Charles Stanley – The Call for a Believer

 

Ephesians 4:1

Years ago, God temporarily allowed me to have such physical ailments that I could do nothing but lie in bed. At first I felt frustrated, but eventually I began to realize His plan for this trial. Life had become too busy for me to hear something the Lord needed to tell me. He certainly managed to get my attention by stilling my physical body!

After leading us to salvation, God still has work to do in our life. If we listen carefully, we’ll be able to hear our Father directing us in three ways.

First, the Lord calls us to sanctification. This means being set apart by Him and for Him. Through His Spirit, He continually reminds us to use His power and resources so we can obey and live righteously.

Second, He calls us to service. The Lord has planned good works for us to accomplish (Eph. 2:10), and He gives us abilities, time, and resources for that purpose.

Third, He calls us to accountability. Romans 14:12 teaches that one day we all will give an account of how we used the resources God gave us to glorify Him. This report will be based on the truth we’ve heard and the opportunities that were available. So we should be sure to listen daily as our heavenly Father reminds us to utilize it all for His glory.

Has life become so hectic that God’s voice is inaudible? Foster your own ability to listen by spending time in the Word and waiting for answers when you pray. And teach your children to tune in so they can hear God, too. What a shame it would be to tackle life without guidance from above.

Bible in One Year: 1 Chronicles 16-18

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Standing on the Promises

 

Read: John 15:5–8 | Bible in a Year: 1 Kings 21–22; Luke 23:26–56

Ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. John 15:7

My friend’s brother (when they were both children) assured his sister an umbrella had enough lift to hold her up if she would only “believe.” So “by faith” she jumped off a barn roof and knocked herself out, suffering a minor concussion.

What God has promised, He will do. But we must be sure we stand on God’s actual word when we claim a promise, for only then do we have the assurance that God will do or give what He’s promised. Faith has no power in itself. It only counts when it’s based on a clear and unambiguous promise from God. Anything else is just wishful thinking.

This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit. John 15:8

Here’s a case in point: God has promised, “Ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit” (John 15:7–8). These verses are not a promise that God will answer every prayer we utter, but rather a promise that He will respond to every longing for personal righteousness, what Paul calls “the fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22–23). If we hunger and thirst for holiness and ask God for it, He will begin to satisfy us. It will take time; for spiritual growth, like human growth, is gradual. Don’t give up. Keep asking God to make you holy. In His time and at His pace “it will be done for you.” God doesn’t make promises He doesn’t keep.

Dear Lord, thank You for Your many promises to us in Your Word. And thank You for sending Your Holy Spirit who gives discernment.

Read about the promises of God at discoveryseries.org/q0105.

We have a promise-keeping God.

By David H. Roper

INSIGHT

The context of abiding in the vine (John 15:1–8) is vital to understanding this passage, but it’s even more helpful to take a step back and look at the entire scene. It’s the night before Christ will be crucified. Judas has already gone to betray Jesus (John 13:30). Jesus and His disciples have just departed the upper room where they shared the Last Supper. As they walk, the Lord refers to two metaphorical groups: branches that bear fruit and those that don’t. The good branches abide in the vine and are pruned (disciplined). Unfruitful branches don’t abide and are cut off.

 

Bible scholar William Hendriksen points out the significance of Judas’s recent departure in light of Jesus’s words here. Judas did not abide in the vine. Jesus encouraged the remaining disciples to abide and “bear much fruit” (v. 8). Significantly, the eleven who remained were all persecuted for defending the faith. Ten of them died for it (tradition says John died peacefully in his old age after returning from Patmos). Yet God kept His promise to them. Although He did not deliver them from physical attacks, He gave them boldness to proclaim the truth.

We who “abide in the vine” will be “pruned.” What might that mean for us?

Tim Gustafson

 

http://www.odb.org

Wisdom Hunters – Christ’s Second Coming 

 

For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.   Matthew 16:27

Jesus came the first time in a modest manger to save the people from their sin. He was not the King, but He threatened the King. Jesus is coming soon a second time with a grand entrance as King of Kings to judge the people for their sin and dead works. He rode the first time on a humble donkey, but He will ride this second time on a brazen horse.

Christ’s second coming must matter most to the church because we are His bride, the Body of Christ. How can the church be ready to greet its Godly groom Jesus? Like any faithful wife whose husband is away traveling for work, or waging war overseas, we want to greet Him with a holy kiss. A faithful church is not conformed by the culture, rather it conforms the culture. The faithful Bride of Christ is ready to rejoice at His glorious sight!

“Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints” (Revelation 19:7-8).

When Christ comes back He wants to catch the church evangelizing the lost and making disciples. He hungers for her disputes to be with the devil and not with each other. A humble church does not use finances to build man’s kingdom, but instead deploys resources to advance the Kingdom of God. The church is ready for Christ’s return when she serves the poor, ministers to the Body, prays for the sick and preaches the gospel!

“May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones” (1 Thessalonians 3:12-13).

Christ’s coming is also compelling for individual Christians. We want to be about our Lord’s business and not preoccupied with activities and assets that will burn up one day. The Judgment Seat of Christ is for Christians to not be judged for salvation, but to be judged for the quality of their works. You are wise when you invest in eternal matters with your time and money. Christ-like character, missions, prayer, Bible teaching, corporate and individual worship and service in the community all make Jesus smile. When Christ comes make sure He catches you about your Father’s business:

“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:9-11).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I wait on Your Son’s second return with active love and obedience to Your commands.

Application: Are my priorities a reflection of my anticipation of  Christ’s Second Coming?

Related Readings: Ecclesiastes 12:14; Matthew 23:13; 1 Corinthians 3:9-15; 4:5

Worship Resource: 5-minute music video- Jamie Wilson: Ain’t Grave

Taken from Seeking Daily the Heart of God v.2

 

http://www.wisdomhunters.com/

Joyce Meyer – You Could Use a Blessing

 

See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek that which is good for one another and for all people. — 1 Thessalonians 5:15

This Scripture in 1 Thessalonians tells us to always show kindness. Living in this generous kind of way is pleasing to God. There are many other scriptures that also tell us to be good to everybody, not just those we consider to be like-minded with or who are in our church.

Even if someone is your employee and they serve you, you should think of ways that you can serve them also. When you get your morning coffee, bring one for them. Pick up after yourself and don’t make extra work for them. The people who help us in our lives should always be shown appreciation.

My daughter once wrote a note of appreciation to her garbage collectors and gave them a gift card to get lunch. I think these things not only bless people, but can often be shocking because they almost never happen. The world is filled with people who work hard doing jobs that are not very pleasant, and yet nobody notices.

I once saw a woman cleaning the bathroom at a department store where I shop, and I gave her some money and said, “You look like you work hard and I thought you could use a blessing.” I smiled and quickly left. A few minutes later, she found me in the shoe department and expressed her gratitude and told me how this act of kindness lifted her up. She told me that she did indeed work hard and felt nobody paid much attention to that fact.

You’ll be amazed at how your joy will increase if you make a habit of noticing those who usually aren’t noticed. God watches out for them, and He will be delighted to have you make yourself available as His partner in this endeavor.

Prayer Starter: Father, help me to be a blessing to everyone I come in contact with today. Please lead and guide me by Your Spirit and show me practical ways I can encourage those who aren’t often recognized. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Christ Lives in Me

 

“I have been crucified with Christ: and I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. And the real life I now have within this body is a result of my trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me (Galatians 2:20).

After many years of working with thousands of Christians, I am convinced that a person cannot enjoy the supernatural life – which is a believer’s heritage in Christ – apart from the proper balance between Bible study, prayer and sharing Christ with others out of the overflow of an obedient, Spirit-filled life.

We need to be able not only to experience this great adventure with Christ ourselves, but also to share this good news with others.

A word of caution and reminder is in order at this point. We become spiritual and experience power from God and become fruitful in our witness as a result of faithand faith alone.

The Bible clearly teaches that “the just shall live by faith” Romans 1:17. However, it is equally important to know that good works are the result of faith – “trusting in the Son of God” – and unless there are “good works” there is not faith, for “faith without works is dead” (James 2:17).

Many Christians are confused on this point. They think of works (Bible study, prayer and other spiritual disciplines) as the meansto, rather than the resultsof, the life of faith. They spend much time in these activities, seeking God’s favor and blessing.

They may even attempt to witness for Christ and to obey the various commands of God, thinking that by these means they will achieve supernatural living. But they remain defeated, frustrated, powerless and fruitless.

As you are filled with the Holy Spirit – “Christ living in me” – and walk in His power by faith, the Bible becomes alive, prayer becomes vital, your witness becomes effective and obedience becomes a joy.

Bible Reading:Galatians 2:15-19

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will seek to remember that Christ lives in me, in the person of His indwelling Holy Spirit, and thus I have all I need for supernatural living, for victory and joy and peace.

 

http://www.cru.org

Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – An Empty or Full Name?

 

Read: Philippians 2:5-11

God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name. (v. 9)

What does it mean to “take the name of the Lord your God in vain?” (Exod. 20:7). In the ancient world, a person’s name was a core part of who they were, as real as the color of their eyes, or the sound of their voice. A name was more than a placeholder or an empty sign. The name of “the Lord” (Yahweh) was linked in a deep way to God’s presence (Exod. 3:13-15). From this perspective, taking the Lord’s name “in vain,” or “as vanity,” is treating the Lord’s name as if it is empty, hollow, nothing. It is speaking as if God does not exist, treating him like an imaginary friend.

When Jesus Christ became human and died on the cross, he conquered this vanity in a surprising way. He made himself nothing for us. Paul writes that he “emptied himself,” sinking into the nothingness of death itself. But after he rose from the dead and ascended on high, Jesus’ name was not empty anymore. No, quite the opposite: as the ascended Lord, he “fills all in all” (Eph. 1:23), and the whole world will one day bow to worship not an empty name but the One whose name is above every name, Jesus Christ.

One way that we can fulfill the third commandment is by always and everywhere speaking and acting as if Jesus is Lord of all. God doesn’t want us to treat his name like it’s nothing. It’s everything. —Steven Rodriguez

Prayer: Lord, help me to pray like you’re actually there.

 

https://woh.org/

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – THE TROUBLE WITH TOLERANCE

 

Revelation 2:18–29

In recent years, debates have flared up over the limits of free speech. Should anyone be given a platform, no matter his views? Can someone attempt to silence a person whom she finds dangerous or threatening? Some observers condemn the students for their intellectual intolerance, while others argue that reprehensible ideas should not be tolerated.

Are there limits to tolerance? The Bible’s answer is yes. When it comes to the church, some practices should not be tolerated. The same is true for doctrine. False teaching should not be tolerated but must be rooted out. The church in Thyatira had permitted a false teacher who claimed to possess the gift of prophecy to mislead others. This had opened the door to both sinful practices and false teaching. Jesus nicknamed this false teacher “Jezebel,” after the wicked queen who killed the true prophets of Israel and enticed God’s people to worship Baal (v. 20; see 1 Kings 19).

The nature of Jezebel’s teaching was what Jesus had condemned in Pergamum. She claimed to reveal secret truth, enticing her followers to eat meat sacrificed to idols and to commit sexual immorality. God had “tolerated” her ministry for a time, but only in order to give her a chance to repent (v. 21). Now the time for patience was over.

Jesus promised to “cast her on a bed of suffering” and “strike her children dead” (vv. 22–23). To a culture that values tolerance, this response seems harsh. But Jesus understood the destructive nature of her teaching and the vulnerability of this church. The cultural environment in Thyatira was so toxic that the only command Jesus gave to those who had not yet succumbed to Jezebel’s false teaching was to “hold on” until His return (v. 25).

APPLY THE WORD

False teaching opens the door to immoral practice, and moral compromise is frequently justified by modifying biblical doctrine. Consider what beliefs or practices you have been willing to tolerate that might lead you away from the truth. Take the opportunity from God that Jezebel refused: repent from sin and hold on to Jesus.

 

http://www.todayintheword.org