Charles Stanley – Know Your God

 

2 Peter 1:12-21

Throughout the world, and even within the church, we can find a wide variety of beliefs about the Lord. To avoid confusion and deception, we need to recognize that His Word is without error and that it reveals the truth we need to understand about our amazing triune God.

The inerrancy of the Bible. Unless a person has a firm belief in this doctrine, all of his or her ideas about the Lord will be subjective. Scripture is God’s thoughts written without error by men who were governed by the Holy Spirit. Fulfilled prophecy is proof that this book is never wrong (Isa. 48:3).

An accurate understanding of God. The Lord is one divine being expressed in three persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They are equal in every way, but their jobs differ. Think of the Father as the initiator, the Son as the implementer, and the Spirit as the energizer. All three were involved in creation as well as the plan of salvation.

The Son, who existed in eternity past, came to earth by being born of a virgin. He is the God-man, having added humanity to His deity. He lived a perfect life, died a sacrificial death for our sins, rose bodily from the grave, and ascended to the Father in heaven.

The Holy Spirit is our power source. He indwells every believer in Christ, transforming character, revealing truth, and enabling obedience to God.

Our Creator wants us to know Him. Isn’t that amazing? He invites us to enjoy an intimate relationship with Him. Every day we have the privilege of opening His Word and speaking with our loving God. He’s waiting for you . . .

Bible in One Year: 1 Corinthians 11-13

Our Daily Bread — The Heavenly Manifest

 

Read: Luke 10:17-24

Bible in a Year: Ezekiel 37-39; 2 Peter 2

Rejoice that your names are written in heaven. —Luke 10:20

At the Kenya Airways check-in counter, I presented my passport for verification. When the agents searched for my name on their manifest—the document that lists names of passengers—my name was missing. The problem? Overbooking and lack of confirmation. My hope of reaching home that day was shattered.

The episode reminded me of another kind of manifest—the Book of Life. In Luke 10, Jesus sent His disciples on an evangelistic mission. On their return, they happily reported their success. But Jesus told them: “Do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (v. 20). The focus of our joy is not merely that we are successful but that our names are inscribed in God’s book.

But how can we be sure of that? God’s Word tells us, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rom. 10:9).

In Revelation 21, John makes a breathtaking description of the Holy City that awaits those who trust Christ. Then he writes, “Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (v. 27).

The Book of Life is God’s heavenly manifest. Is your name written in it? —Lawrence Darmani

Father in heaven, thank You for the gift of Your Son, who promised to prepare a place for us. Thank You too, that You are preparing us for that place.

God opens the gates of heaven to those who open their hearts to Him.

INSIGHT: Two important concepts appear in today’s passage: Jesus is the one who gives us the authority to carry on His work on earth, and God is the one who writes our names “in heaven” (v. 20). Notice that in both cases it is not our doing but God’s. Salvation is a gift of God’s grace; our part is to accept this gift.

 

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The Unstoppable Story

 

“You can’t stop stories being told,” Dr. Parnassus tells his relentless foe with religious assurance in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. The world of belief-systems and worldviews is indeed a complicated playground of stories, storytellers, and allegiances—and this is one film which certainly attests to that complicated dance. What makes the interplay of story most complicated is perhaps what is often our inability to name or even to perceive these interacting powers in the first place. That which permeates our surroundings, subconsciously molds our understanding, and continuously informs our vision of reality, is not always easy to articulate. The dominate culture shapes our world in ways we seldom even realize, and often in ways we cannot realize, until something outside of our culture comes along and introduces us, and the scales fall from our eyes.

Further complicating the great arena of narratives is the fact that we often do not even recognize certain systems for the metanarratives that they are, or else we grossly underestimate the story’s power on our own. Whatever version or versions of the story we utilize to understand human history—atheism, capitalism, pluralism, consumerism—their roots run very deep in the human soul. This is why Bishop Kenneth Carder can refer to the global market economy as a “dominant god,” or consumerism, economism, and nationalism as religions.(1) These deeply rooted ideologies are challenged only when a different ideology or imagination comes knocking, when a different faith-system comes along and upsets the imagination that powerfully orders our world.

This is perhaps one reason that the biblical imagination presented in Scripture calls again and again to remember the story, to tell of the acts of God in history, and to bear in mind and vision the one who is near. For into this world of belief-systems and worldviews, God tells the story of creation and the pursuit of its redemption, and then Christ comes in our own flesh and proclaims a kingdom entirely other. The narrative imagination we discover in Scripture introduces us not only to a new world but a world that jarringly shows us our own.

The signs and scenes leading to the incarnation alone challenge many of our cultural norms, turning upside down ideas of authority, power, and glory, presenting us a kingdom that reverses everything we know. What kind of a king crouches down to his subjects to feed the masses or wash their feet? What kind of a leader tells those under him that the way to the top requires a dedication to the bottom? What kind of God comes as child and leaves on a cross? What kind of meal lifts us to another kingdom where we are brought into the presence of the host and asked to taste him? Yet these are the stories he told and Christians tell; this is the imagination he gives us to see him, the world, our selves and neighbors. “And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me’” (Luke 22:19). Not long after their meal, his physical body was broken, too.

The story of the Christian is one that remembers the very first and the very last moments of a rabbi and his disciples—a child born, a teacher present, a meal shared, a lamb revealed, feet washed by one who claimed to be both king and servant. It is a story that invites its hearers into a kingdom entirely different than the many stories before them, connecting them with a God who somehow reigns within a realm that is here and now, and also approaching. In the Lord’s Supper, Christians are literally “taking in” this biblical imagination, which unites followers with Christ in such a way that helps us to live as he lived in a world of stories.

When the apostle Paul called early followers of Christ not to be conformed to this world but to be transformed by the renewing of their minds so that they might discern what is the will of God—”what is good and acceptable and perfect,” he was reminding them that there are overlapping and contradicting stories all around them, but that it is the story of God that earns the role of orienting narrative. In other words, Christ does not leave his followers with the option of living unaware of all the subconscious ways in which we are formed by the world of stories. Living into the kingdom of God means recognizing the power of God’s story beside every competing narrative—not necessarily shutting each one out, but interpreting every other story through the Story. Living further into the biblical imagination presented in Scripture, the Christian’s very life, like that of Christ’s, shows the world the subversive power of an imagination that moves far beyond the systems of “postmodernism,” “consumerism,” and “nationalism.”

Whether Christian, atheist, or Hindu, no one can avoid being in the world. We cannot escape the world’s formative stories, nor should we want to escape the particular place where we have been planted.(3) Yet, nor do we want it to become so much our home that we cannot see all the dust on the windows or feel the draft of a roofless shelter. For the Christian, the more we find ourselves living into the imagination of this different kingdom, a world breathed by the Father, proclaimed by Christ, and revealed by the Spirit, the unchallenged, unseen storylines of our worlds come sharply into focus. And the more we taste and see of the goodness of God, the more we taste and see of Christ in the land of the living. Like Paul, at times something like scales fall from our eyes and the Spirit compels us to get up and re-experience our baptisms, going further into the biblical imagination, where our voices regain strength in telling and retelling the unstoppable story.(4)

Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

(1) Kenneth Carder, “Market and Mission: Competing Visions for Transforming Ministry,” Lecture, Duke Divinity School, Oct. 16, 2001, 1.

(2) Lesslie Newbigin, The Open Secret: An Introduction to the Theology of Mission (Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 1995), 95.

(3) Jesus himself prayed, “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world, but I ask that you protect them from the evil one” (John 17:15).

(4) “And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and his sight was restored. Then he got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength” (Acts 9:18-19).

Alistair Begg – Much More Than This

 

And Amaziah said to the man of God, “But what shall we do about the hundred talents that I have given to the army of Israel?” The man of God answered, “The Lord is able to give you much more than this.”

2 Chronicles 25:9

This seemed to be a very important question for the king of Judah, and possibly it is of even more significance for the tried and tested Christian. To lose money is never pleasant, and when it involves principle, we are not always ready to make the sacrifice. “Why lose what could be put to good use? Is it not possible to pay too much for truth? Remember the children and our small income!”

All these things and a thousand more would tempt the Christian to participate in dishonest gain or prevent him from carrying out his conscientious convictions when they involve serious loss. Not everyone views these matters in the light of faith; and even with the followers of Jesus, the idea that “we all have to live” carries quite a bit of weight.

“The LORD is able to give you much more than this” is a very satisfactory answer to the anxious question. Our Father holds the funds, and what we lose for His sake He can repay a thousandfold.

Our part is to obey His will, and we may rest assured that He will provide for us. The Lord will be no man’s debtor in the end.

Christians know that an ounce of contentment is more valuable than a ton of gold. The person wearing a threadbare coat over a good conscience has found a spiritual treasure far more desirable than any he may have lost.

God’s smile and a dungeon are enough for a true heart; His frown and a palace would be hell to the trusting soul.

Let the worst become worse still, let all the talents go, we have not lost our treasure, for that is above, where Christ sits at the right hand of God. In the meantime, even now the Lord makes the meek to inherit the earth, and He keeps back nothing that is good from those whose walk is blameless.

The Family Bible Reading Plan

  • 1 Chronicles 28
  • 2 Peter 2

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

Charles Spurgeon – Manasseh

 

“Then Manasseh knew that the Lord he was God.” 2 Chronicles 33:13

Suggested Further Reading: Romans 1:18-25

It takes ten thousand times more faith to be an unbeliever than to be a believer in God’s revelation. One man comes to me and tells me I am credulous, because I believe in a great First Cause who created the heavens and the earth, and that God became man and died for sin. I tell him I may be, and no doubt am very credulous, as he conceives credulity, but I conceive that which I believe is in perfect consistency with my reason, and I therefore receive it. “But,” saith he, “I am not credulous—not at all.” Sir, I say, I should like to ask you one thing. You do not believe the world was created by God. “No.” You must be amazingly credulous, then, I am sure. Do you think this Bible exists without being made? If you should say I am credulous, because I believe it had a printer and a binder, I should say that you were infinitely more credulous, if you assured me that it was made at all, and should you begin to tell me one of your theories about creation—that atoms floated through space, and came to a certain shape, I should resign the palm of credulity to you. You believe, perhaps, moreover, that man came to be in this world through the improvement of certain creatures. I have read that you say that there were certain monads—that afterwards they grew into fishes—that these fishes wanted to fly, and then wings grew—that by and by they wanted to crawl, and then legs came, and they became lizards, and by many steps they then became monkeys, and then the monkeys became men, and you believe yourself to be cousin ape to an orang-utan. Now, I may be very credulous, but really not so credulous as you are.

For meditation: If Manasseh, the greatest of idolaters (2 Chronicles 33:3), could be converted and worship the one true God, your most ardent evolutionist neighbours or colleagues can be converted and worship the God who created them!

Sermon no. 105

30 November (1856)

John MacArthur – An Unlikely Heroine

 

“By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace” (Heb. 11:31).

Rahab illustrates the depth and breadth of God’s amazing grace.

Our final Old Testament hero of faith is an unlikely addition to the list. Not only was she a prostitute, she also was a Gentile—and a Canaanite at that.

The Canaanites were an idolatrous, barbaric, debauched people, infamous even among pagans for their immorality and cruelty. Yet in the midst of that exceedingly wicked society, Rahab came to faith in the God of Israel.

Joshua 2:9-11 records her confession of faith to the two men Joshua had sent into Jericho as spies: “I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. And when we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath” (emphasis added).

Rahab demonstrated the genuineness of that profession by risking her life to hide the spies from the king of Jericho, who sought to capture them.

Because Rahab lied to protect the spies (vv. 4-5), some people question the validity of her faith. Surely genuine believers wouldn’t lie like that—or would they? Abraham did. Sarah did. Isaac did. Jacob did. But the important thing to understand is that God honored their faith, not their deception.

As with all the heroes of faith before her, Rahab’s faith wasn’t perfect, nor was her knowledge of God’s moral law. But because she trusted God, she was spared during Jericho’s conquest, then given an even greater honor. She became the mother of Boaz, who married Ruth, the great-great-grandmother of David, thereby becoming an ancestor of the Lord Jesus Christ (Matt. 1:5).

Suggestions for Prayer

Praise God for receiving even the vilest sinner who turns to Him in faith.

For Further Study

Read all about Rahab in Joshua 2:1-24, 6:22-25, and James 2:25.

Joyce Meyer – Who Is Your Confidence In?

 

For we . . .glory and pride ourselves in Jesus Christ, and put no confidence or dependence [on what we are] in the flesh and on outward privileges and physical advantages and external appearances.—Philippians 3:3

Today’s scripture destroys any reason to believe we can put confidence in anything we can do or have done. It clearly tells us that our confidence cannot be in “the flesh,” but instead must be “in Christ Jesus.”

It is freeing to finally see that our worth and value are not based on what we do, but on who we are in Christ. God has assigned value to us by allowing Jesus to die for us. By that very act, God the Father is saying to each one of us, “You are very valuable to Me, and I will pay any price to see that you have the good life I originally intended for you.”

Once we recognize who we are in Christ, then and only then can we effectively begin to pray about the things we do for Him, but He wants us to do them in response to what He has done for us and in us. He wants our good works to flow out of our love for Him, not out of a sense of mere duty or obligation.

Meditate on what God has done for you in Christ and the value He has placed on you by sending His Son to die for you. It will help you fall more deeply in love with Him daily and enable you to serve Him from a position of love rather than duty or obligation.

Love Yourself Today: Confess that God loves you and you are valuable. Appreciate what God has done for you, and serve Him because you love and adore Him.

From the book Love Out Loud by Joyce Meyer.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Peace and Joy

 

“Always be full of joy in the Lord; I say it again, rejoice! Let everyone see that you are unselfish and considerate in all you do. Remember that the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs and don’t forget to thank Him for His answers. If you do this you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:4-7).

Don and Ann wanted with all their hearts to please the Lord and worked at being victorious Christians. They diligently kept their quiet time and memorized Scripture, and they were faithful in church attendance. They did everything right. But as they said, “Even though we’ve claimed the fullness of the Holy Spirit by faith and tried to understand and apply identification truths [in which they sought to identify themselves with Christ, his crucifixion, burial and resurrection,] we just don’t seem to be enjoying the Christian life. There’s something missing.”

“In Philippians 4,” I told them, “you will find a surefire spiritual formula for victory in the Christian life. Just allow the Holy Spirit to make this passage a reality to you and apply the following as He enables you:

As an act of your will, decide that you’re going to be full of the joy of the Lord. You are the one who decides whether you’re going to rejoice or be discouraged and sad. Demonstrate before all men an unselfish, considerate attitude. Remember that the Lord can come at any moment, and be prepared.

Do not worry about anything.
Pray about everything.
Thank Him in faith for His answers.”

The results of practicing these steps is the most priceless and wonderful experience one can know, the supernatural peace of God that cannot be purchased or acquired in any other way. In order to succeed in this formula for supernatural living, of course, you must already be studying the Word of God, applying its truths to your life daily, living in the power of the Holy Spirit and sharing your faith in Christ with others.

Bible Reading: Isaiah 12:1-5

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Today, as an act of my will, I shall claim the supernatural resources of God by faith and continue to experience and share the abundant life which is the heritage of all who trust and obey Him

Presidential Prayer Team; A.W. – Gap Standers

 

John Knox, the founder of the Presbyterian Church, lived in Scotland in a time of great religious turmoil. He was a leader who passionately prayed for God to reform the church, revive his nation and save his countrymen. His prayers made an impact. It is reported that Mary Queen of Scots said, “I fear the prayers of John Knox more than all the assembled armies of Europe.”

I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach…but I found none.

Ezekiel 22:30

Today’s scripture focuses on a time of religious turmoil for the nation of Israel. God was looking for someone to lead His people and come to Him on their behalf so they would not be defeated. He found no one – and Judah was destroyed.

Today the United States is in spiritual turmoil. God is still looking for leaders to pray and help return the nation to Him. Spend some time today thanking God for those in the country who are already standing in the gap – and pray for more to rise up to help unify the Christian church, revive the nation and save their countrymen.

Recommended Reading: Psalm 33:8-20

 

Greg Laurie – A Thermometer or a Thermostat?

 

Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth.—Luke 1:26

It’s interesting how cities are known for certain things. Rome is known as the Eternal City. Paris is called the City of Lights. New York is the City that Never Sleeps. And Las Vegas has been nicknamed Sin City.

Nazareth, too, could have been called Sin City in the first century. Overrun by Roman soldiers, it was one of those places you went through on the way to another place. Nazareth also was known for its sin. One commentator described it as a hotbed of corruption. This is why, when Nathanael heard that Jesus was from Nazareth, he asked, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46).

Imagine if Jesus were born today. We might expect Him to be born in Jerusalem, or maybe in Rome, London, or Paris. But what if He were born in Las Vegas? The Savior has arrived: Jesus of Las Vegas. That’s what it would have been like to use the term Jesus of Nazareth.

In that wicked city, however, lived a young woman of royal blood. Living in an impure world, Mary was pure. She showed it is possible to live a holy life in an unholy place. We often blame our wicked culture for the way we are, but the fact is that it’s our job as followers of Jesus to permeate and affect our culture.

Here’s a question to ask yourself: Are you a thermometer or a thermostat? A thermometer is affected by its surroundings. Depending on the temperature, it goes up or down. In contrast, a thermostat affects its surroundings. Unlike the thermometer, it controls the environment around it.

Do you merely react to what is happening around you, or do you have some kind of impact on it? Are you changing the culture, or is the culture changing you?

Max Lucado – Press Into God’s Promises

 

Our God is a promise-keeping God. Others may make a promise and forget it. But if God makes a promise, he keeps it. Does God’s integrity make a difference? When your daughter is on life support, it does. When you are pacing the ER floor, it does. When you are wondering what to do and you have to choose between faith or fear; God’s purpose or random history; a God who knows and cares or a God who isn’t there? We all choose.

Promised Land people choose to trust God’s promises. They choose to believe that God is up to something good even though all we see looks bad. Press into God’s promises. When fears surface, respond with this thought: But God said … And when doubts arise, but God said… And when guilt overwhelms you, but God said…  Search the Scriptures like a miner digging for gold and trust the promises you find.

From Glory Days

Night Light for Couples – Hazardous to Your Health

 

“So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth.” Malachi 2:15

Writer Pat Conroy, after telling his three daughters that he and his wife were divorcing, said he felt like he had “doused my entire family with gasoline and struck a match.” The painful effects resulting from such stress and guilt are not just a temporary problem. Dr. David Larson, a Washington, D.C., psychiatrist and researcher, has observed that all types of cancer strike divorced individuals more frequently than married people. He has also noted that premature death rates are significantly higher among divorced people and that being divorced and a nonsmoker is only slightly less hazardous than staying married and smoking a pack or two a day. In the 1960s, the surgeon general declared cigarettes harmful to the smoker’s health. More recently, researchers have warned us about the dangers of foods high in fat and cholesterol. Perhaps it’s time someone issued a warning about the health risks of marital conflict. Ripping “one flesh” apart is one of the most devastating experiences in life. There must be a better way to deal with conflict.

Just between us…

  • Is the state of our marriage affecting our health?
  • How is divorce hazardous to a person’s spiritual life? (See Malachi 2:13–16.)
  • What can we do this week to promote our physical and emotional health?

Dear God, we receive this reminder that the damage done by broken marriages extends to the body, mind, and spirit. We humbly ask for Your help to make divorce “not an option” for our future. Amen.

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

C.S. Lewis Daily – Today’s Reading

 

And now we begin to see what it is that the New Testament is always talking about. It talks about Christians ‘being born again’; it talks about them ‘putting on Christ’; about Christ ‘being formed in us’; about our coming to ‘have the mind of Christ’.

Put right out of your head the idea that these are only fancy ways of saying that Christians are to read what Christ said and try to carry it out—as a man may read what Plato or Marx said and try to carry it out. They mean something much more than that. They mean that a real Person, Christ, here and now, in that very room where you are saying your prayers, is doing things to you. It is not a question of a good man who died two thousand years ago. It is a living Man, still as much a man as you, and still as much God as He was when He created the world, really coming and interfering with your very self; killing the old natural self in you and replacing it with the kind of self He has. At first, only for moments. Then for longer periods. Finally, if all goes well, turning you permanently into a different sort of thing; into a new little Christ, a being which, in its own small way, has the same kind of life as God; which shares in His power, joy, knowledge and eternity.

From Mere Christianity

Compiled in A Year with C.S. Lewis

Charles Stanley – Quieting Your Soul

 

Psalm 131:1-2

As this season of Advent begins, it is wise to reexamine our hearts with regards to prayer. Do you hurry through your quiet time so you can get to other things? If so, consider the values Jesus modeled for us in His practice of setting apart time to spend with His Father.

Solitude. Though the Lord was constantly surrounded by people as He tended to their needs, He also understood His own need for seclusion. Often, after an intense period of ministry, He would retreat from the crowds—and even His disciples—to pray in private.

Safeguarded time.No matter what else was going on, Jesus made it a point to protect periods of time so He could rest in the Spirit, focus on His relation- ship with the Father, and build up His physical and emotional strength. Even when people were clamoring for Him, Jesus made it a priority to safeguard this time, knowing that His ministry would flow from it.

Stillness. What does it means to be still? Psalm 46:10 calls us to stillness with these words: “Cease striving and know that I am God.” To learn this perpetual inner peace, periodically stop everything you’re doing, and simply let your soul become aware of the Holy Spirit’s presence. In today’s reading, David described it as the state of a “weaned child” who is at perfect rest and happy just to be in his mother’s arms.

If you make these a priority, you will reap tremendous benefits. Doing so may seem challenging. But when you quiet your heart before the Lord, you’ll discover how much you need the peace of His presence. It is a priceless gift.

Bible in One Year: 1 Corinthians 7-10

Our Daily Bread — The Low Point

 

Read: Psalm 40

Bible in a Year: Ezekiel 35-36; 2 Peter 1

You are my help and my deliverer. —Psalm 40:17

  1. S. Lewis and his older brother, Warren (Warnie), endured several terms at Wynyard, an English boarding school for boys. The headmaster was a cruel man who made life unbearable for everyone there. Decades later, Warnie wrote in his understated dry wit, “I am now sixty-four and a bit, and have never yet been in a situation in which I have not had the consolation of reflecting that at any rate I was better off than I was at Wynyard.” Most of us can recall a similar dark and difficult time in our lives and be grateful that we’re better off now than we were then.

Psalm 40:1-5 records a low point of David’s life when he cried out to the Lord who rescued him. God brought him up from “the slimy pit” and “the mud and mire” and set his feet on a rock (v. 2). “He put a new song in my mouth,” David says, “a hymn of praise to our God” (v. 3).

But deliverance from depression and despair are seldom one-time events. Psalm 40 continues with David’s renewed plea for God’s mercy, lovingkindness, and truth to deliver him from his own sin and the threats of his enemies (vv. 11-14).

Along with David, we can say at every low point, “I am poor and needy; may the Lord think of me. You are my help and my deliverer” (v. 17). —David McCasland

How does recalling a low point in your life encourage you to trust God for His help today?

Share with us in the comments section below or on our Facebook page, facebook.com/ourdailybread

The One who holds the universe will never let you down.

Alistair Begg – Approaching Rebuke

 

You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people…you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him. Leviticus 19:16-17

Slander emits a threefold poison, for it injures the teller, the hearer, and the person who is being slandered. Whether the report is true or false, we are by this precept of God’s Word forbidden to spread it.

The reputations of the Lord’s people should be very precious in our sight, and we should regard it as shameful to help the devil dishonor the church and the name of the Lord. Some tongues need a bridle rather than a spur.

Many rejoice in putting down their brothers and sisters, as if in doing so they raised themselves. Noah’s wise sons cast a covering over their father, and the one who exposed him earned a fearful curse.

We may ourselves one of these dark days need leniency and silence from our family; let us offer it cheerfully to those who require it now. Let this be our family motto, and our personal bond: Speak evil of no man.

The Holy Spirit, however, permits us to censure sin and prescribes the way in which we are to do it. It must be done by rebuking our brother to his face, not by talking behind his back.

This approach is manly, brotherly, Christlike, and under God’s blessing will be useful.

Do we shy away from it? Then we must lay the greater stress upon our conscience and commit ourselves to the responsibility, in case by tolerating sin in our friend we become partakers of it.

Hundreds have been saved from gross sins by the timely, wise, affectionate warnings of faithful friends and family. Our Lord Jesus has set us a gracious example of how to deal with erring friends in His warning given to Peter, the prayer with which He preceded it, and the gentle way in which He endured Peter’s boastful denial that he needed such a caution.

The Family Bible Reading Plan

  • 1 Chronicles 26, 27
  • 2 Peter 1

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

Charles Spurgeon – The warning neglected

 

“He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him.” Ezekiel 33:5

Suggested Further Reading: Haggai 1:1-6

Men have got time. It is the want of will, not want of way. You have time, sir, have you not, despite all your business, to spend in pleasure? You have time to read your newspaper—have you not time to read your Bible? You have time to sing a song—have you no time to pray a prayer? Why, you know when farmer Brown met farmer Smith in the market one day, he said to him, “Farmer Smith, I can’t think how it is you find time for hunting. Why, man, what with sowing and mowing and reaping and ploughing, and all that, my time is so fully occupied on my farm, that I have no time for hunting.” “Ah,” said he, “Brown, if you liked hunting as much as I do, if you could not find time, you’d make it.” And so it is with religion, the reason why men cannot find time for it is, because they do not like it well enough. If they liked it, they would find time. And besides, what time does it want? What time does it require? Can I not pray to God over my ledger? Can I not snatch a text at my breakfast, and think over it all day? May I not even when I am busy in the affairs of the world, be thinking of my soul, and casting myself upon a Redeemer’s blood and atonement? It wants no time. There may be some time required; some time for my private devotions, and for communion with Christ, but when I grow in grace, I shall think it right to have more and more time, the more I can possibly get, the happier I shall be, and I shall never make the excuse that I have not time.

For meditation: How much time do you make to spend alone with God each day? What do you do with him for the rest of the day? (Colossians 3:23).

Sermon no. 165

29 November (1857)

John MacArthur – Conquering in Conflict

 

“By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they had been encircled for seven days” (Heb. 11:30).

Faith is the key to spiritual conquest.

Forty years had lapsed since the Israelites refused to enter the Promised Land. That unbelieving generation had perished in the wilderness. Now Joshua was leading a new generation into the land. The first obstacle they faced was Jericho—a well- fortified city that was near the mouth of the Jordan River.

Some city walls of that day were wide enough at the top to allow two chariots to ride side-by-side. That was probably true of Jericho because of its strategic location. That, coupled with the caliber of its army, made the city virtually impregnable— especially to unsophisticated Israelites, who lacked military training.

But what is impossible for man is easy for God. And the stage was set for Him to demonstrate His power and for the Israelites to demonstrate their faith and humility.

One can only imagine how embarrassed the Hebrew people felt as they marched around Jericho once a day for six days. That certainly is not your typical military strategy. But on the seventh day, after marching around the city seven times with the priests blowing their rams’ horns, the priests gave one final blast, the people all shouted out loud, and the walls of the city collapsed (Josh. 6:20). Faith had reduced a formidable obstacle to a crumbled ruin.

Can you identify some spiritual obstacles you’ve faced recently? How did you handle them? You’ll always have them to deal with in your Christian walk, but don’t fret. See them as opportunities to exercise faith and see God’s power on display in your life. Continue to trust the Lord and demonstrate your faith by courageously doing what He has called you to do.

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask God to help you humbly trust in God’s power when you face spiritual conflicts.

For Further Study

Read about the conquest of Jericho in Joshua 6:1-21. Note each occasion where the people obeyed one of Joshua’s commands without hesitation.

Joyce Meyer – Draw the Line

 

So the king said to me, Why do you look sad, since you are not sick? . . .Then I was very much afraid. . . . The king said to me, For what do you ask? So I prayed to the God of heaven.—Nehemiah 2:2-4

When a boss demands so much of an employee that it is ruining her home life, her spiritual life, and perhaps her health, she is not being rebellious if she confronts the boss and states plainly what she can and cannot do. She actually would incur guilt if she did not.

God expects a person to put her marriage, her family, her home, her spiritual life, and her health before her job. If she loses her job as a result of proper confrontation, God will help her get a better one. It is sad when a person lives in so much fear of the loss of money and reputation that she allows herself to lose her health, the respect of her family, and a good relationship with God. It is sad to have the approval of someone, such as a boss, but to be out of the will of God. If you have been allowing someone to control you, you should ask yourself what price you are paying to have that person’s approval. Don’t play the games you have to play in order to have everyone’s approval.

Lord, when it comes to doing Your will, I trust You to help me to draw the line and stand for the right values. I will stand with You. Amen.

From the book The Confident Woman Devotional: 365 Daily Devotions by Joyce Meyer.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Just as He Promised

 

“God, who called you to become His child, will do all this for you, just as He promised” (1 Thessalonians 5:24).

Have you ever substituted your own name in a promise like that? I have, and the result is staggering, overwhelming. “God, who called Bill Bright to become His child, will do all this for me, just as He promised.”

Include your name in the verse, and the effect will be the same for you. It is incredible that before the very foundation of the world God chose and called you and me to become His children. His foreknowledge makes possible many of the mysteries we puzzle over today.

Your sanctification (setting apart) – and mine – depends upon God, and since He has begun a good work in us, He will see it through to completion. God requires holiness (another word for sanctification) and He is the resource upon whom we may call for accomplishment of that requirement.

While it is true we will never be completely and totally holy in this life, it is equally true that provision is made for us to be holy. Every moment that you and I are under the control of God’s Holy Spirit, is a moment that we are holy! Looked at in that light, the task of acquiring holiness does not seem so impossible to attain.

The principle is clear: God never gives a command without the enablement to obey it.

Bible Reading: 2 Thessalonians 3:3-5

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will see myself as a child of God, the beneficiary of His multitudinous blessings, capable of living a supernatural life and bearing fruit for His glory through His enablement