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

C.S. Lewis Daily – Today’s Reading

 

If the first and lowest operation of pain shatters the illusion that all is well, the second shatters the illusion that what we have, whether good or bad in itself, is our own and enough for us. Everyone has noticed how hard it is to turn our thoughts to God when everything is going well with us. We ‘have all we want’ is a terrible saying when ‘all’ does not include God. We find God an interruption. As St Augustine says somewhere, ‘God wants to give us something, but cannot, because our hands are full—there’s nowhere for Him to put it.’ Or as a friend of mine said, ‘We regard God as an airman regards his parachute; it’s there for emergencies but he hopes he’ll never have to use it.’ Now God, who has made us, knows what we are and that our happiness lies in Him. Yet we will not seek it in Him as long as he leaves us any other resort where it can even plausibly be looked for. While what we call ‘our own life’ remains agreeable we will not surrender it to Him. What then can God do in our interests but make ‘our own life’ less agreeable to us, and take away the plausible source of false happiness?

From The Problem of Pain

Compiled in A Year with C.S. Lewis