Lamb of God. What specific event motivated their response?

Joyce Meyer – Mind-Binding Spirits

 

He sends forth His word and heals them and rescues them from the pit and destruction. —Psalm 107:20

I knew God had called me to a powerful, worldwide ministry. I didn’t brag about it and didn’t feel that I was special. I knew I was just a woman from Fenton, Missouri, whom no one had ever heard of. Yet I believed I would have a national ministry. I believed God would use me to heal the sick and to change, lives.

In fact, instead of being proud, I was humbled. Who was I that God would use me? The more I meditated on that idea, the more I rejoiced in the goodness and sovereignty of God. In 1 Corinthians 1:26-31, the apostle Paul pointed out that God’s choices often appear mysterious. He chooses the foolish to dumbfound the wise, the weak to shame the mighty. Paul concluded, Let him who boasts and proudly rejoices and glories, boast and proudly rejoice and glory in the Lord (v 31).

I felt no cause to boast. I believed God’s calling and promise to me. That’s what I want to stress. And then I waited for God to open the doors that no one could shut. When He was ready, it would happen.

Although I don’t know when the problem began, one day I heard myself ask, “I wonder if God really does want to use me?” Instead of holding on to the promises of God, I looked at myself and my lack of qualifications. I started to compare myself with other servants of God. When you compare yourself with others, that’s always a mistake, because you usually end up on the negative side.

Doubts began to creep in. Maybe I just made that up. Maybe I wanted something like that to happen, but it probably won’t. The longer the predicament went on, the more confused I became. I questioned God and the promise. I realized I no longer had the bright vision God had given me. I was filled with doubt and unbelief.

I began to pray and plead with God to help me. “If I just made up the things I have believed that You called me to do, then take the desire away. But if You’ve truly called me, help me. Restore the vision.”

When I paused, I heard God speak in my heart, Mind-¬binding spirits. “What’s a mind-binding spirit?” I asked. I had never heard the term, so I didn’t think anything more about it.

The next day when I prayed, I heard the same words. In fact, every time I prayed for the next two days, I heard, mind-¬binding spirits.

I had already done a lot of ministry and I had long realized how much trouble many believers had with their minds. At first, I thought the Holy Spirit might be leading me to pray for the Body of Jesus Christ to stand against a spirit called Mind Binding. I prayed and I rebuked that spiritand then I realized those words were for me. A mind-binding spirit had tried to steal my vision, destroy my joy, and take away my ministry. A tremendous deliverance came over me.

The oppressiveness was gone; the questions had vanished. I was free, and the vision of the national ministry God had given me was central in my thoughts again. I read Psalm107:20: He sends forth His word and heals them and rescues them from the pit and destruction. That was it!

An evil spirit was attacking my mind and preventing me from believing the promise of God. I asked God to help me, and He set me free.

That mind-binding spirit attacks many today. They know what God wants and are eager to serve. Sometimes they even announce God’s plans to their friends. When nothing happens immediately, the mind-binding spirit sneaks in. It is as if a band of iron snaps around their minds and they find it hard to believe that their dreams can come to pass. Satan whispers, “Did God really say that? Or did you just make it up?”

Hold fast. If God has spoken, God will perform it. Remember that Abraham waited twenty-five years for God to give him Isaac!

True and faithful God, forgive me when I allow doubts and confusion to creep into my thinking. Those are not Your tools. Through the powerful name of Jesus, enable me to break the power of every mind-binding spirit. Amen.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – At Least As Much

 

“And if even sinful persons like yourselves give children what they need, don’t you realize that your heavenly Father will do at least as much, and give the Holy Spirit to those who ask for Him?” (Luke 11:13).

A Christian leader approached me after one of my messages on the person and ministry of the Holy Spirit.

“I want to be a Spirit-filled person,” he said, “but I don’t know what to do. I have read many books about the Holy Spirit and have sincerely sought His fullness, but to no avail. I am seriously considering giving up Christian ministry and returning to a business career. Please help me.”

With great delight I shared with this earnest seeker the truths about the Holy Spirit. To be filled with the Holy Spirit is to be controlled and empowered by the Holy Spirit. We cannot have two masters.

There is a throne, a control center, in every life and either self or Christ is on that throne. This concept of Christ being on the throne is so simple that even a child can understand it.

It is such a simple truth, and yet, in its distilled essence, that is what the supernatural, Spirit-controlled life is all about – just keeping Christ on the throne. We do this when we understand how to walk in the control and power of the Holy Spirit, for the Spirit came for the express purpose of glorifying Christ by enabling the believer to live a holy life and to be a productive witness for the Savior.

The key to supernatural living is a life centered in the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ. This supernatural life is often called the Spirit-filled Christian or the Christ-centered life. The spirit-filled Christian is one who, according to Romans 6:11, has considered himself to be dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Christ is now at the center of his life; He is Lord.

Bible Reading: Romans 8:9-14

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will not allow self to usurp the rightful place of Jesus Christ – in the person of His Holy Spirit – at the control center, the throne, of my life.

Presidential Prayer Team; C.H. – No Stamps Necessary

 

This time of year, millions of children pour through toy catalogs and carefully pen letters to the jolly old man in the red suit. “Dear Santa, I’ve been good this year…” They begin their letters with an accounting of their behavior in the hope of earning items on their wish list. Once the post is mailed to the North Pole, children all over America will count the days until Christmas morning, waiting to see if their requests are granted.

But if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him.

John 9:31

While a fun tradition for many, there is only One who gives the ultimate gift and you don’t have to earn it with good behavior – God. When you praise Him with your life and are obedient to His calling, your Heavenly Father hears when you pray. You won’t need to mail a letter.

Remember the true reason you celebrate the season. Give the ultimate gift this year by sharing God’s love and truth with someone. Help them see how His great plan of salvation for the world came in the form of a baby. Pray, too, for Americans to recognize their Creator and discover how He can grant their most heartfelt requests.

Recommended Reading: Psalm 145:8-21

Greg Laurie – Letting the Holy Spirit Work

 

When He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. —John 16:8

Why has the Spirit come into this world? What does God’s Holy Spirit want to do in the life of the unbeliever? The Holy Spirit is very involved in the actual work of conversion. You see, before we were Christians, it was the Holy Spirit who convicted us of our sin (see John 16:8). Another way to translate the word convict in John 16:8 is “convince.” Notice this verse doesn’t say that He will convict the unbeliever of a specific sin. Rather, He wants to convince him or her of sin in general, the root cause of all sins.

Now, we can try to produce in someone a sense of guilt and wrongdoing. In an effort to help the conversion process along, we want to make them feel really bad or guilty about something. (Mothers seem to have an unusual ability in this area.) But only the Holy Spirit can effectively produce a guilt that will bring a person to their senses.

Sometimes we get in the way of someone’s conversion. We get impatient, or we try to assist the Spirit. We can be telling someone about the Lord, maybe a friend or a coworker or a family member, and as they become interested and start asking questions, we start trying to convert that person in our own strength. We try to complete the transaction while the Spirit is still working.

The best thing we can do after we have shared the Word of God with someone is to simply pray that it takes root. We should just do our part and leave it in the hands of God. We don’t need to force the issue. He will do the convincing. Let God’s Spirit do His work.

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