Charles Stanley – The Best Friend You Will Ever Have

Many of us know the familiar hymn, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” We all consider our Savior a great friend—but none of us have an exhaustive knowledge of the heights, depths, and breadth of His amazing friendship.

Consider just a few of the elements of Jesus’ loving relationship with you.

  1. He has committed Himself to you as a friend for life. In fact, this commitment lasts more than an earthly lifetime; it’s eternal. He will never leave you, no matter what you do. You may suffer some dashed expectations in your lifetime, but the Lord Himself will never disappoint you.
  2. He remains open to you at all times. Jesus will show you as much about Himself as you desire to learn and are able to appreciate. He will never keep from you anything about Himself that you need to know.
  3. He renews His loving overtures to you every day. He knows how to meet your deepest longings, and He re mains sensitive to your wants as well as your needs.

Jesus is an inspiring, comforting listener who hears exactly what you say and always provides the very best for you.

What kind of friend is Jesus? John 15:13 answers that question: “Greater love has no one than this, than one lay down his life for his friends.” Jesus is the kind of friend who willingly laid down His life as payment for your sins—past, present, and future. Without complaint, He bore all your sorrows and suffering, while pledging never to leave you nor forsake you (John 14:18). Jesus is the friend who sticks closer than a brother (Prov. 18:24), the friend who walks by your side through everything.

And because Jesus gave Himself for all people, we His followers should give ourselves completely to Him (2 Cor. 5:14, 15). “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (v. 20).

Who in your circle of influence needs to be reconciled to God? Who do you know that needs to find a friend in Jesus?

Adapted from “The Charles F. Stanley’s Life Principles Bible,” 2008.

 

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Our Daily Bread — A Special Birth

 

Isaiah 7:10-15

Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. —Isaiah 7:14

In the pages of Scripture, several baby-boy births stand out. Cain, the firstborn after creation. Isaac, the hope of Israel’s future. Samuel, the answer to a mother’s fervent prayer. All extremely important. All joyously expected. And all described exactly the same by the chroniclers of Scripture: In each case, we are told that the mother conceived and bore a son (Gen. 4:1; 21:2-3; 1 Sam. 1:20).

Now consider one more baby boy’s birth. The description of this arrival was much more greatly detailed: a few words were clearly not enough to tell of Jesus’ birth. In Micah, we were told where He would be born—Bethlehem (5:2). In Isaiah, that His mother would be a virgin (7:14), and that He was coming to save people from their sin (ch.53).

In the New Testament, we were given such key information as what His name would be and why (Matt. 1:21), where He was born in fulfillment of prophecy (2:6), and how both His birth mother and His adoptive father were part of God’s plan (1:16).

Jesus’ birth stands above all births. His coming changed the world and can change our lives. Let’s celebrate Him! —Dave Branon

Mild He lays His glory by,

Born that man no more may die.

Born to raise the sons of earth,

Born to give them second birth. —Wesley

Christ is the greatest gift known to man.

Bible in a year: Joel 1-3; Revelation 5

Insight

Scripture tells the story of God’s rescue of humanity from the curse and consequences of sin, which was accomplished by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Isaiah’s prophecy is just one of many that predict His coming and the events of His life. The first prophecy of redemption comes as soon as the need for rescue is pronounced. In Genesis 3, God delivers the devastating news of the consequences of Adam and Eve’s actions. However, He does not leave them hopeless; the promise of a redeemer is included (v.15). What the Old Testament prophets predicted about the Redeemer, the New Testament says is fulfilled in Jesus Christ (see Luke 24:44).

Alistair Begg – The Paradox of Christianity

 

I have been crucified with Christ.  Galatians 2:20

The Lord Jesus Christ acted in what He did as a great public representative person, and His dying upon the cross was the virtual dying of all His people. In Him all His people rendered justice its due and made an expiation to divine vengeance for all their sins. The apostle of the Gentiles delighted to think that as one of Christ’s chosen people, he died upon the cross in Christ. He did more than believe this doctrinally—he accepted it confidently, resting his hope upon it. He believed that by virtue of Christ’s death, he had satisfied divine justice and found reconciliation with God.

Beloved, what a blessed thing it is when the soul can, as it were, stretch itself upon the cross of Christ and feel, “I am dead; the law has killed me, and I am therefore free from its power, because in Christ I have borne the curse, and in the person of my Substitute all that the law could do by way of condemnation has been executed upon me, for I am crucified with Christ.”

But Paul meant even more than this. He not only believed in Christ’s death and trusted in it, but he actually felt its power in himself causing the crucifixion of his old corrupt nature. When he saw the pleasures of sin, he said, “I cannot enjoy these: I am dead to them.” Such is the experience of every true Christian. Having received Christ, he is to this world as one who is utterly dead. Yet, while conscious of death to the world, he can at the same time exclaim with the apostle, “I live.” He is fully alive to God. The Christian’s life is a matchless riddle. The unconverted cannot comprehend it; even the believer himself cannot understand it. Dead, yet alive! Crucified with Christ, and yet at the same time risen with Christ in newness of life! Union with the suffering, bleeding Savior and death to the world and sin are soul-cheering things. May we learn to live evermore in the enjoyment of them!

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The family reading plan for December 14, 2014 * Zechariah 1 * John 4

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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 – Faith

 

“Without faith it is impossible to please God.” Hebrews 11:6

Suggested Further Reading: Hebrews 3:12-4: 2

I may know a thing, and yet not believe it. Therefore assent must go with faith: that is to say, what we know we must also agree with, as being most certainly the will of God. Now, with faith, it is necessary that I should not only read the Scriptures and understand them, but that I should receive them in my soul as being the very truth of the living God, and should devoutly, with my whole heart, receive the whole of Scripture as being inspired of the most High, and the whole of the doctrine which he requires me to believe for my salvation. You are not allowed to divide the Scriptures, and to believe what you please; you are not allowed to believe the Scriptures with a half-heartedness, for if you do this wilfully, you have not the faith which looks alone to Christ. True faith gives its full assent to the Scriptures; it takes a page and says, “No matter what is in the page, I believe it;” it turns over the next chapter and says, “Here are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable do ignore, as they do also the other Scriptures, to their destruction; but hard though it be, I believe it.” It sees the Trinity; it cannot understand the Trinity in Unity, but it believes it. It sees an atoning sacrifice; there is something difficult in the thought, but it believes it; and whatever it be which it sees in revelation, it devoutly puts its lips to the book, and says, “I love it all; I give my full, free and hearty assent to every word of it, whether it be the threatening or the promise, the proverb, the precept, or the blessing. I believe that since it is all the word of God it is all most assuredly true.”

For meditation: Faith enables us to accept much which we cannot explain—“Through faith we understand” (Hebrews 11:3): “Believing is seeing”. Nothing else can fill the gap left by a lack of faith.

Sermon no. 107

14 December (1856)

John MacArthur –Christ’s Superior Nature

 

“Of the angels He says, ‘Who makes His angels winds, and His ministers a flame of fire.’ But of the Son He says, ‘Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever'” (Heb. 1:7-8).

Jesus Christ is God, and He created the angels.

People today who claim that Jesus was just a man, an angel, a prophet, or some inferior god are in error and bring upon themselves the curse of God. The Bible, and especially the writer of Hebrews, are clear about who Christ is.

First, the writer deals with the nature of angels when he says, “Who makes His angels winds, and His ministers a flame of fire.” “Makes” simply means “to create.” The antecedent of “who” is Christ. Therefore it is obvious that Christ created the angels.

They are also His possession: “His angels.” They are His created servants, who do not operate on their own initiative, but on the direction of Christ.

But the greatest difference between the nature of angels and Christ is that He is the eternal God. The Father says to the Son, “Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever.” That is one of the most powerful, clear, emphatic, and irrefutable proofs of the deity of Christ in Scripture.

Jesus throughout His ministry claimed equality with God. He said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). The apostle John closed his first epistle by saying, “We know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding, in order that we might know Him who is true, and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life” (1 John 5:20).

God the Son came to help us understand that God is truth and that Christ Himself is the true God. Our faith is based on the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Suggestion for Prayer; Ask God to give you a greater understanding of the reality that Jesus is in fact God.

For Further Study; Read John 1:1-18 and mark the verses that define Christ’s relationship to God. If an unbeliever were to ask you what that passage means, how would you answer him or her?

Joyce Meyer – The Lord Is Our Refuge

 

I love You fervently and devotedly, O Lord, my Strength.The Lord is my Rock, my Fortress, and my Deliverer; my God, my keen and firm Strength in Whom I will trust and take refuge, my Shield, and the Horn of my salvation, my High Tower. I will call upon the Lord,Who is to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies. —Psalm 18:1-3

A rock is a type of a sure foundation.When the waters of trial threaten to rise up and overwhelm us, we need to do as David did and climb up on the rock that is higher than we are. David also called the Lord his Fortress. A fortress is a castle, a fort, a defense, a place into which we go when we are being hunted or attacked. It is not a hiding place in which our enemy cannot find us. It is a place of protection in which we can see and be seen but cannot be reached because we are safe in God’s protection.

David also called the Lord his High Tower—another lofty and inaccessible place—and his Shield and Buckler—which are part of the protective armor that surrounds the believer (see Ephesians 6:10-17). God is not just above us and around us, He is even underneath us, because the psalmist tells us, The Lord upholds the [consistently] righteous (Psalm 37:17).

God is holding us up by His powerful right hand and is surrounding us as the mountains surround the holy city of Jerusalem. The devil is against us; but God is for us, and over us, and with us, and in us. Because He cares for us, He watches over us and keeps us so we can find rest and peace under the shadow of His wings as we cast all our care upon Him.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Quick and Powerful

 

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12, KJV).

Often, what you and I have to say may seem weak and insipid. But then we have the clear promise that it really will accomplish something, for it has several characteristics that guarantee such results.

First, the holy inspired Word of God is impregnated with the power of the Holy Spirit and is quick-living. It is energetic and active – not dead, inert or powerless.

Second, the Word is powerful. Its mighty power awakens the conscience, reveals our fears, bares the secret feelings of the heart and causes the sinner to tremble at the threat of impending judgement.

Third, the Word is sharp-sharper than a two-edged sword. The Word has power to penetrate. It reaches the heart, laying open our motives and feelings.

Fourth, the Word pierces-penetrates.

Fifth, the Word discerns-shows what our thoughts and intentions are. Men see their real character in the mirror of God’s Word.

Those are some of the reasons for choosing to use the Word of God in every possible situation, allowing it to be its own best defense. God’s Word will never return unto Him void.

Bible Reading: Psalm 1

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will make more use of the sword, the Word of God, as I draw upon God’s power to live supernaturally.

Presidential Prayer Team; H.L.M.- Exalt Righteousness

 

Susan Schriver recently initiated a petition for a major toy store chain to remove a line of toys that glorifies drug dealers. This Florida mom admonished the store for selling dolls that held a detachable sack of cash and a bag of drugs. Schriver was a guest on the Today Show and stated that “anything to do with drugs” should not be sold in a toy store. Her petition obtained signatures from more than 9,000 supporters and the company eventually pulled the toys off their shelves and their website.

Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice.

I Samuel 15:22

Proverbs 14:34 says, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” When you put your faith in Christ, you received a new nature – one of holiness and righteousness. As you depend more upon the power of the Holy Spirit, His righteousness flows out of you through your words and actions. That positions you to be able to express your moral beliefs in ways that can make a practical and noticeable difference in the society in which you live.

Ask God to help you separate the unrighteous morals of culture and exchange them for godly ways. Pray the same for Christians across this nation so God’s foundation of righteousness will be restored in America.

Recommended Reading: Ephesians 4:17-28