Charles Stanley – When Faith Wavers

 

Matthew 21:21

One of the main obstacles to effective prayer is lack of trust. If we believe God is who He says He is and will do what He has promised, why do so many of us habitually waver in our prayers? Instead of exercising bold faith, we come to the Lord “hoping” He will hear us and answer our requests, but we’re just not sure He will. With this kind of thinking, we cannot expect to receive anything from Him.

One reason we are so prone to doubt is that we fail to see God at work in our circumstances. We asked, and nothing happened. But the Lord is not some cosmic bellhop who jumps in response to our requests. He sees past, present, and future and knows the right time for every answer. His invisible hand is already at work on our behalf—arranging situations to accomplish His will, opening hearts, and preparing us to receive what He wants to give.

Another cause for uncertainty is ignorance. If we don’t know God’s ways, we will be disappointed in His response. All too often our prayers are accompanied by expectations of how He will work. When He fails to intervene according to our anticipated method, we start to doubt. But placing our faith in the Lord and trusting in His good and perfect ways gives us stability as we wait for His answer.

To overcome doubts, spend time in the Word to learn God’s principles and ways. Then you’ll begin to grasp what He wants to achieve in your life and how He goes about it. Examine your past from a biblical perspective—faith will grow as you see the unexpected ways He’s answered your prayers.

Bible in One Year:Isaiah 11-14

Our Daily Bread — Walking with the Lord

 

Read: Psalm 37:23-31

Bible in a Year: Psalms 37-39; Acts 26

The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way. —Psalm 37:23

A small pamphlet I received from a friend was titled “An Attempt to Share the Story of 86 Years of Relationship with the Lord.” In it, Al Ackenheil noted key people and events in his journey of faith over nearly nine decades. What seemed to be ordinary choices at the time—memorizing Bible verses, meeting for prayer with others, telling his neighbors about Jesus—became turning points that changed the direction of his life. It was fascinating to read how God’s hand guided and encouraged Al.

The psalmist wrote, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way” (Ps. 37:23). The passage continues with a beautiful description of God’s faithful care for everyone who wants to walk with Him. “The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide” (v. 31).

Each of us could create a record of God’s leading and faithfulness, reflecting on God’s guidance—the people, places, and experiences that are landmarks on our pathway of faith. Every remembrance of the Lord’s goodness encourages us to keep walking with Him and to thank someone who influenced us for good.

The Lord guides and guards all who walk with Him. —David C. McCasland

Heavenly Father, Your faithfulness to us is unfailing. Thank You for leading, guiding, and providing so many spiritual encouragers and mentors. Bless those today who have helped us so much.

You are headed in the right direction when you walk with God.

INSIGHT: The psalms of David speak so powerfully and realistically to us because they are records of his own experience—his own trials and hardship. We often like to focus on phrases like the one found in verse 23, “The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him” (niv). But the reality comes in verse 24: “Though he may stumble, he will not fall” (niv). We will stumble even when we delight in the Lord, but we will not fall because He upholds us.

 

Alistair Begg – Exposed to Great Danger

 

He left his garment in her hand and fled and got out of the house. Genesis 39:12

In contending with certain sins there remains no mode of victory but by flight. The ancient naturalists wrote much of basilisks, whose eyes fascinated their victims and rendered them easy victims; so the mere gaze of wickedness puts us in solemn danger. He who would be safe from acts of evil must hurry away from occasions of it. A covenant must be made with our eyes not even to look upon the cause of temptation, for such sins only need a spark to begin with and a blaze follows in an instant.

Who would carelessly enter the leper’s prison and sleep amid its horrible corruption? Only he who desires to be leprous himself. If the sailor knew how to avoid a storm, he would do anything rather than run the risk of weathering it. Cautious navigators have no desire to see how near the quicksand they can sail or how often they may touch a rock without springing a leak; their aim is to keep as nearly as possible in the midst of a safe channel.

Today I may be exposed to great peril; let me have the serpent’s wisdom to keep out of it and avoid it. The wings of a dove may be of more use to me today than the jaws of a lion. It is true I may be an apparent loser by declining evil company, but I had better leave my cloak than lose my character; it is not needful that I should be rich, but it is imperative for me to be pure. No ties of friendship, no chains of beauty, no flashings of talent, no shafts of ridicule must turn me from the wise resolve to flee from sin.

I am to resist the devil, and he will flee from me; but the lusts of the flesh I must flee, or they will surely overcome me. O God of holiness, preserve us like Joseph, that we may not be seduced by the subtle, vile suggestions of the temptress. May the horrible trinity of the world, the flesh, and the devil never overcome us!

The Family Bible Reading Plan

  • Judges 8
  • Acts 12

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

Charles Spurgeon – Everybody’s sermon

 

“I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes.” Hosea 12:10

Suggested Further Reading: Matthew 13:36-43

If you have an opportunity to journey into the country during the next three weeks, you will, if your heart is rightly attuned, find a marvellous mass of wisdom couched in a cornfield. Why, I could not attempt for a moment to open the mighty mines of golden treasure which are hidden there. Think, beloved, of the joy of the harvest. How does it tell us of the joy of the redeemed, if we, being saved, shall at last be carried like shocks of corn fully ripe into the granary. Look at the ear of corn when it is fully ripe, and see how it bends toward the earth! It held its head erect before, but in getting ripe how humble does it become! And how does God speak to the sinner, and tell him, that if he would be fit for the great harvest he must drop his head and cry, “Lord have mercy upon me a sinner.” And when we see the weeds spring up amongst wheat, have we not our Master’s parable over again of the tares among the wheat; and are we not reminded of the great day of division, when he shall say to the reaper, “Gather first the tares and bind them in bundles, to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.” O yellow field of corn, thou preachest well to me, for thou sayest to me, the minister, “Behold, the fields are ripe already to the harvest. Work thou thyself, and pray thou the Lord of the harvest to send forth more labourers into the harvest.” And it preaches well to thee, thou man of years, it tells thee that the sickle of death is sharp, and that thou must soon fall, but it cheers and comforts thee, for it tells thee that the wheat shall be safely housed, and it bids thee hope that thou shalt be carried to thy Master’s home to be his joy and his delight for ever. Hark, then, to the rustling eloquence of the yellow harvest.

For meditation: Some Scriptures on summer and harvest: (Genesis 8:22; Proverbs 6:8; 10:5; 26:1; Jeremiah 8:20).

Sermon no. 206

25 July (1858)

John MacArthur – Your Secure Inheritance

 

“To obtain an inheritance which is . . . reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Pet. 1:4-5).

Your eternal inheritance is doubly secure: it is reserved for you, and you are reserved for it.

When Peter wrote his first epistle, attitudes toward Christians in the Roman Empire were not at all favorable. Because they would not worship the emperor as a god, or enter into other sinful pagan practices, Christians were looked upon with suspicion and disdain. In addition, Nero had blamed them for burning Rome (an act he himself perpetrated), so anger and hatred toward them was at its peak.

Peter wrote to encourage them—and all believers—to live out their faith amid persecution, just as Jesus had done when He suffered unjustly (cf. 1 Pet. 2:21-23). He reminded them that despite the sufferings they might endure in this life, God will reward them with an inheritance that is eternally secure because it is reserved in heaven for them.

“Reserved” in 1 Peter 1:4 indicates an inheritance that already exists, is presently protected, and will continually be protected. The place of its protection is heaven, where “neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal” (Matt. 6:20), and where “nothing unclean and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever [enter], but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Rev. 21:27). There is no safer place!

Not only is your inheritance protected for you, but also you are protected for it! That’s what Peter meant when he said that it is “reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Pet. 1:4-5). The omnipotent, sovereign power of God will continually protect you until His work is fully accomplished in your life. Then He will grant you glorification: the fullness of the salvation for which He redeemed you.

You needn’t fear the loss of your inheritance. Instead, rejoice in the protection of our gracious God.

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God for His protection and for the assurance of your inheritance.

For Further Study

What do these verses teach about the security of your salvation: Romans 8:31-39, Philippians 1:6, and Jude 24?

Joyce Meyer – You Can Do All Things Through Christ

 

I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency].- Philippians 4:13

One thought that has the power to transform your life is simple: I can do whatever I need to do in life through Christ. In other words, I can handle whatever life hands me. I wonder—do you believe you can do whatever you need to do in life? Or are there certain things that trigger dread, fear, or cause you to say, “I could never do that!” when you think about them?

Whether it’s suddenly losing a loved one, facing a serious unexpected illness, having your adult child with two toddlers move into your clean and quiet house after you’ve had an “empty nest” for years, going on a strict diet because your life depends on it, putting yourself on a budget to avoid foreclosure on your home, or suddenly having to care for a disabled elderly parent—most people have some kind of circumstance that truly seems impossible to them, something they aren’t sure they can or could handle.

The fact of the matter is, while some situations may be intensely undesirable or difficult for you, you can do whatever you need to do in life. I know this because God tells us in His Word that we have the strength to do all things because Christ empowers us to do so. He doesn’t say everything will be easy for us, He doesn’t promise we will enjoy every little thing we do, but we can enjoy life in the midst of doing them.

We must understand that Philippians 4:13 does not say we can do anything we want to do because we are strong enough, smart enough, or hardworking enough. No, in fact, it leaves no room at all for human effort or striving of any kind. The secret to being able to do what we need to do is realizing that we cannot do it alone; we can only do it in Christ.

Trust in Him What in your life do you need to begin to believe you can do? Remember, you can do all things in Christ. You can trust Him to empower you to do anything He asks you to do.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – On The Throne Beside Him

 

“I will let everyone who conquers sit beside Me on My throne, just as I took my place with My Father on His throne when I had conquered” (Revelation 3:21).

Can you imagine such glorious majesty as that which is promised in this verse?

In Revelation, Christ is frequently pictured as being on a throne, both in heaven and during His return to earth. More unusual is this promise to overcomers that, just as Christ is seated with God on His throne, they will sit on their thrones with Christ, but this is in keeping with the reward of a crown as described in chapter 2, verse 10.

In Mark 10:35-45, in response to the request of James and John that they be allowed to sit at His right and left in glory, Jesus replied that this was not in His power to grant. On the contrary, He reminded them that they were to be like Him, the “servant of all.”

Matthew 19:28 presents quite a different view, with Jesus telling his disciples that when the Son of man sits on His glorious throne, those who have followed Him “will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”

In Luke’s parallel passage (22:30), the disciples are to eat with Christ at His table and also to sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes – a joyful combination similar to the one presented in Revelation 3:21. The promise that the overcomers will rule is to find its glorious fulfillment in their millenial reign with Christ (Revelation 20:4).

In our daily walk with Christ, this view of His grace and love and majesty should spur us on to holy living – to supernatural living.

Bible Reading: Acts 2:30-36

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will strive to express my gratitude and appreciation for God’s wonderful provision for His children by living in such a way that all I do and say will be pleasing to Him.

 

Presidential Prayer Team; C.P. – Majestic and Unchanging

 

With 54 mountain peaks over 14,000 feet, one only has to drive through Colorado to appreciate the mountains. They are majestic, unmoving and formidable. Mountains can either be your greatest protection or, in inclement weather, your possible undoing.

As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people, from this time forth and forevermore.

Psalm 125:2

Likewise is the Lord. He is majestic, worthy to be worshipped and praised. His love is steadfast and He is unchanging, the same yesterday, today and forever. Yet He is formidable. His righteousness and holiness is to be obeyed and respected. God is your greatest protection, your source of salvation, your origin of hope and strength. But for those who have not embraced Christ, He will be their undoing.

“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” (James 4:8) He loves you, protects you, and meets your needs; in fact, “Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matthew 6:8) As you worship His goodness and majesty, remember to pray for the leaders and citizens of the United States of America to turn to Him for their salvation, strength and hope.

Recommended Reading: Matthew 21:33-44

Greg Laurie – The Adventures of Fuzzie the Rabbit

 

“Hold me up, and I shall be safe, and I shall observe Your statutes continually.” —Psalm 119:117

My youngest granddaughter, Allie (short for Alexandra), has a little rabbit that her older sister, Rylie, named Fuzzie.

Fuzzie spends most of his time in a cage, though it is a large one. Seems like a cruel thing to do to a rabbit, but it comes down to how you look at things.

When we get Fuzzie out for Allie she will squeal with absolute delight. And in her excitement she sometimes does not hold Fuzzie the rabbit in exactly the right way. She once picked him up by the head! But he is a resilient little guy and was just fine.

After one of these recent outings, I was returning Fuzzie and about three feet away he leapt out of my arms for the open door of his cage!

I think Fuzzie likes to be there.

For us, this seems like a confining place to put a rabbit. But judging by his actions, Fuzzie, an actual rabbit who lives in a cage, does not see it that way.

He does not see the cage as a place that keeps him imprisoned from the outside world but a place that keeps him safe . . . from Allie!

In the same way, we look at Gods’ Word, which contains absolutes. He gives us things we are to do and things we are not to do.

Some people don’t like those absolutes and commandments. They see them as a cage, keeping them from what they think they really want.

But when we come to realize that God’s rules and laws are not designed to “ruin our fun,” but to provide a place of safety and security, we find that instead of being confining and restricting, His commandments are actually very liberating.

Night Light for Couples – For Better and Worse?

 

“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24

Did you hear the one about the wedding ceremony of a young contract lawyer and his bride? When the minister got to the vows, he intoned, “Do you take this woman for better? For worse? For richer? For poorer? In sickness? And in health?” He was startled to hear the groom cautiously reply, “Yes. No. Yes.

No. No. And yes.” Of course, we’d all like to sign up for the better, richer, and healthier parts when we get married and forget all that other stuff. But that’s not the way marriage works because that’s not the way life works.

In another wedding ceremony, this one real, the bride and groom pledged to stay married as long as they continued to love each other. Let’s hope they both know good divorce attorneys, because they’re going to need them. Relationships based on feelings are necessarily ephemeral and transitory. The only real stability in marriage is produced by firm commitments that hold two people steady when emotions are fluctuating wildly. Without such determination, even the best relationship is destined to disintegrate.

Just between us…

  • Are you still as committed to me as you were when we married?
  • Are we prepared to “hang tough” when the going gets difficult?
  • Why do you think so many couples don’t stay together?
  • What kind of commitment does the Lord expect of us?
  • What can we do to make sure our commitment to marriage stays strong?

Dear God, in Your presence we renew our whole-hearted choice to love. Bless this holy commitment with courage, strength, tenacity—and most of all joy! Amen.

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

C.S. Lewis Daily – Today’s Reading

 

We say a great many things in church (and out of church too) without thinking of what we are saying. For instance, we say in the Creed “I believe in the forgiveness of sins.” I had been saying it for several years before I asked myself why it was in the Creed. At first sight it seems hardly worth putting in. “If one is a Christian,” I thought, “of course one believes in the forgiveness of sins. It goes without saying.” But the people who compiled the Creed apparently thought that this was a part of our belief which we needed to be reminded of every time we went to church. And I have begun to see that, as far as I am concerned, they were right. To believe in the forgiveness of sins is not nearly so easy as I thought. Real belief in it is the sort of thing that very easily slips away if we don’t keep on polishing it up.

We believe that God forgives us our sins; but also that He will not do so unless we forgive other people their sins against us. There is no doubt about the second part of this statement. It is in the Lord’s Prayer; was emphatically stated by our Lord. If you don’t forgive you will not be forgiven. No part of His teaching is clearer, and there are no exceptions to it. He doesn’t say that we are to forgive other people’s sins provided they are not too frightful, or provided there are extenuating circumstances, or anything of that sort. We are to forgive them all, however spiteful, however mean, however often they are repeated. If we don’t, we shall be forgiven none of our own.

From The Weight of Glory

Compiled in A Year with C.S. Lewis

Streams in the Desert for Kids – In the Storms

 

Matthew 14:24

This wasn’t the first storm the disciples had been in. Jesus had stopped the wind and the waves before with just his word. But this time Jesus wasn’t with them. The disciples were struggling alone.

And then Jesus came. Walking on water he said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

He says the same thing to us today when we are struggling during emotional storms of life. Jesus isn’t our security against the storms, commanding every cloud to go away. He is our security in them. It is when we are struggling that his comfort is the sweetest.

When Jesus climbed in the boat, the wind died down. He came alongside his disciples and they worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Dear Lord, Thank you for your sweet comfort in hard times. Thank you for the security of Jesus. Come close. Amen.