Charles Stanley – The Living Word

 

Hebrews 4:12-13

The Bible is the most amazing book ever written. God used human beings to record His thoughts and words in writing so that others could know Him (2 Peter 1:20-21). The One who spoke the universe into existence still speaks just as powerfully through the pages of the Bible that you hold in your hands.

At the moment of salvation, believers receive the Holy Spirit, and the lines of communication with the Lord are established. Then, whenever the Scriptures are read, children of God can hear His voice, and the Spirit enables them to understand and put into practice what they have heard.

The Bible is not just a good book with comforting verses but is effective, always accomplishing the purpose for which God sends it (Isa. 55:10-11). Scripture is active and alive and “performs its work in [those] who believe” (1 Thess. 2:13). The Word of God has the power to change our lives if we will believe Him and do what He says.

God uses Scripture to transform us from the inside out. His Word has the quality of a sword that cuts through our hearts and judges thoughts and intentions, delivering light to the darkness hiding in our souls. This Book tells us not only who God is, but also who we are.

Sometimes life’s concerns can deafen our “spiritual ears.” Before reading Scripture, ask God to help you hear and understand what He’s saying. As you believe and obey, your spiritual hearing will become more acute, and your time in the Word will be an intimate conversation with the Lord.

Bible in One Year: Proverbs 16-18

Our Daily Bread — Seeing Beyond Loss

 

Read: Psalm 77:1-15

Bible in a Year: Psalms 4-6; Acts 17:16-34

I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High. I will remember the works of the Lord. —Psalm 77:10-11

Author William Zinsser described his last visit to see the house where he grew up, a place he greatly loved as a boy. When he and his wife arrived at the hill overlooking Manhasset Bay and Long Island Sound, they found that the house had been demolished. All that remained was a huge hole. Disheartened, they walked to the nearby seawall. Zinsser looked across the bay, absorbing the sights and sounds. Later, he wrote of this experience, “I was at ease and only slightly sad. The view was intact: the unique configuration of land and sea I remember so well that I still dream about it.”

The psalmist wrote of a difficult time when his soul refused to be comforted and his spirit was overwhelmed (Ps. 77:2-3). But in the midst of his trouble, he shifted his focus from his sadness to his Savior, saying, “I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High. I will remember the works of the Lord . . . Your wonders of old” (vv. 10-11).

In dealing with disappointment, we can either focus on our loss or on God Himself. The Lord invites us to look to Him and see the scope of His goodness, His presence with us, and His eternal love. —David C. McCasland

Heavenly Father, this life can be both wonderful and disappointing. We know that things are not the way they ought to be. Our disappointments cause us to turn to You, the only true hope for the world.Share this prayer from our Facebook page with your friends. facebook.com/ourdailybread

Faith in God’s goodness keeps hope alive.

INSIGHT: The Psalms are moving reflections on life and God. In today’s psalm Asaph shares the disappointment of feeling as though God has abandoned him. But Asaph also shows us how to change our perspective. We do this by focusing on the character and deeds of the Lord. Our circumstances may not change, but we will see them in a different way—against the backdrop of God.

Alistair Begg – The Persons of the Trinity

 

Beloved in God the Father… sanctified in Christ Jesus…in the sanctification of the Spirit.

Jude 1; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 1 Peter 1:2

Consider the union of the three Divine Persons in all their gracious acts. How unwisely do those believers talk who make preferences in the Persons of the Trinity, who think of Jesus as if He were the embodiment of everything lovely and gracious, while the Father they regard as severely just but destitute of kindness. Equally wrong are those who magnify the decree of the Father and the atonement of the Son so as to depreciate the work of the Spirit.

In works of grace none of the Persons of the Trinity act separately from the rest. They are as united in their works as in Their essence. In Their love toward the chosen They are one, and in the actions that flow from that great central source They are still undivided.

Notice this especially in the matter of sanctification. While it is right to speak of sanctification as the work of the Spirit, yet we must make sure that we do not view it as if the Father and the Son were not involved. It is correct to speak of sanctification as the work of the Father, of the Son, and of the Spirit. Still God says, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness,”1 and so we are “his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”2

See the value that God sets upon real holiness, since the three Persons in the Trinity are represented as co-working to produce a Church without “spot or wrinkle or any such thing.”3 And you, believer, as the follower of Christ, must also set a high value on holiness-upon purity of life and godliness of conversation. Value the blood of Christ as the foundation of your hope, and never speak disparagingly of the work of the Spirit. This day let us live in such a way as to manifest the work of the Triune God in us.

1) Genesis 1:26

2) Ephesians 2:10

3) Ephesians 5:27

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

Charles Spurgeon – A simple sermon for seeking souls

 

“Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:13

Suggested Further Reading: Ecclesiastes 5:1-7

“I thought,” said somebody addressing me one day, “I thought when I was in the garden, surely Christ could take my sins away, just as easily as he could move the clouds. Do you know, sir, in a moment or two the cloud was all gone, and the sun was shining. Thought I to myself, the Lord is blotting out my sin.” Such a ridiculous thought as that, you say, cannot occur often. I tell you, it does, very frequently indeed. People suppose that the greatest nonsense in all the earth is a manifestation of divine grace in their hearts. Now, the only feeling I ever want to have is just this,—I want to feel that I am a sinner and that Christ is my Saviour. You may keep your visions, and ecstasies, and raptures, and dances to yourselves; the only feeling that I desire to have is deep repentance and humble faith; and if, poor sinner, you have got that, you are saved. Why, some of you believe that before you can be saved there must be a kind of electric shock, some very wonderful thing that is to go all through you from head to foot. Now hear this, “The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: …That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart…. Thou shalt be saved.” What do you want with all this nonsense of dreams and supernatural thoughts? All that is wanted is, that as a guilty sinner, I should come and cast myself on Christ. That done, the soul is safe, and all the visions in the universe could not make it safer.

For meditation: “God be merciful to me a sinner” was Christ’s description of a man calling upon God and being justified (Luke 18:13,14). Any insistence on special experiences and strange happenings is an evidence of having departed from Christ, the head of the church (Colossians 2:18,19).

Sermon no. 140

12 July (1857)

John MacArthur – Rejecting Christ

 

“For those who disbelieve, ‘the stone which the builders rejected, this became the very corner stone,’ and, ‘a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense’; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed” (1 Pet. 2:7-8).

Rejecting Christ leads to spiritual damnation.

Israel was a unique nation, chosen by God to be the guardian of His Word and proclaimer of His kingdom. The Old Testament records His miraculous and providential care for her throughout the centuries, and the prophets told of One who would come as her great Deliverer. Israel eagerly awaited the promised Messiah.

But the story has a surprise ending. In the Person of Jesus Christ, the Messiah finally came and presented Himself to Israel. The religious leaders examined Him carefully, measuring Him in every way they could. But He didn’t fit their blueprint. They expected a reigning political Messiah who would instantly deliver them from Roman oppression. They felt no need for a spiritual deliverer, so they rejected Him and tossed Him aside like a worthless rock.

That rejected cornerstone is precious to believers but remains a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense to unbelievers. A “stone of stumbling” was a stone on which someone tripped while walking along the road. A “rock of offense” was a rock large enough to crush a person. The point: rejecting Christ brings spiritual devastation of enormous proportions.

All who reject Christ do so because they are disobedient to the Word. Rebellion against the written Word inevitably leads to rejection of the living Word. Of such people Peter said, “To this doom they were also appointed” (v. 8). They weren’t appointed to reject Christ, but to receive the judgment that their rejection demands. That’s a frightening reality that should motivate you to take every opportunity to evangelize the lost.

Suggestions for Prayer

If you have family or friends who are rejecting Christ, pray for them often, asking God to grant them saving faith.

For Further Study

Read Romans 9:30-10:17, noting Israel’s false standard of righteousness and Paul’s prayer for her salvation.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – He Gives Good Gifts

 

“And you hardhearted, sinful men know how to give good gifts to your children, won’t your Father in heaven even more certainly give good gifts to those who ask Him for them?” (Matthew 7:11).

“Daddy, we love you and want to do only that which pleases you.” Do you know what I would do if my sons expressed their love for me and their trust in me in this way?

“I love you, too,” I would tell them, as I put my arms around them and gave them a big hug. “I appreciate your offer to do anything I want. Your expression of love and faith is the greatest gift you can give me.”

As a result, I am all the more sensitive and diligent to demonstrate my love and concern for them.

Is God any less loving and concerned for His children? Of course not. He has proven over and over again that He is a loving God. He is worthy of our trust. Further, He has the wisdom and power to do for us far more than we ever are able to do for our children.

“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those that ask Him?” (Matthew 7:11 NAS).

By our attitudes and actions, most of us say to God, “I don’t love You. I don’t trust You.”

Can you think of anything that would hurt you more deeply, coming from your children? The average Christian is a practical atheist living as though God does not exist. Even though we give lip service to Him, we often refuse to trust and obey His promises as recorded in His Word.

Bible Reading: Matthew 7:7-11

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Knowing that God wants to give me a supernatural, abundant life, I will trust and obey Him today in all that I do.

Presidential Prayer Team; G.C. – Survival

 

According to the “Top Ten Tips for Surviving a Zombie Outbreak,” the key to survival is building a fortress. Construction can be tricky in emergency situations, so you are encouraged to use what is immediately available. Make sure you stock the area with useful supplies and, if you have time, leave notes for others to find. Then comfort yourself in remembering that zombies aren’t classically swift.

For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress.

Psalm 59:16

Does life ever feel like zombies are hot on your trail? In Exodus 14, God’s people found themselves in a comparable situation, standing at the edge of the Red Sea, caught between rushing water and an advancing army that was quite alive and anything but fictitious. Surely, they were more than antsy when they were told, “The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” (Exodus 14:14)

If you believe death or destruction is at your door, there is no need to panic. God sees you! Humbly pray about what is troubling you, and then turn your attention towards helping others find their way to the fortress. Instead of fearing what is behind you, take refuge in God’s provisions and rest in His freedom from the anxieties of life, real or imagined.

Recommended Reading: II Corinthians 1:2-7

Night Light for Couples – I Deserve It!

 

“For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature.” Galatians 5:17

That sinful nature we talked about yesterday often rears its head in the form of the thought I deserve more. It leads us to demand the best deal, the lion’s share, the most credit, and the finest of everything. From earliest childhood, as we have seen, our impulse is to focus on ourselves and to disregard the needs of others.

And, yes, this “I‐deserve‐it” attitude can permeate marriages. Resentment can build over who works the hardest, who spends more than his or her share of the money, and who is not doing enough to serve the other. Anger then erupts over insignificant irritants that bubble up from the cauldron of emotions. Many fights in marriage begin with the belief that we’re being cheated in the relationship.

Beware of this trap. The minute we begin thinking that we are entitled to more, we’ve started down the slippery road to selfishness. It can devastate a relationship.

John Ferrier didn’t deserve to die in an Ohio neighborhood—but when crisis came, he chose to sacrifice for others. Jesus didn’t deserve to be nailed to a wooden cross—but out of love for the Father and for us, He allowed Himself to be crucified. This kind of sacrificial love seeks to serve, not “deserve”—and that changes everything!

Just between us…

  • What do you feel we truly deserve in this life?
  • Do you sometimes feel that you’re not getting what you deserve in our marriage?
  • Is selfishness a problem for us?

Dear Lord, we need Your Spirit at work in us to overcome our self-centered impulses. By Your grace, empower us to serve instead of to “deserve.” Amen.

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

C.S. Lewis Daily – Today’s Reading

 

Those Divine demands which sound to our natural ears most like those of a despot and least like those of a lover, in fact marshal us where we should want to go if we knew what we wanted. He demands our worship, our obedience, our prostration. Do we suppose that they can do Him any good, or fear, like the chorus in Milton, that human irreverence can bring about ‘His glory’s diminution’? A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell. But God wills our good, and our good is to love Him (with that responsive love proper to creatures) and to love Him we must know Him: and if we know Him, we shall in fact fall on our faces. If we do not, that only shows that what we are trying to love is not yet God— though it may be the nearest approximation to God which our thought and fantasy can attain. Yet the call is not only to prostration and awe; it is to a reflection of the Divine life, a creaturely participation in the Divine attributes which is far beyond our present desires. We are bidden to ‘put on Christ’, to become like God. That is, whether we like it or not, God intends to give us what we need, not what we now think we want. Once more, we are embarrassed by the intolerable compliment, by too much love, not too little.

From The Problem of Pain

Compiled in A Year with C.S. Lewis