Charles Stanley – You Can Trust God

 

Romans 4:16-21

As we all know too well, life oftentimes confronts us with unexpected or painful circumstances. Sometimes these situations leave us feeling fearful, discouraged, and frustrated. Consequently, we may question whether the heavenly Father truly is reliable.

During such troubling moments, we can rest on this essential truth: The Lord is perfect in His love. Consider verse 5 from first John 1: “God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). In other words, everything our heavenly Father does is righteous. And if He is a God of love, then it is impossible for Him to mistreat any of His children. We can be assured that whatever He places or permits in our lives is good and that His motives are pure.

Jesus demonstrated this deep care for us when He offered His blood on the cross—there exists no greater display of love than giving one’s life for someone else (John 15:13). Our sin debt could be paid only with a flawless sacrifice (Deut. 17:1). Christ, the perfect lamb, was willing to die in our place so that we could have an eternal relationship with the Father. If God gave us His Son—the most precious and amazing gift He could possibly give—to take care of our greatest need, then we can trust Him to provide for all areas of our life.

When difficulty arises, remember how much God loves you. He proved this by willingly giving His Son to take the penalty for your sin. Even when circumstances are painful, you can be confident that you are held in the capable and caring hands of your heavenly Father, because of His love for you.

Bible in One Year: Luke 6-7

 

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Our Daily Bread — I Am With You

Read: Jeremiah 1:1-10

Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 1-2; 1 Timothy 3

Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you.—Jeremiah 1:8

When I served as an intern for a Christian magazine, I wrote a story about a person who had become a Christian. In a dramatic change, he said goodbye to his former life and embraced his new Master: Jesus. A few days after the magazine hit the street, an anonymous caller threatened, “Be careful, Darmani. We are watching you! Your life is in danger in this country if you write such stories.”

That was not the only time I have been threatened for pointing people to Christ. On one occasion a man told me to vanish with the tract I was giving him or else! In both cases, I cowered. But these were only verbal threats. Many Christians have had threats carried out against them. In some cases simply living a godly lifestyle attracts mistreatment from people.

The Lord told Jeremiah, “You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you” (Jer. 1:7), and Jesus told His disciples, “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves” (Matt. 10:16). Yes, we may encounter threats, hardships, and even pain. But God assures us of His presence. “I am with you,” He told Jeremiah (Jer. 1:8), and Jesus assured His followers, “I am with you always” (Matt. 28:20).

Whatever struggles we face in our attempt to live for the Lord, we can trust in the Lord’s presence. —Lawrence Darmani

Lord, we’re grateful that You are near to us in everything we face. Please protect Your people around the world.

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:10

INSIGHT: The promise of God’s presence with His people is reiterated in a number of places; for example, Deuteronomy 31:8; Hebrews 13:5; Matthew 28:18-20; and John 15:1-17. And David also reminds us of God’s intimate knowledge of our lives (Ps. 139). God indeed does know us intimately and His promised presence is always with us. How does knowing this to be true encourage you today? J.R. Hudberg

 

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John MacArthur – Strength for Today – Joined to Christ

“. . . That you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, that we might bear fruit for God” (Romans 7:4).

No longer married to the law, the believer is now married to Jesus Christ.

Of the many New Testament metaphors used to describe the church, the most intimate is that of the bride of Christ. Paul describes that relationship in Ephesians 5:24-27: “But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her; that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless.”

By describing Christ as “Him who was raised from the dead,” Paul stresses the believer’s union with Jesus not only in His death but also in His resurrection (Rom. 6:4-5). Thus, our marriage bond with the living Savior will last forever.

The result of our union with Christ is “that we might bear fruit for God.” It is the goal of every believer’s life to glorify God by bearing fruit. There is no such thing as a Christian who bears no fruit, because the inevitable result of salvation is a transformed life. Jesus continues that process of transformation throughout our lives, continually pruning us so that we may produce even more fruit to His glory (John 15:1-2).

Spiritual fruit may be defined as any righteous act that glorifies God. It may consist of godly, Spirit-produced attitudes (Gal. 5:22-23), praise to God (Heb. 13:15), others led to Christ (Rom. 1:13), giving to those in need (Rom. 15:26-28), and righteous living (Phil. 1:11).What a great privilege is ours, to be eternally “one spirit” (1 Cor. 6:17) with the Lord of Glory!

Suggestions for Prayer

Pray that God would enable you to do all things for His glory (1 Cor. 10:31).

For Further Study

Read the list of the fruit of the Spirit Paul gives in Galatians 5:22-23.

  • Using a concordance, Bible dictionary, or other reference tools, study each aspect of fruit listed.
  • Look for ways to implement into your daily life what you learn.

 

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Wisdom Hunters – Best Effort 

She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial.   Mark 14:8

God expects your best—nothing more, nothing less. Your best plus God’s best is a productive combination, but be careful  not to fall into the false belief that God will take care of everything without your effort or that you can take the stress of everything on your shoulders without inviting  God in. Neither is healthy nor right. He simply expects your best and He understands your limitations. Your stage of life, giftedness, experience, availability, and wisdom all determine your capacity. The capacities of others will be more or less than yours; so do not make them your standard. Instead, steward extremely well what God has given you.

There will always be opportunities, so consider each activity alongside your ability to give it your best. Do not commit under duress, knowing that your ability to deliver is sorely limited. Instead, have confidence in God to say no now in preparation for yes later. Your best will dwarf some other’s best, while it will look like a pygmy in the shadow of someone else’s best. One scenario of superiority leads to pride and the other of perceived underachievement leads to discouragement. Self-flagellation will not gain you points with God or people. They will replace respect for you with pity. On the other hand, do not become puffed up over your best. There is always another person who has done or will do better. Rest in the fact that you have glorified God and brought others into His intoxicating influence.

Your best mixed with God’s best is dynamic. Yes, you have limitations and you can only do what you can do but with God, all things are possible. He can arrange circumstances, relationships, and resources that intersect with your best. Suddenly, your best plus God’s best plus the best of others leverages outcomes you never dreamed possible. Your $1,000 given to teach abstinence to teens will yield one result, but that same gift combined with $100,000 will far exceed a one-hundredfold result.

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Joyce Meyer – Stay Expectant Every Day

He [Jesus] said to them [the disciples], It is not for you to become acquainted with and know what time brings [the things and events of time and their definite periods] or fixed years and seasons (their critical niche in time), which the Father has appointed (fixed and reserved) by His own choice and authority and personal power. – Acts 1:7

He [Jesus] said to them [the disciples], It is not for you to become acquainted with and know what time brings [the things and events of time and their definite periods] or fixed years and seasons (their critical niche in time), which the Father has appointed (fixed and reserved) by His own choice and authority and personal power.

I always believe for things. I am goal-oriented and always need something to look forward to. Many years ago, I was letting what I thought was faith frustrate me. I attempted to use my faith to get what I wanted. When it did not arrive on time, I felt I had failed in the faith department or that some demon power was blocking my blessing.

Now, after almost twenty years of experience working closely with God, I know that I can and should use my faith, but God has an appointed time. In due time, (1 Peter 5:6), at the appointed time (Genesis 18:14), at the proper time (Galatians 4:4)—these are things the Bible says about God’s timing.

Jesus Himself made it clear that it is not for us to know what these times are. Remaining expectant every day, no matter how long it takes, is one of the things that will keep you and me flowing in joy. When a pregnant woman is waiting to deliver her child, people say that she is “expecting.”

I am sure most of us are expecting. I know I am expecting. There are things God has spoken to me—things He has placed in my heart—that I have not seen manifested yet. Some of them have been there as long as fifteen or sixteen years. Other things He spoke around the same time have come to pass. I used to be confused. Now, I am no longer confused, I am expecting. My time can come at any moment, any day—maybe today—and so can yours.

From the book New Day, New You by Joyce Meyer.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – He Can Be Found

“And ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13, KJV).

Halfhearted efforts, I have found from personal experience, seldom bring success and victory. The difference between a successful person and a failure is that the successful person is always willing to do more than the unsuccessful person is willing to do.

In spiritual matters, in particular, this is true, as evidenced scores of times in the Word of God. This is one of the most expressive of those passages that major on this theme.

Another is: “Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6, KJV).

But one point needs to be made abundantly clear: This promise is not only to the unbeliever, though it is often taken that way. It applies equally to the believer, who may be searching after God for a variety of reasons.

The key word here, of course is heart. “As [a man] thinketh in his heart,so is he” (Proverbs 23:7, KJV). “Out of the abundance of the heartthe mouth speaketh” (Matthew 12:34, KJV).

What do you need from God today? Wisdom? Peace? Courage? Love? To find God in such a real way that you know He is meeting that need for you, you must really mean business with Him. Then He will indeed do business for you.

A doubter, or an unbeliever, reading this has a wonderful assurance: He can find God if he truly seeks Him with his whole heart.

Bible Reading: Jeremiah 29:10-14

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I’ll begin right at home by personally seeking God for myself with my whole heart,and I will remind others how God can be real to them.

 

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Ray Stedman – The Lord’s Supper

Read: 1 Corinthians 11:17-34

For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me. In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me. 1 Corinthians 11:23-25

Paul passes on to them and to us our Lord’s emphasis upon two remarkable symbols, the bread and the cup. Deliberately, after the Passover feast, Jesus took the bread, and when he had broken it, to make it available to all the disciples, he said to them, This is my body. Unfortunately some have taken that to mean that he was teaching that the bread becomes his body, but as you look at the story of the Upper Room, it is clear that he meant it in a symbolic sense. If it was literal, then there were two bodies of Christ present in the Upper Room, one in which he lived and by which he held the bread, and the bread itself. But clearly our Lord means this as a symbol. This represents my body which is for you.

Not broken for you, as some versions have it. That is not a very accurate rendering. It is not broken for us. The Scriptures tell us that not a bone of his body would be broken. Rather it is intended for us to live on; that is the symbolism. Thus when we gather and take the bread of the Lord’s Table, break it and pass it among ourselves, we are reminding ourselves that Jesus is our life: He is the One by whom we live. As Paul says, I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me, (Galatians 2:20 KJV).

This is what the bread symbolizes — that he is to be our power by which we obey the demands of God, the Word of God, to love one another, to forgive one another, to be tender and merciful, kind and courteous to one another, to not return evil for evil but to pray for those who persecute us and mistrust us and misuse us. His life in us enables us to be what God asks us to be. We live by means of Christ.

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Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Hope Through It All

 

READ: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. (v. 16)

We all grieve the sadness that many endings cause us to feel. We grieve the death of a loved one and feel the loneliness of life without their presence. We grieve what might have been if our dreams were not broken. We grieve the struggles of living in a fallen world tainted by sin.

Yet, 1 Thessalonians 4:13 reminds us that Christians do not grieve as those who have no hope. Christians have hope. We know Jesus died and rose again. We know Jesus is coming again and all things will be made new. We know how the story of Scripture ends, how Christ has been victorious, and how the power of his resurrection enables us to live for him every day.

Grieving is a necessary part of life. God enables us to grieve, weep, and feel sadness. First Thessalonians 4:13 does not say “do not grieve.” Rather, it reminds Christians not to grieve with hopelessness. There is hope through it all for believers! As the psalmist affirmed in Psalm 71:5, “For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O LORD, from my youth.” Don’t let go of the hope you have in Jesus.

PRAYER

“My hope is built on nothing less / than Jesus blood and righteousness; / I dare not trust the sweetest frame, / but wholly lean on Jesus name.” Christ my solid rock, thank you for that hope! Amen.

 

Kids 4 Truth International – God Is Unchanging

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed…. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (James 1:5-6, 17)

With a heavy heart, Hillary stared out the window. Here it was already late October, and the leaves on the trees had not even changed color yet. But the grey sky outside matched her mood. She watched the swaying of the branches (still so full of green leaves) as a damp, cold wind blew through them. Hillary wished the leaves would just fall off. She also wished her tears would fall down, too. If only she could have a good cry, she thought maybe she would feel better.

But there wasn’t time for crying. Caroline – Hillary’s best friend and closest cousin – was all ready to move to China this week. Uncle Dave’s company was sending him and Aunt Britt and Caroline to Shanghai for two years, and Hillary was going to be left behind in plain, boring old Iowa – with only the teen-aged neighbors and the baby cousins to play with. Caroline had promised to write, but Hillary knew things would never be the same after they were gone.

“We know this is going to be especially tough for the two of you girls,” Uncle Dave had said to them. He gave Caroline and Hillary each a pretty jade ring that he and Aunt Britt had bought for them the last time they were visiting in China. “I want both of you to wear your rings every day,” he said. “When you look at them, I want you to remember that you have someone you love on the other side of the world thinking about you. Let your rings remind you to pray for each other every day.”

Continue reading Kids 4 Truth International – God Is Unchanging

The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Falling into the Trap

 

Today’s Scripture: John 14:13

“Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do.”

I struggle with legalistic tendencies even though I know better. Several years ago I was scheduled to speak at a large church on the West Coast. Arriving about fifteen minutes before the Sunday morning service, I learned that one of the pastoral staff had died suddenly the day before. The staff and congregation were in a state of shock and grief.

Sizing up the situation, I realized the “challenge to discipleship” message I’d prepared was inappropriate. The congregation that day needed comfort and encouragement, not challenge. Knowing I needed a new message, I silently began to pray, asking God to bring to my mind something suitable for the occasion. Then I began to add up my merits and demerits for the day: had I had a quiet time that morning? Had I entertained any lustful thoughts or told any half-truths? I’d fallen into the performance trap.

I quickly recognized what I was doing. “Lord,” I said, “I don’t know the answer to those questions, but it doesn’t matter. I come to you today in the name of Jesus and, by his merit alone, ask for your help.” A verse of Scripture came to my mind and with it a brief outline for an appropriate message. I went to the pulpit and literally prepared the message as I spoke. God did answer prayer.

Why did God answer? Was it because I had a quiet time that morning or fulfilled other spiritual disciplines or hadn’t entertained any sinful thoughts that day? No, God answered my prayer for only one reason: Jesus Christ had already purchased that answer to prayer two thousand years ago on a roman cross. God answered on the basis of his grace alone, not because of my merits or demerits.

 

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The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Meditating on the Word

Today’s Scripture: Joshua 1:8

Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. – 1 Timothy 4:15

I have a friend named Sam who for years has practiced meditation. He used to be part of a cult–an Eastern religion that promised inner tranquility. It was supposed to make one serene, confident, joyful. But Sam admitted his meditations resulted in none of those things. As he sat for hours in jeans and bare feet–chanting and meditating–a disturbing question tugged at his heart. What about my sin?

One day he met a man who spoke of his own release from the burden of sin through faith in Jesus Christ. Much to Sam’s surprise, the man said he, too, practiced meditation, but of a different kind. He meditated on the Bible to find deeper, clearer insight into its teachings. Through the continued witness of this friend, Sam came to Christ, abandoned his former practice of meditation, and adopted the practice of meditation on the Word of God.

Friend, God says that if you meditate on His Word, then you will be prosperous and have success! (Joshua 1:7). The promise is plain: God’s hand of blessing will be on that person’s life in an extraordinary way.

The psalmist said, “Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long” (Psalm 119:97). Meditation flows from a love for the Word of God. Ask God to give you a love for His Word and you will think on it.

Prayer

Lord, teach me to love Your Word. Amen.

To Ponder

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21).

 

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Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – THE TRUE WORD OF GOD

Read 2 PETER 1:12–21

Earlier this year The Atlantic published overwhelming evidence that what the papyrus scholars had named “The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife” was in fact an elaborate forgery and hoax created by a man in Florida. Forged historical documents have included diaries allegedly by Hitler, Mussolini, Howard Hughes, and Jack the Ripper, and “The Donation of Constantine” that supposedly documented the emperor’s transfer of much of Italy to the Pope.

Throughout much of this letter, Peter urges the churches to distinguish between truth and lies. They needed to remember what and whom to trust. From indications in the letter, these readers were established in the faith (v. 12). But since the assault of deception never ceases, it’s important to “refresh your memory” about God’s promises and power (v. 13). Standing strong against the temptation to embrace the world’s values requires an ongoing commitment to remember the truth of God’s Word and His work in our lives.

As Peter neared the end of his earthly life, he was committed to “make every effort” to strengthen the faith of believers (vv. 14–15). Look at the evidence for trusting the message of the gospel! It begins with Jesus, and eyewitnesses could attest to His teaching and miracles. God the Father pronounced that He was indeed the Son of God, who was doing God’s will (v. 17).

Next, we can trust the message of Scripture. The Word of God helps to shine a light to guide us through the darkness of this world (v. 19; see Psalm 119). Reading, studying, and remembering Scripture will help us stay grounded in truth. Finally, we have the Holy Spirit, who inspired the prophets as they penned the letters and poetry and history of Scripture. We have the truth, and a God whom we can trust.

APPLY THE WORD

How can you refresh your memory about the truth of God? One way is to keep a spiritual journal in which you keep a record of answered prayers and times God has worked in your life. Another is to memorize Scripture, even just a verse or two at a time. Listening to sermons that focus on teaching God’s Word can also encourage you to stand strong in your faith.

 

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