Charles Stanley – Abandoning the Self-Life


Jonah 4

The believer’s self-life is composed of the habits, attitudes, and relationships he or she is unwilling to surrender. Keeping those things from the Lord gives us a sense of independence—highly prized in our current culture. However, by following the “self,” we interfere with God’s purpose. He wants every aspect of our lives to be submitted to His will.

Jonah mistook rebellion for freedom. The fourth chapter of his story paints a vivid picture of the prophet sweltering in the sun—and in the heat of his hatred. His blood boiled when God showed mercy to the Ninevites. “I have good reason to be angry, even to death,” he ranted (Jonah 4:9). God had used him to save more than 120,000 souls, but Jonah was angry because he desired their destruction.

Freedom is not the same as autonomy. Walking in full obedience to the Lord is the only true liberty. Jonah obeyed with his body but not with his heart. And his bitterness shows that stubbornly clinging to our self-life is a snare for the spirit. Unhealthy routines, like thick weeds in our paths, prevent us from moving forward. So God is determined to break us loose from any hindrance.

Jonah resisted the Lord’s every attempt to crack his pride. Believers have the right to choose self over submission, but the cost is high. We may steep in emotional turmoil like the prophet. Or God might deny us opportunities. Whatever the consequences, one thing is certain: Autonomy will cause us to miss the blessing of intimacy with the Lord—and nothing is worth that.

Bible in One Year: 2 Thessalonians 1-3

Our Daily Bread — A Hunger for God


Read: Deuteronomy 4:9-14

Bible in a Year: Hosea 9-11; Revelation 3

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. —2 Timothy 3:16

A-poe-la-pi is an elderly member of the Akha, a hill tribe people who live on the mountain ranges of Yunnan Province in China. As we visited him on a recent missions trip, A-poe-la-pi told us that he had missed the weekly Bible study because of heavy rains. So he implored us, “Could you share God’s Word with me?”

A-poe-la-pi can’t read, so the weekly gathering is vital to him. As we read the Bible to him, he listened intently. His earnest attitude reminded me that when we listen carefully to the story of the inspired Scriptures, we honor the Lord.

In Deuteronomy 4, Moses urged the Israelites to listen carefully to the rules and regulations he was teaching them (v. 1). He reminded them that the source and inspiration behind the teaching was none other than God Himself, who had spoken to them “out of the fire” of Sinai (v. 12). Moses said, “He declared to you his covenant . . . which he commanded you to follow” (v. 13).

May A-poe-la-pi’s hunger to hear God’s Word encourage a similar desire in us. As the apostle Paul reminds us in 2 Timothy 3:15-16, the inspired Scriptures have been given for our good and growth—to make us wise in the salvation and ways of God. —Poh Fang Chia

Lord, give us a hunger to hear and understand the truth of Your Word. Help us show Your love to others by faithfully living out its instructions for us.

To know Christ, the Living Word, is to love the Bible, the written Word.

INSIGHT: Verses 11-12 of today’s passage refer to one of the most critical events in Israel’s history—the giving of the law at Mount Sinai. After the Israelites left Egypt, where they had been enslaved for over 400 years and then rescued by God’s intervention, they were led by Moses through the Red Sea and made their way to Mount Sinai. There the people met the God who had rescued them, and His power was displayed in remarkable ways (Ex. 19:16-19). This meeting between God and His chosen people was the first step in turning this large extended family (the twelve tribes of Israel) into a nation with laws—also provided by their rescuing God.

Charles Spurgeon – The blood


“When I see the blood, I will pass over you.” Exodus 12:13

Suggested Further Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:12-22

The blood of Jesus Christ is blood that has been accepted. Christ died—he was buried; but neither heaven nor earth could tell whether God had accepted the ransom. There was wanted God’s seal upon the great Magna Carta of man’s salvation, and that seal was put, in that hour when God summoned the angel, and commanded him to descend from heaven and roll away the stone. Christ was put in the prison house of the grave, as a hostage for his people. Until God had signed the warrant for acquittal of all his people, Christ must abide in the bonds of death. He did not attempt to break his prison; he did not come out illegally, by wrenching down the bars of his dungeon; he waited: he folded up the napkin, laying it by itself: he laid the grave-clothes in a separate place; he waited, waited patiently, and at last down from the skies, like the flash of a meteor, the angel descended, touched the stone and rolled it away; and when Christ came out, rising from the dead in the glory of his Father’s power, then was the seal put upon the great charter of our redemption. The blood was accepted, and sin was forgiven. And now, soul, it is not possible for God to reject you, if you come this day to him, pleading the blood of Christ. God cannot—and here we speak with reverence too—the everlasting God cannot reject a sinner who pleads the blood of Christ: for if he did so, it would be to deny himself, and to contradict all his former acts. He has accepted blood, and he will accept it.

For meditation: Are you still stuck at the point of asking “What proves the resurrection”? Or have you advanced to consider what the resurrection proves (Romans 4:25; Acts 17:31)?

Sermon no. 228

12 December (1858)


John MacArthur – A More Excellent Name


“He has inherited a more excellent name than they. For to which of the angels did He ever say, ‘Thou art My Son, today I have begotten Thee’? And again, ‘I will be a Father to Him, and He shall be a Son to Me’?” (Heb. 1:4-5).

Jesus is better than the angels because Christ was more than a messenger—He was a Son.

In our culture, the names we pick for our children don’t have much connection with the child’s character. But in the Bible, God chose specific names that related to some character quality of the individuals who bore them.

The writer of Hebrews was well aware of that when He asked this rhetorical question: “To which of the angels did [God] ever say, ‘Thou art My Son, today I have begotten Thee’? and again, ‘I will be a Father to Him, and He shall be a Son to Me’?” quoting Psalm 2:7 and 2 Samuel 7:14. Of course, the answer is no angel.

The title Son refers to Jesus Christ in His incarnation. Though His sonship was anticipated in the Old Testament (Prov. 30:4), He did not become a Son until He was begotten into time. Prior to that He was eternal God with God. Presenting Jesus as the Son is God’s analogy to help us understand the relationship between the First and Second Persons of the Trinity.

Christ became a Son in two different ways. First, He was not a Son until He came into the world through the virgin birth (Luke 1:35; 3:22). But second, His sonship came to full bloom in His resurrection (Rom. 1:3-4).

The Old Testament prophesied that Christ would come as a Son. In the New Testament He came as a Son in His virgin birth and was declared to be the Son by His resurrection from the dead. Don’t ever get trapped into the heresy of those who claim that Jesus Christ is eternally subservient to God. For a temporary period of time, He set aside what was rightfully His and humbled Himself to become a Son for our sakes.

Suggestion for Prayer

  • Thank God for His amazing plan to redeem man through the incarnation of the Second Person of the Trinity.
  • Praise Him that He became Man to redeem you.

For Further Study

Read Acts 13:33 and Romans 1:3-4 noting the reason that Christ can be considered God’s Son.


Joyce Meyer – You Can Depend on God


Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.—1 Peter 5:7

God is always present in our lives—waiting to take over the heavy burdens we have if we will release them to Him. Like any loving father, He wants to help us handle our affairs just because He loves and cares for us. If we want to experience the peace that God desires for each of us, we must learn to cast ourselves and our cares completely into His hands…permanently.

Instead of giving our cares and burdens over to God completely and letting them remain with Him, many of us go to God in prayer just to get some temporary relief. After a while, we wander away and soon find ourselves struggling under the weight of the same old familiar burdens and cares—trying all the while to be more independent. The only way to really get rid of these burdens is to overcome the temptation to be independent people, placing ourselves totally in God’s hands.

We must not allow ourselves to reach back and re-grab those things that we’ve already given over to Him. It’s not our job to give guidance, counsel, or direction to God. Our job is to simply trust God with what is going on in our lives, having faith that He will let us know what is best for us.

God is God—and we aren’t. As easy as that is to understand, it’s hard for people who have been independent to walk it out in their daily lives. If we will yield ourselves and our burdens to Him and give up trying to be so independent, He will teach us His ways and care for us much better than we could ever care for ourselves.

Trust in Him: You don’t have to go through life independently. Trust yourself to God’s care every day, and have faith that He will let you know what is best for you.

From the book Trusting God Day by Day by Joyce Meyer

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – A Place of Rest


“So there is a full complete rest still waiting for the people of God. Christ has already entered there. He is resting from His work, just as God did after the creation. Let us do our best to go into that place of rest, too, being careful not to disobey God as the children of Israel did, thus failing to get in” (Hebrews 4:9-11).

A Christian leader was asked: “How do you handle the incredible pressure of your schedule – speaking, writing, giving leadership to a great movement that touches the lives of millions of people around the world? How do you do it? You must carry a tremendous load!”

The inquirer was surprised at the response. “No, quite honestly I don’t carry the load. I’m not under any pressure. I made a great discovery, probably the greatest discovery that a Christian can make. In the Christian life there is a place of rest which one enters by faith and obedience. No matter how great the pressure, or how terrible the testing, the supernatural resources of God sustain, empower, bless and encourage us and our Lord carries the load and fights for us.”

Though few Christians ever enter into this rest, it is available to all believers. When the Israelites were on their way to the promised land, God had already prepared the hearts of the inhabitants, filling them with fear. There is reason to believe that they would have capitulated readily. But when the twelve spies returned after forty days of checking out the land, ten of them reported, “There are giants in the land, and we felt like grasshoppers in their sight.” Only Joshua and Caleb said, “Let’s go in and take the land. God has withdrawn His blessing from the people and He will fight for us.”

But three million Israelites agreed with the majority report, and as a result, wandered in the wilderness for forty years. Why did it take so long for them to enter the land God had already given them? Because, as recorded in verse 2, they failed to mix the promises of God with faith.

Why does the average Christian not enter into a place of rest with God – that supernatural life which produces an abundance of fruit? Because he fails to mix the promises of God with faith. That is what this book, Promises, is all about – to remind us daily of our heritage as children of God and to show us how we can draw upon the mighty, inexhaustible resources of deity to live the supernatural life. Are you experiencing the life of the Spirit? Have you entered into God’s rest? If not, you can begin to do so now.

Bible Reading: 2 Thessalonians 1:3-12

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: As an act of faith and obedience, I will enter that place of rest and I will encourage every believer with whom I have contact today to join me in the adventure.


Presidential Prayer Team;  C.H. – Instruction Manual


Many a parent has worked into the wee hours of the night on Christmas Eve putting together toys. Unfortunately, toy assemblage often results in hair pulling and teeth gritting. “Which piece goes in this hole?” and “Why are there left over screws?” are questions that could have been avoided if the instruction manual was used.

If you will walk in my statutes and obey my rules…then I will establish my word with you.

I Kings 6:12

God advised King Solomon to use the instruction manual in today’s passage. Solomon was preparing to build a house for God – perhaps the greatest built in history. Ever looked around at your circumstances and wondered what to do next? Follow God’s advice for Solomon and walk in his statutes.

Whether you are searching for a gift for a friend or trying to solve a problem at work, revisit your instruction manual, the Word of God, and then chat with the One who wrote it. Thank Him for salvation and ask Him to direct your steps. Pray for the people of this nation and its leaders to recognize the true meaning of the season this Christmas. Gratefully, it has nothing to do with toys or putting them together.

Recommended Reading: Psalm 119:105-112

Greg Laurie – Born to Die


“But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.”—Galatians 4:4–5

I’m sure you’ve seen countless depictions of the manger scene before—Christmas cards, nativity sets, lawn ornaments, wrapping paper—you name it. There’s Mary in her blue outfit (why is it always blue?) tenderly gazing with motherly affection. There’s Joseph, the proud father, leaning over to catch a glimpse of his Son. There’s the baby Jesus, cooing and yawing, complete with a tiny halo. Don’t forget the shepherds in the background with the lambs draped over their shoulders.

It’s a quaint, cozy, humble scene.

If the world had its way, it would leave God right there . . . in the manger. As an infant, Jesus isn’t too threatening. He’s not convicting us of sin or making us uncomfortable. We can look on Him in His swaddling clothes, say “Isn’t that precious?” and then go about living our own lives.

But God didn’t send His Son to remain a Baby. No, Jesus was sent to earth on a mission—a rescue mission. He was born to die.

Only through the death of Jesus could God redeem man. Only through His blood can we find forgiveness and healing and reconciliation with God. The purpose of the incarnation was for our atonement.

I want to tell people that Jesus is not the, small, frail, helpless being that the world says He is. He’s not a Baby anymore. He’s the King of kings and Lord of Lords, and He offers salvation to everyone who would put their faith in Him.

That’s why we’re doing Harvest America on March 6. To proclaim the gospel message to as many as will listen. It’s the largest undertaking we ever attempted and we need your prayers as we draw closer to this important outreach.

I’d also like you to think and pray about hosting it in your home or church. Together, let’s tell the world that Jesus was born to die, so that we might live. Find out more about Harvest America, and how you can help, at

Streams in the Desert for Kids – The Choir to End All Choirs


Revelation 14:3

Once in a while a writer in the Bible pulls the curtain back and we get to look into heaven. That’s what happens in Revelation 14. Wow! What a sight!

Picture this: There are 144,000 believers standing on top of a mountain. Soon there is the sound of harps being played before the throne of God and before the thrones of the twenty-four elders who are nearby. There are four creatures near the throne that are covered with eyes—even under their six wings. All these creatures constantly give glory, honor, and thanks to God. (See Revelation 4:4–11.) Then the 144,000 begin to sing a song about how they had been redeemed (saved) from the earth.

It is a song that only they can sing. It is a song of redemption. The angels cannot sing it. Only those who have experienced God’s grace and transforming power can sing this kind of song. What a choir!

Our life on earth, including the hardships, is part of our “training” to sing songs of redemption in heaven. When we accept salvation, we become part of the future choir. God’s Spirit says, “Let the one who hears say, ‘Come!’ Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life” (Revelation 22:17). That’s all we have to do to join in the celebration around the throne of God at the end of time.

Dear Lord, I want to be a part of the great choir that sings around your throne in heaven. Amen.