Charles Stanley – What Is the Spirit-Filled Life?


Ephesians 5:18-21

Although God wants every believer to be filled with the Spirit, many Christians are not sure what this means or what it looks like. To help us understand that whatever fills us controls us, Paul cites drunkenness as a negative example of “filling” and tells us to avoid it. Every believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, but the extent of His rule is determined by the Christian’s freedom to comply.

Think of this as a voluntary choice to surrender your life to the Spirit’s control—in other words, to be sensitive to His leadership and guidance, obedient to His promptings, and dependent upon His strength. The evidence of the Holy Spirit’s control is revealed in a person’s character. Those who have yielded their lives to Christ’s leadership are continually being transformed into His likeness. The degree of surrender determines the level of transformation.

Even though good works and faithful service are a result of being filled with the Holy Spirit, they are not necessarily signs of being yielded to Him. Remember, we are talking primarily about character rather than actions. It’s easier to serve the Lord in some manner than to love the unlovable or be patient with difficult people. But when the Spirit is in charge of our lives, He does through us what we cannot do for ourselves.

All believers decide who rules their life, by either actively surrendering to Christ or deliberately going their own way. Even those who try to avoid the issue by making no choice at all unknowingly opt for self-rule. The fullness of the Spirit and godly character await those who choose God over self.

Bible in One Year: Matthew 1-4

Our Daily Bread — No Outsiders

Read: Deuteronomy 10:12-22

Bible in a Year: Isaiah 17-19; Ephesians 5:17-33

What does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him.—Deuteronomy 10:12

In the remote region of Ghana where I lived as a boy, “Chop time, no friend” was a common proverb. Locals considered it impolite to visit at “chop time” (mealtime) because food was often scarce. The maxim applied to neighbors and outsiders alike.

But in the Philippines, where I also lived for a time, even if you visit unannounced at mealtime, your hosts will insist on sharing with you regardless of whether they have enough for themselves. Cultures differ for their own good reasons.

As the Israelites left Egypt, God provided specific instructions to govern their culture. But rules—even God’s rules—can never change hearts. So Moses said, “Change your hearts and stop being stubborn” (Deut. 10:16 nlt). Interestingly, right after issuing that challenge Moses took up the topic of Israel’s treatment of outsiders. God “loves the foreigner residing among you,” he said, “giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt” (vv. 18-19).

Israel served the “God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome” (v. 17). One powerful way they were to show their identification with God was by loving foreigners—those from outside their culture.

What might this small picture of God’s character mean for us today? How can we show His love to the marginalized and the needy in our world? —Tim Gustafson

Heavenly Father, help us bless others today by showing Your love in some small way.

In Christ, there are no outsiders.

INSIGHT: God commanded His people to allow the poor to feed on their lands (Lev. 19:9-10; 23:22; Deut. 24:19-21). “When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner” (Lev. 19:9-10; 23:22). Sim Kay Tee

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The Opposite of Presence

In a poem titled “Moments of Joy,” Denise Levertov tells the story of an old scholar who takes a room on the next street down from his grown children—”the better to concentrate on his unending work, his word, his world.” And though he comes and goes while they sleep, his children feel bereft. They want him nearer. But at times it happens that a son or daughter wakes in the dark and finds him sitting at the foot of the bed, or in the old rocker—”sleepless in his old coat, gazing into invisible distance, but clearly there to protect as he had always done.” The child springs up and flings her arms about him, pressing a cheek to his temple and taking him by surprise: “Abba!” the child exclaims, and Levertov concludes:

“And the old scholar, the father,

is deeply glad to be found.

That’s how it is, Lord, sometimes;

You seek, and I find.”(1)

Though many would like to say that the majority of our lives have been spent searching for God, perhaps it is more accurate to say that we have been sought. Even so, like the children in Levertov’s poem, time and again I know I find myself bereft of God’s presence. Sometimes it just feels like I am sitting in the dark.

One of my seminary professors once told me that God’s presence is not the opposite of God’s absence. At first glance this didn’t seem the least bit encouraging. And yet, maybe I have seen this notion lived out after all. For even when I am most stirred by God’s nearness—when God’s presence seems an undeniable truth—am I not also simultaneously stung by the ache of longing to be nearer or the reality of not quite yet being at home? Even in our best encounters with God, presence and absence remain intertwined. What might this then mean for the moments when I am feeling tormented by God’s absence?

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The Opposite of Presence

John MacArthur – Strength for Today – The Importance of Confession

“If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” (1 John 1:10).

Confession is the first step toward defeating sin.

It is often true that the hardest part of dealing with a problem is admitting that you have one. Beginning with Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:11-13), people have denied responsibility for their sins, and our generation is no exception. To acknowledge that one is a sinner, guilty of breaking God’s holy law, is not popular. People call sin by a myriad of other names, futilely hoping to define it out of existence. They do so, motivated by their innate awareness that there is a moral law and that there are consequences for violating it (Rom. 1:32).

But God’s people have always recognized the necessity of confession. After committing the terrible sins of adultery and murder, David acknowledged to Nathan the prophet, “I have sinned against the Lord” (2 Sam. 12:13). Later he cried out to God, “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against Thee, Thee only, I have sinned, and done what is evil in Thy sight” (Ps. 51:3-4). Faced with a vision of the awesome majesty and holiness of God, Isaiah declared, “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips” (Isa. 6:5). Daniel was a man of unparalleled integrity, yet part of his prayer life involved confessing his sin (Dan. 9:20). Peter, the acknowledged leader of the apostles, said to Jesus, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” (Luke 5:8). The apostle Paul, the godliest man who ever lived (except for Jesus Christ), wrote this about himself: “It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all” (1 Tim. 1:15).

The examples of those godly men illustrate a fundamental biblical truth: constant confession of sin characterizes true Christians (1 John 1:9). Those who claim to be believers but refuse to confess their sins deceive themselves (1 John 1:8) and make God a liar (1 John 1:10).

Suggestions for Prayer

Confess and forsake your sins today, and experience the blessedness of God’s forgiveness (Prov. 28:13).

For Further Study

Read and meditate on Nehemiah’s masterful prayer of confession in Nehemiah 1.

Wisdom Hunters – Humility Values Others Above Itself 

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Philippians 2:3-4

I work with a person who regularly asks me, “How can I pray for you?” Knowing they are genuine in their concern—I seek to share a vulnerable, heartfelt response about issues—both professionally and personally, that feed my anxieties. Invariably—my friend smiles—looks into my eyes, deep down into my soul and says, “Let me pray for you right now.” I stand delightfully amazed, but in my heart I kneel in humble gratitude to my heavenly Father. When a friend values my needs above their own—I feel the need to prayerfully do the same for other needy souls.

Since the Spirit has designed our hearts to put others above ourselves with acts of kindness, words of affirmation and gifts befitting the occasion, we are able to be comforted by love and to comfort in love. Just as bees instinctively swirl around the ripest fruit, so a life ripe with love encounters people (with a unique story) in need of care. This is not inherent to our natural operating system—for only a heart loved first by God can authentically and consistently esteem others above themselves. Fresh iterations of love must be downloaded and installed into our soul.

“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:10).

Continue reading Wisdom Hunters – Humility Values Others Above Itself 

Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – Better Than Feelings

He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

Psalm 23:3b

Recommended Reading

Psalm 19:7-11

Aleister Crowley was an early-twentieth-century British artist, novelist, and occultist. He founded a religion he called Thelema and saw himself as a prophet who would guide humanity into an age of self-realization. The Beatles were fans—Crowley was one of those appearing on the cover of the famous “Sgt. Pepper’s” album cover. Supposedly, the guiding rule of his religion was, “’Do what thou wilt’ shall be the whole of the Law.” Many people trace one of the guiding maxims of the 1960s—“If it feels good, do it”—back to Crowley.

“The Sixties” took that principle to heart and many today still do. How often do we hear people explain a decision by saying, “It just felt right”? But is “feeling good” enough of a guiding principle for life? Think about your own feelings: Today you feel good and tomorrow you don’t. The decision you make today, you wouldn’t make tomorrow. We need something more permanent, consistent, and dependable as a guiding principle for life. The psalmist trusted in God’s guidance (Psalm 23:3b) and in God’s Word (Psalm 19:7-11).

Don’t get caught up in the religion of “anything goes.” Establish your life on the guiding principles of God and His Word.

Men give advice; God gives guidance.

Leonard Ravenhill


Matthew 5 – 6

Joyce Meyer – Passing Judgment

Do not judge and criticize and condemn others, so that you may not be judged and criticized and condemned yourselves. For just as you judge and criticize and condemn others, you will be judged and criticized and condemned, and in accordance with the measure you [use to] deal out to others, it will be dealt out again to you.— Matthew 7:1-2

I believe that pointing a finger at someone in judgment is often the way some people cover up their own weaknesses. Their theory seems to be, “Judge others before they have a chance to judge you.” I remember a girl in our neighborhood who constantly pointed to obese people and said terrible things about them. She was plump herself, and I often wondered if she criticized others in an effort to keep people from noticing her own weight.

I grew up in a family where judgment and criticism were a part of everyday life. So I became an expert at deciding how other people should live. The devil loves to keep us busy, mentally judging the faults of others. And the shortcomings in other people are often easy to see, especially when we’re looking for them.

There was a time when I enjoyed sitting in the mall, observing people as they walked by. I could usually find something wrong with every one of them. I could point out bad hairstyles, out-of-style clothes, and any number of other “problems.” When we choose to be judgmental, we will find that there is no end to the possibilities.

Notice I used the words “choose to be judgmental,” because that’s exactly what I did. If anyone had called me a judgmental or critical person, I would have denied it, because I wasn’t aware of my negative attitude. I thought I was just giving my innocent opinion. At that time, I wasn’t aware that I had a choice about my thoughts.

Another thing I didn’t think about then was the uselessness of my opinions. I didn’t help anyone by pointing out to my friends what I perceived to be other people’s shortcomings. I now know that we can choose the thoughts we want to focus on. We can’t always choose the thoughts that come to our minds, but we can decide to let them stay and fester or we can push them aside.

Continue reading Joyce Meyer – Passing Judgment

Girlfriends in God – Oh, How He Loves

Today’s Truth

By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

John 13:35

Friend to Friend

Grandchildren often remind me how to find joy in the simple things of life. When our twin grandchildren were about two years old, I took them on a little shopping trip. When Mimi comes for a visit, there is always a shopping trip on the agenda. Lelia and Jaydan piled into the car, and we headed to the store. I think I was more excited than they were. That’s how grandmothers are.

Once inside the store, we grabbed a shopping cart, and off we went in search of treasures. In other words, we needed toys!

As we headed to the toy section of the store, we passed the pharmacy – which reminded me that I needed to pick up some vitamins. The twins were very patient as I searched the pharmacy shelves and found what I needed. I tossed the box of vitamins in the cart and said, “Let’s go! The toys are just ahead!”

When we reached the first aisle of the toy section, I reminded Lelia and Jaydan that they could each pick one very special toy for Mimi to buy. Jaydan headed straight for the “crucks” and cars. No surprise there! But Lelia didn’t seem very interested in looking at much of anything. Now that was surprising!

As I tried to figure out what the problem could possibly be, I spotted something pink out of the corner of my eye. A closer look revealed a small pink box of Hello Kitty Band-Aids clutched tightly in Lelia’s little hands. Judging from the slightly crumpled box, I knew she had been holding her treasure for some time.

Continue reading Girlfriends in God – Oh, How He Loves

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – The Key to Blessing

“He replied, ‘Yes, but even more blessed are all who hear the Word of God and put it into practice'” (Luke 11:28).

If you and I could know only one rule that would guarantee us real happiness, no doubt this should be it. Because the meaning of this promise is the same in or out of context, we shall share briefly the out-of-context guarantee contained therein.

Man’s chief happiness – his, or her, highest honor – is to obey the Word of God. No earthly honor or achievement can compare with the blessing, meaning in and fulfillment that come from obeying the Word and Will of God.

Implicit in putting into practice – or obeying – the Word of God is the matter of knowing the Word of God. This, of course, implies reading, studying, meditating upon and even memorizing the Scriptures. If we are neglecting this phase of the Christian life, we are omitting a vitally important part of spiritual nurture, without which it is impossible to live a supernatural life.

Something about the Word refreshes, cleanses, uplifts the heart and soul of each one of us when we spend time in its pages. God made it – and us – that way. No matter how many times we may have read the Word of God, even the entire Bible, there is something remarkably fresh and new about it every time we read it.

If somehow we lack the discipline to do what we should about the Word, we may pray ceaselessly for the Holy Spirit to illumine its truths to our minds and apply them to our lives.

Bible Reading: James 1:22-25

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will not neglect God’s Word but will consider it a necessary ingredient to the life of the Spirit -supernatural living.

Ray Stedman – God’s Nonsense

Read: 1 Corinthians 1:18-25

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate. 1 Corinthians 1:18-19

The theme of this section is the power of the cross, and Paul is going to show clearly what the cross does in human thinking and in human affairs. The cross has become the symbol of Christianity today. Women wear it on chains around their necks; we use it as decorations. We have become so familiar with the cross that we have forgotten much of the impact it had in the first century. It was, for these early Christians, and for those among whom they lived, a horrible symbol. If you had used it then as a symbol it would have made people shudder. We would get much closer to it today if we substituted a symbol of an electric chair for the cross. Wouldn’t it be strange driving across this country to see church steeples with electric chairs on top?

The cross is significant in Christianity because it exposes the fundamental conflict of life. The cross gets down below all our surface attempts at compromise and cuts through all human disagreement. Once you confront the cross and its meaning, you find yourself unable to escape that final judgment of life as to whether you are committed to error or committed to truth.

We must understand what Paul means by the word of the cross. First of all, it means the basic announcement of the crucifixion of Jesus. There are many religious groups based upon various philosophical concepts. But when you come to Christianity you do not start with philosophy, you start with facts of history that cannot be thrown out. One of them is the incarnation of Jesus, the fact that he was born as a man and came among us. Another of the great facts of our faith is the crucifixion. Jesus died. It was done at a certain point of time in history and cannot be evaded. This is part of the word of the cross. He did not deserve it, but by the judgment of the Romans and Jews alike he was put to death for a crime that he did not commit.

Continue reading Ray Stedman – God’s Nonsense

Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – God the Liberator


Read: Acts 16:25-27

And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. (v. 26)

In my work with prisoners, I’ve met people locked up, like Paul, unjustly. I’ve met wrongdoers who were themselves the victims of greater wrongdoing, whether by parents, abusive husbands, systemic racism, or other prisoners. A few times (less often than TV would have you believe) I have met people in bondage to real evil, people who actively and habitually identified with their worst impulses—but that’s still bondage, perhaps the worst kind. The one thing I have in common with all these people is that I am a sinner. I too need deliverance.

When I think of these things, I find myself growing frustrated with biblical miracle accounts, such as the one we read today. If God rescued Paul and his cellmates in this dramatic fashion, why won’t he do likewise for me and you? We have no answer for this question except the knowledge that our Savior suffers with us. But as for this miracle, it’s no easy delivery. Paul was saved from imprisonment only to take up again a life of inconvenience, rootlessness, exile, intermittent torture, and further imprisonment. He did so because he knew and loved Christ Jesus, a person whom this miracle, like all miracles, reveals to us. Christ is the one who, in his own time, unfastens all the bonds.


Lord, every one of us needs to be freed from something. Show us how you are already accomplishing our freedom, and direct us to your liberating work in the lives of those around us.

Author: Phil Christman

Greg Laurie – Is Your Marriage Alive?

Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

—Ephesians 5:14–16

In Ephesians 5, Paul tells us to awake from spiritual lethargy. I want to apply these verses specifically to marriage today.

You can’t sleepwalk through marriage. Show me a marriage that is strong and vibrant and thriving, and I will show you a marriage that people are giving attention to.

It’s sort of like making a fire. You begin with some kindling and newspaper and twigs, and then add some logs to it. Once the fire is going, you put another log on it. And another. You continue to feed it over time. In the same way, if a marriage is strong, especially over a period of time, it is because the husband and wife keep putting logs on the fire. They cultivate their romance. They strengthen the marriage.

If you stop feeding the fire, it will start to weaken. You must constantly give it attention. You must be proactive, not merely reactive. When the husband neglects his role and the wife neglects hers, one problem turns into another, and soon it gets worse and worse. Eventually it reaches a state of crisis.

It’s best to engage in “preventative maintenance” and strengthen the marriage every day. Verses 15 and 16 tell us how: by “walking circumspectly” and “redeeming the time.” To “walk circumspectly” conveys the idea of looking, examining, and investigating something with great care. It’s like the attention you would give to the words of a contract before signing it. “Redeeming the time” refers to making the most of every opportunity.

Are you examining your marriage carefully, paying attention to detail? Are you taking advantage of every opportunity to strengthen your marriage? Are you making sure you have done everything you can do?

Don’t sleepwalk through marriage; tend the fires to keep it alive and strong.

Kids 4 Truth International – God Is Always Available

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)

What does it mean when someone is not available? Maybe your mom has taught you to take a telephone message for her when she cannot come to the phone. She has probably told you to say something like this: “I’m sorry, but Mom is not available right now. May I please take a message?” When you tell someone that your mom is “not available,” it may mean that she is not at home, or it may mean that she is giving the dog a bath and is up to her elbows in soapy water. Whatever Mom is doing, the point is that the person trying to call her cannot reach her. The caller will have to wait or try again later.

Sometimes we cannot reach people when we need them. We get their answering machines or their voice mail messages when we try to call them. But God is never out of reach when we call on His name. The Bible tells us that He is “a very present help” – especially when we are in trouble. One translation of the Bible has this wording in the margin: “abundantly available for help.” When you go to God in prayer and ask Him for help, He is always available! In fact, He is very or abundantly available. He is ready, willing, and eager to help you. You must come in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ (John 14:6). You also must not be hanging onto any sin that you are unwilling to confess when you come to Him (Psalm 66:18). But as long as you are coming in obedience to these conditions, you can come to Him for help any time at all.

What kind of trouble can God help you with? Maybe you have started attending a new school, church, or club, and maybe you’re finding it hard to make friends. God can help you reach out to others. Maybe you are upset because your brother or sister treated you unfairly. God can help you forgive and love in return. Maybe you are worried about a family member who is sick. God will listen to you and carry your burden for you so you don’t have to worry. Whatever your problem, nothing is too great or too small for God to care about and help you with. Don’t hesitate to come to Him and ask His help. He is always available to you.

God is always available to help us.

My Response:

» What problem do I need to take to God for His help?

The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Submitting to His Discipline

Today’s Scripture: James 4:6

“God . . . gives grace to the humble.”

It’s not enough to see God’s mighty hand behind our adversities, nor to view him as a loving Father disciplining his children. I’ve seen the doctrine of God’s sovereignty in the Scriptures for so many years that I instinctively see his hand behind every circumstance. I regularly acknowledge, almost reluctantly sometimes, that all hardship is God’s discipline, either corrective or remedial. The rub comes in submitting to it. Sometimes we resist it. But if we’re to appropriate God’s grace in our trial, we must first submit to his hand, which brought the trial.

God gives grace only to the humble, to those who are not only humble toward other people, but are humble, or submissive, under his mighty hand. John Lillie expressed this idea well: “?umble yourselves, therefore,’ receiving in silent, meek submission whatever humiliation it [God’s hand] may now lay upon you. For this is your time of trial, and, when paternal rod meets thus with the child-like spirit, will be surely followed by another time of healing and joy.” Then Dr. Lillie added this word of exhortation: “see that you do not frustrate the gracious purpose of God and lose the blessing of sorrow. Rather make that purpose yours also.”

After the death of my first wife, a friend sent me a sympathy card on which she had copied the following verse, apparently from an ancient hymn, which I’ve now put in my notebook to meditate on frequently when I pray: “Lord, I am willing to receive what you give, to lack what you withhold, to relinquish what you take, to suffer what you inflict, to be what you require.”

We must have that spirit if we are to humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand and receive the grace he has promised to give.

The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Love Without Limit

Today’s Scripture: Jonah 3-4

“This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” – John 15:8

I know a man who was the pastor of a church in the South when he and his wife began to feel that God was calling them to Africa. They came up with the usual reasons why they shouldn’t go: They were too old–he was forty-five; they had too many children–seven. And yet, two facts kept coming back to their hearts: Those without Christ were really lost, and the Great Commission still stands. So they went, and faced some rather tough years.

They left their beautiful home for a bamboo hut in the jungle. Their health and the health of their children were threatened by parasites and tropical diseases. They found themselves walking for miles through steaming heat, crossing treacherous rivers in dugout canoes, sleeping in rat-infested native huts. They watched in helplessness as a young mother brought her newborn baby, convulsing in the early stages of tetanus, because an old grandmother had rubbed country medicine–a mixture of dirt, leaves, and cow manure–into the baby’s navel. They had to stand by and watch as a young girl drank the deadly poison of sassa wood to prove she was not a witch.

As this family stayed on and related in love to their lost and ignorant world, they began to see fruit. The lostness of these people had brought them to Africa, and Christ’s love sustained them through the hard times.

This is not a love that casually says, “Be ye warmed and filled,” but a love characterized by sacrifice–a Christ-inspired and God-given love that knows no limits.


Lord, increase my faith and strengthen my discipleship. Amen.

To Ponder

If Christ has called us to a labor, it is of eternal consequence.

BreakPoint – Homeschooling, the Feds, and You: Who Knows Best?

Recently, US Secretary of Education John King, while speaking at a press conference, remarked that although some homeschool situations are just fine, in general, “Students who are homeschooled are not getting the kind of the rapid instructional experience they would get in school.”

King also said that part of the school experience is learning how to deal with and build relationships with peers and teachers—implying that homeschoolers don’t get this kind of experience.

Now, before I go on, in the interest of full disclosure, I’ll tell you that my wife and I homeschool our three daughters. To be specific, we’re part of a community of homeschooling families with a hybrid model that shares resources and that journeys together. We think our daughters are receiving a first-rate education. I say that not just so you know I’ve got a horse in the race, but because my wife and I have personal experience. We know this world. We live in it.

But back to the Secretary’s comments. It’s not clear what he meant by “rapid instructional experience,” but that can mean a sort of checklist approach—plowing through the material, cramming for standardized tests, and hitting every mandated topic. In that sense, he’s right. Many homeschoolers don’t get “rapid instruction” of this sort, but that’s not really education in the first place.

But what has me most concerned about the Secretary’s remarks is the classic “we know better than you” attitude so endemic among governmental elites—whether it’s telling us what kind of healthcare we need, or how to teach our young ones about the most intimate of human relations.

Let me be clear: The federal government’s ever-growing reach into our children’s education is a bi-partisan effort. The Department of Education was established by Jimmy Carter. George W. Bush signed the disastrous “No Child Left Behind” initiative into law. And Common Core, which many argue will leave kids unprepared for college, has both Republican and Democratic support.

Continue reading BreakPoint – Homeschooling, the Feds, and You: Who Knows Best?

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – THE GOSPEL AND SALVATION

Read 1 PETER 1:10–12

Mapmaking in the sixteenth century was a mix of information gathered by explorers and educated guesses about previously undocumented parts of the world. One persistent mystery for European mapmakers was what lay between the Americas and Asia—was it a land border? A vast body of water? Were the two continents connected? The Italian mapmaker Gastaldi is thought to be the first to draw a map of the Bering Strait in 1563, though his atlas was not published until it was discovered in a private collection of manuscripts in the 1920s.

Like those early mapmakers, the Old Testament prophets had some information about the coming of Jesus and the message of the gospel, but the Holy Spirit did not reveal the full details to them. They had to trust by faith that the message they were given would bless readers hundreds and even thousands of years later. As we look back at the Old Testament today, we see Christ revealed there.

For instance, Isaiah 53, from which our key verse today is taken, paints a powerful portrait of the Savior who died for sins on our behalf. This chapter predicts “the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow” (v. 11; Isa. 53:10–12). Our salvation rests on this gospel: that Jesus, the Son of God, willingly became human in order to die for our sins, and God raised Him from the dead. He promises eternal life in relationship with God to all who trust Him (vv. 3–5, 12).

Peter mentions the gospel here in part to encourage his readers to rejoice in their identity. Yes, they were suffering—but so had Jesus. And just as Jesus was raised to glory, so too would His followers be given a glorious inheritance of salvation that is worth more than gold.


Some think the Old Testament isn’t relevant for Christians or that it features an angry god who punishes people. Neither view is correct; 1 Peter says that it is filled with grace and points to Jesus. Read Isaiah 53, and follow Peter’s example by praising God that the gospel was made possible through the suffering and glory of Christ.


Kanye West was performing last night in Queens when an assistant pulled him aside. He then bolted from the stage, citing a “family emergency.” Some disappointed fans were suspicious that the drama was a publicity stunt.

Now we know what the “family emergency” was: five gunmen tied up his wife, Kim Kardashian, in her Paris hotel room. They locked her in the bathroom, then stole a jewelry box containing valuables worth about $6.7 million and a ring worth about $4.4 million. Their crime is dominating headlines this morning.

Family emergencies seldom stay in the family. What happens in private usually becomes public.

Donald Trump’s personal tax returns are now part of the presidential campaign. Hillary Clinton has apologized repeatedly for her handling of private email.

David Petraeus spoke last Friday at the World Affairs Council of Dallas. A four-star general, he earned a Ph.D. from Princeton and eventually became director of the CIA, but resigned because of an extramarital affair that involved private mishandling of classified documents.

Gary Hart was a US Senator and frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988 before an extramarital affair derailed his campaign. It was the same story for John Edwards in 2008. We’re all familiar with Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky.