Charles Stanley – Jesus Christ: The Son of God

 

John 1:1-2

Have you ever heard someone deny that Jesus claimed to be God? Such a statement simply does not make sense. Repeatedly, Jesus placed Himself on equal footing with the Father and the Holy Spirit (John 10:30; John 14:6-14). Scripture gives us a clear picture of Jesus’ eternal, intimate relationship with the heavenly Father.

Why is it important for us to believe this? Because Jesus did something that had never been done before: He enabled men and women to see God in a new way. In Colossians 1:15, Paul explains that Jesus is the “image of the invisible God.” No one has ever looked upon the face of the Almighty. In the Old Testament, some people were confronted with God, but they were never able to look fully upon His glory. In fact, even Moses, who is called a friend of God (Ex. 33:11), could not look directly at Him. At best, Moses had the opportunity to look upon God’s back as He passed by, but never saw His face (Ex. 33:18-23).

The reason Jesus came, however, was to bridge the gap between God’s glory and mankind’s sinful nature. In the original Greek text, the word for “image” is directly related to the English word icon. Just as an icon on your computer screen directs you to the main program, Jesus directs believers to the fullness of God’s glory. As the “icon,” Jesus is the exact, flawless replica of God. Therefore, Jesus could say, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).

What has Jesus taught you about the Father? How can you share that insight with someone today?

Bible in One Year: Habakkuk 1-3

 

Our Daily Bread — Consider the Poor

 

Read: Matthew 25:31-40

Bible in a Year: Isaiah 3-4; Galatians 6

The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern. —Proverbs 29:7

The year was 1780, and Robert Raikes had a burden for the poor, illiterate children in his London neighborhood. He noticed that nothing was being done to help these children, so he set out to make a difference.

He hired some women to set up schools for them on Sunday. Using the Bible as their textbook, the teachers taught the poorest children of London to read and introduced them to the wisdom of the Bible. Soon about 100 children were attending these classes and enjoying lunch in a safe, clean environment. These “Sunday schools,” as they were soon called, eventually touched the lives of thousands of boys and girls. By 1831, Sunday schools in Great Britain reached more than a million children—all because one man understood this truth: “The righteous considers the cause of the poor” (Prov. 29:7 NKJV).

It’s no secret that Jesus cares greatly for those who struggle. In Matthew 25, He suggests that followers of Christ show a readiness for the Lord’s return by helping the hungry to get food, helping the thirsty to get a drink, helping the homeless to find a home, helping the naked to get clothes, and helping the sick or imprisoned to receive comfort (vv. 35-36).

As we bear witness that Christ is in our hearts, we honor our compassionate Savior by considering those on God’s heart. —Dave Branon

Awaken my heart, Lord, to those You care about, including the poor and helpless, the hungry and homeless, the troubled and hopeless in our world.

Open your heart to God to learn compassion, and open your hand to give help.

INSIGHT: Today’s Bible reading is a portion of what is sometimes referred to as the Olivet Discourse, our Lord’s last recorded public sermon before going to the cross. Matthew 24:3 says that Jesus led His disciples to the Mount of Olives, where He delivered this message on the future judgment and the establishment of the kingdom. Jesus spoke to them of tribulation, of the coming of the King, and of the need to have a prepared heart. It’s a sober message, yet one that ends with Jesus calling His followers to a heart of service that reaches out to hurting people with compassion and generosity. Bill Crowder

Alistair Begg – Are You Happy Today?

 

Happy are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord. Deuteronomy 33:29

The person who declares that Christianity makes men miserable is himself an utter stranger to it. It would be strange indeed if it made us wretched; consider to what a position it exalts us!

It makes us sons of God. Do you suppose that God will give all the happiness to His enemies and reserve all the mourning for His own family? Will His foes have laughter and joy, while His home-born children inherit sorrow and wretchedness? Will the sinner, who has no part in Christ, call himself rich in happiness, while we go mourning as if we were penniless beggars? No; we will rejoice in the Lord always and glory in our inheritance, for we “did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!'”1 The rod of discipline must rest upon us in our measure, but it works for us the comfortable fruits of righteousness; and therefore by the help of the divine Comforter, we, a “people saved by the LORD,” will rejoice in the God of our salvation.

We are married to Christ; and will our great Bridegroom permit His spouse to linger in constant grief? Our hearts are knit to Him: We are His members, and though for a while we may suffer as our Head once suffered, yet even now we are blessed with heavenly blessings in Him.

We have the promise of our inheritance in the comforts of the Spirit, which are neither few nor small. Inheritors of joy forever, we have foretastes of our portion. There are streaks of the light of joy to herald our eternal sunrise. Our riches are beyond the sea; our city with firm foundations lies on the other side of the river; gleams of glory from the spirit-world cheer our hearts and urge us onward.

It is truly said of us, “Happy are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the LORD.”

1) Romans 8:15

The Family Bible Reading Plan

  • 2 Samuel 23
  • Galatians 3

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

Charles Spurgeon – The mysteries of the brazen serpent

 

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:14,15

Suggested Further Reading: John 12:20-36

Let each of us who are called to the solemn work of the ministry remember, that we are not called to lift up doctrine, or church governments, or particular denominations; our business is to lift up Christ Jesus and to preach him fully. There may be times when church government is to be discussed, and peculiar doctrines are to be vindicated. God forbid that we should silence any part of truth: but the main work of the ministry—its every day work—is just exhibiting Christ, and crying out to sinners, “Believe, believe, believe on him who is the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world.” And let it be remembered, that if the minister preaches Christ plainly, that is all he has to do; if with affection and prayer he preaches Christ fully, if there were never a soul saved—which I believe would be impossible—he would have done his work, and his Master would say, “Well done.” I have gone away from this hall, after preaching upon various doctrines, and though many have complimented me, foolishly, I have said to myself, “I can but groan that I had such a subject at all.” And at another time, when I have been faltering in my delivery, and committed a thousand blunders in my speech, I have gone away as happy as a prince, because I have said, “I did preach Christ.” There was enough for sinners to be saved by; and if all the papers in the world should abuse me, and all the men in the world should say ‘cry him down’; he will still live and still breathe as long as he feels in himself, “I have preached to sinners, and Christ has been preached to them, so as they could understand and lay hold on him and be saved.”

For meditation: “We would see Jesus” (John 12:21) is not just something to say to the preacher, but something to pray for the preacher (Colossians 4:3,4).

Sermon no. 153

27 September (1857)

John MacArthur – Always Praying

 

“With all prayer and petition pray at all times” (Eph. 6:18).

Make prayer an ongoing part of your day.

As important as prayer is to your Christian life, you might expect Paul to list it as another piece of spiritual armor, but he doesn’t. Instead, he makes it all-pervasive by instructing us to pray at all times. That’s our spiritual lifeline—the air our spirits breathe. The effectiveness of each piece of armor is directly related to the quality of our prayers.

We see the importance of prayer throughout the New Testament. Jesus instructed His disciples to be on the alert at all times, praying so that they would have strength to face the trials and temptations that lie ahead (Luke 21:36). The apostles devoted themselves to prayer (Acts 6:4), as did godly people like Cornelius (Acts 10:2). Every Christian is to be continually devoted to prayer (Rom. 12:12).

In Philippians 4:6 Paul says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” He told the Thessalonians to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17) and instructed men everywhere to “pray, lifting up holy hands” (1 Tim. 2:8).

Jesus and Paul not only exhorted believers to pray, but also modeled diligent prayer in their own lives. Jesus often went for extended periods of time alone to pray. Paul wrote often of his own fervent prayers on behalf of others (cf. Col. 1:9; Philem. 4).

As a child, you may have been taught that prayer is reserved for mealtimes, bedtime, or church services. That’s a common misconception many children carry into their adult years. But believers are to be in constant communication with God, which is simply the overflow of seeing all of life from His perspective. Just as you would discuss your everyday experiences and feelings with a close friend, so you’re to discuss them with God.

God loves you and wants to share your every joy, sorrow, victory, and defeat. Be conscious of His presence today and take advantage of the sweet communion He offers.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Thank God that He’s always available to hear your prayers.
  • Ask Him to give you a desire to commune with Him more faithfully.

For Further Study

What do these verses say about the most appropriate times for prayer: Psalm 55:16-17, Daniel 6:10, Luke 6:12, and 1 Timothy 5:5?

Joyce Meyer – The Free Gift of God’s Love

 

For He foreordained us (destined us, planned in love for us) to be adopted (revealed) as His own children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with the purpose of His will [because it pleased Him and was His kind intent]. – Ephesians 1:5

There is only one thing you can do with a free gift, and that is receive it and be grateful. I urge you to take a step of faith right now and say out loud, “God loves me unconditionally, and I receive His love!” You may have to say it a hundred times a day before it finally sinks in, but when it does, it will be the happiest day of your life.

To know that you are loved by someone is the best and most comforting feeling in the world. God not only loves you, but He also provides other people who will truly love you. When He does provide, be sure to remain thankful for those people. Having people who genuinely love you is one of the most precious gifts in the world.

Take time to thank God for His love and all the people who love you! It is His gift to you and, I believe, one of the most valuable gifts that you will ever receive.

Prayer of Thanks

Father, thank You for the free gift of Your love. I am grateful that You love me unconditionally and You have put people in my life who love me too. I don’t take Your love for granted and, though I can never repay Your love, I want to live my life for You in return.

From the book The Power of Being Thankful by Joyce Meyer.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Ask What You Will

 

“If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:7, KJV).

When Campus Crusade for Christ began at the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1951, our first act was to organize a 24-hour prayer chain. Around the clock, scores of men and women interceded for UCLA students and faculty. God answered prayer in a remarkable way, as His Spirit touched the entire campus.

Thirty-one years later, more than 16,000 full-time and associate staff members of Campus Crusade for Christ in more than 150 countries and protectorates are teaching millions of others the importance of prayer, with revolutionary spiritual results and many millions receiving Christ.

Prayer has always been the breathe, life, vitality, strength and power of the Christian. Beginning with our Lord, who spent much time in prayer, and continuing with the disciples and fruitful, Spirit-filled Christians through the centuries, prayer remains a major emphasis in the life of every believer.

History records no mighty men or women of God whose lives were not characterized by prayer, nor any great spiritual movements, awakenings or revivals that were not preceded by prayer. James 4:2 reminds us, “Ye have not, because ye ask not.”

It is not enough to pray, we must pray according to the Word and will of God. For that reason, understanding and obeying our Scripture assignment for today is crucial. We must abide in Christ and allow His Word to abide in us before we are qualified to pray. God’s Word reminds us, “And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask any thing according to His will, He heareth us; And if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him.” (1 John 5:14,15, KJV).

Bible Reading: Matthew 7:7-11

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: From this day forth I will seek, through the enabling of the Holy Spirit, to abide in Christ and have His Word abide in me. As I discover God’s Will through the diligent study of His Word and the leading of His Holy Spirit, I will pray more intelligently and thus can expect answers to my prayers.

Presidential Prayer Team; J.K. – Promised Change

 

At a time when Babylon was laying siege on Jerusalem, God called Jeremiah to purchase land in the city. Seemingly without hesitation, Jeremiah trusted God’s word. He bought the field, “signed the deed, sealed it, got witnesses,” and paid his money. He called his disciple to put the deed in an earthenware vessel and keep it safe for what would be many years (Jeremiah 32:9-15).

Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.

Jeremiah 33:3

Jeremiah was preaching to the deaf ears of Israel and Judah’s kings. They didn’t listen and imprisoned him for speaking truth. But even through that, Jeremiah spoke of the restoration of the nation after their 70 years of captivity. He told of God’s great might…that nothing is too hard for Him (Jeremiah 32:17).

If there ever was a promise that could change your life, it’s today’s verse. The promise was to Jeremiah, but you must know that in the deepest times of sorrow or need, you can call on the One who can handle anything. Believing in Him will open the doors of understanding for you in His Word. Do not hesitate. Stay in Scripture. Then intercede for this nation’s leaders and people…that all deaf ears will hear and many will return to the Lord.

Recommended Reading: Jeremiah 33:1-9

Night Light for Couples –Charlie Wedemeyer

 

“Our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18

Life was good for Charlie Wedemeyer. He was married to a beautiful woman, Lucy, had two wonderful children, and was a successful high school teacher and football coach. When he noticed a weakness in his hands, however, he visited a doctor. The doctor told him he had ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), that in a few years he would be totally paralyzed, and that eventually he would die. Charlie’s disease worsened in the years that followed.

Time appeared to be running out. Then two things changed his life—he began using a portable respirator, and he became a Christian.

Today, more than twenty years after being diagnosed, Charlie and Lucy have touched thousands of lives during their appearances across the country. He cannot walk, speak, or even breathe on his own, but he chooses not to dwell on his infirmities.

“Pain and suffering are inescapable,” Charlie says through Lucy’s translation. “It’s up to us to decide if we’re going to be miserable or if we’re going to try to make the most of our lives.”

Charlie Wedemeyer is making the most of his. How about you?

Just between us…

  • How would either of us respond if we faced a situation like Charlie’s?
  • So far in life, how much have we been asked to suffer?
  • Who in the Bible suffered from disease or disability yet demonstrated trust in God? (For examples, see 2 Kings 5:1–14; 20:1–6; Matthew 9:27–29; Mark 5:25–29; 10:48–52; and 2 Corinthians 12:7–10.)

Father, thank You for promising to be with us when we suffer. Help us not to complain too much about life’s little hurts, and help us to place our big sorrows in Your tender care. Amen.

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

C.S. Lewis Daily – Today’s Reading

 

TO MR. N. FRIDAMA, who seems to have asked Lewis about the steps in his conversion to Christianity: On the Calvinist doctrine of double predestination.

15 February 1946

I was baptised in the Church of Ireland (same as Anglican). My parents were not notably pious but went regularly to church and took me. My mother died when I was a child.

My Christian faith was first undermined by the attitude taken towards Pagan religion in the notes of modern editors of Latin and Greek poets at school. They always assumed that the ancient religion was pure error: hence, in my mind, the obvious question ‘Why shouldn’t ours be equally false?’ A theosophical Matron at one school helped to break up my early beliefs, and after that a ‘Rationalist’ tutor to whom I went finished the job. I abandoned all belief in Christianity at about the age of 14, though I pretended to believe for fear of my elders. I thus went thro’ the ceremony of Confirmation in total hypocrisy. My beliefs continued to be agnostic, with fluctuation towards pantheism and various other sub-Christian beliefs, till I was about 29.

I was brought back (a.) By Philosophy. I still think [Bishop George] Berkeley’s proof for the existence of God is unanswerable. (b.) By increasing knowledge of medieval literature. It became harder and harder to think that all those great poets and philosophers were wrong. (c.) By the strong influence of 2 writers, the Presbyterian George MacDonald and the Roman Catholic, G.K. Chesterton. (d.) By argument with an Anthroposophist [Owen Barfield]. He failed to convert me to his own views (a kind of Gnosticism) but his attack on my own presuppositions smashed the ordinary pseudo-‘scientific’ world-picture forever.

On Calvinism. Both the statement that our final destination is already settled and the view that it still may be either Heaven or Hell, seem to me to imply the ultimate reality of Time, which I don’t believe in. The controversy is one I can’t join on either side for I think that in the real (Timeless) world it is meaningless. In great haste.

From The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume II

Compiled in Yours, Jack