Charles Stanley – Conquering Fear


Psalm 63:1-11

Each of us will experience moments of apprehension. Denial or trying to hide from it will do no good. When you feel fear begin to rise in you, ask yourself the following questions: Where does it come from? (You know it isn’t from God.) Has God ever failed me in the past? Does He promise to meet all of my needs? Does He keep His promises?

If we read the Bible, we’ll find countless stories of God’s faithfulness. For example, the apostle Paul lived through hardship, persecution, pain, and all kinds of terrible circumstances, yet he was able to make the bold declaration that God weaves it all together for the good of His followers (Romans 8:28). This testifies to the fact that for those who trust in Him, God turns every difficulty, loss, and separation into something good.

Whatever we read in Scripture—whether a story about Abraham, David, Job, Isaiah, Jonah, John, Paul, or others—we see God’s constant love and care for His people. His Word is a lamp that will give us clear guidance when circumstances are bleak. It offers the best direction we will ever find. When we meditate upon it, pray over it, grapple with it, and incorporate it into our life, His light chases away the darkness. The psalms, in particular, are helpful in dealing with fear.

God, the sovereign ruler of this universe, is in control of your life. Don’t make the mistake of thinking He isn’t, simply because He does not operate according to your will and schedule. If you read your Bible and meditate on it, you will find genuine strength in His promises.

Bible in One Year: Jeremiah 1-3

Our Daily Bread — Unpredictable


Read: Psalm 46

Bible in a Year: Psalms 74-76; Romans 9:16-33

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! —Psalm 46:10

In the 2003 US Women’s Open, the relatively unknown Hilary Lunke secured the greatest prize in women’s golf—and a place in history. Not only did she win the US Open in an 18-hole playoff, but it was also her only professional victory. Her surprising and inspiring win underscores the fact that one of the most exciting things about sports is its unpredictability.

The unpredictability of life is not always so thrilling, however. We devise and strategize. We make plans, projections, and proposals about what we would like to see happen in life, but often they are little more than our best guess. We have no idea what a year, a month, a week, or even a day might bring. So we pray and plan, and then we trust the God who knows fully and completely what we can never predict. That is why I love the promise of Psalm 46:10: “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

Life is unpredictable. There are countless things I can never know with certainty. What I can know, however, is that there is a God who knows all and loves me deeply. And by knowing Him, I can “be still”—I can be at peace. —Bill Crowder

What plans do I need to surrender to God today?For further study, read It’s Not Fair: Trusting God When Life Doesn’t Make Sense at

God’s care is the certainty we take into life’s uncertainties.

INSIGHT: Today’s psalm contains the much-loved and often-quoted words of verse 10: “Be still, and know that I am God.” But it is interesting to note the context of these words. The psalmist opens by celebrating the help of God in times of trouble (vv. 1-3) and then shows how strong the city of God is because God is there (vv. 4-7). In verses 8-9 the psalmist describes the strength of the Lord in terms of His power over war and desolation, and in verse 10 he proclaims that God will be “exalted among the nations.” In the midst of upheaval, whether natural or man-made, God is our stability. J.R. Hudberg

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The Bird Still Sings



Years ago I read a powerful essay by my favorite essayist, F.W. Boreham, called “The Candle and The Bird.” With his brilliant sweep of knowledge of God’s working in history, Boreham traces how revivals have spread from continent to continent, how when the brilliant flame of God’s moving in the hearts of people seemed to be dying out in one place there would be a fresh spark igniting a God-breathed revival elsewhere. From Germany through Zinzendorf to England through Wesley and Whitfield to Wales and Scotland, and then to the Evangelical Awakening in America, it is fascinating to see how God has done His work through times and seasons and locations. Boreham distinguishes between extinguishing a candle and chasing away a bird: when you extinguish a candle, the light goes out; when you chase away a bird, it sings its song from another bough. Hence, his title “The Candle and The Bird”—a beautiful metaphor.

In America now it is fashionable to mock the bird of evangelicalism and try to silence it. But the song is being sung on other boughs and historic movements are taking place. In China, Korea, and the Middle East, places where once the gospel’s saving message seemed to be extinguished, churches are packed with hungry hearts, the youth listening to the gospel message with rapt attention. In countries where there was once hostility, crowds fill the auditoriums. In Romania, where to believe in God was once to put one’s life at risk, ten thousand filled the auditorium in which I spoke. From senators and other political leaders there we heard of the dark days of the past and of the shining hope of the future. We prayed in chambers once inhabited by a tyrant and were told this was probably the first time a prayer had been publicly uttered. They have witnessed what Christ-less lives can birth, shattering their countries and their hopes. They can now see that the only possible hope for transforming a heart is Jesus Christ.

But mistakes were made across history and we still have not learned. When the gospel was first taken into places like India and China in the 18th and 19th centuries, it often came on the wings of western political expansionism and the so-called “gunboat diplomacy.” That incongruous combination spelt disaster for both groups. Political imperialism soon lost out, and with it went the missionary effort, seen as being in cahoots with political demagoguery. In a staggering change, now the agents of demagoguery are carrying a different message, basically, “We in America have evicted Christian values and beliefs. We have replaced them with naturalistic assumptions. Mores and the sacred are things of the past. We have silenced those voices … and so must you; if you don’t, you will forfeit all the monetary support we would otherwise give you.” Yes, that is what is happening, and rather than being an influence for good in the world, America is becoming a purveyor of ungodliness.

What those with this monetary “gun-to-the-head” attitude don’t realize is that other countries have seen through this hollowness, and what was once a respected nation is now viewed as a valueless paper machine sinking because it has lost its faith and values. They know it. They say it. They remind us of the emptiness of freedom without responsibility. We are too blind to admit that our gradual collapse has come walking in lockstep with our irreligious handmaiden, toward our disintegration. Jesus cautioned us about such scandalous blindness.

But there is good news. The very nations that evicted “gunboat” missions are now receiving the message of Jesus without the gunboat. Those giving heed to the gunboat of naturalism will accept the gunboat’s benefits but reject the naturalism it insists on because they have already been there and know why they were sinking and in need of assistance. I have had sheiks and mullahs tell me, “Please don’t stop coming; we need you here. We need Christians here.” Those were the very words to me a few years ago from the now assassinated Chief of Intelligence in Syria. He knew the healing balm of Jesus Christ was needed and as we left him, the church leader with me expressed his amazement at hearing such an admission. It just could not be made in public.

The church in China is the fastest growing church in the world. One professor in China told a Christian colleague, a friend of mine, “Stop criticizing Marxism…. It left the souls of the people empty, which is why they are listening to you now.” I can just hear a generation from now someone telling the next generation of preachers in America, “Stop criticizing naturalism. It has left the souls of people empty, which is why they are listening to you now.”

Ironically, in a powerful piece published some years ago in his very popular column in England, self-proclaimed atheist Matthew Parris said that after he had revisited Malawi where he had grown up, he was convinced against his ideological commitment to atheism that what Africa needs is not more aid but the gospel of Jesus Christ, which alone changes hearts. He admitted to speaking with a schizoid struggle, yet he strongly believed that the only hope for Africa was the Evangel: the gospel of Jesus Christ. He ended his article in The Times of December 27, 2008, “Removing Christian evangelism from the African equation may leave the continent at the mercy of a malign fusion of Nike, the witch doctor, the mobile phone and the machete.” That, from an atheist is profoundly powerful.

The bird is singing from different boughs … it is not silent. In a twist, down the road our rabid atheism here may one day awaken society to what it has squandered. Yes, it can happen that the bird will start singing again in Washington, New York, Los Angeles, and throughout this land. You would be amazed at the letters we get expressing the disillusionment of people from within their own worldview without values and without God. One professor in California told me that when he was young, he was a radical activist for all the causes that challenged our shared meanings of the past. Now in his veteran years he deeply regrets that wrongheaded life of his youth.

The bird still sings its songs. We hear it and see it as we travel—and I would be remiss if I did not say “many thanks to all our supporters” who make it possible for our team to get to these places.

The words of Arthur Hugh Clough say it well:

For while the tired waves, vainly breaking,

Seem here no painful inch to gain,

Far back, through creeks and inlets making,

Comes silent, flooding in, the main.

And not by eastern windows only,

When daylight comes, comes in the light;

In front the sun climbs slow, how slowly!

But westward, look, the land is bright!

The mockery will not have the last laugh. You see, dancing on the grave of an extinguished Christianity is farcical at best. Because the grave is empty. And the one who knows the way out of the grave sits in the heavens and laughs.

Alistair Begg – A Spider’s Web


They weave the spider’s web. Isaiah 59:5

Observe the spider’s web and find in it a most suggestive picture of the hypocrite’s religion. It is meant to catch his prey: The spider fattens himself on flies, and the Pharisee has his reward. Foolish people are easily trapped by the loud professions of pretenders, and even the more discerning cannot always escape. Philip baptized Simon Magus, whose deceitful declaration of faith was so quickly exposed by the stern rebuke of Peter. Routine and reputation, praise and promotion, along with other flies, are the small game that hypocrites take in their nets.

A spider’s web is a marvel of skill: Look at it and admire the tricks of this cunning hunter. The deceiver’s religion is equally seductive. How does he make so barefaced a lie appear to be a truth? How can he make his tinsel look so much like gold?

A spider’s web emerges all from the creature itself. The bee gathers her wax from flowers; the spider doesn’t, but still she spins her material to great length. In the same way hypocrites find their trust and hope within themselves; their anchor was forged on their own anvil, and their rope twisted by their own hands. They rest upon their own foundation and carve out the pillars from their own house, scorning the thought of being debtors to the sovereign grace of God.

But a spider’s web is very frail. It is curiously constructed, but not enduringly manufactured. It is no match for the servant’s broom or the traveler’s staff. The hypocrite does not need a battery of cannons to blow his hope to pieces; a mere puff of wind will do it. Hypocritical cobwebs will soon come down when the broom of destruction begins its purifying work. Which reminds us of one more thought-namely, that such cobwebs are not to be tolerated in the Lord’s house: He will see to it that the webs and those who spin them will be utterly destroyed. My soul, make sure to rest on something better than a spider’s web. Take the Lord Jesus as your eternal hiding-place.

The Family Bible Reading Plan

  • Ruth 1
  • Acts 26

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

Charles Spurgeon – Righteous hatred


“Ye that love the Lord, hate evil.” Psalm 97:10

Suggested Further Reading: Genesis 39

With regard to some sins, if thou wouldst avoid them, take one piece of advice—run away from them. Sins of lust especially are never to be fought with, except after Joseph’s way; and you know what Joseph did—he ran away. A French philosopher said, “Fly, fly, Telemaque; there remains no way of conquest but by flight.” The true soldiers of Christ’s cross will stand foot to foot with any sin in the world except this; but here they turn their backs and fly, and then they become conquerors. “Flee fornication,” said one of old, and there was wisdom in the counsel; there is no way of overcoming it but by flight. If the temptation attack thee, shut thine eye and stop thy ear, and away, away from it; for thou art only safe when thou art beyond sight and earshot. “Ye that love the Lord, hate evil;” and endeavour with all your might to resist and overcome it in yourselves. Once again, ye that love the Lord, if ye would keep from sin, seek always to have a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit, never trust yourselves a single day without having a fresh renewal of your piety before you go forth to the day’s duties. We are never safe unless we are in the Lord’s hands. No Christian, be he who he may, or what he may, though he be renowned for his piety and prayerfulness, can exist a day without falling into great sin unless the Holy Spirit shall be his protector. Old master Dyer says, “Lock up your hearts by prayer every morning, and give God the key, so that nothing can get in; and then when thou unlockest thy heart at night, there will be a sweet fragrance and perfume of love, joy, and holiness.”

For meditation: There are two sides to victory over temptation—resisting the flesh and yielding to the Spirit (Galatians 5:16). Sometimes the emphasis will be to flee, sometimes to follow, sometimes to fight (1 Timothy 6:11-12), but neither side will be effective without the other.

Sermon no. 208

8 August (1858)

Joyce Meyer – Wisdom and Revelation


I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. – Ephesians 1:17–19 NIV

Rather than focus on negative things in life, the Bible teaches us to see good things in Christ with the “eyes of your heart.” Ephesians 1:17–19 says that the Spirit of wisdom and revelation are important so we may:

Have knowledge of God, or know God Himself. This is not knowledge gained through education, but revelation.

Know the hope of our calling, the eternal plan of God and how we fit into it. We can be thankful that God has called us to be His sons and daughters, and as such, we have an inheritance.

Know that revelation knowledge of God’s power is available to us. We can do anything God asks us to do because of the greatness of His power.

Give thanks today that you can know God, have hope, and live in His power!

Prayer of Thanks

I thank You, Father, that You have given me hope in Christ Jesus. Today, I will focus on the good things in my life and listen for Your voice. Thank You that You lead and guide me in the wisdom and revelation of Your Word and Your Holy Spirit.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Trusting Means Safety


“Fear of man is a dangerous trap, but to trust in God means safety” (Proverbs 29:25).

One of the delegates attending a lay institute for evangelism protested that he was not going to go out into the community to share his faith, something he had never done before. I assured him that he was not required to go; it was simply an optional assignment. But I explained that if he would go along and observe a more mature witnessing Christian, he would learn something and would feel greater freedom in the future to witness on his own. Again he expressed his fear, but he did go, and God marvelously used him and his witnessing partner to introduce two people to Christ. He came home absolutely radiant, joyful, overflowing with thanksgiving and praise to God. He came to me immediately to say, “I am so glad that I went. I would have missed one of the greatest blessings of my life had I not gone. Thank you so much for encouraging me to go.”

The number one barrier to witnessing in the Christian life is the fear of man. Think of the contradiction. It never occurs to the average Christian that not to witness is to disobey God, and the consequences can be devastating to his spiritual life. Therefore the average Christian risks offending God for the fear of offending man.

It is interesting that there are 365 “fear nots” in the Bible – one for every day of the year. And yet there is one fear in particular that thwarts effective witnessing for Christ more than any other – the fear of man.

It would not be a distorted picture to envision thousands – and even millions – of believers caught in that dangerous trap referred to by the psalmist. And what a deadly snare! Martin Luther, years ago, found a solution to this deadly enemy:

And though this world with devils filled,
Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear for God has willed
His truth to triumph through us
The prince of darkness grim –
We tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure,
For lo! his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

Our trust must be in God whose indwelling Holy Spirit helps us not only to trust Him, but also to share the gospel with others.

Bible Reading: Proverbs 29:19-24

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: With God’s help, I will share His love and forgiveness with others with the confidence that having called me to be His witness, He will enable me and will prepare the hearts of those to whom I go.

Presidential Prayer Team; – Take the Time


In 1789, George Washington delivered the “Thanksgiving Proclamation.” In addition to giving thanks, the day was set aside “that we may unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions.” Washington was a national leader who understood the power of prayer. Perhaps this was because of another leader who passionately interceded for his people.

I lay prostrate before the Lord these forty days and forty nights because the Lord had said he would destroy you.

Deuteronomy 9:25

In Deuteronomy 9, the Israelites were about to cross the Jordan to fight for their promised land. Moses’ speech encouraged them that God would fight on their behalf, but also reminded them of how he interceded with God when they had sinned against Him. He stood in-between God and the Israelites to plead their case and defend them.

Moses was a leader who interceded regularly for others – and God listened. His prayers made a difference for the Israelites. When was the last time you truly interceded with God for someone or for the nation? Today, take the time, as much as is needed, to earnestly pray…and if you don’t know where or how to start, ask God for help (Romans 8:26).

Recommended Reading: I Timothy 2:1-8

Greg Laurie – Jesus, the Friend of Sinners


“God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are My followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven.”—Matthew 5:11–12

How was Jesus known when He walked this earth?

He was known as “the friend of sinners.” We might think that sounds like a compliment now, but it wasn’t meant as a compliment then.

Some members of the Jewish leadership establishment were appalled that Jesus would hang out with sinners.

No, He never compromised—this was our holy God in the flesh. But He loved these outcasts, this off-scouring of society, and they knew that He loved them. They were drawn by that love just like moths are drawn to a Coleman lantern in the middle of the wilderness.

We need to love people in the same way. Since we’re going to be persecuted, let’s be persecuted for the right reasons. Not for being self-righteous but for being righteous.

Night Light for Couples – Decisions, Decisions


“The head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” 1 Corinthians 11:3

Among the most controversial Scriptures are those relating to a wife’s obligation to “submit” to a husband’s leadership. This principle offends many women. Furthermore, it places power in the hands of men who sometimes misuse it. And yet, there it is, time and again: “The husband is head of the wife.” Those words can’t be brushed aside by those who rely on Scripture as their infallible guide. But what does this “headship” really mean?

The Bible makes it clear that the husband is to be the leader in his home, yet he has no right to run roughshod over the opinions and feelings of his wife. He is to love her as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25) and to serve her unselfishly and compassionately. A man should include his wife in making mutually satisfying decisions, always working to incorporate her perspectives and seeking compromise when possible. In situations where they simply cannot find common ground, Scripture gives the man the prerogative—and responsibility—to choose and lead. Yet in this case, he must be more sensitive and considerate than ever, bearing in mind that he will ultimately answer to God not only for his choices, but for his treatment of his wife.

Just between us…

  • (husband) How would you rate my leadership as your husband?
  • Does our decision‐making process fit the biblical model? (wife)
  • How do you feel about your role as “leader in the home”?
  • (husband) Am I sensitive to your feelings regarding decisions?

Heavenly Father, in Your divine plan for marriage You have asked the husband to lead and the wife to submit, and we want so much to obey You. We come humbly now, asking for Your wisdom and help to do so. Amen.

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

C.S. Lewis Daily – Today’s Reading


On goodness

Good and evil both increase at compound interest. That is why the little decisions you and I make every day are of such infinite importance. The smallest good act today is the capture of a strategic point from which, a few months later, you may be able to go on to victories you never dreamed of. An apparently trivial indulgence in lust or anger today is the loss of a ridge or railway line or bridgehead from which the enemy may launch an attack otherwise impossible.

From Mere Christianity

Compiled in Words to Live By

Streams in the Desert for Kids – Watch Out!


Habbakuk 2:1

In Bible times, one of the main defenses of the cities was a wall that extended around the perimeter of the town. Along the wall were watchtowers where watchmen stood guard. It was their duty to “watch” everything that went on both inside and outside the city. They were vital to the city because they were the first to spot messengers, visitors, good news, and approaching danger. When a watchman saw danger, he blew a horn to sound an alarm. The gates could be closed to keep out the enemy. If an important visitor was coming to the city, then the watchman would quickly alert the right people.

Ezekiel, one of the great prophets of the Bible, had quite a bit to say about the responsibility of a watchman. He said, “But if the watchman sees war coming and doesn’t blow the trumpet, warning the people, and war comes and takes anyone off, I’ll hold the watchman responsible for the bloodshed of any unwarned sinner” (Ezekiel 33:6, The Message).

We are watchmen too. It is our job as Christians to watch for God’s happenings and to tell people there is an enemy who wants to destroy our souls. The Bible says Satan roams around looking for someone to destroy. So we need to always be on the lookout for the good and the bad. When you tell others about what God is doing or to beware of approaching danger, then pray that they will listen.

Dear Lord, Help me to be a faithful watchman for my friends. There is so much bad stuff we can get into—stuff that can destroy us. I know the Devil would like us to go that direction, but I also know you are stronger than he is. Please help me to see the things you are doing and share those as well. Amen.