Charles Stanley – Clearing Up Conversion Confusion

1 John 5:10-15

God gave us the Bible so we could know Him and live in a way that pleases Him. He desires that we truly understand His teachings and how they apply to our life. Simply put, the Lord wants us to trust in Him with complete confidence.

We have an enemy, however, who attempts to undermine that confidence at every turn. We’ve all been there—joyfully moving along through life, sure of our salvation, and then, BAM! We stumble into sin, and our feelings take over. The devil uses our remorse and conflicting emotions to eat away at our confidence. We think, There’s no way I can be saved. If I were truly saved, I would never have done such a thing. Overwhelmed by feelings of regret and shame, we find our faith coming under fire.

It’s amazing how effectively our fleeting emotions can undermine assurance in God’s promises. But we shouldn’t really be surprised. After all, we’ve been conditioned to let our feelings lead us through life. “If it feels good, do it”—a popular saying from the ’60s—is still an all-too-common idea today.

Yet the Lord does not speak in feelings; He speaks in truth. Whenever your emotions contradict the Bible, you can be sure that the Scriptures are reliable. For a believer, “feeling saved” is as irrelevant as a husband or wife “feeling married.” You either are or you’re not; feelings simply do not make it so.

Have your feelings of regret stolen your confidence in eternal salvation? Lay them before the Lord today, and embrace the certainty that comes only with His truth.

Bible in a Year: Proverbs 5-8

 

 

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Our Daily Bread — Everything We Need and More

Everything We Need and More

Read: 2 Peter 1:1–10 | Bible in a Year: Job 38–40; Acts 16:1–21

[God’s] divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life. 2 Peter 1:3

In a field on the English countryside, G. K. Chesterton stood up from where he had been sitting and exploded with laughter. His outburst was so sudden and so loud that the cows could not take their eyes off him.

Just minutes before, the Christian writer and apologist had been miserable. That afternoon he had been wandering the hills, sketching pictures on brown paper using colored chalks. But he was dismayed to discover he had no white chalk, which he considered to be essential to his artwork. Soon, though, he began to laugh when he realized that the ground beneath him was porous limestone—the earth’s equivalent of white chalk. He broke off a piece and resumed drawing.

God has unlimited power.

Like Chesterton, who realized he “was sitting on an immense warehouse of white chalk,” believers have God’s unlimited spiritual resources within reach at all times. “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him” (2 Peter 1:3).

Maybe you feel you are lacking some important element necessary for godliness such as faith, grace, or wisdom. If you know Christ, you have everything you need and more. Through Jesus, you have access to the Father—the one who graciously provides believers with all things.

Dear Lord, forgive me for overlooking Your power and trying to live in my own strength. I can’t do it. Thank You for providing everything I need.

God has unlimited power.

INSIGHT:

Today’s passage reminds us that it is God who provides the power we need to live the Christian life (v. 3). One of the ways He does this is by giving us the Holy Spirit. The characteristics we display—the fruit of the indwelling Spirit—have strong implications for the way we live (vv. 5–9; see Gal. 5:22–23). But whose fruit is it? It is the Spirit’s. The Holy Spirit is the agent, the source, and the power that produces that fruit.

 

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John MacArthur – Strength for Today – In Order That You May Know

“These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13).

The apostle John presents eleven objective and subjective tests for assurance of salvation.

The New Testament epistles are filled with enough material on assurance to fill volumes of commentaries. Yet there is one small epistle, 1 John, that was written to deal exclusively with the issue of assurance. The apostle John states his reason for writing this letter in our verse for today: “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life” (emphasis added). John did not want his readers to doubt their salvation; he wanted them to have full assurance of it.

Certainly what John wrote in this epistle will not disturb genuine believers, but it will alarm anyone who has a false sense of assurance. In fact, he directed his letter to those who have placed their faith in Christ, which is the bedrock of all assurance: “I have written to you who believe.” There is no place for self-examination outside of faith in Christ. That’s why everything John says about assurance is predicated on faith in Christ and the promises of Scripture.

Throughout his epistle, John maintains a delicate balance between the objective and subjective grounds of assurance. The objective evidence makes up a doctrinal test, while the subjective evidence provides a moral test. John moves in and out between the two kinds of tests as he presents a total of eleven criteria that will indicate whether one possesses eternal life.

As you study through these tests for the next eleven days, they will confirm for you, if you are a genuine believer, the reality of your salvation. But if you have been given a false assurance, you will know where you stand and what you need to do.

Suggestions for Prayer

If you are a true believer, ask God to use these upcoming days to give you a greater love for Him. If you’re not sure if you truly know our great Lord and Savior, ask Him to reveal Himself to you so that these next few days will be life-changing ones.

For Further Study

Read John 20:31. How would reading through the Gospel of John also provide assurance of salvation? Begin such a reading plan.

 

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Wisdom Hunters – The Right Thing 

This is what the Lord says: Maintain justice and do what is right, for my salvation is close at hand and my righteousness will soon be revealed.  Isaiah 56:1

Do the right thing; because you can’t go wrong by doing what’s right. The right choice may not be the easiest choice, but it will result in what’s best. It is tempting to bypass what’s right,  what’s convenient or expedient. However, convenience and expedience can get you into trouble if they become an excuse for not doing the right thing. The right thing may ruffle some feathers and cause you short-term suffering. Some people may reject you for doing what’s right. Some people may avoid you because your right choices are a reminder of their wrong ones. When you choose to do the right thing, you eliminate other unseemly options. This protects you from a series of unwise relationships. If you choose to hang out with those who have no spiritual aspirations, then you will find yourself indifferent to the things of God.

If your most influential relationship is bored with God, then boredom will seduce you over time as well. Investing in unhealthy relationships is not the right thing to do. Your parents and your friends have warned you not to go down this road of relational recklessness. You can still do the right thing by breaking off the relationship and seeking God for His best. His best is a hundred times better than settling for someone who makes you “feel alive,” yet has no firm foundation of faith. Be careful with whom you entrust your emotions. Your affections are not to be given away indiscriminately. The right thing is to first set your affections above, where Christ sits at the right hand of God (Colossians 3:1-2). Then trust Him as you dispense your desires to those who are worthy and have your best interests in mind.

Continue reading Wisdom Hunters – The Right Thing 

Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – Summer Getaways: Living Waters

As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God….

Psalm 42:1-2

According to travel experts, the most beautiful river in the world is the Caño Cristales in Northern Colombia. Though only sixty miles long and sixty feet wide, its colors are kaleidoscopic, created by pockets of algae that bloom during the summer. Nicknamed the “Liquid Rainbow,” the Caño is enhanced by pools, rapids, and waterfalls. The only problem is reaching it. It’s in the Colombian jungle, far from easy transportation sources.

Recommended Reading: Psalm 42

The Bible speaks of a river more beautiful than any on earth and easily accessed by the Christian—the inner flow of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” He was speaking of the Holy Spirit (John 7:38-39). While we’d love to travel to earth’s most beautiful spots, how much better to develop an inner thirst for the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

Believe in Jesus and let the Spirit flow through you, until that day when we’ll meet on the banks of the most beautiful river of all—the Crystal River that flows by the throne of God (Revelation 22:1, NIV).

Oh, that we all may drink of these life-giving heavenly streams, drink again and again, drink deeply and really satisfyingly!

  1. Sidlow Baxter

Read-Thru-the-Bible: Proverbs 30 – Ecclesiastes 4

 

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Joyce Meyer – The Spirit of Adoption

For [the Spirit which] you have now received [is] not a spirit of slavery to put you once more in bondage to fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption [the Spirit producing sonship] in [the bliss of] which we cry, Abba (Father)! Father! —Romans 8:15

The apostle Paul teaches us that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of adoption. The word adoption means that we are brought into the family of God, even though we were previously outsiders, unrelated to God in any way. We were sinners and separated from God, but God in His great mercy redeemed us, purchased us, and brought us close to Him once again through the blood of His own Son.

We understand adoption in the natural sense. We know that some children without parents are adopted by people who purposely choose them and take them as their own. What an honor to be chosen on purpose by those who want to pour out their love on them.

This is exactly what God did for us as believers in Christ. Because of what Jesus did for us on the cross, we are now eternally part of His family, and His Spirit dwells in our spirit and cries out to the Father. God the Father decided before the foundation of the world was laid that anyone who loved Christ would be loved and accepted by Him as His child. He decided He would adopt all those who accepted Jesus as their Savior. We become heirs of God and joint heirs with His Son, Jesus Christ.

It is the knowledge of our family relationship to God that gives us boldness to go before His throne and let our requests be made known.

From the book Closer to God Each Day by Joyce Meyer.

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Rescued from Darkness

“For He has rescued us out of the darkness and gloom of Satan’s kingdom and brought us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Colossians 1:13).

A famous general invited me to his office. He was hungry for God and eager to become a Christian. Yet as we counseled together, he seemed reluctant to pray. I inquired as to his reluctance, and he said, “I don’t understand myself. I want to receive Christ, but I can’t.”

I turned to Colossians 1:13,14 and asked him to read it aloud. Then I asked him to tell me what he thought it meant. The light went on. Suddenly he realized that he was a member of Satan’s kingdom, and Satan was trying to hinder his being liberated from darkness and gloom into the glorious light of the kingdom of God’s dear Son. Satan did not want him to receive Christ into his heart.

As soon as the man realized he was a member of Satan’s kingdom, he was ready to pray and receive Christ into his life so that he would then become a member of God’s kingdom.

I, too, was once in Satan’s kingdom – not a very pleasant thought, but true. And so were you if you are a Christian. Every person born into this world is a part of Satan’s kingdom; all who are not now experiencing the saving grace and love of Christ are a part of his kingdom.

It is God the Holy Spirit who enables men to comprehend spiritual truth. It is God the Holy Spirit who liberates men from darkness into light. It is God the Holy Spirit who is responsible for the new birth that brings men into the kingdom of God.

When we go out to witness, it is not enough to know God’s plan. It is not enough to know the Four Spiritual Laws. It is not enough for us to be nicely groomed and properly scented. We need to go in the power of God’s Holy Spirit. He alone can change men.

Bible Reading: Ephesians 6:10-13

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: My first concern in everything I do and every contact I make today will be that the power of God’s Holy Spirit will be operative in my life, so that others will see His supernatural qualities in my life and want to join me in following Him.

 

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Ray Stedman – Rejoicing in Suffering

Read: Acts 16:25-40

When they had struck them with many blows, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to guard them securely; and he, having received such a command, threw them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. Acts 16:23-26

There is nothing unusual about an earthquake in this region. To this day, earthquakes are common in northern Macedonia. The earthquake was natural; the timing of it was supernatural. God released the earthquake precisely at the right moment and set Paul, Silas, and the other prisoners free. The most dramatic aspect of this story, though, is not the earthquake. It is the singing of Paul and Silas at midnight. Somebody has said that the gospel entered Europe through a sacred concert which was so successful that it brought the house down!

Imagine this, praising God! That is the meaning of the word praying used here. They were not asking for anything; they were praising God and singing hymns. They were not faking either. Their backs were raw and bloody, they were covered with wounds, they had suffered a great injustice, but they exhibited no self-pity or resentment. They were facing agonizing uncertainty. They did not know this delivering earthquake was coming. But at midnight they began praising God and singing hymns. I do not know what they sang. I know what I’d be singing: Rescue the perishing, care for the dying. But I think they were singing, How great thou art. Evidently they sang because they could see things that we, in our poor, blinded condition, seldom see. These men were men of faith. When you see what they saw, your question will no longer be, Why did they sing? but, What else could they do but sing?

Continue reading Ray Stedman – Rejoicing in Suffering

Greg Laurie – How to Restore Someone Who Has Spiritually Fallen

“Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.”—Proverbs 27:6

So what should we do if someone falls into sin?

“Brothers, if a man is overtaken in a fault, you who are spiritual condemn them and then make sure you tell as many people as you can what they have done” (Galatians 6:1).

Of course, that’s not what the verse says, but by the way some people act you would think it is.

Galatians 6:1 really says that if someone is overtaken in a fault, “you who are spiritual restore such a one in the spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted” (NKJV).

The objective is to restore, not destroy!

As that verse says, “Considering yourself lest you also be tempted.” First, we should consider ourselves! Why? Because it could be you someday that needs restoration, for we all have the potential to fall and fall big.

The most loving thing you can do for a fellow Christian is to tell them the truth, not pacify them out of fear of rejection. Proverbs 27:6 tells us “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses” (NIV).

A true friend will stab you “in the front,” not in the back.

Has a Christian friend ever helped to “restore you in the spirit of meekness”? Have you ever helped to restore another?

 

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Kids 4 Truth International – God’s Word Is Your Joy

“Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.” (Philippians 4:4)

How can you rejoice in the Lord always? Sometimes life might seem too difficult for you to be happy. However, you can always rejoice in God’s Word. David, the man after God’s own heart, found great delight in God’s Word. David calls God his “exceeding joy” (Psalm 43:4). He says, “I will delight myself in [God’s] commandments, which I have loved” (Psalm 119:47), and “let thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live: for thy law is my delight” (Psalm 119:77). David found so much delight in God’s Word!

But what about you? How can you rejoice in God’s Word? The first step is obvious: Read it! Read it, looking for how great and amazing God is on every page. Read it prayerfully. Read it as God Word to you, and then talk back to Him in response – speaking right back to Him! Few people truly delight in God’s Word, and most of them do not even try to delight in it. Do you ever read because you have to? or because you think you ought to? You should read God’s Word as much as you can because you love it! You should not be able to get enough of it! You should want more and more time with God, just as a deer longs for the water brooks! (See Psalm 42:1.) Pray about it; ask God to help you love His Word more.

You can live joyfully because you have God’s eternal, unchanging Word, and because you have a great God. No matter what happens, you can, and should, always rejoice in the Lord. Rejoicing in God’s Word isn’t all! There are all kinds of things to rejoice in. Look in the Bible to see what else God has given you to rejoice in. Learn to delight in God’s Word as David did, and say with him “O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day” (Psalm 119:97). Rejoice in God’s Word!

Rejoice in God’s Word.

My Response:

» Have I spent time reading God’s Word today?

» What did I learn about God today in His Word?

» How can I rejoice in the Lord today?

 

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The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Hating All Sin

Today’s Scripture: Romans 8:13

“By the Spirit . . . put to death the deeds of the body.”

To mortify a sin means to subdue it, to deprive it of its power, to break the habit pattern we have developed of continually giving in to the temptation to that particular sin. The goal of mortification is to weaken the habits of sin so that we make the right choices.

Mortification involves dealing with all known sin in one’s life. Without a purpose to obey all of God’s Word, isolated attempts to mortify a particular sin are of no avail. An attitude of universal obedience in every area of life is essential. As Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 7:1). We cannot, for example, mortify impure hearts if we’re unwilling to also put to death resentment. We cannot mortify a fiery temper if we aren’t also seeking to put to death the pride that so often underlies it. Hating one particular sin is not enough. We must hate all sin for what it really is: an expression of rebellion against God.

A man came to me wanting help in dealing with sexual lust in his thoughts and habits. I knew, however, that he had a greater problem in interpersonal relationships. He was critical and judgmental and very vocal about it. His lust bothered him because it made him feel guilty and defeated. His judgmental spirit and critical words didn’t bother him, so he was making no effort to deal with those sins. He needed to learn to mortify all sin, not just what made him feel bad about himself.

 

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The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Faithful, Not Famous

Today’s Scripture: Luke 10-12

“Therefore go and make disciples of nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Matthew 28:19-20

God’s plan isn’t to win the war against the forces of evil through a few Christian superstars, but through multiplied thousands of believers working behind the scene–people like you and me.

Notice what Jesus did in Luke 10:1-2: “After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.’”

Now who were these men? Nobody knows. But what we do know of them speaks volumes about the Great Commission of Christ. They were unknown, ordinary disciples, but they were certainly well trained for their mission.

How do we know that? Because if we compare the mission of the Twelve in Matthew 10 with the mission of the seventy-two here in Luke 10, the job description is practically identical. And when they returned, they rejoiced in their successes. Their names are not known like the names of the Twelve, but they had been trained to be effective in carrying out the commands of Christ.

Now what do you think would happen in our world if every person who turned to Jesus Christ in true repentance and faith went on to become a strong, mature, fruitful disciple? This would fulfill the ministry of evangelizing the lost and establishing the new believer, just as Jesus commissioned.

Prayer

Lord, help me to be faithful in sharing the gospel with my neighbors and friends. Amen.

To Ponder

As you pray to the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers, are you including yourself in the process of spiritual reproduction and multiplication?

 

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Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – THE COVENANT WITH ABRAM

Read GENESIS 15

In the ancient Near East, covenants were sometimes sealed by a symbolic ritual. Sacrificial animals were cut in half and each party of the covenant walked between the halved pieces. The meaning was significant: if one of them did not keep their end of the covenant agreement, they should be treated like one of the severed animals.

This cultural background is important. God again reaffirmed His promises to Abram, culminating in a symbolic covenantal ceremony. But first, Abram had questions. In light of God’s promise of protection and reward, Abram wondered who would benefit, given his lack of a son and heir? God’s response was to point Abram to the stars as a symbol of the number of descendants he would have. Abram did not press the point; instead, he “believed the LORD, and He credited it to him as righteousness” (v. 6). Genuine questions did not preclude genuine faith.

Next, Abram offered a second question: How will he know that he will possess this land? Once again, God reaffirmed His promise, this time in dramatic fashion. He ordered Abram to obtain sacrificial animals. Abram then cut them in half and placed them on the ground. What happened next was both strange and wonderful. God Himself, represented by a smoking firepot and blazing torch, passed through the severed animal pieces. In doing so, “the LORD made a covenant with Abram” (v. 18).

The message to Abram was clear. His descendants, though facing oppression for a time, would one day possess the land. In fact, the Lord (and not Abram!) undertook the ancient covenantal cere- mony as a sign of His commitment to His promise. In other words, God put His own life on the line for this covenant with Abram!

APPLY THE WORD

Have we really understood the depths of God’s promises to Abram and to us? In fact, God has offered the life of His own Son that we might have life in Him! Find the Charles Wesley hymn “And Can It Be” and, as you sing or listen to it, note the end of the first stanza: “Amazing love! How can it be, / That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?”

PRAY WITH US

Steven Mogck, executive VP and chief operating officer, welcomes your prayers today. Ask the Lord to direct him in all the decisions he makes daily at Moody and to encourage Steven and his teams with His grace and love.

 

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