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