Charles Stanley – The Name Above All Names

Philippians 2:5-11

In Bible times, naming a child was a major event for a Hebrew family. The household took great pains in selecting a name, sometimes choosing one that had personal meaning for the parents. An example of this is Leah—she chose to call her fourth child Judah, saying, “This time I will praise the Lord” (Gen. 29:35). Occasionally, a perceived or desired personality trait would determine what a baby was called. Genesis 25:26 shows this to be the case with Jacob (“one who supplants”).

Frequently, the name given at birth would symbolize to others who that person was. In the ancient world, this was intentional. Even today people subconsciously associate character traits and experiences with names. We all hope that when others hear ours called, they will have good things come to mind rather than a sense of dread!

Mary and Joseph had a far different experience from that of other Jewish parents. Instead of choosing the name themselves, an angel told them what their child would be called (Matt. 1:21). The heavenly Father selected His Son’s earthly name to represent His purpose in coming. A day will come when the very mention of Jesus will cause every knee to bow and every tongue to confess that He is Lord (Phil. 2:10).

The Hebrew form of Jesus means “salvation” or “He saves.” Christ is called many things throughout Scripture: Lord, Immanuel, Teacher, Messiah, etc. But His given name tells His story. He came to save the world from sin. No wonder God gave Him a name above all names!

Bible in One Year: Ezekiel 26-28

Our Daily Bread — Doing What He Says

Read: Deuteronomy 5:28-33

Bible in a Year: Psalms 143-145; 1 Corinthians 14:21-40

Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you.—Deuteronomy 5:33

I needed an underground water tank and knew precisely how I wanted it constructed, so I gave clear instructions to the builder. The next day when I inspected the project, I was annoyed when I realized that he had failed to carry out my instructions. He had changed the plan and therefore the effect. The excuse he gave was as irritating as his failure to follow my directives.

As I watched him redo the concrete work, and as my frustration diminished, a guilty conviction swept over me: How many times have I needed to redo things in my life in obedience to the Lord?

Like the ancient Israelites who frequently failed to do what God asked them to do, we too often go our own way. Yet obedience is a desired result of our deepening relationship with God. Moses told the people, “Be careful to do what the Lord your God has commanded you . . . . Walk in obedience to all that [he] has commanded you” (Deut. 5:32–33). Long after Moses, Jesus urged His disciples to trust Him and to love one another.

This is still the kind of surrender of our hearts that leads to our well-being. As the Spirit helps us to obey, it is good to remember that He “works in [us] to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose” (Phil. 2:13). —Lawrence Darmani

Lord, thank You for second and third chances. Please help us to want to follow Your ways and to follow through in obedience.

The closer we walk with God, the clearer we see His guidance.

INSIGHT: The Bible’s overarching story is the loving God reaching down to rescue His broken, rebellious creation and His ultimate expression of love in His Son, Jesus. Jesus Christ came to rescue and restore us to the relationship with the Father we lost in the fall. Deuteronomy, which is part of that story, is the final book of the Pentateuch, the opening five books of the Bible. These books form the platform for the entire Bible, which is God’s instruction to us. They are also known as “the five scrolls” and, in Judaism, as the Torah (the “instruction” of Moses). They cover both a long and short period of human history.

John MacArthur – Strength for Today – The Promised Holy Spirit

“‘I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth’” (John 14:16-17).

Jesus ministered by the power of the Holy Spirit, and He has promised the same Spirit to all believers.

The fluctuating economy of the 1990s and its changing workplace have left many workers with the sense that they’ll probably have to change jobs several times during their careers.

Even though economies may enter new phases and leave people with uncertainties, God’s promises remain completely reliable. His promise, made through His Son, our Lord and Savior, to send the Holy Spirit is one such pledge. This very important scriptural promise was first given in today’s text, which Jesus gave to the disciples during the first part of His Upper Room discourse. His words, coming on the eve of His death, gave much comfort to the disciples; but the promise is also part of Christ’s rich legacy to Christians today.

This promise consists of four elements. First, Jesus promises a supernatural Helper. He called Him “another” Helper, which means “another who is identical.” He is sending us exactly the sort of Helper He was, except the Spirit lives in us (John 14:17).

Second, the promise means supernatural life for us. When we are saved and have the Holy Spirit, we become sensitive to Christ’s working in the world, and we begin to see things from a divine perspective (John 14:19).

Third, the Spirit comes as a supernatural Teacher (John 14:26). This is one of the most vital aspects of the Spirit’s ministry because it reminds us of our complete dependence on Christ.

Finally, Christ’s promise of the Holy Spirit brings a supernatural peace (John 14:27). This is a peace that aggressively and positively deals with our daily troubles and turns them into joy (Phil. 4:7).

If you know and love the Lord Jesus and are obeying Him, the promise of the Spirit, with all its implications, is available for you to apply and enjoy (John 14:21; 15:5).

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God for the promise of the Spirit, and pray that you would fully realize every aspect of that promise.

For Further Study

Read 1 John 5:1-7.

  • What does this passage say about the interrelationship of love for God and obedience to His commands?
  • What are the basic characteristics of love and obedience?

Wisdom Hunters – Nonlinear Route 

So David inquired of the LORD, and He answered, “Do not go straight up, but circle around behind them and attack them in front of the balsam trees.”  2 Samuel 5:23

God’s will is not always a straight line and often, it requires deviation in direction. It may feel like three steps forward and two steps back. Following Jesus may seem like you tracked down a path that was not a part of His plan.

However, His plan is an adventure that cannot be confined to “point A to point B” thinking. God is so much more creative than to give us a predictable path that we can control. His will keeps us trusting and praying. It keeps us looking to the Lord for direction and discernment. This is why we get confused at times. We strike out in one direction, and then feel led to move in a different direction. Sometimes He leads us down an entirely different path than where we started. The adventurous part of us likes this, while our cautious and security-seeking part grows fearful. Depending on your temperament, you can either become unfocused because you thrive on adventure or you can become afraid because you like things in their place.

So what is God up to? How do we harness the Spirit of the Almighty to lead us into His great adventure? It is imperative that we listen intently to the Lord. We are compelled to follow Christ, thus we desperately need His marching orders.

But the noise of life can easily drown out the Lord’s tender call. His voice will not compete with cluttered living that gets in the way of listening. His voice is pure and plain, and He longs for our undivided attention. He wants us to turn down the racket of modern day conveniences, and come to Him. When we’re stuck in one of life’s traffic jams, and the voice of the Lord is drowned out by the noise around us, He’s right there with us—inviting us to listen.

He knows you can’t handle His entire plan at once, so go with what He gives you. He doesn’t bless a perfect plan; He blesses obedience and trust. Go with what you know today, and trust Him with what you don’t know about tomorrow. God’s work is in the here and now. Reality is where you passionately pursue Him. So don’t be shy to go where God says to go, even when it doesn’t make sense. He is positioning you for success.

Lastly, do not be afraid to engage the enemy as you follow Christ, but confront him in prayer. Fight the unseen forces of evil by faith. The devil will try to distract you from following God’s will. He will tempt you with the allure of wealth, women (or men), and wine. Do not become sidetracked by Satan. Put on the full armor of God. Lean into the Lord, and listen to His trustworthy voice. Dismiss the sultry voice of self-deception. The enemy is the great imposter. He disguises his voice to sound like God’s. Indeed, be so in tune with the voice of Jesus that a counterfeit sounds like a shrill fire alarm you want to avoid.

Above all else, follow the Almighty even when it seems like you are going in a big circle. Jesus says, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I trust You to lead me on the path that draws me closer to Christ.

Application: In what area of my life do I need to stop striving and rest in the new route of God’s will?

Joyce Meyer – Listen with Your Spirit

It is the Spirit Who gives life [He is the Life-giver]; the flesh conveys no benefit whatever [there is no profit in it]. The words (truths) that I have been speaking to you are spirit and life.- John 6:63

Sometimes our own minds, wills, or emotions interfere with our ability to hear God’s voice. When we try to hear and obey God, negative thoughts can bombard us to the point that we feel like giving up. But if we quiet out minds and see what is in our hearts, God will give us confirmation of what He is speaking. We will sense His answer rising with peace and confidence from deep within our hearts, where the Holy Spirit dwells.

One time I had finished a meeting—one I had worked very hard to ensure would be helpful to the people who came. Although everyone seemed to enjoy it, I kept hearing in my head, “No one was blessed and most wished they hadn’t even come.”

I felt like a miserable failure, which I knew was not God’s will for me, so I got still and quiet and listened to see what the Holy Spirit would say to me. I instantly heard the still, small voice, the knowing deep inside, say, “If the people did not want to be here, they would not have come. If they were not enjoying it, many would have left. I gave you the message, and I never give anyone bad things to preach, so don’t allow Satan to steal the joy of your labor.” Had I not listened, I would have continued to be miserable, but God’s word brought life to me.

We hear from God through our spirit, not through our mind. Remember that, and always take time to stop and ask God what He is truly saying to you.

God’s Word for you today: God’s Word always brings life.

From the book Hearing from God Each Morning: 365 Daily Devotions by Joyce Meyer.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Blessed are the Humble

“Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3).

A young Christian leader, who was probably more impressed with himself than he should have been, shared with me one day how he had difficulty in being humble about all of his talent. He was a better than average speaker and a reasonably gifted singer, he had a good mind and personality, and in his heart of hearts he knew that as a Christian he should be humble.

He said, “I spend many hours on my knees asking God to make me humble.” I responded, “I can save you a lot of prayer time in that regard if you are interested.” He assured me that he was. Whereupon I explained to him that every gift he possessed – personality, good mind, his ability to sing, speak, and other qualities – were all gifts of God and could be taken from him at any moment by a brain tumor or a car accident or plane crash or any of a thousand different things. Furthermore I reminded him that Scripture admonishes us to humble ourselves.

“Humility is perfect quietness of heart,” Andrew Murray said. “It is to have no trouble. It is never to be fretted or irritated or sore or disappointed. It is to expect nothing, to wonder at nothing that is done to me. It is to be at rest when nobody praises me and when I am blamed or despised. It is to have a blessed hope in the Lord, where I can go in and shut the door and kneel to my Father in secret, and am at peace as in a deep sea of calmness when all around and above is trouble.”

Few Christians achieve such high standards, nevertheless it is an objective toward which we all should strive as long as we live, following the example of our Lord recorded in Philippians, chapter 2.

To be poor in spirit implies not only that we have a humble opinion of ourselves, but also that we recognize that we are sinners and have no righteousness of our own; that we are willing to be saved only by the grace and mercy of God; that we are willing to serve where God places us, to bear the burdens He allows and to stay in His hands and admit that we deserve no favor from Him.

As commonly interpreted, the word “blessed” means “happy.” You and I are assured of happiness when we are making conscious strides toward humility. All of this becomes possible as we yield to God’s indwelling Holy Spirit.

Bible Reading: Matthew 5:17-20

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: With the help of the Holy Spirit I will consciously humble myself, asking Him to enable me to love God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength and my neighbor as myself as an act of humility and as a major factor in achieving the supernatural life.

Ray Stedman – God Gave Them Over

Read: Romans 1:24-32

Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts, to sexual impurity, for the degrading of their bodies with one another. Romans 1:24

The wickedness at work among human beings follows a process which is identified in this passage by the thrice-repeated phrase, God gave them over. This phrase identifies what is going on in our culture. The first mark of wickedness in a godless society is widespread sexual immorality — the degrading, or the dishonoring, of the body. Many people think this account describes all the evil things men do, and then says that God washes his hands of evil people because they are so filthy and dirty. That is not what this says. But because men run after other gods and refuse the testimony of their own hearts and do not glorify or thank the true God, God removes his restraints from society so that what is done in secret is allowed to break out into openness and acceptability. That is the mark of the wrath of God at work. The first sign of wickedness in a civilization is that sexual immorality becomes widely accepted.

You may ask, Why is it that sex always seems to be singled out as the sign of God’s judgment Many Christians have wrongly concluded that sexual sins are the worst kinds of sin. But that is not true. This passage in Romans bears it out. It begins with sexual impurity and proceeds to sexual perversity. But, the final result is not sexual sins, but sins of the spirit. Widespread animosity, hatred of the heart — these are the worst sins. There is good reason why God allows sexual practices to come to the surface. He allows it to show us what is going on in our spiritual lives. It highlights the fact that sex is linked with worship. Sex is a desire to possess another body and to be possessed by another. It is a deep-seated craving inherent in every human being.

Continue reading Ray Stedman – God Gave Them Over

Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – The Church’s Banquet

Read: 1 Kings 17:8-16

Pray without ceasing. (1 Thess. 5:17)

Some of the words in this poem no longer mean quite what they meant when Herbert wrote it. A modern dictionary definition of “banquet” is “a lavish meal with speeches”! Herbert was a Church of England clergyman, and he would have regarded as very special occasions the Sunday services at which he loved to gather the flock that he pastored, to lead them in times of prayer and praise and the hearing of God’s Word, and (of course) of sharing the bread and wine at the Lord’s Table—a feast of good things.

But that is probably not what he had in mind. In those days the term “banquet” was actually used for a lighter meal, something to keep you going between the big special events. Herbert expected his people to come together on Sundays (lots of prayer there: he would lead worship using the Book of Common Prayer, with services that were actually called Morning and Evening Prayer). But it was prayer between times, prayer at all times, prayer at work and at home and on the journey, that I think he had in mind here; the church praying when it was not “at church.” Of course we should look for, and should prayerfully ask for, special blessings when we converge on the place where our fellowship gathers on the weekend. But I find increasingly as the years go by that the weekday “snacks” and the packed “lunches” of prayer are also quite remarkably sustaining.


The prayer is printed below in its entirety.

Prayer (I)


Prayer the Church’s banquet, Angels’ age,

God’s breath in man returning to his birth,

The soul in paraphrase, heart in pilgrimage,

The Christian plummet sounding heav’n and earth;

Engine against th’ Almighty, sinner’s tower,

Reversed thunder, Christ-side-piercing spear,

The six-days-world transposing in an hour,

A kind of tune, which all things hear and fear;

Softness, and peace, and joy, and love, and bliss,

Exalted Manna, gladness of the best,

Heaven in ordinary, man well drest,

The milky way, the bird of Paradise,

Church-bells beyond the stars heard, the soul’s blood.

The land of spices; something understood.


Thank you for today’s “bread,” Lord. Quality stuff, and never fails.

Author: Michael Wilcock

Kids 4 Truth International – God Opens Hearts

“And a certain woman named Lydia…heard us: whose heart the Lord opened.” (Acts 16:14)

When Paul received a call from God to go to Macedonia and preach the gospel, he and his missionary companions immediately set sail. One of the first major cities they came to was Philippi. After spending some time in the city, they decided one day to go out into the country to tell people about Christ. They found a group of women meeting beside a river, so they sat down with them to tell them the good news about the true God.

One of these women was named Lydia. Lydia lived in the city of Thyatira, and she made her living by selling purple cloth. The Bible tells us that Lydia “worshiped God.” She was interested in the Jewish God and tried to worship Him in her own way, but she had not yet become a believer in Christ. Acts 16:14 says that Lydia heard Paul’s preaching because the Lord had opened her heart. Lydia’s heart was not hard and cold, nor was it doubtful and questioning. She had a heart that was open and ready to receive God’s Word because of a work that He had done inside of her. After hearing Paul’s preaching, she and her entire household were willing to show the world publicly, through baptism, that they were believers in Christ.

Is there someone that you would like to share the gospel with? Pray for that person, asking God to open his heart. Maybe you have a neighbor that you have tried several times to witness to, but she has never been willing to listen. Ask God to open her heart. Perhaps you have a family member that is not saved, but you feel a little fearful to talk to him about the Lord. God can open his heart too!

God wants us to share the gospel with the unsaved people around us, but salvation is His work, not ours. The story of Lydia reminds us that God is the one who makes people ready and willing to receive the good news of Jesus Christ. Each time you hand someone a tract, write someone a letter explaining how to be saved, or talk to an unsaved person about the gospel, remember to ask for help from the God who opens hearts.

In salvation, God does a special work of opening hearts and making people ready to accept Jesus Christ.

My Response:

» Am I making an effort to tell unsaved people the good news of Jesus Christ?

» When I do that, am I depending on the power of God to open their hearts?

The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Accepted Through Christ

Today’s Scripture: 2 Corinthians 1:20

“It is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.”

Even the good works we bring to God are in themselves defective, both in motive and performance. It is virtually impossible to purge our motives completely of pride and self-gratification. And we can never perfectly perform those good works. The best we can do falls short of what God requires, but the truth is, we never actually do the best we can, let alone what would meet God’s perfect standard.

That is why Peter wrote, “you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5). Our best works are acceptable to God only because they are made acceptable by the merit of Jesus Christ. But God does accept them through Christ; he accepts them on the basis of his grace.

Ernest Kevan quoted one of the Puritans on the imperfection of our works as follows: “We do not do all that is commanded but come short of our duty, and that which we do is imperfect and defective in respect of manner and measure; and therefore in justice deserves punishment, rather than reward: and consequently the reward, when it is given, is to be ascribed to God’s undeserved mercy and not to our merit.”

So the entire Christian life is a life lived under grace from first to last, from beginning to end, all “to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the one he loves” (Ephesians 1:6). (Excerpt taken from Transforming Grace)

The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Wanted: Fruitful Laborers

Today’s Scripture: Romans 12-16

And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. – 2 Timothy 2:2

In Romans 15:14, Paul described a laborer this way: “I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another.” He begins with goodness, or Christian character. Back in Romans 13:13-14, Paul spoke of some things that destroy character–drunkenness, immorality, dissension, jealousy. As the antidote to these spiritual poisons, he says simply, “Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Then Paul speaks of being filled with knowledge. As laborers, we must saturate our hearts and minds with the Word of God. We must study it, memorize it, and live it. And finally, a laborer must be able to teach another person–to lead that person to Christ and then come alongside and encourage that new believer in the joys and struggles of daily life.

Are you a laborer? Are you developing in Christian character? Are you growing in knowledge of the Word of God? Are you learning to teach others and help them grow in their faith? The crying need today is for people–laborers–who are able and willing to take advantage of the spiritual opportunities all around us.


Lord, as I abide in Your Word and Your Word abides in me, make me a fruitful laborer in the spiritual harvest for Your kingdom. Amen.

To Ponder

To be clothed with Christ, to follow Christ, to worship Christ are the keys to becoming a fruitful laborer for Christ.

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – VASHTI IS PUNISHED

Read ESTHER 1:19–22

Some archaic laws are still on the books, specifically pertaining to women. For example, in Vermont, women must have permission from their husbands to wear false teeth. In Michigan, women cannot cut their hair without their husband’s approval. And, in one California town, it is illegal to wear high heels unless you are carrying a permit.

Queen Vashti had defied Xerxes by refusing to appear before his guests. He was furious and realized that her public defiance must be punished. Now we see the pronouncement of judgment: the king’s advisor recommended that he issue a royal decree preventing Vashti from ever entering his presence again. She was banished from her esteemed position and from the privilege and entitlement that came with it. She would no longer be queen (v. 19).

But the advisor suggested even more action. He said the king should make an example out of Vashti, replace her with a new queen, and put in place a rule for all married couples. His recommendation pleased both the king and his court (v. 21). So the decree was carried out to the kingdom, announcing that every man should be considered a “ruler” in his own household (v. 22).

Vashti’s act of public defiance had a life- altering consequence, which no doubt satisfied the anger of King Xerxes. But what the king did for personal reasons, God used for divine reasons. With Vashti deposed, the stage was now set for the arrival of a new queen, Esther, who would save her people from destruction. The story echoes Joseph’s trial and unjust treatment described in the book of Genesis. Only later in his life did Joseph realize that God had redeemed his suffering for a divine purpose (Gen. 50:20). Certainly, God’s plans surpass our own.


Sometimes our circumstances truly are not fair. Why would God allow injustice to happen? Why do wicked people seem to triumph? Scripture reveals how God’s divine plan supersedes and even works beyond man’s plans. What Xerxes intended for his own satisfaction, God used for the good of the nation. Ask God to work His perfect will in your life.