Charles Stanley – A City on a Hill


Matthew 5:14-16

God’s children are on display to the world like a city on a hill (Matt. 5:14). The light from a thriving metropolis can be seen for miles. Likewise, believers are to “shine” in such a way that others will observe our good works and honor God.

A Christian’s “faith light” is evident through his or her deeds. We want coworkers, friends, and others in our sphere of influence to sit up and take notice of the way we live. The reason? Because once people notice that we are not simply “out for number one,” they’ll want to know why. Then they might gradually begin to connect the dots: Thinking, He helps others even when it’s difficult or She says she does this because she’s a Christian could lead them to conclude, Then their God must be worthy and good. The more we are seen doing good works, the more glory goes to God, who is the Author of our service record.

To balance the command to shine, however, the Lord did give an admonition in Matthew 6:1: “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them.” In other words, be mindful of the motive. If we’re performing in order to get a pat on the back or the attention of others, we will lose out on a heavenly reward. That fleeting bit of worldly appreciation is all we’ll get for our efforts.

Believers are here to point others to the God they serve. We are a reflection of His light and glory. It is He who not only gives opportunity to shine but also equips us with the strength and gifts to work for the kingdom. As bright as we may seem, we are nothing apart from the Lord.

Bible in One Year: John 14-16

Our Daily Bread — A Safe Place

Read: 1 Corinthians 6:9–11; 13:4–7

Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 37–39; Hebrews 3

That is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.—1 Corinthians 6:11

A young Japanese man had a problem—he was afraid of leaving his house. To avoid other people, he slept through the day and stayed up all night watching TV. He was a hikikomori or a modern-day hermit. The problem began when he stopped going to school because of poor grades. The longer he remained apart from society, the more he felt like a social misfit. Eventually he broke off all communication with his friends and family. He was helped on his journey to recovery, though, by visiting a youth club in Tokyo known as an ibasho—a safe place where broken people could start reintroducing themselves to society.

What if we thought of the church as an ibasho—and far more? Without a doubt, we are a community of broken people. When the apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth he described their former way of life as anti-social, harmful, and dangerous to themselves and others (1 Cor. 6:9-10). But in Jesus they were being transformed and made whole. And Paul encouraged these rescued people to love one another, to be patient and kind, not to be jealous or proud or rude (13:4-7).

The church is to be an ibasho where all of us, no matter what struggles or brokenness we face, can know and experience God’s love. May the hurting world experience the compassion of Christ from all who follow Him. —Poh Fang Chia

Dear Lord, thank You for paying the penalty for my sins by Your death and resurrection and giving me new life. Help me to live a life that honors Your holy name and to love others as You have loved me.

Only God can transform a sin-stained soul into a masterpiece of grace.

INSIGHT: Without the correct biblical frame of reference, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 could lead us to believe certain kinds of sins are unforgivable. Does today’s Bible reading actually teach that certain sinners are beyond redemption? The answer lies in the contrasting sentence that provides us with a clearer picture of what the apostle is saying: “And that is what some of you were [emphasis mine]. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (v. 11). It is not the committing of sins that condemns irrevocably. It is the continuous lifestyle of sin that indicates a person has not experienced regeneration through faith in Christ. Dennis Fisher

John MacArthur – Strength for Today – Searching for Wisdom

“‘Where can wisdom be found?’” (Job 28:12).

Wisdom is found in a Person, not a place.

In ancient days men would drill a shaft deep into a mountain or the ground, suspend themselves with a rope, and hang in the shaft while they tried to find some metal or precious stone to mine. In the Old Testament Job described the process this way: “He [man] sinks a shaft far from habitation, forgotten by the foot; they hang and swing to and fro far from men” (Job 28:4). The miner searched far below the earth’s surface for “anything precious” (v. 10).

Man goes to great efforts to search for precious metals. “But,” Job says, “where can wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? Man does not know its value, nor is it found in the land of the living. . . . Pure gold cannot be given in exchange for it, nor can silver be weighed as its price” (vv. 12-13, 15). Nothing in the world can buy wisdom, and it can’t be found in the things of the world.

So where does wisdom come from? Job says, “It is hidden from the eyes of all living. . . . Abaddon [Destruction] and Death say, ‘With our ears we have heard a report of it.’ God understands its way; and He knows its place” (vv. 2123). If you are searching for wisdom, go to God. He knows where wisdom is because “He looks to the ends of the earth, and sees everything under the heavens. . . . And to man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding’” (vv. 24, 28).

What is true wisdom? To fear God and depart from evil. Wisdom isn’t a question of how much you know, but of whether you love the Lord your God and depart from sin. Only when you pursue God will you know true wisdom.

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask God to help you adorn your life with the ornaments of His true wisdom and have a winsome testimony that attracts others to Christ.

For Further Study

Read the following verses, noting how both the Old and New Testaments tell us that God is the source of true wisdom: Job 9:4; Psalm 104:24; Proverbs 3:19-20; Romans 11:33; Ephesians 3:10; 1 Timothy 1:17 (NKJV).

Wisdom Hunters – Bear Much Fruit 

I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.    John 15:5

Much fruit that remains is the goal of a disciple of Christ. This glorifies God and accomplishes His purposes. Fruit- bearing glorifies God because He is the source of life for the fruit. No fruit can be produced without God. The branch is intrinsically dependent on the vine.

Therefore, we as followers of Christ cannot take credit for the fruit because the fruit comes from Jesus. He is the manufacturer of fruit and we are the distributors. The fruit remains luscious as the Father prunes back the unproductive branches. We do not always invite pruning, as it is painful and disfiguring in the beginning. But over time, submission to painful pruning produces beautiful and long-lasting fruit. Trust your heavenly Father with the pruning process, and you will be much better off.

So, what is the nature of this fruit He is creating and nurturing through us? It is the fruit of character and souls. As we abide in Christ, we become more like Christ. This is a natural result of remaining in Him. We become like the ones we hang out with the most. We start to love more unconditionally because God is love. We experience a fullness of joy because the joy of the Lord becomes our strength. A holy contentment flushes our countenance because the peace of Christ reigns over our hearts. An unselfish servant spirit fills our heart because Jesus set the ultimate example of servanthood.

Fruit-bearing is character-driven on behalf of souls for the glory of God. Character is a conduit for the Holy Spirit to draw others to Himself. You are saved for more than goodness. You are saved to bridge others to God. Much fruit that remains is the result of God working through a humble, obedient, and submitted life for His glory.

Continue reading Wisdom Hunters – Bear Much Fruit 

Joyce Meyer – God Will Never Give Up on You


…Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn you and continued My faithfulness to you.—Jeremiah 31:3

What your life amounts to is directly connected to what you think of yourself. We need to learn to think like God thinks. We must learn to identify with Christ and the new person He has made us to be.

In Scripture, God uses words such as “beautiful,” “honored,” “valued,” and “precious” when He is speaking of His children. There is no doubt that we are far less than perfect, that we have faults and weaknesses, but God is God and He views us the way He knows we can be.

He sees us as a finished project while we are making the journey. He sees the end from the beginning and is not worried about what takes place in between. He is not pleased with our sin and bad behavior, but He will never give up on us and He always encourages us to press on. God believes in you!

Prayer of Thanks: I am grateful, Father, that You are a good Father who loves me unconditionally. Help me to see myself as You see me. Thank You that even though I am a work in progress, You already have the finished result in mind.

From the book The Power of Being Thankful by Joyce Meyer

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – How to Obey God’s Laws

“So now we can obey God’s laws if we follow after the Holy Spirit and no longer obey the old evil nature within us” (Romans 8:4).

Are you not glad that the Word of God make things so simple? If we really want to obey God’s laws, His resources are available to us. First and foremost, the Holy Spirit abides within to guide us. While it is true that we have all of the Holy Spirit at the time of conversion, we cannot expect the full blessing and power of God until the Holy Spirit has full control of all of us.

As we appropriate the fullness of His Holy Spirit by faith, we are supplied with supernatural power to obey God’s laws. That supernatural power, even, is contingent upon our cooperation in that we must not only commit ourselves to the Holy Spirit but we must also be familiar with the Word of God if we are indeed to obey its commands.

Obedience is a key word in the Christian life. This verse points it out quite clearly, for we either obey God’s laws or we obey the old evil nature. The choice is ours as we are controlled and empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Someone has well pointed out that all of life, really, is nothing more nor less than a series of choices. The secret of the successful Christian life is in making the right choices. And even the wisdom to make the right choices is available – as a gift from God.

That leaves us, you and me, without excuse. We can, if we choose, through the enabling of the Holy Spirit, obey God’s laws and thus accomplish His purpose for us as believers.

Bible Reading: Galatians 5:16-26

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Drawing upon the supernatural resources of the Holy Spirit I choose to obey God’s laws rather than yield to the pull of my old evil nature

Ray Stedman – Kindness and Sternness

Read: Romans 11:1-24

Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. Romans 11:22

Paul speaks of the kindness and the sternness of God. If you come to God needy and repentant and acknowledging that you need help, you will always find him to be loving, gracious, open-armed, ready to help you, ready to forgive you, ready to give you all that you need. But if you come to God complaining, excusing yourself, justifying what you’ve been doing and trying to make it look good in his sight, you will always find that God is as hard as iron, and as merciless as fire, as stern as a judge. God will always turn that face toward those who come in self-pride and justification in their own strength.

This is the secret of the mystery of Israel and its blindness today. As long as the Jews come to God in that manner, they will always find a hard, iron-willed, stern God. But when they come in repentance, and, as Zechariah the prophet describes, when Jesus appears and they look at him whom they had pierced and they ask him Where did you get these wounds in your hands? he will say, These are those which I received in the house of my friends, (Zechariah 13:6). Then they will mourn for him as one mourns for any only child, and the mourning of Israel that day will be like the mourning for King Joash in the battle of Jezreal. The whole nation will mourn. Then God will take that nation, and they will replenish the earth. This is what Paul looks forward to.

This is a reminder to our own hearts of the faithfulness of God. His promises will not fail. God’s purposes will never be shortchanged. God is going to accomplish all that he says he will do. Though it may be a long way around, and though it may lead through many trials and temptations and hurts and heartaches, what God has said he will do, he will carry through. On that basis we can enter each day with a deep awareness of the faithfulness of our God.

Thank you, Holy Father, for your faithfulness. Thank you that you are the God of glory and the God of mercy. I do stand amazed at both the kindness and the sternness of God. Lord, teach me that you are not someone I can manipulate. Help me to bow before you in humble adoration at the grace that reaches out to me when I am ready to admit my need and come before you trembling and contrite.

Life Application

Kindness and sternness are both integral qualities of God’s character, each necessary to the full expression of His love. What are the appropriate responses to His kindness, and to His needed sternness?

Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Synergy

Read: 1 Corinthians 3:5-9

We are God’s fellow workers. (v. 9)

A popular term floating around today is the word synergy, which literally means “working together.” That’s the word Paul uses to describe himself and Apollos–and by extension all Christians. We are God’s fellow workers, God’s synergoi.

Does God require co workers? I don’t think so. After all, he created the entire universe all by himself, without any help from us. But then why does he take us on as his partners in mission? If it is not for his sake, then it must be for ours. Have you ever let your young child or grandchild help you out with a household project? You surely didn’t do it for the sake of greater speed or efficiency. You did it because you love the child, because you want him to learn and grow and stretch himself, because you know it will help her to feel important.

No doubt employing us as his partners is a very inefficient way for God to accomplish his work of salvation. After all, God could have used angels to convince everyone of the truth about Jesus. How impressive would angelic preachers be! God could choose some night to rearrange the stars in the heavens so that they spell out “Jesus is Lord!” Then everyone would know the truth. But he chooses instead to use us–our words and actions, our halting, faulty, often awkward witness to Christ–in order to bring life to the world.

In doing that God gives our lives eternal significance.

—David Bast


Lord, help me to work with you today.


Kids 4 Truth International – God Is Perfect

“As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.” (2 Samuel 22:31)

When Tracy was in elementary school, she decided she was going to be perfect. She decided she would never sin anymore: She would never talk back to her parents or tell a lie. She would never again fight over toys or demand her own way. She was going to be the world’s first-ever perfect kid.

Most people try to “be good” – but Tracy planned to go one step beyond that: “Be perfect!” And her plan even lasted for a little while! Probably for a whole five minutes or so.

It did not take Tracy very long to learn that the only perfect Person anywhere is God. God has never sinned, and He never will sin. God never had to make the decision – as Tracy did – not to sin. God just didn’t sin because God cannot sin. It is impossible for God to make mistakes. God cannot mess up on accident. God cannot mess up on purpose. God is God. He always has been and always will be absolutely perfect.

Part of God’s “being perfect” means that every decision He makes about you and your life is right. Part of God’s “being perfect” means that every decision He makes about your country and its leadership is right. Part of God’s “being perfect” means that every decision He makes about your family and your parents is right.

Romans 12:2 says, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.”

God’s will is perfect – which means every plan He has for you is perfect: It is the absolute best plan possible. The word “conform” means “to change shape.” So what is the verse saying? God’s job is to be perfect. Our job is to obey Him and submit to His perfect plans.

God cannot make mistakes any more than man can be perfect.

My Response:

» Am I having a hard time accepting something that God is doing in my life right now?

» How can I change my heart’s responses and my words and actions to show that I am trusting a perfect God Who never makes mistakes?

The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Keep Your Eye on the Goal

Today’s Scripture: Philippians 3:14

“I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

All of us face the pressure of more to do than we have time for. So we have to set priorities. We have to determine what’s most important in our lives. We have to ask, “do I really want to grow spiritually?”

Get your goal clearly in mind and keep focused on that. Paul used the analogy of the competitive races of his day to challenge the Corinthians to pay the price of growth: “do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air” (1 Corinthians 9:24-26).

In our case, we have an advantage over those Grecian runners. In a given race, only one received the prize, and it was only a wreath that would soon fade. But we’re not in competition with anyone. We can all get the prize, and it will last forever.

What is your spiritual goal? Do you really want to get the prize? Do you want to grow to be the man or woman God wants you to be? Do you want to pay the price of the spiritual disciplines you need to practice in order to grow? Or will you be content to sort of muddle through your Christian life and, at the end, have to sum it all up as no more meaningful than a trip to the corner store for a loaf of bread?

The choice is yours. What will it be?

The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Help for the Hurting

Today’s Scripture: Job 15-17

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. – James 5:16

When we hear about someone who has been brought low, either through his own sin or through no fault of his own, do we weep over it? Or are we quick to condemn–quick to pass on gossip? It’s easy to snicker and to take on a holier-than-thou attitude. But it’s more profitable to pray.

In today’s passage, we find Job’s friends doing everything but comforting him. They try to expose some hidden transgression. They cast doubt on the integrity of his family. They bring his honesty into question and imply that he obtained his wealth by dishonest means.

Finally, Job cries out, “My friends scorn me, but mine eye poureth out tears unto God. Oh, that one might plead for a man with God, as a man pleadeth for his neighbor!” (16:20-21, KJV). That’s the need. Rather than punishing people with words that are as sharp as knives, we need to pray for them with words that are directed by the spirit of truth. It is through prayer that we can help hurting people focus their eyes on Christ.

The Bible challenges us to run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. And during the painful process, the Bible tells us to “consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:3). Is there a person you know who is suffering right now? Will you take a few minutes and pray for that individual?


Lord, just as You have showed mercy to me, give me a heart of compassion for the frailty of others and a passion to pray for them. Amen.

To Ponder

It is through prayer that we can help hurting people focus their eyes on Christ.

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – WORK IS MEANINGLESS ANXIETY APART FROM GOD


An article in New York magazine reports: “Ever since the 1930s, young people in America have reported feeling increasingly anxious and depressed.” Symptoms include trouble remembering or concentrating, not sleeping well, and dizzy spells or headaches. One researcher believes a main cause is the isolation of modern life; that is, we have less meaningful work and family relationships than people did in the past.

In all eras of human history, as Ecclesi- astes observes, work is meaningless anxiety apart from God. Since one must work to live, work and life are seen as equivalent in today’s reading. “Under the sun,” they are both “chasing after the wind” (v. 17)—or as we might say, as pointless as a dog chasing its own tail.

The fundamental reason is that you can’t take it with you (vv. 18–19). Whatever one gathers or achieves through work must be left to the next generation—who might or might not deserve it, and who might use it wisely or squander it (see Ps. 39:6; Eccl. 4:8; Luke 12:13–21). In either case, it’s beyond the control of the one who did the work. Skill and effort seem to be emptied of their meaning. This leads to a feeling of despair; labor seems meaningless and futile.

“Under the sun,” work has no real purpose (vv. 20–23). It’s all “anxious striving,” grief, random chance, and restless nights. But there is another perspective, one “above the sun” (vv. 24–26). If we understand that our work comes from the hand of God, we understand that any satisfaction or lasting value from it is also in His hands. The full perspective on this emerges or unfolds in the rest of Ecclesiastes. For today, we highlight the important truth that faith instead of worry treats all things as coming from and held within the hand of God.


Solomon’s observations about work aren’t surprising in light of Genesis 3:17–19. There we learn that the Fall and sin marred what God meant work to be. If you have some extra time, read Genesis 1 and 2 with this issue in mind. What did God intend for “work” to be in Eden? How might it be redeemed for us as followers of Christ?