Charles Stanley – Life Principle 10: God Will Show You His Will

 

God always wants the best for us, and He is committed to showing us how to follow the specific plan He has designed for each of our lives.

Life Principle 10

If necessary, God will move heaven and earth to show us His will.

2 Chronicles 20:12

God always wants the best for us, and He is committed to showing us how to follow the specific plan He has designed for each of our lives. He wants us to listen for His voice to hear what He wants us to do and how He wants us to do it (Is. 30:19).

When we begin to wander from the course God has set for us, He will take all kinds of measures to capture our attention and protect us from harm. He has a wide variety of ways to help us take notice, among them:

  1. A restless spirit

Sometimes God gets our attention by making us restless (Est. 6:1-14). If you experience restlessness deep within—something you cannot quite identify—then stop and pray, “Lord, are You trying to say something to me?” Each time God was about to move me from one pastorate to another, I became very restless.

  1. A spoken word

God also gets our attention by using the words of others. The Lord gave a message both to young Samuel and to the old priest, Eli, through this method (1 Sam. 3:4-18). If several people in a short span of time begin telling you the same thing, then ask the Lord if He is trying to speak to you through them.

God has a wide variety of ways to help us take notice.

  1. An unusual blessing

God may bless us in an unusual way to gain our attention. Of course, if you are an overly self-sufficient person, the Lord may use some other method to get your focus on Him. But remember that no matter which method He uses, it expresses His love.

  1. Unanswered prayer

Sometimes God will answer a prayer with “No.” Despite David’s prayers for God to save his infant son’s life (the child born through the king’s adultery), the boy died (2 Sam. 12:15-18). The Lord may remain silent to our prayers as a way of prompting us to examine ourselves.

  1. Disappointment

When the nation of Israel refused God’s instruction to take possession of the Promised Land, God judged the people for their unbelief. They quickly changed their minds and said they now desired to enter the land. But the Lord said no—it was too late (Num. 14:1-45). God got their attention through a tremendous sense of disappointment. In a similar way, the Lord may allow setbacks to keep us from charting our own course.

  1. Extraordinary circumstances

Sometimes God will use unusual circumstances to get us to stop and listen. Moses saw a flaming bush that didn’t burn up. As he approached to investigate, the Lord spoke to Him from the fire (Ex. 3:1-22). You and I must learn to look for the presence of God in every circumstance of life. He leaves His footprints and handiwork all around us.

  1. Defeat

God may use defeat to show us the truth. Following their stunning victory over Jericho, the Israelites approached a small town with overconfidence and neglected to do what the Lord had commanded (Josh. 7:1-26). God got Joshua’s attention by allowing the nation to suffer an embarrassing defeat. But even this can prove to be a great stepping-stone to success when we pray, “Lord, what are You saying? Help me to see where I have taken a wrong turn.”

God knows precisely what it will take to get our attention.

  1. Financial troubles

In the time of the Judges, when “every man did what was right in his own eyes” (Judg. 17:6) the nation fell into idolatry and disobedience. God brought judgment through the Midianites, who devastated the land. Only when He took away every material belonging did they cry out to Him (Judg. 6:3-6). The Lord knew exactly what it would take to get their attention. When they did return to Him, He delivered them from their oppressors and blessed them.

  1. Tragedy, sickness, and affliction

We should regard our tragedies and afflictions as reasons to inquire of the Lord, “What are You trying to say?” When King Hezekiah became prideful, God used illness to alert him to the problem (2 Chr. 32:24). Similarly, when Saul of Tarsus persecuted Christians, God struck him with blindness—a tactic that certainly got his attention (Acts 9:1-19).

The Father always knows exactly where you are in your journey of faith and precisely what it will take to get your attention. So stay alert. Notice if any of these divine methods are occurring—or recurring—in your life. If they are, ask Him what He wants to tell you, and then listen … not simply to hear, but to obey.

Adapted from The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible

Our Daily Bread — Power In Praise

 

Read: 2 Chronicles 20:15-22

Bible in a Year: 1 Chronicles 1-3; John 5:25-47

 

Praise the LORD, for His mercy endures forever. —2 Chronicles 20:21

Willie Myrick was kidnapped from his driveway when he was 9 years old. For hours, he traveled in a car with his kidnapper, not knowing what would happen to him. During that time, Willie decided to sing a song called “Every Praise”. As he repeatedly sang the words, his abductor spewed profanity and told him to shut up. Finally, the man stopped the car and let Willie out—unharmed.

As Willie demonstrated, truly praising the Lord requires us to concentrate on God’s character while forsaking what we fear, what is wrong in our lives, and the self-sufficiency in our hearts.

The Israelites reached this place of surrender when they faced attackers. As they prepared for battle, King Jehoshaphat organized a choir to march out in advance of their enemy’s army. The choir sang, “Praise the LORD, for His mercy endures forever” (2 Chron. 20:21). When the music started, Israel’s enemies became confused and destroyed each other. As the prophet Jahaziel had predicted, Israel didn’t need to fight at all (v.17).

Whether we’re facing a battle or feeling trapped, we can glorify God in our hearts. Truly, “The LORD is great and greatly to be praised” (Ps. 96:4). —Jennifer Benson Schuldt

Dear God, You are holy and good. I worship You today despite the problems that cloud my vision of You. Let my soul tell of Your glory forever.

Worship is a heart overflowing with praise to God.

Alistair Begg – Why Imitate Christ?

 

Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.1 John 2:6

Why should Christians imitate Christ? They should do it for their own sakes. If they desire to be spiritually healthy–if they want to escape the sickness of sin and enjoy the vigor of growing grace, Jesus must be their model. For their own happiness’ sake, if they would drink deeply of His love, if they would enjoy holy and happy communion with Jesus, if they would be lifted up above the cares and troubles of this world, let them walk even as He walked. There is nothing that is able to assist you in walking directly toward heaven like wearing the image of Jesus on your heart to rule all its emotions. It is when, by the power of the Holy Spirit, you are enabled to walk with Jesus in His very footsteps that you are most happy and most known to be the sons of God. Peter at a distance is both unsafe and uneasy.

Next, for religion’s sake strive to be like Jesus. Poor religion, you have been fiercely attacked by cruel foes, but you have not been wounded half as much by your enemies as you have by your friends. Who made those wounds in the fair hand of godliness? The professing Christian who used the dagger of hypocrisy. The man who with disguises enters the fold, being nothing but a wolf in sheep’s clothing, worries the flock more than the lion outside. There is no weapon half so deadly as a Judas-kiss. Inconsistent professing Christians injure the Gospel more than the sneering critic or the heretic.

But especially for Christ’s own sake, imitate His example. Christian, do you love your Savior? Is His name precious to you? Is His cause dear to you? Would you see the kingdoms of the world become His? Is it your desire that He should be glorified? Are you longing that souls should be won to Him? If so, imitate Jesus; be “a letter of Christ . . . known and read by all.”1

1) 2 Corinthains 3:2-3

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

Charles Spurgeon – Christ—the power and wisdom of God

 

“Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:24

Suggested Further Reading: Acts 10:34-43

Christ is the power of God, for he is the Creator of all things, and by Him all things exist. But when he came to earth, took upon himself the fashion of a man, tabernacled in the inn, and slept in the manger, he still gave proof that he was the Son of God; not so much so when, as an infant of a span long, the immortal was the mortal, and the infinite became a babe; not so much so in his youth, but afterwards when he began his public ministry, he gave abundant proofs of his power and godhead. The winds hushed by his finger uplifted, the waves calmed by his voice, so that they became solid as marble beneath his tread; the tempest, cowering at his feet, as before a conqueror whom it knew and obeyed; these things, these stormy elements, the wind, the tempest, and the water, gave full proof of his abundant power. The lame man leaping, the deaf man hearing, the dumb man singing, the dead rising, these, again, were proofs that he was the “power of God.” When the voice of Jesus startled the shades of Hades, and rent the bonds of death, with “Lazarus come forth!” and when the carcase rotten in the tomb woke up to life, there was proof of his divine power and godhead. A thousand other proofs he afforded; but we need not stay to mention them to you who have Bibles in your houses, and who can read them every day. At last he yielded up his life, and was buried in the tomb. Not long, however, did he sleep; for he gave another proof of his divine power and godhead, when starting from his slumber, he affrighted the guards with the majesty of his grandeur, not being held by the bonds of death, they being like green twigs before our conquering Samson, who had meanwhile pulled up the gates of hell, and carried them on his shoulders far away.

For meditation: This very same power of God is mighty to save believers through the gospel (Romans 1:16), is at work within them (Ephesians 1:19) and can enable them to fight the good fight of the faith against all evil powers (Ephesians 6:10-13).

Sermon no. 132
17 May (1857)

John MacArthur – Overcoming Pessimism (Philip)

 

The twelve apostles included “Philip” (Matt. 10:3).

Pessimism will blind you to the sufficiency of God’s resources.

It’s been said that an optimist sees a glass half full; a pessimist sees it half empty. An optimist sees opportunities; a pessimist sees obstacles. In one sense Philip was an optimist. He recognized Jesus as the Messiah and immediately saw an opportunity to share his discovery with Nathanael. In another sense, Philip was a pessimist because on occasions he failed to see what Christ could accomplish despite the apparent obstacles.

On one such occasion Jesus had just finished teaching and healing a crowd of thousands of people. Night was falling and the people were beginning to get hungry. Apparently Philip was responsible for the food, so Jesus asked him, “Where are we to buy bread, that these may eat?” (John 6:5). Philip said, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, for everyone to receive a little” (v. 7). In other words, “We don’t have enough resources in our whole savings account to buy enough food for a group this size!” Philip’s calculating, pragmatic, pessimistic mind could reach only one conclusion: this is an utter impossibility.

Jesus knew all along how He was going to solve the problem, but He wanted to test Philip’s faith (v. 6). Philip should have passed the test because he had already seen Jesus create wine from water at the wedding at Cana (John 2:1-11). Despite Philip’s failure, Jesus didn’t give up on him. Instead, from five barley loaves and two fish He created enough food to feed the entire crowd, thus replacing Philip’s pessimism with a reaffirmation of divine sufficiency.

There’s a little of Philip in each of us. We’ve experienced God’s saving power and have seen Him answer prayer, yet there are times when we let pessimism rob us of the joy of seeing Him work through obstacles in our lives. Don’t let that happen to you. Keep your eyes on Christ and trust in His sufficiency. He will never fail you!

Suggestions for Prayer

Memorize Ephesians 3:20-21. Recite it often as a hymn of praise and an affirmation of your faith in God.

For Further Study

Read Numbers 13 and 14.

  • What kind of report did the pessimistic spies bring back from the Promised Land?
  • How did the people react to their report?
  • How did God react to their report?

 

Joyce Meyer – God Enables Us

 

It is through Him that we have received grace (God’s unmerited favor) and [our] apostleship to promote obedience to the faith and make disciples for His name’s sake among all the nations, and this includes you, called of Jesus Christ and invited [as you are] to belong to Him. Romans 1:5–6

God gives us beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness (see Isaiah 61:3). God gives us whatever we need to be victorious. Be¬cause He enables us, we credit Him for all the good things in our lives.

Get up today and do the best you can, and then let God do the rest. Don’t try to make mistakes, don’t try to fail; but when you do, repent and get things straight with God. If you need to apologize to somebody, go and apologize. Receive your forgiveness, and go on.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Freedom From Fear

 

“He does not fear bad news, nor live in dread of what may happen. For he is settled in his mind that Jehovah will take care of him” (Psalm 112:7).

Sarah was a hypochondriac, a bundle of nerves, plagued by all kinds of fears – fears that she would become ill, fears that she would have an accident, fears that something would happen to her husband or children or that they would experience financial reverses. Her every conversation was negative. And of course, her attitude alienated her from others, and the more isolated she found herself, the more fearful she became.

Completely absorbed with her own problems, she was seriously thinking of committing suicide when a Christian couple moved in next door to her. They began to demonstrate the love of God and share the good news of His forgiveness in Jesus Christ. Few people had taken an interest in Sarah, but this godly, Christian couple, especially Mary, the wife, embraced her with understanding compassion and a loving heart.

Together they began to study the Bible and after a brief time, Sarah received Christ and began to grow as a Christian. She began to memorize Scripture and took great delight in hiding large quantities of the Word in her heart. Now her mind and her conversation were saturated with the things of God – His attributes, His holiness, His love – and His promises became a joyful reality to her.

A year had passed when one day she remarked to me with great enthusiasm, “I have been liberated. Christ has set me free. I seldom think of my own problems anymore, but find my mind absorbed with God and His truth, and how I might reach out in love and compassion to others as Mary reached out to me in my deepest need.”

Sarah was no longer afraid. The fears that had plagued here were gone, because it was settled in her mind that Jehovah would take care of her and her family. No matter what happened, she knew that she could trust a loving, gracious, holy, righteous God, who had become her very real heavenly Father. Jesus Christ had become more real to her than her own flesh and blood.

Bible Reading: Psalm 112:1-6

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will seek to know more and more about my Lord by hiding His Word in my heart and meditating upon His many attributes. For I am convinced that He will watch over me, protect and care for me so that nothing can happen to me that He does not allow for my good.

Presidential Prayer Team; C.P. – Press In

 

In Dr. James Dobson’s article “The Target of Sibling Rivalry is You,” Dobson says that siblings often fight to manipulate their parents’ behavior. This seems to be the case for biblical brothers Jacob and Esau. Through the years, Esau won his dad’s favor and Jacob won his mom’s, pitting one parent against the other.

Please deliver me from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I fear him.

Genesis 32:11

Jacob and his mother Rebekah got what they wanted – Jacob acquired Esau’s birthright and blessing – but at a great cost. Jacob had to flee for his life from his brother. While away, he endured trials at the hands of his father-in-law, but God blessed him through it all. Though God told Jacob to return to his homeland and that He would bless him, Jacob feared his brother. That’s when he uttered today’s verse. God not only heard him but had already dealt with the problem before Jacob prayed. Both men had matured over the years and were able to love and forgive each other.

You can trust God’s promises, regardless how things appear or what has happened in the past. Prayerfully and boldly press in and claim God’s promises for your loved ones and this nation.

Recommended Reading: Hebrews 4:11-16

Night Light for Couples – Split Vision

 

“A wise man’s heart guides his mouth.” Proverbs 16:23

Isn’t it curious how in the midst of a nasty family argument we can shake our bad mood the instant the telephone rings or a neighbor knocks on the door? Have you ever been brought up short by a small voice questioning such a sudden turn to peaches and cream after twenty minutes of fire and brimstone? Sometimes we treat those we love the worst, and kids are quick to recognize this hypocrisy.

Mark Hatfield, a longtime senator from Oregon and the father of four, said his wife once stung him by saying, “I just wish you were as patient with your children as you are with your constituents.” He isn’t alone. We’re all guilty at times of what might be called “split vision”— treating acquaintances with forbearance while losing patience or even heaping contempt on those under our own roof. We assume the worst. We pounce on every shortcoming. We never miss an opportunity to harangue. In the process, we wound the people we care about most.

It’s time we cut one another a little slack at home. If we say our spouses, children, and parents are the most significant people in our lives, we can prove it by showing them the same kindnesses we would bestow on our most honored guests.

Just between us…

  • Are we as patient with each other at home as we are with guests and strangers?
  • Why do you think we can be so hard on each other?
  • How can we encourage each other to avoid this kind of “split vision”?

Father, open our eyes to see one another the way You do. Forgive us for the laziness and selfishness that so easily sour our family relationships. Help us guard our words and actions so that we may be pleasing in Your sight. Amen.

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