Charles Stanley – Saying Yes (When We Want to Say No)

 

Jonah 3-4

In a fish’s belly, Jonah recommitted himself to the Lord’s purpose. But the popular Bible story about the consequences of disobedience doesn’t end with Jonah obeying God. The book actually concludes with him acknowledging why he didn’t want the job—and with the Lord chastising him for his selfish reasons. Jonah was afraid that the Ninevites, who were a threat to the Jewish people, might actually repent, and then his merciful God wouldn’t destroy them. The reluctant prophet admitted he wanted to see them wiped out: “Therefore in order to forestall [their salvation] I fled to Tarshish” (Jonah 4:2). When the Lord relented, Jonah’s trip became a success for everyone but him.

Believers resist doing God’s will for many reasons. Sometimes, although we don’t like to confess this, we say no because we dislike the probable outcome of obedience. As Jonah did, we also can lose sight of spiritually important things and focus on our own desires and comfort.

Our unhappiness with what we think might happen is not a reason to resist God’s plan. If the Lord calls us to act, He will take care of the end results. Our job is to obey.

What form of selfishness is keeping you from obeying the Lord? Maybe you are too angry with your spouse to work on your marriage or too hurt to welcome back a repentant child. But we’re not to be ruled by feelings, no matter how strong they are. Your heavenly Father expects obedience. The final results may surprise you, particularly how blessed you will be for having followed Him.

Bible in One Year: Jeremiah 25-27

 

Our Daily Bread — Silent Helper

 

Read: Isaiah 25:1-9

Bible in a Year: Psalms 94-96; Romans 15:14-33

I will praise Your name, for You have done wonderful things. —Isaiah 25:1

The discovery of penicillin revolutionized health care. Prior to the 1940s, bacterial infections were often fatal. Since then, penicillin has saved countless lives by killing harmful bacteria. The men who recognized its potential and developed it for widespread use won a Nobel Prize in 1945.

Long before the discovery of penicillin, other silent killers were at work saving lives by destroying bacteria. These silent killers are white blood cells. These hard workers are God’s way of protecting us from disease. No one knows how many invasions they have stopped or how many lives they have saved. They receive little recognition for all the good they do.

The Lord gets similar treatment. He often gets blamed when something goes wrong, but He seldom gets credit for all the things that go right. Every day people get up, get dressed, drive to work or school or the grocery store, and return safely to their families. No one knows how many times God has protected us from harm. But when there is a tragedy, we ask, “Where was God?”

When I consider all the wonderful things that God does silently on my behalf each day (Isa. 25:1), I see that my list of praises is much longer than my list of petitions. —Julie Ackerman Link

In what ways does God’s goodness undergird your life? What are you thanking Him for today?

God keeps giving us reasons to praise Him.

INSIGHT: Isaiah 25 opens with a call to worship and praise God. Interestingly, the motivation behind this praise is God’s work of judgment and destruction. Normally we praise Him for His rescue and salvation, but here praise is offered for acts of judgment. Bill Crowder

Alistair Begg – Response to God’s Glory

 

Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name. Psalm 29:2

God’s glory is the result of His nature and acts. He is glorious in His character, for there is such a store of everything that is holy and good and lovely in God that He must be glorious. The actions that flow from His character are also glorious; but while He intends that they should display to His creatures His goodness and mercy and justice, He is equally concerned that the glory associated with them should be given only to Himself. Not that there is anything in ourselves in which we may glory; for who makes us different from another? And what do we have that we did not receive from the God of all grace? Then how careful we ought to be to walk humbly before the Lord!

The moment we glorify ourselves, since there is room for one glory only in the universe, we set ourselves up as rivals to the Most High. Shall an insect that’s been around for only an hour glorify itself against the sun that warmed it into life? Shall the clay pot exalt itself above the man who fashioned it upon the wheel? Shall the dust of the desert strive with the whirlwind? Or the drops of the ocean struggle with the storm? Give to the Lord, all you righteous, give to the Lord glory and strength; give to Him the honor that is due His name.

It is, perhaps, one of the hardest struggles of the Christian life to learn this sentence-“Not to us, O LORD, not unto us, but to your name give glory.”1 It is a lesson that God is always teaching us, and teaching us sometimes by the most painful discipline. Let a Christian begin to boast, “I can do all things,” without adding “through Christ who strengthens me,” and before long he will have to groan, “I can do nothing” and bemoan himself in the dust. When we do anything for the Lord, and He is pleased to accept our doings, let us lay our crown at His feet and exclaim, “Not I, but the grace of God that is with me.”2

1) Psalm 115:1

2) 1 Corinthians 15:10

The Family Bible Reading Plan

  • 1 Samuel 7,8
  • Romans 6

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

Charles Spurgeon – The good man’s life and death

 

“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21

Suggested Further Reading: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Not the greatest master-minds of earth understand the millionth part of the mighty meanings which have been discovered by souls emancipated from clay. Yes, brethren, “To die is gain.” Take away, take away that hearse, remove that shroud; come, put white plumes upon the horses’ heads, and let gilded trappings hang around them. There, take away that fife, that shrill sounding music of the death march. Lend me the trumpet and the drum. O hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah; why do we weep the saints to heaven; why need we lament? They are not dead, they are gone before. Stop, stop that mourning, refrain your tears, clap your hands, clap your hands.

“They are supremely blest,

Have done with sin, and care, and woe,

And with their Saviour rest.”

What! Weep for heads that are crowned with garlands of heaven? Weep for hands that grasp the harps of gold? What, weep for eyes that see the Redeemer? What, weep for hearts that are washed from sin, and are throbbing with eternal bliss? What, weep for men that are in the Saviour’s bosom? No; weep for yourselves that you are here. Weep that the mandate has not come which bids you to die. Weep that you must tarry. But weep not for them. I see them turning back on you with loving wonder, and they exclaim “Why weepest thou?” What, weep for poverty that it is clothed in riches? What, weep for sickness, that it has inherited eternal health? What, weep for shame, that it is glorified; and weep for sinful mortality, that it has become immaculate? Oh, weep not, but rejoice. “If you knew what it was that I have said unto you, and where I have gone, you would rejoice with a joy that no man should take from you.” “To die is gain.”

For meditation: There is probably at least one Christian whom you miss terribly. The temporary loss and sorrow may be very hard for you (Philippians 2:27), but the dead in Christ enjoy eternal blessedness (Revelation 14:13).

Sermon no. 146

16 August (1857)

John MacArthur – Exalting Others

 

“Love does not brag” (1 Cor. 13:4).

Love exalts others; pride exalts self.

Most of us shy away from people who have an inflated view of themselves or place themselves at the center of every conversation. Yet perhaps you too struggle with the temptation to spend most of your conversations talking about yourself. Even if you would never openly brag about yourself, might you at times secretly resent others for not acknowledging your accomplishments? That’s the subtlety of pride.

Boasting always violates love because it seeks to exalt itself at the expense of others—to make itself look good while making others look inferior. It incites jealousy and other sins. Sadly, boasting exists even in the church. That’s why Paul exhorted us not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think, “but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith” (Rom. 12:3). The context of that statement is spiritual gifts, which can lead to pride if not governed by humility and love.

The Corinthians were spiritual show-offs—each vying for attention and prominence. Consequently their worship services were chaotic. First Corinthians 14:26 says, “When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation.” Apparently they all were expressing their spiritual gifts at the same time with no regard for anyone else. That’s why Paul concluded, “Let all things be done for edification.”

Their lack of love was obvious because people who truly love others don’t exalt themselves. They regard others as more important than themselves, just as Christ did when He humbled Himself and died for our sins (Phil. 2:3-8).

Boasting about our spiritual gifts is absurd because we did nothing to earn them. They don’t reflect our capabilities; they reflect God’s grace. That’s why Paul asked the Corinthians, “What do you have that you did not receive? But if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?” (1 Cor. 4:7). That applies to physical capabilities as well as spiritual enablements. Everything you have is a gift from God. Therefore, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord” (1 Cor. 1:31).

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Each day acknowledge your total dependence on God’s grace.
  • Praise Him for the gifts He has entrusted to you.

For Further Study

Note what God has to say about haughtiness in Proverbs 6:16-17; 16:18; 18:12; 21:3-4; and 21:24.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Perfect Healing 

 

“Jesus’ name has healed this man – and you know how lame he was before. Faith in Jesus’ name – faith given us from God – has caused this perfect healing” (Acts 3:16).

This is another of the great “3:16” verses of the Bible – with a truth and a promise that you and I need probably every day of our lives. Jesus claimed “all authority in heaven and earth” (Matthew 28:18). “In Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9, KJV; see also 1:15-19).

There is a great power in the name of Jesus. Throughout Scripture that fact is emphasized. And I have seen it illustrated in miraculous ways through the Jesus film, which has been used of God to introduce tens of millions of men, women, young people, and children to Christ in most countries of the world.

The promise, equally clear, is that if we exercise faith in that wonderful name of Jesus – faith that is a gift from God – we can see healing, both physical and spiritual.

I sit in astonishment often as I try to comprehend such great love that would give us the very gifts He requires of us – faith, in this instance. We need not conjure up such faith; it is made available on simple terms: Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”

And we may appropriate this truth and this promise today.

Bible Reading: Acts 3:12-18

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: “Dear Lord, I dare to believe that You are still the same yesterday, today and forever, so I can trust you to heal, and to enable me to live a supernatural life.”

Presidential Prayer Team; J.K. – Faithful

 

Jacob loved Rachel from the moment he saw her. He worked seven years to have her hand in marriage and “they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her.” (Genesis 29:20) The morning after his marriage, though, he woke to discover that Laban had deceived him and Leah, not Rachel, was his wife. Undeterred, Jacob also took Rachel as his wife in return for another seven years of labor. To Jacob’s death, she was the love of his life.

This time I will praise the Lord.

Genesis 29:35

Leah, on the other hand, was hated – possibly by both Jacob and Rachel. Yet she lived her life faithful to God and to her husband. She took her strength from the Lord and He gave her six of the 12 sons of Jacob…the future 12 tribes of Israel. From Judah came the Messianic line from which Jesus was born, and from Levi came the priesthood. Leah praised God for each one. She was faithful and the Lord blessed her.

God works all things for good…even in the most difficult situations (Romans 8:28). Take heart, dear one. Give thanks and praise to Him in every circumstance. Intercede for the leaders of this nation that they may be faithful to God in the most challenging times.

Recommended Reading: I Thessalonians 5:12-24

Night Light for Couples – Believe in Him

 

“The wife must respect her husband.” Ephesians 5:33

The male ego is surprisingly fragile, especially during times of failure and embarrassment. It’s one of the reasons why a husband desperately needs his wife’s support and respect.

Jane Hill clearly understood this aspect of a wife’s role. Over Jane’s objections, E. V. once invested his family’s scarce resources in the purchase of a service station. Jane opposed the decision because she knew that her husband lacked the time and expertise to oversee his investment. She was right; the station went broke. When E. V. called to say he’d lost the station, Jane could have said, “I told you so” and crushed his spirit. He could have been humiliated in that moment of vulnerability. Instead, she said, “If you smoked and drank, you would have lost as much as you lost in the service station. So it’s six in one hand and a half‐dozen in the other. Let’s forget it.”

A wife can “make” or “break” a man. If she believes in her husband and has confidence in his leadership, he typically gains the confidence he needs to take risks and use his assets wisely. But if she is competitive, critical, and disrespectful of her husband, she becomes a liability to the entire family. Read Ephesians 5:33 again. One of the most important keys to a successful marriage is found in a single word: respect!

Just between us…

  • (wife) Do you feel that I believe in you?
  • (wife) What do you think is the biggest setback or failure you’ve experienced? Did I show support at that time?
  • (wife) How can I better show respect to you?

(wife) Heavenly Father, forgive me for the times I have not shown my husband respect. I want to increase his self-confidence, not diminish it. Please show me how to become that kind of godly wife. Amen.

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