Charles Stanley – Things That Cannot Be Shaken

 

Hebrews 12:25-29

Television news is often filled with interviews and images of people who have suffered some unimaginable tragedy. One day we’re shown tornado survivors whose homes were torn apart by powerful winds. Another day we may see massive floods sweeping through an unsuspecting neighborhood. Occasionally, we even view homes that are swallowed whole by terrible earthquakes. The expressions on the faces of those who have suffered loss can be haunting.

Losses like these always draw our attention toward the fragility of those things we hold most dear—such as our homes, families, and careers. We seldom like wake-up calls that remind us of the inherent instability of earthly life.

But in a world that oftentimes seems to be falling apart, believers in the Lord Jesus Christ have the privilege of sharing the best news imaginable: We have something that is stable, something that is completely secure. There is a rock on which we are able to stand, and it cannot be shaken. That foundation, of course, is almighty God.

The Lord gives us other immovable truths as well. We can trust that Scripture is His unchanging, relevant truth for all time. We can forever depend on a secure eternal relationship with Him through His Son. And we can be sure that an everlasting heavenly home awaits all those who place their faith in Jesus Christ. We can have stability, even in this unstable world.

Do you have someone in your life who needs this life-saving good news— someone who is drowning, desperately needing you to throw a lifeline? Don’t wait; share it today.

Bible in One Year: Ezekiel 13-16

Our Daily Bread — Don’t Delay

 

Read: Luke 9:57-62

Bible in a Year: Psalms 132-134; 1 Corinthians 11:17-34

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. —John 3:16

For many years I spoke to my distant cousin about our need of a Savior. When he visited me recently and I once again urged him to receive Christ, his immediate response was: “I would like to accept Jesus and join the church, but not yet. I live among people of other faiths. Unless I relocate, I will not be able to practice my faith well.” He cited persecution, ridicule, and pressure from his peers as excuses to postpone his decision.

His fears were legitimate, but I assured him that whatever happened, God would not abandon him. I encouraged my cousin not to delay but to trust God for care and protection. He gave up his defenses, acknowledged his need of Christ’s forgiveness, and trusted Him as his personal Savior.

When Jesus invited people to follow Him, they too offered excuses—all about being busy with the cares of this world (Luke 9:59-62). The Lord’s answer to them (vv. 60-62) urges us not to let excuses deprive us of the most important thing in life: the salvation of our souls.

Do you hear God calling you to commit your life to Him? Do not delay. “Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2). —Lawrence Darmani

Come to the Savior, make no delay—here in His Word He’s shown us the way; here in our midst He’s standing today, tenderly saying, “Come!” George F. Root

Today is the day of salvation.

INSIGHT: Although large crowds followed Jesus wherever He went (Luke 5:15; 8:42; 9:11; 14:25), Jesus knew that not all who followed Him were genuine disciples (John 6:66). Jesus taught often of the radical commitment needed if we want to follow Him. We are to love Him above all else, even our own life (Mark 10:17-22; Luke 9:23-27). In today’s passage, Jesus warns that following Him may not be easy and comfortable. It requires precedence over all other relationships, a single-minded focus, wholehearted pursuit, and an undivided commitment (vv. 59-62). God in His great mercy has given every believer the Holy Spirit to help us live a life that is pleasing to Him. Sim Kay Tee

 

Ravi Zacharias Ministry Among the Exiles

 

A recent post in The New York Times caught my eye: “Amsterdam Has a Deal for Alcoholics: Work Paid in Beer.”(1) One of the most emailed columns that week, the article detailed the creative and controversial work of The Rainbow Group Foundation, an NGO helping to prevent social isolation for people without caring networks of community like the homeless, the poor, drug users and those with psychiatric problems. Vital connections are formed that foster community and enable these socially exiled individuals to participate in society in more healthy ways.

Their latest project, however, has provoked public ire and praise. Hiring alcoholics as street cleaners and paying them with beer is not a traditional form of compensation, nor does it appear to deal with their addiction. Yet, one of the unlikely supporters of the Rainbow Foundation’s efforts is the Muslim district mayor of Eastern Amsterdam, where there is a large percentage of these marginalized persons. As a practicing Muslim, the district mayor personally disapproves of alcohol but says she believes that alcoholics “cannot be just ostracized” and told to shape up. “It is better,” she said “to give them something to do and restrict their drinking.” Indeed, Hans Wijnands, the director of the Rainbow Foundation, explained: “You have to give people an alternative, to show them a path other than just sitting in the park and drinking themselves to death.”

One of the participants in this program has struggled with alcoholism since the 1970’s after he found his wife, who was pregnant with twins, dead in their home from a drug overdose. He has since spent time in a clinic and tried other ways to quit but has never managed to entirely break his addiction. “I’m not proud of being an alcoholic, but I am proud to have a job again” he said. Once a construction worker, he was out of work for more than a decade because of a back injury, and his chronic alcoholism. Finally landing this job sponsored by the Rainbow Foundation, he now gets up at 5:30 a.m., walks his dog and heads out ready to clean litter from the streets of eastern Amsterdam. While he has found a new sense of purpose he still acknowledges how difficult life can be. “Every day is a struggle,” he said during a lunch break with his work mates. “You may see these guys hanging around here, chatting, making jokes. But I can assure you, every man you see here carries a little backpack with their own misery in it.”

As I read this article, I couldn’t help but hear the traditional Advent hymn in the back of my mind:

Oh, come, oh, come, Emmanuel,

And ransom captive Israel,

That mourns in lonely exile here

Make safe the way that leads on high,

And close the path to misery.

Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,

And death’s dark shadows put to flight.

The haunting tune of this hymn provides a musical illustration of this modern day exile: solitary individuals, mostly men, homeless often on cold, wintry streets in Amsterdam, living in a world where most consider them a nuisance at best. Gaining access to that which enslaves them as payment for cleaning the streets, they exist in a form of exile. These individuals wander in their own wilderness of addiction, exiled from themselves, from others, and likely feeling far, far away from the presence of God.

This notion of exile, of being exiled from ourselves, others, and from God, is an overarching theme in the Bible. Indeed, it is often the mournful story of God’s people who traverse its pages as captives, wanderers, and exiles. First captives in the land of Egypt, the children of Israel are freed from their bondage only to spend the next forty years wandering around in what is now the Sinai Peninsula. Brought into the land of promise, their years of freedom were relatively short-lived before they were again exiles; first, conquered by the armies of Assyria, then conquered by the armies of the Babylonians, the people of Judah ‘wept by the rivers of Babylon’ for their home. Even when they returned to their land, they were now under the thumb of the Roman Empire; captives, wanderers, and exiles.

As I thought about the juxtaposition of biblical exile with more modern day examples of exile, I couldn’t help but recognize the story of exile as a story of human nature. We find ourselves in exile for a variety of reasons. Some are pilgrims who choose to walk a road less traveled; some wander off the path and become lost. Some, like the Israelites, long to return to places of enslavement mistaking them as places of comfort and solace. The story of Israel’s exile is our human story—how we wander, how often we get lost, and how we are exiled from the better angels of our nature, from one another and from our Creator. For many, we are exiled for so long we no longer remember our homes, or the way back home.

O come, O come Emmanuel is a cry that resounds in a world of exiles. The word Emmanuel means ‘God with us.’ Yet the Christian narrative marks the arrival of that God in an unexpected manner. Not a conquering hero like other myths and legends, but a God who steps into human exile in the weakness of a baby. But that baby, Jesus of Nazareth, would declare at the beginning of his public ministry that he would “preach the gospel to the poor, proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are downtrodden, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”(2)

Margaret Manning is a member of the speaking and writing team at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Seattle, Washington.

(1) Andrew Higgins, “Amsterdam Has a Deal for Alcoholics: Work Paid in Beer,” The New York Times, December 4, 2013.

(2) Luke 4:14-19.

Alistair Begg – Rich in Poverty, Strong in Weakness

 

And for my arm they wait. Isaiah 51:5

In seasons of severe trial the Christian has nothing on earth that he can trust, and so he is compelled to cast himself on God alone. When his vessel is capsizing, and no human deliverance is at hand, he must simply and entirely trust himself to the providence and care of God. Happy storm that wrecks a man on such a rock as this! O blessed hurricane that drives the soul to God and God alone! Sometimes the multitude of our friends keeps us from God; but when a man is so poor, so friendless, so helpless that he has nowhere else to turn, he runs into his Father’s arms, and is blessed to be there! When he is burdened with troubles so pressing and so specific that he cannot tell them to anyone but God, he may be thankful for them; for he will learn more of his Lord then than at any other time.

Oh, tempest-tossed believer, it is a happy trouble that drives you to your Father! Now that you have only God to trust, make sure that you put your complete confidence in Him. Do not dishonor your Lord and Master by unworthy doubts and fears; but be strong in faith, giving glory to God. Show the world that your God is worth ten thousand worlds to you. Show rich men how rich you are in your poverty when the Lord God is your helper. Show the strong man how strong you are in your weakness when underneath you are the everlasting arms. Now is the time for feats of faith and valiant exploits. Be strong and very courageous, and the Lord your God will certainly, as surely as He built the heavens and the earth, glorify Himself in your weakness and magnify His might in the face of your distress. The grandeur of heaven’s arches would be spoiled if the sky were supported by a single visible column, and your faith would lose its glory if it rested on anything discernible by the physical eye. May the Holy Spirit enable you to rest in Jesus on this closing day of the month.

The Family Bible Reading Plan

  • 1 Samuel 24
  • 1 Corinthians 5

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

Charles Spurgeon – Christ in the covenant

 

“I will give thee for a covenant of the people.” Isaiah 49:8

Suggested Further Reading: 1 Corinthians 3:16-23

When tempted to sin, reply, “I cannot do this great wickedness. I cannot, for I am one of Christ’s.” When wealth is before you to be won by sin, touch it not; say that you are Christ’s else you would take it; but now you cannot. Tell Satan that you would not gain the world if you had to love Christ less. Are you exposed in the world to difficulties and dangers? Stand fast in the evil day, remembering that you are one of Christ’s. Are you in a field where much is to be done, and others are sitting down idly and lazily, doing nothing? Go at your work, and when the sweat stands upon your brow and you are bidden to stay, say, “No, I cannot stop; I am one of Christ’s. He had a baptism to be baptised with, and so have I, and I am in bondage until it is accomplished. I am one of Christ’s. If I were not one of his, and purchased by blood, I might be like Issachar, crouching between two burdens; but I am one of Christ’s.” When the siren song of pleasure would tempt you from the path of right, reply, “Hush your strains, O temptress; I am one of Christ’s. Your music cannot affect me; I am not my own, I am bought with a price.” When the cause of God needs you, give yourself to it, for you are Christ’s. When the poor need you, give yourself away, for you are one of Christ’s. When, at any time there is anything to be done for his church and for his cross, do it, remembering that you are one of Christ’s. I beseech you, never belie your profession. Go not where others could say, “He cannot be Christ’s.”

For meditation: The Christian is doubly Christ’s one—by his choice to bear fruit (John 15:16) and by his purchase to glorify God in the body (1 Corinthians 6:19,20). Are you giving him at present everything he paid for?

Sermon no. 103

31 August (1856)

John MacArthur – Rejecting the World

 

“Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15).

The world is opposed to everything God stands for.

Loving the world begins with thinking that God doesn’t know what’s best for you and is trying to cheat you out of something you deserve. That thought soon blossoms into a willingness to disregard God’s warnings altogether and take whatever Satan has to offer.

Love of the world started in the Garden of Eden and continues to this day. Genesis 3:6 says, “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.” What made them think the fruit was good for food or able to make them wise? God didn’t tell them that. In fact, He warned them that they would die if they ate the fruit (Gen. 2:17). But Eve believed the serpent’s lie and Adam followed suit.

Satan continues to propagate his lies but you needn’t fall prey to them if you love God and remember that the world is opposed to everything He stands for. It is spiritually dead; void of the Spirit (John 14:17); morally defiled; and dominated by pride, greed, and evil desires. It produces wrong opinions, selfish aims, sinful pleasures, demoralizing influences, corrupt politics, empty honors, and fickle love.

You can’t love the world and God at the same time because love knows no rivals. It gives its object first place. If you love God, He will have first place in your life. If you love the world, the love of the Father isn’t in you (1 John 2:15).

Galatians 1:3-5 explains that Jesus says that “gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us out of this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forevermore.” Christ died to deliver us from Satan’s evil system. What greater motivation could there be to reject the world and live to God’s glory?

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask God for greater wisdom and grace to resist the world’s influences.

For Further Study

According to Ephesians 6:10-18, how can you as a believer protect yourself against Satan’s evil system?

Joyce Meyer – Empowered through Christ

 

Be strong in the Lord [be empowered through your union with Him]; draw your strength from Him [that strength which His boundless might provides].- Ephesians 6:10

Most of the things that are truly worth doing are never easy—we are not filled with the Spirit of God to do easy things. He fills us with His Spirit so we can do impossible things!

If you want to develop your potential and succeed at being all you can be, keep your eyes on the prize and press on! It won’t all be easy, but it will all be worthwhile. Most of those who blame everyone and everything for their failures had potential, but either did not know how to develop it or were unwilling to meet its requirements. When things don’t work out in our lives, it is not God’s fault. It isn’t really circumstances or other people who are to blame, because if God is on our side, they are not mightier than He is (Romans 8:31).

The truth is, when things don’t work out for us, it is because we have not obeyed God, not pressed on and been willing to take giant steps of faith. The world wants us to conform, but the Lord wants to transform us, if we will do things His way.

 

Lord, I ask You to fill me with Your Spirit right now so that I am fully equipped to do Your will in this world. I will press on and fight my way through all the fear and doubts that stand in my way. Amen.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Power Over Nations

 

“To everyone who overcomes – who to the very end keeps on doing things that please Me – I will give power over the nations. You will rule them with a rod of iron just as My Father gave Me the authority to rule them; they will be shattered like a pot of clay that is broken into tiny pieces. And I will give you the Morning Star!” (Revelation 2:26-28).

I marvel at the numerous promises made to the overcomer, the one “who to the very end keeps on doing things that please Me.” Now we are even promised power over the nations, as we rule and reign with our heavenly Father in that coming day.

As I ponder this verse, I see in a very few words the key to the entire Christian life – the one thing alone that will keep us victorious today, tomorrow, and throughout our lives. Again, it is that significant clause: “who to the very end keeps on doing things that please Me.”

Lest you think that is an over simplification of the victorious Christian life, can you think of anything else God requires of us? And He even provides His Holy Spirit as an indwelling reminder of the daily victory He makes possible. This is the supernatural life. Earlier, we are told of a conquering Christ who will rule the nations of the earth with a rod of iron. This promise tells us that Christ will turn this power over to the conqueror – the overcomer – and his victorious companions in death.

Bible Reading: Psalm 2:1-12

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will trust the Lord to make being an overcomer a reality for me as a way of life – by the power of His indwelling Holy Spirit.

Presidential Prayer Team; C.H. – The Perfect Selfie

 

One look online and you’ll see them – selfies. This term, meaning a picture taken of oneself with a digital camera, has even been added to Webster’s Dictionary. While some may say this trend is due to an overinflation of one’s self worth, the opposite is much more likely.

She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.

Proverbs 31:18

People are trying to earn their value through “likes” and followers on social media accounts. The Proverbs 31 woman in today’s passage understands her merchandise is profitable; in other words, she knows her worth. It’s actually hard to see your own worth through the world’s eyes. You’ll find yourself not measuring up to the next guy. Instead, view yourself through the eyes of your Heavenly Father. He sees your true and eternal potential. “For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” (I Samuel 16:7)

Through the blood of Jesus, see your “new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:24) Ask the Lord to reveal your worth in Him. Then pray for America and its leaders to stop seeking followers and instead follow God.

Recommended Reading: I Samuel 16:6-13

 

Greg Laurie – When One Is a Majority

 

“Do not rebel against the LORD, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land. They are only helpless prey to us! They have no protection, but the Lord is with us! Don’t be afraid of them!”—Numbers 14:9

Sometimes when believers experience a little discomfort or some hardship, the first thing they want to do is abandon their faith. But the Christian life isn’t a playground; it’s a battleground.

God doesn’t want us to run from our giants. Rather, He wants us to attack them. When the twelve Israelite spies returned from Canaan, ten reported that “giants” were living there (see Numbers 13:33). But these so-called giants were not your fairy-tale variety; they were just big people.

So Joshua and Caleb told the Israelites, “Do not rebel against the LORD, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land. They are only helpless prey to us! They have no protection, but the LORD is with us! Don’t be afraid of them!” (Numbers 14:9). In other words, “Yes, these guys are big. But guess what? God is even bigger.”

We all have giants that we face in life, whether it’s an obstacle, a person, or opposition. Whatever our giants may be, they loom large in our minds every day, seeking to control our lives, hurt us, torment us, and destroy us.

Maybe you wake up in the morning only to find yourself face-to-face with a giant that says, “I will make your life miserable today.” You feel defeated and paralyzed by fear. What should you do? Force that giant into the light of day.

Remember the story of David and Goliath? David was just a shepherd boy, while Goliath had been a warrior from his youth. Yet David sized up his giant and ran toward him. He didn’t retreat; he attacked his giant and defeated him. And that is the way to face your giants.

Romans 8:31 reminds us, “If God is for us, who can ever be against us?” Remember that with God, one is a majority.

Max Lucado – The Prize is Yours

 

 

Imagine you’re an ice skater in competition. You’re in first place, one more round to go. The medal almost yours. Then just before your performance, your coach rushes up with the thrilling news: “You’ve won! The judges tabulated the scores and the person in second place can’t catch you. You’re too far ahead.” How will you feel? Exhilarated! And how will you skate? How about courageously and confidently? The prize is yours!

The Book of Hebrews says, “Therefore since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus. . .let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith” (Heb. 10:22). The point is clear: the truth will triumph. The Father of truth will win, and the followers of truth will be saved!

So skate away, my friend! Skate away!

From The Applause of Heaven

Night Light for Couples – A Time to Be Silent

 

“There is a time for everything… a time to be silent and a time to speak.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7

I (jcd) still remember the day, just two weeks before Shirley and I were married, when we proudly drove off a used car lot in the gleaming white 1957 Ford sedan I had just purchased. Five blocks down the road, to celebrate this historic event, I leaned over to give Shirley a quick kiss.

It wasn’t quick enough! At that instant two cars in front of us made an unexpected stop. I crashed into the first and knocked it into a second. The front of my gorgeous car crumpled like an accordion. Fortunately, there were no injuries, except to my pride.

Because of this stupid mistake, I couldn’t afford to buy Shirley a wedding ring with even a small diamond, and the car we had dreamed of buying for so long was severely damaged. Yet Shirley never let the accident tarnish the romantic aura of our early days together. I never heard a word of criticism about it, and on our first anniversary, I bought her the diamond ring. Forty years later, Shirley still hasn’t complained about my bad driving!

We urge you to think before you say hurtful and unkind words that will burn in the memory of your spouse for many years. Protect your romantic relationship, even when criticism seems justified. Your love for each other is a precious and fragile flower. Treat it that way.

Just between us…

  • Do we actively protect the element of romance in our marriage?
  • Are we wise enough to know when it is “time to be silent”?
  • When life’s misfortunes strike, is there still a feeling of romance between us?

Lord, You ask us to keep our marriage partner’s interests uppermost in our minds, but sometimes this doesn’t come naturally. Help us to be more thought- ful, giving, and forgiving in how we tend each other’s hearts. Amen.

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

Charles Stanley – Getting in God’s Way

 

Matthew 16:21-23

Believers are called to be compassionate (Colossians 3:12), but we must show discernment even when practicing kindness. At times, stepping into someone’s life can block what God is doing with that person. I learned this lesson the hard way. On several different occasions, I stepped into situations I shouldn’t have. Once, I met a need when the Lord was trying to draw someone into a life of spiritual dependence. Another time, I offered comfort when the divine plan was for a heartbroken believer to seek the Lord’s solace. On still another occasion, I bailed a desperate person out of trouble before he learned God’s lesson. Nowadays, I pray before acting upon sympathetic feelings.

Peter once allowed feelings to cloud his discernment, too. Attempting to interfere in the divine plan for Jesus Christ was an experience he never forgot.

Though Peter knew exactly who Jesus was—namely, the Messiah and Son of the living God (Matthew 16:16)—he also held common Jewish misconceptions about the Messiah’s mission. Many Israelites awaited a king who would overthrow Roman rule. Consequently, Peter refused to accept Jesus’ warnings of the judgment, mistreatment, and death He anticipated. After trying to convince the Lord that such an end was impossible, the disciple was rebuked for attempting to subvert God’s will.

Peter had a narrow view of God’s plan. The Lord’s priority was to liberate hearts from sin rather than bodies from tyranny. Peter’s wrong perceptions led him into open rebellion. Do not make his mistake. Seek God’s will before offering compassionate aid, lest you obstruct His unfolding plan.

Bible in One Year: Ezekiel 10-12

Our Daily Bread — Verify the Truth

 

Read: Acts 17:10-13

Bible in a Year: Psalms 129-131; 1 Corinthians 11:1-16

[The Bereans] searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. —Acts 17:11

“A deadly jungle spider has migrated to the US and is killing people.” This was the story sent to me and to others on my friend’s email list. The story sounded plausible—lots of scientific names and real-life situations. But when I checked it out on reliable websites, I found it was not true—it was an Internet hoax. Its truth could only be verified by consulting a trusted source.

A group of first-century believers living in Macedonia understood the importance of confirming what they were hearing. The folks in Berea “received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11). They were listening to Paul, and wanted to make sure what he was saying lined up with the teachings of the Old Testament. Perhaps he was telling them that there was evidence in the Old Testament that the Messiah would suffer and die for sin. They needed to verify that with the source.

When we hear spiritual ideas that disturb us, we need to be cautious. We can search the Scriptures for ourselves, listen to trustworthy sources, and seek wisdom from Jesus, our Lord. —Dave Branon

Please give us discernment, Lord, to accept only truth that is rooted in Your Word. We praise You for preserving the inspired Scriptures for us—now help us to use them to seek You.For help in understanding and applying the Bible, read A Message for All Time at discoveryseries.org/hp142

God’s truth stands any test.

INSIGHT: The book of Acts is largely concerned with the beginnings of the Christian church and specifically with the conversion and subsequent missionary efforts of Paul. Today’s short passage underscores the fact that the gospel is open to all. In verse 12 Luke specifically mentions Greek men and women among those who believed at Berea. Because Paul was teaching in a Jewish synagogue (v. 10), this is a remarkable statement about the universal offer of salvation. J.R. Hudberg

Alistair Begg – Patience in Affliction

 

Wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14

It may seem an easy thing to wait, but it is one of the postures that a Christian soldier cannot learn without years of teaching. Marching and quick-marching are much easier for God’s warriors than standing still. There are hours of perplexity when the most willing spirit, anxiously desiring to serve the Lord, does not know what role to play. Then what shall it do? Vex itself by despair? Retreat back in cowardice, turn to the right hand in fear, or rush forward in presumption? No, simply wait. Wait in prayer, however. Call upon God, and spread the matter before Him; tell Him your difficulty, and plead His promise of help.

In dilemmas between one duty and another, it is best to be humble as a child and wait with simplicity of soul upon the Lord. It is sure to be well with us when we feel and know our own folly and are genuinely willing to be guided by the will of God. But wait in faith. Express your unstaggering confidence in Him; for unfaithful, untrusting waiting is just an insult to the Lord. Believe that if He keeps you waiting even until midnight, He will still come at the right time; the vision will come and not delay. Wait in quiet patience, not rebelling because things are difficult, but blessing your God for the privilege of affliction.

Never grumble against the second cause, as the children of Israel did against Moses; never wish you could go back to the world again, but accept the circumstance as it is, and put it as it stands, simply and with your whole heart, without any selfish agenda, into the hand of your covenant God, saying, “Now, Lord, not my will, but Yours be done. I do not know what to do. I am at an end of myself, but I will wait until You part the floods or drive back my enemies. I will wait, even if You test me for a while, for my heart is fixed upon You alone, O God, and my spirit waits for You in the deep conviction that You will still be my joy and my salvation, my refuge and my strong tower.”

The Family Bible Reading Plan

  • 1 Samuel 23
  • 1 Corinthians 4

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

Charles Spurgeon – Independence of Christianity

 

“Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts.” Zechariah 4:6

Suggested Further Reading: 2 Corinthians 3:17-4: 7

The grand thing the church wants in this time, is God’s Holy Spirit. You all get up plans and say, “Now, if the church were altered a little bit, it would go better.” You think if there were different ministers, or different church order, or something different, then all would be well. No, dear friends, it is not there the mistake lies; it is that we want more of the Spirit. It is as if you saw a locomotive engine upon a railway, and it would not go, and they put up a driver, and they said, “Now, that driver will just do.” They try another and another. One proposes that such-and-such a wheel should be altered, but still it will not go. Some one then bursts in amongst those who are conversing and says, “No, friends; but the reason why it will not move, is because there is no steam. You have no fire, you have no water in the boiler: that’s why it will not go. There may be some faults about it; it may want a bit of paint here and there, but it will go well enough with all those faults if you do but get the steam up.” But now people are saying, “This must be altered, and that must be altered;” but it would go no better unless God the Spirit should come to bless us. You may have the same ministers, and they shall be a thousand times more useful for God, if God is pleased to bless them. You shall have the same deacons, they shall be a thousand times more influential than they are now, when the Spirit is poured down upon them from on high. That is the church’s great want, and until that want be supplied, we may reform, and reform, and still be just the same. We want the Holy Spirit.

For meditation: God doesn’t come to us in the most spectacular ways possible (1 Kings 19:11-12). For his idea of power-evangelism see 1 Corinthians 1:17,18,23,24; 2:1-5, also Romans 1:16.

Sermon no. 149

30 August (1857)

Joyce Meyer – Wisdom and Common Sense

 

Happy (blessed, fortunate, enviable) is the man who finds skillful and godly Wisdom, and the man who gets understanding [drawing it forth from God’s Word and life’s experiences] … Skillful and godly Wisdom is more precious than rubies…Her ways are highways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.- Proverbs 3:13–17

When we listen to God’s direction, we make wise decisions that lead to honor, prosperity, pleasantness, and peace. Once Dave and I pray for God to speak to us and guide us, we use wisdom and common sense for both major and minor issues.

Wisdom will always lead you to God’s best. For example, wisdom teaches that you won’t keep friends if you try to control and dominate everything that goes on in your life and theirs. You won’t keep friends if you talk about them behind their backs.

Common sense will guide you in money matters. You won’t get into debt if you don’t spend more money than you make. The Holy Spirit doesn’t need to speak audibly to tell us that we can’t have more money going out than we have coming in. Common sense tells us that we’ll get in trouble if we do that.

Wisdom will not let us get overcommitted in our time. No matter how anxious we may be to accomplish things, we need to take time and wait on God to give us peace about what we are and are not to do. The woman mentioned in Proverbs 31 considered buying new fields, but would not do so if it meant she would have to neglect her present duties by taking on new responsibility.

Wisdom is our friend. It helps us not live in regret, and it helps us make choices now that we will be happy with later on.

God’s word for you today: Practice wisdom and common sense in all your decisions.

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Protection From Accidents

 

“The good man does not escape all troubles – he has them too. But the Lord helps him in each and every one. God even protects him from accidents” (Psalm 34:19,20).

Jerry was a new Christian and for the first time was hearing about the importance of the Spirit-filled life. His was a logical question, put to me following one of my lectures on a large university campus.

“Does the Spirit-filled Christian have problems, testings, temptations like the non-believer and the disobedient Christian?” he asked.

“No,” I replied, “the Spirit-filled Christian does not have the same kind of problems that the non-believer and the carnal Christian have, because most of the problems we experience in life are self-imposed. The Spirit-filled person is one who seeks to do the will of God and lives by faith drawing upon the supernatural resources of God the Holy Spirit for every attitude, motive and desire of his life.”

There may be many problems, such as loss of loved ones, financial reverses, illness and disappointments. The Spirit- filled Christian does not escape all troubles. But the Lord is always there with him, undergirding, helping, inspiring, motivating, encouraging, imparting to him wisdom – physical, mental and spiritual resources. Even when tragedy, heartache, sorrow and disappointment come, the Spirit-filled person knows that God is still in control.

Therefore, by faith and obedience to the command of 1 Thessalonians 5:18, he can say, “In all things I give thanks.”

We can know that God helps us in each and every trouble and that He even protects us from accidents.

Bible Reading: Psalm 35:1-9

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Today I will look for opportunities to remind myself and my friends that our loving God and Father is working in and through every problem we face each day, so that we might mature and become more like our Lord Jesus Christ.

Presidential Prayer Team; J.K. – None So Faithful

 

Relationships suffer because one party cannot forget an injustice done to them. Years following an incident, an insignificant matter can rear its ugly head and cause immeasurable suffering for those involved. It is the ones who cannot forget the good done to them that become a blessing.

But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother…and Mary Magdalene.

John 19:25

Mary Magdalene was such a person. Jesus had healed her of seven demons. She and several others who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities traveled with Jesus and the disciples through cities and villages and “provided for them out of their means.” (Luke 8:1-3) But her faithfulness did not end there. Today’s verse says she attended Jesus’ crucifixion and stood at the cross with His mother. She followed Joseph of Arimathea to the tomb (Luke 23:55), and she was the first one to the tomb on resurrection day and the one to whom Jesus spoke (John 20:1, 16). None other was so faithful and unafraid.

Are you one who forgets the injustice but remembers and is filled with gratitude for the good that you receive? Christ is worthy of your praise, your faithfulness, your gratitude and love. Pray that the people and leaders of this nation would remember again the blessings of God.

Recommended Reading: Psalm 66:1-5, 16-20

Night Light for Couples – The Mystery of Romance

 

“Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away.” Song of Songs 8:7

No matter how hard we try to define romance, it remains in part a mystery. Yet Solomon’s Song of Songs does give us several clues to its nature. In this evocative description of romantic love, we see that it means both intimacy and intense emotional excitement: “My lover is mine and I am his” (2:16); “My heart began to pound for him” (5:4). We see how deep affection inspires desire and complete appreciation for another: “How beautiful you are, my darling!” (4:1). We learn that to be romantic means to pursue the object of our affection—and to pine when he or she eludes us: “All night long on my bed I looked for the one my heart loves; I looked for him but did not find him” (3:1). And we see how powerfully a public display of affection communicates romantic love: “He has taken me to the banquet hall, and his banner over me is love” (2:4).

Most important of all, we learn that God intended romance to culminate in the unbreakable bond of married love. The book of Songs reaches its climax with a description of the power of love: “Love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like a blazing fire, like a mighty flame” (8:6). The Lord would not have provided us with this scriptural celebration of love and romance unless He intended it as an inspiring example for us.

Just between us…

  • How does Song of Songs demonstrate the importance of romance?
  • How can romance encourage love “like a mighty flame”?
  • In light of today’s reading, would you alter your definition of romance in any way?

Heavenly Father, thank You for the blessing of romantic attraction. May my spouse and I pursue each other joyfully and creatively all of our days. Amen.

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