In Touch Ministries; Charles Stanley – A Necessary but Challenging Lesson

Patience is a fruit that can be difficult to exhibit, but we must always seek God’s will and wait for His perfect timing.

Psalm 27:7-14

There are many lessons for us to learn in the Christian life, and one of the hardest involves patience. When we have a problem, we want an immediate solution, but that’s not always God’s will for us. He wants us to trust Him and leave the timing in His hands. 

As you read today’s passage from Psalm 27, notice that David coupled the admonition to wait upon God with encouragement to be strong and courageous (Psalm 27:14). In our culture, people are quick to act because they’re afraid of missing out on something; it takes courage to go against this trend and be still while the world rushes past. There are even many believers who have bought into that attitude. Instead of waiting for God’s timing, they make a move and ask God to bless it.  

Are you asking the Lord for guidance or provision but hear only His silence? Jesus addressed this issue when He said that if we seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness, then whatever we need will be provided (Matt. 6:33). As you wait, ask the Lord for His peace and patience. Then trust Him to take care of any remaining needs in His perfect time.

Bible in One Year: 1 Timothy 1-3

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — A Worthwhile Wait

Bible in a Year:

The Lord longs to be gracious to you . . . . Blessed are all who wait for him!

Isaiah 30:18

Today’s Scripture & Insight:

Isaiah 30:15–19

Stuck in a stressful job with long hours and an unreasonable boss, James wished he could quit. But he had a mortgage, a wife, and a young child to take care of. He was tempted to resign anyway, but his wife reminded him: “Let’s hang on and see what God will give us.”

Many months later, their prayers were answered. James found a new job that he enjoyed and gave him more time with the family. “Those months were long,” he told me, “but I’m glad I waited for God’s plan to unfold in His time.”

Waiting for God’s help in the midst of trouble is hard; it can be tempting to try to find our own solution first. The Israelites did just that: under threat from their enemies, they sought help from Egypt instead of turning to God (Isaiah 30:2). But God told them that if they would repent and put their trust in Him, they would find strength and salvation (v. 15). In fact, He added, “the Lord longs to be gracious to you” (v. 18).

Waiting for God takes faith and patience. But when we see His answer at the end of it all, we’ll realize it was worth it: “Blessed are all who wait for him!” (v. 18). And what’s even more amazing, God is waiting for us to come to Him!

By:  Leslie Koh

Reflect & Pray

What prayer request has you waiting on God? How can you meditate on His faithfulness as you seek His answer?

Father, give me the patience to wait for Your answer. I know You’re a good and loving God whose timing and will are always perfect.

Learn more about waiting.

http://www.odb.org

Grace to You; John MacArthur – Worship of Distinction

“When He again brings the first-born into the world, He says, ‘And let all the angels of God worship Him'” (Heb. 1:6).

Jesus Christ is greater than angels because He is worshiped.

Even though Jesus Christ humbled Himself and was made lower than the angels for a time, angels are still to worship Him. Since angels are to worship Him, then Christ must be greater than them.

Angels have always worshiped Christ, only they worshiped Him as God. It wasn’t until His incarnation that angels were commanded to worship Him as God’s Son. It is a sin to worship anyone or anything but God—in fact, note how sternly the apostle John was rebuked for worshiping angels (Rev. 19:1022:8-9). So the very fact that angels are to worship Christ verifies that Christ is indeed God.

At present, the angels don’t fully understand the entire picture of God’s redemptive plan. Peter tells us that the prophets didn’t understand all that they wrote, “seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow” (1 Pet. 1:11). Then he added, “Things into which angels long to look” (v. 12). They are still trying to figure out things they don’t understand.

But that won’t always be the case. Notice that Hebrews 1:6 says, “When He again brings the first-born into the world” (emphasis added). God already brought Christ into the world once—at the second coming He will bring Him into the world in blazing glory. Then the fullness of the prophecy of Psalm 97:7 quoted in Hebrews 1:6 will come to pass: “Let all the angels of God worship Him.”

In His second coming Christ is revealed in full glory as the Son. More than ever we have reason to join the heavenly chorus in declaring, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing” (Rev. 5:12).

Suggestion for Prayer

Thank God for His wonderful plan of salvation. Ask Him to make it more real to you every day.

For Further Study

Read Revelation 5:1-11 and note the reactions of the angels to the Lamb of God. What specific event motivated their response?

http://www.gty.org/

Joyce Meyer – Positive Minds

Jesus said, Go; it shall be done for you as you have believed.

— Matthew 8:13 (AMPC)

Sometimes when I stand behind the pulpit, and before I speak, I pause and my gaze sweeps across the audience. I look at the faces of the people. I love to see the bright smiles and expressions of anticipation, but there are always a few who look downtrodden and discouraged. I don’t know anything about them, and I don’t want to judge them, but their faces look sad. They look as if they have lost hope and expect nothing positive to happen and too often, they get exactly what they expect. 

I understand those discouraged people; I was once one of them. 

Here’s a simple fact I’ve learned: Positive minds produce positive lives, but negative minds produce negative lives. The New Testament tells the story of a Roman soldier whose servant was sick, and the soldier wanted Jesus to heal him. That wasn’t uncommon many wanted Jesus to heal them or their loved ones in those days. But this soldier, instead of asking Jesus to come to his servant, expressed his belief that if Jesus would just speak the word, his servant would be healed (see Matthew 8:8). Jesus marveled at his faith and sent out His word to heal the servant. The soldier’s positive mindset his faith brought positive results. He expected healing, and that’s exactly what happened. 

Too often, we cry to Jesus to heal us, to take care of our finances, or to deliver us from problems, but we don’t fully expect the good things to happen. We allow our minds to focus on the negative aspects. Doubt and unbelief war against our minds and steal our faith ifwe allow it. 

As I wrote in my book Battlefield of the Mind, many years ago I was extremely negative. I used to say that if I had two positive thoughts in a row, my mind would get in a cramp. That’s an exaggeration, of course, but that’s how I saw myself. I lived with the same philosophy that other people have: If we don’t expect anything good to happen, we won’t be disappointed when it doesn’t.

I could have excused my negative attitude by telling everyone about my disappointments in life and I had many. It wasn’t just my lack of expectation. It was more than that. Because I thought negatively, I spoke negatively. When people told me of their spiritual victories, I’d think, That won’t last. When people spoke of their faith, I’d smile, but inwardly I would think that they were gullible. I could always figure out ways that plans would go wrong or people would disappoint me. 

Was I happy? Of course not. Negative thinkers are never happy. It’s too long of a story to explain how I came to face that reality, but once I realized what a negative person I was, I cried out to the Lord to help me. 

I learned that if I kept studying the Word of God, I could push away negative thoughts. God’s Word is positive and uplifting. My responsibility was to become the kind of believer who honors God with her thoughts, as well as with her actions and her deeds. 

I understood the remorse David must have felt when he wrote Psalm 51: Have mercy upon me, 0 God, according to Your steadfast love… is the way he starts. I especially meditated on verse 9: Hide Your face from my sins and blot out all my guilt and iniquities. I hadn’t sinned the same way David did, of course, but my negative thinking and bad attitude was sin. It wasn’t just weakness or a bad habit. When I focused on negative thinking, I was rebelling against God. 

The Lord had mercy on me. As I continued in His Word and in prayer, He freed me from Satan’s stronghold. Freedom is available for all of us.

Prayer Starter: Gracious God, thank You for every deliverance in my life. Thank You for setting me free from negative and wrong thinking. Thank You for defeating Satan in this area of my life, amen.

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg –More Grace Brings More Joy

. . . Salt without prescribing how much.

Ezra 7:22

Salt was used in every offering made by fire to the Lord, and with its preserving and purifying properties it was the grateful emblem of divine grace in the soul. It is worthy of our careful attention that when Artaxerxes gave salt to Ezra the priest, he set no limit to the quantity, and we may be quite certain that when the King of kings distributes grace among His royal priesthood, the supply is not cut short by Him.

In ourselves we are often in short supply, but never in the Lord. He who chooses to gather much manna will find that he may have as much as he desires. There is no famine in Jerusalem that causes the citizens to eat their bread by weight and drink their water by measure.

Some things in the economy of grace are measured; for instance our vinegar and gall are given us with such exactness that we never have a single drop too much; but the salt of grace is not restricted in its provision. “Ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”1

Parents need to lock up the fruit cupboard and the candy jars, but there is no need to keep the salt-box under lock and key, for few children will eat too greedily from that.

A man may have too much money or too much honor, but he cannot have too much grace. When Jeshurun grew fat, he forsook God, but there is no fear of a man’s becoming too full of grace: A plethora of grace is impossible. More wealth brings more care, but more grace brings more joy. Increased wisdom is increased sorrow, but an abundance of the Spirit is fullness of joy.

Believer, go to the throne for a large supply of heavenly salt. It will season your afflictions, which are unsavory without salt; it will preserve your heart, which grows corrupt if salt is absent; and it will kill your sins even as salt kills reptiles. You need much; seek much and have much.

1) John 15:7

Devotional material is taken from Morning and Evening, written by C. H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg. 

http://www.truthforlife.org

Kids4Truth Clubs Daily Devotional – God Understands More Than Any Human Being Could

“Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child. But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.” (Jeremiah 1:4-7)

Lucas and Aunt Jo were riding in the back seat of a taxi cab. This was Lucas’s first time ever to visit New York City, and he was really excited. This morning, Aunt Jo had taken him to see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. In a book at a museum there, they had looked up the name of Lucas’s great-great-grandfather, who had come to America from Germany in 1906.

Lucas wondered if his great-great-grandfather had been able to speak English when he first moved to America. He wondered how long it had taken him to learn it. Lucas loved learning languages. He had been studying Spanish through a video class at home two days a week, and he was already able to say a few sentences.

The taxi-cab driver looked back at Lucas in the rearview mirror. From his brown eyes and dark complexion, Lucas wondered whether the taxi-cab driver was Latino, and if maybe he spoke Spanish. Maybe this man was an immigrant, too, like the ones Lucas had learned about at Ellis Island. Maybe this man would one day have great-great-grandchildren coming to visit New York City for the first time. In his mind, Lucas tried to come up with the right Spanish words he could say to ask the taxi-cab driver some questions, but he just couldn’t think of what to say or how to say it. Besides, he was not even sure whether the man would know Spanish!

Those of us who are trying to learn more and more about the world God put us in can find it overwhelming! There are so many people on the globe, and they are all kinds of people. They speak different languages. They have different hobbies and interests. They look very different from one another. They have different kinds of relationships with one another. They live in many different types of places. There is no way any human being alive today could know or talk to everybody on the planet today – not even with the help of modern technology.

But God can know. He created people. He invented their languages. He is able to understand all their cultural differences, and he knows the dreams and needs of each and every person alive. Not only that, but He knows the dreams and needs of every person who has already lived and died, and of every person who will ever live and die in the future! Do you think this is incredible? It would be unbelievable, if we were talking about just a human being. But this passage in Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:4-7) teaches us that our Creator knows us more closely than any other person.

Lucas might wish he could talk to people who have already died and asked them questions – people like his own great-great-grandfather! Or Lucas might wish he knew even enough Spanish to be able to ask the taxi-cab driver where he had come from. Maybe Lucas would have liked to see all of New York City, to really learn it and know it “inside and out.” But Lucas could do none of those things. Why? Because he is only human. We can be thankful to know a God Who is great and good enough to understand everything about everyone.

Because He is God, God knows us and everything around us better than anyone.

My Response:
» Do I get overwhelmed sometimes just thinking of all there must be that I do NOT know?
» Who can I trust to know everything and everyone more closely than anyone else?
» How can I show that I believe God is as great and good as He says He is in His Word?

Denison Forum – “I really think the Lord will somehow use this tragedy for good”

There were at least fifty tornado reports during a horrific outbreak this weekend. More than eighty people are feared dead in Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee. Kentucky was hit especially hard: homes were demolished, businesses were leveled, and rescuers scrambled to find survivors. A massive Amazon warehouse in Illinois was also smashed by a tornado, killing at least six people.

Wes Fowler, pastor of First Baptist Church in Mayfield, Kentucky, walked through what remained of his church building Saturday morning and said: “What I’ve already told our church is we teach and preach it and now we have to live it—the campus and facility is not the church. It’s the people.”

He added, “I really think the Lord will somehow use this tragedy for good. I just don’t know how yet.”

“Why, O Lᴏʀᴅ, do you stand far away?”

Tragedy is a tragic fact of life. From horrific events such as the truck crash in Mexico that killed fifty-five migrants Thursday evening to the escalating loneliness epidemic that now affects 31 percent of Americans every day, it is normal and natural for us to ask with the psalmist, “Why, O Lᴏʀᴅ, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” (Psalm 10:1).

But the fact is, God does not hide himself in times of trouble. He grieves as we grieve (cf. John 11:35) and walks with us through the “waters,” “rivers,” and “fire” of our broken world (Isaiah 43:2). Because “the Lᴏʀᴅ is near to the brokenhearted” (Psalm 34:18), you and I can claim the fact that “the Lᴏʀᴅ is near to all who call on him” (Psalm 145:18).

God proved his solidarity with suffering humanity when he entered the human race. Unique among the world’s religions is the Christmas miracle whereby “Christ Jesus, who though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:6–7).

In Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis explained the incarnation this way: “The Eternal Being, who knows everything and who created the whole universe, became not only a man but (before that) a baby, and before that a fetus inside a woman’s body. If you want to get the hang of it, think how you would like to become a slug or a crab.”

Henri Nouwen experienced the miracle of such grace: “It is hard to believe that God would reveal his divine presence to us in the self-emptying, humble way of the man from Nazareth. So much in me seeks influence, power, success, and popularity. But the way of Jesus is the way of hiddenness, powerlessness, and littleness. It does not seem a very appealing way. Yet when I enter into true, deep communion with Jesus, I will find that it is this small way that leads to real peace and joy.”

“Let us now hold onto the Word”

Our greatest gift we can give suffering people is to invite them to share Nouwen’s experience by pointing them to the Christ of Christmas.

John the Baptist understood well the privilege and urgency of this calling. When invited to claim the status of Messiah for himself, he was adamant: “I am not the Christ” (John 1:20). Rather, he said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said” (v. 23).

In a sermon on John the Baptist’s ministry, St. Augustine noted: “John [was] a voice; the Lord, however, in the beginning was the Word (John 1:1). John a voice for a time, Christ the eternal Word from the beginning. Take away the word, and what is a voice? Where there is no meaning, it’s just an empty noise. A voice without the word knocks at the ear, it doesn’t build up the intellect. . . .

“So the sound, having conveyed the word to you, doesn’t the very sound seem to say, ‘It is necessary for him to grow, but for me to diminish’? The sound of the voice rang out to perform its service, and departed, as if saying, ‘This joy of mine is now complete’ (John 3:3029).

“Let us now hold onto the Word, let us not lose the Word conveyed in the very marrow of our minds.”

“Christianity or Christ?”

St. Augustine is right, of course: we must “hold onto the Word” personally if we are to convey him to others.

This fact was made clear to me recently in an account of the Shantung Revival of the 1930s in China, one of the greatest movements of the Holy Spirit in the twentieth century. C. L. Culpepper’s stirring account of this remarkable awakening begins with the desperation of the people. Seventy churches had died; many others were dying.

The best-known evangelist in the region, on the point of despair, expressed his fear that more than a thousand church members “had been converted to Christianity, not to Christ.” In response, Christians began to call on God for a mighty movement of his Spirit, and the revival was the result.

If Satan cannot keep us from becoming Christians, he will do all he can to lead us to be committed to Christianity rather than to Christ. He knows that the key to the spiritual transformation we need so desperately is not a religion about Jesus but an intimate, transforming relationship with him.

Are you being tempted in this way? Would the Holy Spirit say you are committed to Christianity or to Christ?

“Our firm anchor still holds fast”

Our best Christmas gift for hurting people is helping them experience Christ. Who do you know who needs the Jesus you know? How will you give them what has been given to you?

What trials and tempests are you facing personally? Will you name them and bring them to the One who came at Christmas just for you?

The hymn writer offers us the hope our storm-tossed souls need:

In the world’s despair and turmoil
One firm anchor still holds fast,
God is on his throne eternal,
He alone the first and last.

Who or what is your anchor today?

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