Charles Stanley – How Do You Honor Your Mother?

 

Exodus 20:12

The command to “honor . . . your mother” isn’t a suggestion, and nobody is exempt. Her character or effectiveness as a parent is not the issue. God established this guideline for Israel because a respectful home was crucial to the nation’s future success. The same is true for us today. God blesses our homes when we respect our mothers with words, attitudes, and actions.

LOVE HER UNCONDITIONALLY. We’re called to love our moms as God does. He didn’t qualify His love with expectations or conditions to be met first. He lavished affection on us “while we were yet sinners” (Romans 5:8).

FORGIVE HER COMPASSIONATELY. Since there are no perfect mothers, at times we’ll have to forgive them. If your mom seems harsh or unloving, show compassion. As a child, she may have experienced hardships that wounded her spirit.

REMEMBER HER GRATEFULLY. This Mother’s Day, thank Mom for all she did for you when you were young. But don’t let it end there. Nothing is more hurtful than feeling forgotten. Make room for her in your busy schedule. After all, she made countless sacrifices for you.

TREAT HER KINDLY. Let your mother know she’s valued. Take time to listen attentively to her words, and help her out when she is in need.

Does your mother feel loved and honored? What can you do to bring a big smile to her face? In our adult years, it’s easy to distance ourselves from our moms because life gets hectic and multiple demands steal our time. Make it a habit to pray for her daily and contact her regularly.

Alistair Begg – All Ours

 

…who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing. Ephesians 1:3

Christ bestows all the goodness of the past, the present, and the future upon His people. In the mysterious ages of the past the Lord Jesus was His Father’s first elect, and in His election He gave us an interest, for we were chosen in Him from before the foundation of the world. He had from all eternity the prerogatives of Sonship, as His Father’s only-begotten and well-beloved Son; and He has, in the riches of His grace, by adoption and regeneration, elevated us to sonship also, so that to us He has given “the right to become children of God.”1

The eternal covenant, which He has confirmed by an oath, is ours, for our strong consolation and security. In the everlasting settlements of predestinating wisdom and omnipotent decree, the eye of the Lord Jesus was fixed upon us; and we may rest assured that in the whole roll of destiny there is not a line that militates against the interests of His redeemed.

The great betrothal of the Prince of Glory is ours, for it is to us that He is engaged, as the wedding feast shall soon declare to an assembled universe. The marvelous incarnation of the God of heaven, with all the amazing condescension and humiliation that attended it, is ours. The bloody sweat, the scourge, the cross are ours forever. Whatever blissful consequences flow from perfect obedience, finished atonement, resurrection, ascension, or intercession, all are ours by His own gift.

Upon His breastplate He is now bearing our names; and in His authoritative pleadings at the throne He remembers us and pleads our case. His dominion over principalities and powers, and His absolute majesty in heaven, He employs for the benefit of them who trust in Him. His high estate is as much at our service as was His obedience unto death. He who gave Himself for us in the depths of woe and death does not withdraw His help now that He is enthroned in the highest heavens.

1) John 1:12

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

Charles Spurgeon – The world turned upside down

 

“These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also.” Acts 17:6

Suggested Further Reading: Matthew 5:1-12

“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.” The merciful are not much respected in this world—at least if they are imprudently merciful; the man who forgives too much, or who is too generous, is not considered to be wise. But Christ declares that he who has been merciful—merciful to supply the wants of the poor, merciful to forgive his enemies and to pass by offences, shall obtain mercy. Here, again, is the world turned upside down. “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” The world says, “Blessed is the man who indulges in a carefree life.” If you ask the common run of mankind who is the happy man, they will tell you, “The happy man is he who has abundance of money, and spends it freely, and is freed from restraint—who leads a merry dance of life, who drinks deep of the cup of intoxication—who revels riotously, who, like the wild horse of the prairie, is not restrained by reason, but who dashes across the broad plains of sin, unharnessed, unguided, unrestrained.” This is the man whom the world calls happy: the proud man, the mighty man, the Nimrod, the man who can do just as he wishes, and who spurns to keep the narrow way of holiness. Now, the Scripture says, not so, for “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God”

“Blest is the man who shuns the place Where sinners love to meet;
Who fears to tread their wicked ways, And hates the scoffer’s seat….”

The man who cannot touch one thing because that would be lascivious, nor another because that would spoil his communion with his Master; a man who cannot frequent this place of amusement, because he could not pray there, and cannot go to another, because he could not hope to have his Master’s sanction upon an hour so spent—that man is blessed!

For meditation: The world was turned upside down through men who had been turned upside down (Mark 9:34,35; 10:42-44). Do we need to know a lot more of that in our churches and individual lives?

Sermon no. 193
9 May (1858)

John MacArthur – Building a Leader: The Right Lessons (Peter)

 

The twelve apostles included “Simon, who is called Peter” (Matt. 10:2).

Peter learned five lessons that every believer must also learn.

We have seen that God uses our experiences to mold us into more effective Christians and leaders. Using Peter as our example, let’s briefly look at five lessons we can learn from our experiences: submission, restraint, humility, sacrifice, and love.

Leaders tend to be confident and aggressive, so they must learn to submit to authority. Jesus illustrated that by telling Peter to go fishing and look for a coin in the mouth of the first fish he caught (Matt. 17:24-27). He was to use that coin to pay their taxes. Peter was a citizen of God’s Kingdom, but he needed an object lesson in submitting to governmental authorities.

When the soldiers came to arrest Jesus, Peter grabbed a sword and would have fought the entire group if Jesus hadn’t restrained him. Peter needed to learn to entrust His life to the Father, just as Christ was doing.

Peter bragged that he would never leave or forsake Christ—but he did. Perhaps humility was the most painful lesson he had to learn.

Jesus told Peter that he would die as a martyr (John 21:18-19). From that day forward Peter knew his life was on the line, yet he was willing to make the necessary sacrifice and minister anyway.

Leaders tend to be task oriented and often are insensitive to people. Peter was that way, so Jesus demonstrated love by washing his feet and instructing him to do loving deeds for others (John 13:6-9, 34).

Submission, restraint, humility, sacrifice, and love should be characteristic of every believer—no matter what role he or she has within the Body of Christ. I pray they are characteristic of your life, and that you will constantly seek to grow in those graces as God continues His work in you.

Suggestions for Prayer; Spiritual lessons are sometimes painful to learn, but God is patient and gracious. Thank Him for His patience and thank Him also for Christ, who is the perfect example of what we should be.

For Further Study; Peter learned his lesson well. Read 1 Peter 2:13-18, 21-23; 4:8, 16; and 5:5. What can you learn from Peter’s instructions on submission, restraint, love, sacrifice, and humility?

Joyce Meyer – No Condemnation

 

Therefore, [there is] now no condemnation (no adjudging guilty of wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live [and] walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit. Romans 8:1

“I should have known better,” Cindy cried out to me. “All the signs were there that he wasn’t the man for me.” She had gone through two years of a painful marriage, of verbal and finally physical abuse. Then her husband left her for another woman. Now she felt doubly condemned, condemned for marrying him in the first place and condemned that she couldn’t hold the marriage together.

“If I had been a good Christian, I could have changed him,” she moaned. I could have confronted her and said, “Yes, you did see the signs and you ignored them. You opened yourself up to this kind of treatment.” I didn’t say those words and wouldn’t. They would not have helped Cindy.

What she needed right then was for me to stretch out my hand and comfort her. She was so self-condemned that she finally asked, “Will God forgive me?”

At first, her words disturbed me. The Bible is clear that God forgives any sin. Cindy knew the Bible, so her question wasn’t due to a lack of knowledge; it was due to a lack of faith in a loving, caring God. She felt so dejected, and she didn’t know if God loved her enough to forgive her.

I assured Cindy of God’s forgiveness, but that wasn’t the real issue that troubled her. Satan had whispered in her mind for such a long time that she had failed God, that she had deliberately disobeyed, and that God was angry with her.

The devil tries to stop us every chance he gets. I often use the analogy of a baby learning to walk. We don’t expect that baby to stand the first day and walk across the room like an adult. Those little ones will fall often Sometimes they cry but they always get back up. That may be some inborn quality, but I suspect it’s because the parents are there saying, “You can do it. Come on, baby, get up and walk.”

The scene is much the same in the spiritual world. All of us fall, but when we’re encouraged, we get back up and try again. If we’re not encouraged, we tend to stay down, or at least wait a long, long time before trying to get up again.

Never underestimate Satan’s relentlessness. He will do whatever he can to trip you, and then make you feel so condemned that you won’t want to get up again He knows that his control is finished once you choose right thoughts and reject wrong ones He wants to hinder you from clear thinking. He will attempt to thwart you through discouragement and condemnation.

I want to tell you what Cindy did She wrote Romans 8:1 on file cards and pasted one on her mirror, one on her computer, and one on her dashboard. Every time she looks at the verse, she repeats it aloud. “Therefore, [there is] now no condemnation (no adjudging guilty of wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live [and] walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit.”

The Message puts Romans 8:1-2 like this: With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.

We are free in Jesus Christ, and we don’t have to listen to Satan’s condemnation. When we fail and we will-that ¬doesn’t mean we are failures. It means we failed one time in one thing. It means we didn’t do everything right. That doesn’t make us a failure. Just let Christ be strong in your weaknesses; let Him be your strength on your weak days.

Lord Jesus Christ, in Your name I pray for victory. When I fail, please remind me not only that You forgive, but that You also wipe away the guilt and condemnation. Please accept my gratitude. Amen.

From the book Battlefield of the Mind Devotional by Joyce Meyer. Copyright © 2006 by Joyce Meyer. Published by FaithWords. All rights reserved.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – All Who Win Souls Are Wise

 

“Godly men are growing a tree that bears life-giving fruit, and all who win souls are wise” (Proverbs 11:30).

I have never led anyone to Christ, and I never shall.

However, I have had the privilege of praying with thousands of people who have received Christ as a result of my witness.

When a person receives Christ, it is the work of the Holy Spirit. That is why I cannot boast over much fruit or be discouraged over little fruit.

The responsibility for fruit belongs to the Holy Spirit who works in and through the believer, producing fruit and changing the lives of those who respond favorably to our witness.

The power of our Lord Jesus Christ is available to all who trust and obey Him. We need to “understand how incredibly great His power is to help those who believe Him.”

The Lord Jesus commissioned the disciples to go into all the world and preach the gospel, with the promise that He would always be with them.

Bible Reading: Proverbs 11:24-31

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Today I will consciously draw upon the supernatural resources of the Holy Spirit to obey God’s commands for holy living and fruitful witnessing.

Presidential Prayer Team; C.H. – Pray, Listen, Repeat

 

Conversation is an interaction of two people who talk, listen and respond. In today’s technology-driven world, some might say face-to-face exchange is a lost art. Statistics show many prefer texting over an actual phone call. Despite current trends, God prefers one-on-one time with His children.

As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful.

Genesis 17:20

In today’s passage, Abraham and God discuss His covenant. While God promised to create many nations through Isaac, Abraham asked about his son Ishmael – and the Lord listened and responded. Have you taken your concerns for this nation’s future to your Heavenly Father? It’s time America made a move back to real conversation with the Lord through prayer.

Take some time today to talk, listen and respond to God. Remember, He often speaks through His Word. If you struggle with daily prayer time, tell God about it. Ask Him to strengthen your prayer life as well as that of your nation’s leaders. Pray specifically for the 2016 presidential hopefuls to have a daily encounter with God through prayer.

Recommended Reading: Philippians 4:4-9

Greg Laurie – The Secret Way

 

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.” —Proverbs 17:22

I have a little game I play with my granddaughters. When we are out and about, I ask them the question, “Do you want to go the regular way or do you want to go the secret way?”

Of course, they excitedly squeal, “The secret way, Papa, the secret way!” And that is the way we go.

Oh, by the way, there really is no “secret way” to speak of. If we are in a car, it’s simply an alternate route. Or if we are going into a restaurant, I may take them in a side door instead of the front.

The idea is, let’s have fun when and where we can.

Life is hard enough without making it harder. Sometimes we have rough days, and sometimes life is hard—very hard. Especially for a person who has lost a loved one and is in the depths of grief.

I speak to many of these people every day because I am a fellow griever, and we always seem to find each other.

I have found that a little humor can really help. One person said, “Laughter is a temporary vacation from grief.”

I like that. Or we could just call it “the secret way.”

The Bible says “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength” (Proverbs 17:22 NLT).

So try to laugh today. Or instead of going the regular way to where you need to go, try to go “the secret way.”

Streams in the Desert for Kids – All Alone

 

Genesis 32:24

Some kids love to be alone. They like to go into their rooms and read or think or play music. Other kids can’t stand to be alone. The more company they have the better.

Being one way or another is not better or worse. We all have preferences. It is interesting, however, to think about some of the great characters of the Bible and their miracles. Many of their great miracles happened when they were alone. Jacob in the Scripture above was alone when he met an angel who wrestled with him. Moses was by himself when he saw the burning bush. Peter was alone on a housetop when he had a vision giving him instruction about what he was to do next. Jesus often went off alone by himself to pray and think.

Maybe these people knew something we need to know, especially if you are one of those who likes lots of activity and company all the time. There is so much noise in our world coming into us that it can be very hard to hear God’s voice telling us what to do. Once in a while we need to shut off the iPod, close down the computer, turn off the TV and the cell phone, and just listen to see if God might want to say something to us. You might be surprised at what he says to you.

Dear Lord, Sometimes I use all the noise in my life to keep me from talking to you and listening to see if you have something to say to me. Help me to listen for your voice. Amen.

 

Discovering God’s Design – Giving to the God Who Has Everything

 

Psalm 50:1–23

We’ve heard or asked it again and again: “What do you give the person who has everything?” The very need to frame this question should alert us that something is wrong in our society. Psalm 50, though, teaches us how to give to the God who does indeed have everything.

As Christians, we have much to learn from God’s judgment in Psalm 50:7–16 against the “religious” community. The Lord does not rebuke these people for failing to meet his minimal requirements for sacrifices and offerings (see v. 8). Instead, God reproaches them for blatant sin and ingratitude (see vv. 17–20).

So, how do we give to the God who has everything? By giving to those who have nothing (see Mt 25:44–45) and by praising him for his blessings to us (see 2Co 8:9).

Devotional writer Selwyn Hughes (1928–2006) makes an important point about the sacrifice of generosity prompted by gratitude:

If in reality we don’t own our possessions, then the obvious thing is to acknowledge this in a prayer to God. Have the sense to say to God, “I am not the owner, I am the ower.” A businessman said, “I’ve prospered in my business; now my task is to know how much I can keep for my own use.” That’s the right order. How much can I keep for myself? For everything I needlessly spend on myself is taken from some other person’s need.

Management guru Ken Blanchard and CEO S. Truett Cathy contrast the ideas of success and significance:

The successful person has learned how to make money, but the significant person has learned how to give it away—how to be generous, to share the blessings of money with those who are in need or those who help meet a variety of social and humanitarian needs.

The successful person has achieved great things—sadly sometimes at the expense of others. He or she is proud of what has already been accomplished. The significant person understands that the greatest thing anyone can accomplish is to serve others and to help them achieve their goals.

Finally, successful people have attained a measure of status. Others look up to them and maybe even see them as role models. We often discover later that those who have become our role models let us down … In direct contrast, the significant person is one who values relationships. They become trusted friends and invaluable mentors, and they invest their time in others rather than in striving to build status.

Think About It

  • The people in this psalm were offering sacrifices and giving to God, but God was displeased with their hearts. How might you ensure your attitudes and lifestyle are in keeping with God’s desires for your life?
  • How does the knowledge that God owns everything prompt you to view what you “own”?
  • What do you feel is your obligation to others in light of God’s censure to the people in Psalm 50?

Pray About It

God, I do not own anything. It is all yours. Show me how much I should keep for myself and what I should give back to you.

C.S. Lewis Daily – Today’s Reading

 

TO MARY VAN DEUSEN, who had written him of her diagnosis of cancer: On his empathy for her and even more for those in her situation who do not have faith; on the right to happiness; and on how fear of cancer may be worse than the reality of cancer.

9 October 1955

I have just got your letter of the 3rd. The news which it contained came like a thunderbolt—especially as the letter began (and it was rather wonderful that it did begin) on such a trivial subject as my book. And if that first sentence flattered my egoism, imagine how I was rebuked when I came to the next, and was suddenly brought up against the real great issues.

It is difficult to write because you must know by now what I do not yet know. I can’t tell whether I am writing to one who is giving thanks for an escape (oh how I hope you are in that position) or to one who is right up against the Cross. Thank heaven it is His Cross and not merely ours. I was most struck by your saying ‘It doesn’t seem too bad: for me, that is.’ So I am sure you are being supported. (What must such a situation be to those who are the majority, who have no faith, who have never thought of death, and to whom all affliction is a mere meaningless, monstrous interruption of a worldly happiness to which they feel they have a right?)

God bless and keep you: and your husband too. You will indeed, indeed, be in my prayers. I once had a bad scare about cancer myself, so that part I can, I think, imagine. But of course it is now, for you, either better or worse than a scare. If the reality is worse. At any rate it must be different. (The Litany [in the Book of Common Prayer] distinguishes ‘thine agony and blood sweat’ from ‘Thy cross and passion’, the fear from the reality). You know how I shall await your next letter.

From The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume III

Compiled in Yours, Jack

The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis

Night Light for Couples – Time and Wisdom

 

“For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have.” 2 Corinthians 8:12

Generosity comes in many forms. One version is material gifts. Another is the sharing of our time and wisdom. I (jcd) recall the example of one man who gave up two hours and influenced my life for years. When I was in college, my aunt heard a speech by a well‐known Christian psychologist, Dr. Clyde Narramore. “We need Christian young men and women in the field of mental health,” Dr. Narramore said to the audience. “If you know of promising students who are interested, I’ll be glad to meet with them.” My aunt told me of this invitation, and I called Dr. Narramore for an appointment. He graciously agreed to see me, even though he was busy and didn’t know me from Adam.

As we talked in his living room, he laid out a plan for how I could become a psychologist. It’s been over forty years since that conversation took place, yet I still remember the advice he gave me that day. It shaped the next five years of my life and helped channel me into a profession I love.

You may not have the financial means to help people in need, but you can offer them your time and insights. It may be just what they need to point them in the right direction.

Just between us…

  • Who has influenced us through their gifts of time and wisdom?
  • In what areas do we have expertise, insights, or available time that might help someone else?
  • Who do we know who might benefit from our generosity?

Heavenly Father, tonight we reach for a truly generous life together. Guide and strengthen our willingness to share. Thank You for putting us on earth for something bigger and more meaningful than our own comfort or happiness. Amen.

  • From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson