Charles Stanley – The Holy Spirit: God’s Presence

Acts 2:1-4

The Holy Spirit did not make His first appearance at Pentecost. Students of the Bible will find Him mentioned as early as the creation account (Gen. 1:2). He is also shown to be doing the Father’s work throughout the Old Testament and Gospels. However, the Spirit arrived in the upper room with a fresh mission from the Father.

In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit empowered individuals for specific tasks. For example, Bezalel’s God-given wisdom and craftsmanship enabled him to become the tabernacle’s chief architect (Ex. 31:1-5). The Spirit also settled upon leaders needing help in administration (Num. 11:16-17), warriors facing formidable tasks (Judg. 6:34; 1 Sam. 16:13), and men called to proclaim God’s Word (Isa. 61:1; Ezek. 2:1-4). When the Father chose a person for a task, the Holy Spirit equipped that individual to accomplish it. He gave power only to certain people and didn’t necessarily remain with them long.

Indicating that the Spirit’s involvement with believers would be different than before, Jesus told the disciples, “He abides with you and will be in you” (John 14:17). God’s Holy Spirit had come alongside the disciples during their time with Jesus Christ. But following the completion of Jesus’ work on earth, He would dwell within them.

Since Pentecost, every believer has received the Holy Spirit. If Jesus is the vine and we are the branches, then the Spirit is the energizing sap that equips us for the Christian life. Furthermore, He no longer comes and goes but rather remains permanently. He seals us in Christ—proof of the promise that we are forever in God’s presence (Eph. 1:13-14).

Bible in a Year: 2 Chronicles 35-36

 

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Our Daily Bread – Paddling Home

Read: Philippians 3:12-16 | Bible in a Year: 1 Chronicles 16–18; John 7:28-53

One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. Philippians 3:13

I like Reepicheep, C. S. Lewis’ tough little talking mouse in the Chronicles of Narnia series. Determined to reach the “utter East” and join the great lion Aslan [symbolic of Christ], Reepicheep declares his resolve: “While I may, I sail East in Dawn Treader. When she fails me, I row East in my coracle [small boat]. When that sinks, I shall paddle East with my four paws. Then, when I can swim no longer, if I have not yet reached Aslan’s Country, there shall I sink with my nose to the sunrise.”

Paul put it another way: “I press on toward the goal” (Phil. 3:14). His goal was to be like Jesus. Nothing else mattered. He admitted that he had much ground to cover but he would not give up until he attained that to which Jesus had called him.

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John MacArthur – Strength for Today – Entrusting All to God

“Therefore, let those also who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right” (1 Peter 4:19).

The final attitude we should have in facing trials and sufferings is that of entrusting ourselves to God.

Geoffrey Bull epitomizes the modern-day believer who entrusts his entire soul to God’s will in the middle of terrible suffering. Bull was punished with solitary confinement, brainwashing, many kinds of intimidation, and starvation during more than three years of imprisonment by the Communist Chinese forty years ago. During his affliction he prayed that God would help him remember Scriptures, realize His peace, and triumph over doubt, fear, loneliness, and fatigue. The final two lines of a poem he wrote summarize Bull’s complete trust in God’s plan and purpose:

And Thy kingdom, Gracious God,

Shall never pass away.

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Wisdom Hunters – Show Up 

When he [the king] saw Queen Esther standing in the court, he was pleased with her and held out to her the gold scepter that was in his hand. So Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter.     Esther 5:2

Successful living is about showing up, which means you arrive at the appointed time, ideally a little early. Your mode of operation is to say less and do more, as your actions speak for themselves. You show up for work as a diligent employee even when you don’t feel like it; You show up for a first date in spite of all the unknowns; You show up on behalf of another even though they may not expect your sincere concern; You show up to exercise when your body begs you to stay in bed; You show up for a funeral when you don’t know what to say; You show up for church even when you feel guilty and insecure.

Make it a priority to show up, and you may be surprised at the result. Eager athletes show up on the bench next to the coach. Those who show up at the right place, at the right time, are the ones who experience God’s best. You may meet a new friend or become reacquainted with an old one, which may lead to an unexpected opportunity. So show up, shut up, and listen up.

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Joyce Meyer – Faith & Grace: Working Together

For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God.—Ephesians 2:8

Let me give you an illustration of the way that faith and grace work together to bring us the blessings of God. In my meetings I often take along a large electric fan that I set up on the speaker’s platform. I call up a member of the audience and have her stand in front of the fan, telling her that I am going to cool her off. When the fan doesn’t run even though I turn it on, I ask the audience, “What’s wrong? Why is this fan not running?”

Of course, the audience sees right away what’s wrong: “It’s not plugged in!” they yell. “That’s right,” I say, “and that’s exactly what’s wrong many times when our prayers are not answered.” I explain that we get our eyes on faith (the fan), expecting it to do the work, but we fail to look beyond the fan to its source of power, which is the Lord.

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – First Step to Wisdom

“How does a man become wise? The first step is to trust and reverence the Lord! Only fools refuse to be taught” (Proverbs 1:7).

In 1787, the Constitutional Convention was on the verge of total failure. The issue: whether small states should have the same representation as large states.

From the wisdom of his 81 years, Benjamin Franklin recalled the Scriptures which says, “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it” (Psalm 127:1), and in this hopeless situation, he offered a suggestion.

“Gentlemen,” he said, “I have lived a long time and am convinced that God governs in the affairs of men. If a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?

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Ray Stedman – The Divine Wind

Read: Acts 8:25-40

After they had further proclaimed the word of the Lord and testified about Jesus, Peter and John returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in many Samaritan villages. Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, Go south to the road — the desert road — that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza. Acts 8:25-26

An angel suddenly appeared to Philip. I’ve never had an angel appear to me. I do not know anyone else to whom an angel has appeared. You may ask, Does God still work through angels today? and the answer is a resounding Yes! He does. But they are not always visible. The ministry of angels, according to the Bible, goes on all the time. They are ministering spirits sent forth to serve those who are heirs of salvation (Hebrews 1:14). All of us are being touched and affected by the ministry of angels, but we do not see them. There have been well-documented experiences and incidences of the appearance of angels recorded in church history. I believe that, as we draw nearer to the days of the return of Jesus Christ, we may well expect to see a return of angelic manifestation.

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Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Conceived by the Holy Spirit, Born of the Virgin Mary

Read: Matthew 1:18-25

“The virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). (v. 23)

As Christians we believe that Christ, who always was God, also became sinless man, by a unique miracle of the Holy Spirit. Matthew’s Gospel testifies to the virgin birth of Jesus as a striking fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy concerning “Immanuel,” meaning “God with us” (Matt. 1:23; see Isa. 7:14).

When “the Word became flesh” (John 1:14), when Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, our heavenly Father gave believers a gift to bring us joy! This wonderfully unique gift was something like a lesser gift once given to me and to my wife.

It was a lasting gift received many years ago, and yet, still as beneficial as when it was given. The giver of this gift was Betsy, a loving, smiling Christian believer and church member. Her gift was plain yet beautiful. My slippers were skillfully knit from tan, brown, and rust-colored yarn, my wife’s from a well-blended assortment of white and blue-colored yarn. The slippers not only kept our feet and ankles warm but also warmed our hearts whenever we remembered Betsy, the kindhearted giver of this gift.

What an incomparable gift, when God’s only Son was born for us!

Prayer:

“Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!” (2 Cor. 9:15)

Author: John Tousley

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Presidential Prayer Team; J.K. – First With You

Bible commentator Matthew Henry wrote the following: “Calling on God supposes knowledge of him, faith in him, desire toward him, dependence on him, and, as evidence of the sincerity of all this, conscientious obedience to him.” None of this was happening at the time of the prophet Joel. He sounded the alarm. The impending devastation of the land by locusts, coming as merciless armies and leaving total destruction in their wake, caused Joel to appeal to Israel to “cry out to the Lord” and return to Him with all their hearts (Joel 1:14).

Blow a trumpet in Zion; sound an alarm on my holy mountain!

Joel 2:1

If there was true repentance, the affliction promised might not come. The possibility of that should have encouraged them to repent. God would certainly forgive His people. For the Lord “is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.” (Joel 2:13)

The same is true today. Your gracious God looks for repentance from this nation – a people who, in great part, does not call upon the Lord nor desire or depend on Him. Let it be…in your life first. Then intercede for leaders and citizens alike to turn again to the God who guided the Founding Fathers to form a union with the freedoms enjoyed today.

Recommended Reading: Psalm 40:1-5, 13-17  Click to Read or Listen

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Kids 4 Truth International – Whom Does God Count Worthy?

“Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power.” (2 Thessalonians 1:11)

How does one become “worthy” of God’s calling? Is your worth decided by whether or not you are part of a special group of really rich or smart or talented or good-looking people? Even if you were all those things, it does not seem like they would be important things in God’s eyes. What would make us worthy in His eyes? Whom does God count “worthy”?

To be “worthy” of anything to do with God sounds so much above us — and in a way it is! God is the One Who deserves all honor and glory. Without Him, we are nothing. Much like salvation and the way God continues to work in the lives of those He saves, becoming worthy is not something people ever deserve. Nobody is worthy of God’s calling, and it cannot be earned — just as we are not worthy of salvation. People are not worthy by themselves, and we cannot earn favor with God. No matter what you have done, if you are willing to trust and follow Christ, God counts you worthy to be saved from sin and to be given eternal life. It is not about you. It is about Christ. Because of His worthiness, God can count you worthy.

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The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Diligence in Receiving God’s Word

Today’s Scripture: Proverbs 4:1

“Be attentive, that you may gain insight.”

We need to approach the Scriptures with an attitude of mental discipline. We need both discipline and dependence in the pursuit of holiness, and the same is true in our study of the Scriptures.

There are many Bible study methods and approaches, but common to all of them is an attitude of dependent diligence that’s well expressed in Proverbs 2:1-5: “If you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.” The thought of searching the Scriptures with the same intensity that one would search for hidden treasures suggests the value we should place on Scripture’s teaching. We see this value expressed also in Proverbs 7:2: “keep my teaching as the apple of your eye.”

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The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – When We Suffer

Today’s Scripture: Job 1-3

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. – 1 Peter 5:10

Thousands of books have been written about human suffering. Most of them grapple with the problem of why good people suffer. Some try to find some meaning in our experience of pain. In their study of suffering, many authors find their way back to the book of Job.

The Bible describes Job as perfect and upright, a man who feared God and shunned evil. He was also well known and wealthy, a man who gave generously to the needs of the less fortunate. Yet neither his godly life nor his great wealth shielded him from the calamities of life.

Continue reading The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – When We Suffer

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word –GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

Read 1 Corinthians 12:1-11

When Father Christmas finally breaks into Narnia in C. S. Lewis’s story, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, he gives Peter, Susan, and Lucy special gifts. Peter receives a sword and shield, Susan a bow and arrows and a horn, and Lucy a small dagger and a bottle filled with a healing cordial. These gifts have particular purposes that are revealed as the story continues.

In the same way, the Holy Spirit gives spiritual gifts not for our personal enjoyment but for God’s particular purposes. Paul taught in today’s passage that the main purpose of spiritual gifts is to serve and edify the church (v. 7). Continuing important themes in this epistle, Paul addressed the question of order or propriety in worship as well as the issue of how to live in obedience to the gospel.

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