Category Archives: The Navigators

The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Say No

Today’s Scripture: Titus 2:11-12

“The grace of God has appeared . . . training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions.”

Grace teaches us to say no to ungodliness. Ungodliness in its broadest form basically comprises disregarding God, ignoring him, or not taking him into account in one’s life. It’s a lack of fear and reverence for him. The wickedness portrayed by Paul in Romans 1:18-32 all starts with the idea that “although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him” (verse 21, NIV). A person may be highly moral and even benevolent and still be ungodly.

When we trust in Christ as our savior, we bring a habit of ungodliness into our Christian lives. We were accustomed to living without regard for God. As unbelievers, we cared neither for his glory nor his will. Basically, we ignored him. But now that we have been delivered from the dominion of sin and brought under the reign of grace, grace teaches us to renounce this attitude (as well as actions) of ungodliness. Obviously this training does not occur all at once. In fact, God will be rooting out ungodliness from our lives as long as we live on this earth.

Grace also teaches us to say no to worldly passions, the inordinate desire for and preoccupation with the things of this life, such as possessions, prestige, pleasure, or power. “For this world in its present form is passing away” (1 Corinthians 7:31, NIV).

Saying no to ungodliness and worldly passions basically means a decisive break with those attitudes and practices. In one sense, this decisive break is a divine act that occurred when we died to the dominion of sin in our lives. In another sense, we’re to work out this breach with sin by putting to death the misdeeds of the body (Romans 8:13).

 

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The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Lord of All

Today’s Scripture: Genesis 1-2

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. – Matthew 6:33

The Bible begins with a mystery: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” What’s so mysterious about that, you say? Did you know the Hebrew word for God in this passage is plural? All three persons of the Trinity were involved in the creation of the world.

The Bible says the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters and God the Father created all things by Jesus Christ. “For by him”–that is, by Jesus Christ–“all things were created” (Colossians 1:16). That means all things spiritual and physical, including your spiritual and physical life, came through Jesus Christ. Is it any wonder that God’s Word reminds us that in all things His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, must be preeminent in our lives. Just as He was Lord at creation, so He is Lord today.

Does Jesus Christ have priority in every area of your life? What about your appointment calendar? How are you spending your time? Is Jesus Christ squeezed out of your schedule because you’re too busy?

Christ is present in all Christians. In some, He is prominent. In only a few is He preeminent. Why not make sure the Lord Jesus Christ dwells supreme in the throne room of your heart.

Prayer

Lord, speak to me about the priorities of my day. Give me the power and wisdom to glorify You in my life today. Amen.

To Ponder

Our seemingly small troubles have eternal value with God, and He is lovingly fitting all things together for our good.

 

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The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Everything for Us

Today’s Scripture: 1 John 3:16

“He laid down his life for us.”

The law of God set forth in Scripture is a transcript of God’s own moral nature. It’s the law that was fully imprinted on Adam’s heart as part of his being created in God’s image. It’s the same law that the apostle Paul said is still written on people’s hearts regardless of how obscured it may now be (Romans 2:12-16). It’s a universal law applicable to all people of all times.

The apostle Paul was referring to this universal moral will of God when he wrote that Christ was “born under the law” (Galatians 4:4). Jesus was born under the law because he came to perfectly obey it in our place. He came to do what we, because of our sinful nature, could not do.

There is, however, another significant dimension to Jesus’ obedience. As our representative, he not only was obligated to obey the precepts of the law, but also to suffer its penalty for our violation of it. This obligation he freely assumed in obedience to the Father’s will.

So Jesus not only obeyed the Father’s universal moral will, which we call the law of God; he also obeyed the Father’s specific will for him, namely to suffer the penalty for our sin. The writer of Hebrews referred to this specific will of God for Jesus when he wrote, “and by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Hebrews 10:10, NIV).

In recent years Christians have tended to focus on the death of Christ almost to the neglect of his sinless life. Jesus’ life of perfect obedience has been seen mostly as a necessary precondition to his death. However, Jesus not only died for us; he also lived for us. All that Christ did in both his life and death, he did in our place as our substitute. (Excerpt taken from The Gospel for Real Life)

 

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The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Money Hungry

Today’s Scripture: Judges 17-21

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. – 1 Timothy 6:10

In Judges 18, a son steals money from his mother, but returns it for fear of a curse she pronounced on the thief. The silver in question is soon forged into the image of a pagan god, but in fact, this money had become a god in the lives of these two long before it took the form of an idol.

In chapter 19, we find the same theme, a Levite who cannot resist an offer of wages, clothing, and food. Clearly, these material concerns have crowded out his desire to serve the Lord. When a more attractive financial offer is made, he accepts it without seeking spiritual counsel or the will of God. If it would give him more money, that was all that mattered.

As the book of Judges ends, we see idolatry spread from this one household to an entire tribe. We are told that each man did what was right in his own eyes. The result? One of the blackest periods in the history of the Old Testament people of God.

When people leave the Bible and begin to make up their own rules, anything can happen. There is no sin too vile, no activity too foul. We can see it in today’s headlines. And if we look closely enough, we can see the same tendencies in our own hearts. We need to fall on our knees, plead with God for mercy, and rededicate ourselves to Him.

Prayer

Lord, reveal to me if there’s anything that has become an idol in my life. Amen.

To Ponder

What is your attitude toward the things of this world?

 

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The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Who Needs Grace Most?

Today’s Scripture: Philippians 1:7

“You are all partakers with me of grace.”

All of us need grace, the saint as well as the sinner. The most conscientious, dutiful, hardworking Christian needs God’s grace as much as the most dissolute, hard-living sinner. All of us need the same grace. The sinner doesn’t need more grace than the saint, nor does the immature and undisciplined believer need more than the godly, zealous missionary. We all need the same amount because the “currency” of our good works is debased and worthless before God.

Grace considers all people as totally undeserving and unable to do anything to earn the blessing of God. C. Samuel Storms has aptly written, “Grace ceases to be grace if God is compelled to bestow it in the presence of human merit. Grace ceases to be grace if God is compelled to withdraw it in the presence of human demerit. [Grace] is treating a person . . . solely according to the infinite goodness and sovereign purpose of God.”

This description of God’s grace cuts both ways: It can neither be earned by your merit nor forfeited by your demerit. If you feel you deserve an answer to prayer or a particular blessing from God because of your hard work or sacrifice, you’re living by works, not by grace. But it’s just as true that if you despair of experiencing God’s blessing because of your demerits, you’re also casting aside the grace of God.

I seldom think of merit on my part, but I’m often painfully aware of my demerits. Therefore, I need to be reminded frequently that my demerits do not compel God to withdraw his grace from me, but rather he treats me with no regard whatsoever to what I deserve. I’d much rather stake my hope of his blessing on his infinite goodness than on my good works.

 

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The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – The Well-Spoken Word

Today’s Scripture: 2 Samuel 19-20

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. – Ephesians 4:29

In 2 Samuel 19, we see David snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. After his army triumphed over the rebellion of Absalom, David was in tears. His men had won the battle, but he was making them feel as if they’d lost. It’s normal for a father to grieve the death of his son, but there was a problem here. The men in the army who had fought in this battle saw David’s tears and assumed he was angry with them. The Bible says, “The men stole into the city that day as men steal in who are ashamed when they flee from battle” (2 Samuel 19:3).

I wonder how often we do the same thing with our kids. Billy comes home from school with a good grade on a math paper and we greet him with criticism for not making his bed. Susie does a great job in a school play and we’re angry because she hasn’t done anything on her science project. We’re taking a victory and turning it into a defeat for those we love. There’s a time to discuss the dirty room and the science project, but it isn’t on the heels of a victory.

As parents, we often forget how much a kind word or a compliment means to our kids. It costs so little to express appreciation or to give a word of encouragement. But how often these expressions of kindness are lost because our minds are taken up with so-called “larger issues.”

David finally presented himself at the head of the troops and gave them his approval. And how about the troops at your house? Today would be a great time to congratulate them on their successes.

Prayer

Lord, I want to encourage people with what I say. Give me the words to speak today as I interact with my family and others. Amen.

To Ponder

There is very little happening in the world on any given day that is more important than encouraging our children.

 

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The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – No Cross, No Gospel

Today’s Scripture: Romans 5:2

“Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand.”

When you set yourself to seriously pursue holiness, you’ll begin realizing what an awful sinner you are. If you aren’t firmly rooted in the Gospel and haven’t learned to preach it to yourself every day, you’ll soon become discouraged and will slack off. In the pursuit of holiness, nothing’s more important than learning to preach the Gospel to yourself every day.

In doing so, we must be careful not to preach a Gospel without a cross. All the wonderful promises of forgiveness in Scripture are based upon Christ’s atoning death. Through it he satisfied God’s justice and averted from us God’s wrath. We must be careful not to rely on the so-called unconditional love of God without realizing his love can flow to us only as a result of Christ’s atoning death.

This is the Gospel by which we were saved, and the Gospel by which we must live every day of our Christian lives.

In Romans 3:24, Paul said we are justified by grace, referring to what we might call our point-in-time salvation, the day we trusted in Christ. In Romans 5:2, however, Paul spoke of this grace in which we now stand. Here he refers to our day-to-day standing before God as being on the same basis as our justification—the basis of grace. But this grace—unmerited favor to those who deserve wrath—comes to us through the Lord Jesus Christ.

God is the “God of all grace” (1 Peter 5:10) and is disposed to deal with us by grace, but not at the expense of his justice. But with justice satisfied, God can now deal with us in grace, both in our salvation and in our day-to-day relationship with him. (Excerpt taken from The Discipline of Grace)

 

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The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – The Power of Words

Today’s Scripture: Genesis 37-40

Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. – Proverbs 12:18

The late Paul Little of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship used to tell us that when we speak unwisely or boastfully or pass along some gossip, it is hard to retrieve those words. It’s like trying to get toothpaste back in the tube.

In the story of Joseph, we find a young man who spoke unwisely and suffered the consequences for many years afterwards.

One day Joseph and his brothers were in the field, and Joseph told them his dream: “We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.” And his brothers, who were jealous of his favored position with their father, hated him even more. They said, “Will you actually rule us?”

Now, folks, I think Joseph was a great man, and very wise. In fact, I don’t remember any other major mistake this man made. But I think what he did here was a mistake.We all know there are some things that we should simply keep to ourselves. Had he thought about it for a moment or two, he could have seen how relating his dream would promote anger and hatred and jealousy among his brothers.

As Joseph’s story unfolds, the power of God turns tragedy into triumph. But the truth still comes through loud and clear that you and I need to watch what we say.

The New Testament makes it clear that the daily walk of the disciple should be characterized by lowliness and meekness, long-suffering, forbearing one another in love, and endeavoring to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace (see Ephesians 4:2-3).

Prayer

Lord, today may what I say honor You and encourage others. Amen.

To Ponder

Today, look for opportunities to speak healing words.

 

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The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – The Heartbeat of the Godly

Today’s Scripture: Psalm 42:2

“My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.”

In Psalm 27:4, David expressed an intense desire for God: “one thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.” David yearned intensely for God himself that he might enjoy his presence and his beauty. Because God is a spirit, his beauty obviously refers not to a physical appearance but to his attributes. David enjoyed dwelling upon the majesty and greatness, the holiness and goodness of God. But David did more than contemplate the beauty of God’s attributes; he sought God himself, for elsewhere he says, “earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you” (Psalm 63:1, NIV).

The apostle Paul also experienced this longing for God: “I want to know Christ” (Philippians 3:10, NIV). The Amplified Bible forcefully catches the intensity of Paul’s desire in this passage: “[For my determined purpose is] that I may know him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of his Person more strongly and more clearly].”

This is the heartbeat of the godly person. As he contemplates God in the awesomeness of his infinite majesty, power, and holiness, and then as he dwells upon the riches of his mercy and grace poured out at Calvary, his heart is captivated by this one who could love him so. He is satisfied with God alone, but he is never satisfied with his present experience of God. He always yearns for more.

 

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The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – The Word Convicts of Sin

Today’s Scripture: Genesis 6-9

What if some did not have faith? Will their lack of faith nullify God’s faithfulness? – Romans 3:3

Today’s passage concerning the Flood is directly related to a modern difficulty you may be facing. Maybe you’ve talked with someone about Christ, only to have them respond, “I don’t believe the Bible.” What does that have to do with the Flood, you ask?

Let me illustrate. I took a course on evolution in college. One of the professor’s stated objectives was to destroy the faith of any Christian in the class. So I began to witness to him. One day when I left the room, his lab assistant followed me and expressed interest in what I had been saying. I invited him to see the Moody Science film “Dust or Destiny,” which showed the remarkable wisdom in the creative acts of God.

He was impressed, and when I asked him if the film had changed his thinking, he told me it had. He could plainly see there was far more evidence for the truth of the creation story than for evolution. “But I have no intention of becoming a Christian,” he said. “It would mean turning from my sin, and I’m not ready to do that.” It was a moral issue, not an intellectual issue. And this is why some people are so reluctant to believe the biblical account of the Flood. It is clearly tied to the judgment of God and the sinfulness of man.

As you witness to people, you may encounter those who say, “I don’t believe the Bible.” When that happens, just remember that we’re not out to win arguments but to win men and women to personal faith in Jesus Christ. That takes prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit. So keep sharing the truth of the Bible, even with those who say they can’t believe it.

Prayer

Lord, help me to keep on telling others about Your Word–even those people who dismiss it. Amen.

To Ponder

Since the Holy Spirit uses the Word to convict us of sin, we should be faithful to proclaim it to others.

 

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The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Preach the Gospel to Yourself

Today’s Scripture: 1 Corinthians 15:1

“I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel.”

To preach the Gospel to yourself means that you continually face up to your own sinfulness and then flee to Jesus through faith in his shed blood and righteous life. It means that you appropriate, again by faith, the fact that Jesus fully satisfied the law of God. In both its precepts and penalty, he fulfilled the law of God in its most exacting requirements. And he did this in our place as our representative and our substitute. He is your propitiation, so that God’s holy wrath is no longer directed toward you.

To preach the Gospel to yourself means that you take at face value the precious words of Romans 4:7-8: “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.” You believe on the testimony of God: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). You believe that “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13). You believe he forgave you all your sins (Colossians 2:13), that he reconciled you “to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him” (Colossians 1:22).

To preach the Gospel to yourself means you appropriate by faith the words of Isaiah 53:6: “The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” It means you dwell upon the promise that God has removed your transgressions from you as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12), that he has blotted out your transgressions and remembers your sin no more (Isaiah 43:25). (Excerpt taken from The Discipline of Grace)

 

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The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Satan’s Lies

Today’s Scripture: Genesis 3-5

Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked… He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. – Psalm 1:1,3

The greatest lie ever told comes at the beginning of the saddest story ever written. “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat [this fruit] your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:4-5). Adam and Eve believed the lie and ate the only fruit God had kept from them.

As Genesis 3 opens, we see our first parents enjoying a life of fellowship with God in a garden home filled with His abundant provision. They were holy. They were experiencing the grace and blessing of God. Everything that surrounded them was good. But in one devastating stroke, the scene changes.

The apostle Paul gives the summary: “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12).

There is one primary lesson in these chapters. Holiness, not sin, brings happiness. Let me repeat that. As long as Adam and Eve were walking with God in the unbroken fellowship of a holy life, they were happy. Now, how could they turn their backs on God? It seemed so senseless and absurd for them to think they could improve on what God had done.

Before it’s experienced, the life of sin appears attractive, exciting, colorful, and everything you could desire. And the life of holiness appears drab, dull, and unattractive. But once the life of sin is experienced, what you desired and embraced turns to ashes.

Prayer

Lord, help me to remember that sin never delivers what it promises, and that my greatest joy will be in the pursuit of holiness. Amen.

To Ponder

Satan’s basic lie in his war against mankind is that we can improve our lives by disobeying God.

 

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The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Quality Obedience

Today’s Scripture: 1 Peter 2:22

“He committed no sin.”

There are times when our inward desires do not match our outward conduct. We act very proper on the outside, but sin in our hearts. This was never the case with Jesus. Through one of the messianic psalms he could say, “I delight to do your will, o my God; your law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:8). He not only perfectly obeyed the law of God; he always desired to do so and, in fact, delighted in doing it. Once he even said, “My food . . . is to do the will of him who sent me” (John 4:34, NIV).

If we think about it, we realize that obedience that isn’t delighted in is not perfect obedience. Yet that was the quality of obedience Jesus rendered throughout his life.

In one of his many confrontations with his chief antagonists, the Jewish religious leaders, Jesus could unselfconsciously and without any pretentiousness say, “I always do what pleases [the Father]” (John 8:29, NIV). Such a claim must include not only Jesus’ outward actions and speech, but also his inward thoughts (Psalm 139:1-4). Even more important, it must include his motives, for God not only knows our thoughts but understands our motives as well (1 Chronicles 28:9; 1 Corinthians 4:5).

A little later in the same confrontation Jesus asked, “Which one of you convicts me of sin?” (John 8:46). Jesus dared his critics to name a single sin he had committed, knowing full well how eager they would have been to do so if it were possible.

It’s no wonder that at the beginning of his ministry and again toward the end of it, a voice came from heaven saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17; 17:5).

 

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The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Consider the Consequences

Today’s Scripture: Genesis 3

Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey–whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? – Romans 6:16

When someone tells us not to do something, it makes us want to do it all the more, sort of like the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. Here was a lush, beautiful garden filled to overflowing with wonderful things to eat, and all available for the taking. But there was one tree in the midst of the garden the Lord declared out of bounds. Adam and Eve were not to eat its fruit.

But, of course, they did. Notice this tree and its forbidden fruit were not evil things. But when Adam and Eve disobeyed, they knew they were in big trouble–so big, in fact, that the effects of their sin are still felt today by the entire human race.

Now why do you think these two indulged their appetites on something that was forbidden when they had so many other choices?

We must take very seriously the biblical admonition to be content with our personal lot. Ask the Lord to give you the attitude of the apostle Paul: “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances” (Philippians 4:11).

Secondly, ask God to give you a healthy fear of the consequences of giving in to the sins of the flesh. I’ve found that temptation makes a sin seem very attractive, but it’s a lie. After I’ve done wrong, the sin that seemed so attractive is disgusting and short-lived.

Prayer

Lord, through your Holy Spirit, I want to be a thoughtful, obedient person who considers the consequences of sin and says “no” instead of letting desire take control. Amen.

To Ponder

Are you content with the life God has given you?

 

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The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Making Up Our Deficiencies?

Today’s Scripture: Luke 18:13

“God, be merciful to me, a sinner!”

Sin is more than actions; it’s an attitude that ignores God’s law. It’s more than a rebellious attitude; sin is a state of corruption in our inmost being, of vileness, even of filthiness in God’s sight. For this reason the Bible never speaks of God’s grace as simply making up our deficiencies—as if salvation consists in so much good works plus so much of God’s grace. Rather the Bible speaks of a God “who justifies the ungodly” (Romans 4:5), who is found by those who do not seek him, who reveals himself to those who do not ask for him (Romans 10:20).

In Jesus’ parable in Luke 18:9-14, the tax collector did not ask God to simply make up his deficiencies. Rather, he beat his breast—a sign of his deep anguish—and said, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” (verse 13). He declared total spiritual bankruptcy, and on that basis, he experienced the grace of God. Jesus said the man went home justified—declared righteous by God.

Like the tax collector, we don’t just need God’s grace to make up for our deficiencies; we need his grace to provide a remedy for our guilt, a cleansing for our pollution. We need his grace to provide a satisfaction of his justice, to cancel a debt we cannot pay.

It may seem that I’m belaboring the point of our guilt and vileness before God. But we can never rightly understand God’s grace until we understand our plight as those who need his grace.

As Dr. C. Samuel Storms said, “The first and possibly most fundamental characteristic of divine grace is that it presupposes sin and guilt. Grace has meaning only when men are seen as fallen, unworthy of salvation, and liable to eternal wrath.” (Excerpt taken from Transforming Grace)

 

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The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – God’s Deliverers

Today’s Scripture: Psalm 34

Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. – Acts 12:7

Do you remember the television series “Hogan’s Heroes”–the wild episodes of American soldiers supposedly locked in a Nazi prison? They were always breaking out of jail, but they usually did it quietly. No noise allowed.

The apostle Peter’s jailbreak was quite different. Acts 12 says that King Herod threw Peter into prison with four squads of soldiers guarding him. Imagine that! Four squads of soldiers to guard one man!

A few nights later, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers and bound with two chains. The cell was guarded as well. And then the Bible tells us: “Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell… Then the angel said to him, ‘Put on your clothes and sandals.’ And Peter did so. ‘Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.’”

This angel broke all the rules of conventional jailbreak wisdom! First, you wouldn’t shine a bright light into the cell for fear of waking the guards! Second, you wouldn’t put on your sandals and clomp out of the place. You would carry your sandals and tippy-toe by the sleeping guards in your bare feet. Third, you wouldn’t release the chains and let them clatter to the ground.

God can rescue you just as easily as He rescued Peter. But there are times when God’s deliverance doesn’t fit the mold of human wisdom. God’s ways are not our ways. We must accept the fact that God knows what He’s doing and fall in step with Him by faith, like Peter did.

Maybe you’re facing a situation right now that needs God’s touch. Ask the Lord to send deliverance, but don’t be surprised if it comes in an unexpected way.

Prayer

Lord, help me to recognize Your hand of deliverance in my life and I will give You all the praise and glory. Amen.

To Ponder

Is there a time when God supernaturally delivered you from a dangerous situation?

 

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The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Iniquity of Holy Things

Today’s Scripture: Luke 18:11

“God, I thank you that I am not like other men . . . or even like this tax collector.”

With whom do we identify, the Pharisee or the tax collector? The prodigal son or the older brother? Obviously no one wants to identify with the Pharisee or the older brother. But are we willing to identify with the tax collector and the prodigal son, as sinners deeply in need of the grace and mercy of God? Are we willing to say, “God, be merciful to me the sinner” or “I am no longer worthy to be called your son”? Are we willing to acknowledge that even our righteous acts are no more than filthy rags in the sight of God (Isaiah 64:6)?

John Owen, known as the prince of Puritan theologians, wrote these words way back in 1657: “Believers obey Christ as the one by whom our obedience is accepted by God. Believers know all their duties are weak, imperfect and unable to abide in God’s presence. Therefore they look to Christ as the one who bears the iniquity of their holy things, who adds incense to their prayers, gathers out all the weeds from their duties and makes them acceptable to God.”

Owen speaks of Christ bearing the iniquity of our holy things—the sinfulness of even our good works. As another Puritan preacher was reputed to have said, “even our tears of repentance need to be washed in the blood of the Lamb.” Our best works can never earn us one bit of favor with God. Let us then turn our attention from our own performance—whether it seems good or bad—and look to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is God’s provision for our sin, not only on the day we trusted Christ for salvation but every day of our Christian lives.

 

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The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Our Ever-Present Help

Today’s Scripture: Nehemiah 5-7

Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. – Joshua 1:9

As Nehemiah struggled to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, one of his greatest enemies was fear. First, he had to fight it among the people. In Nehemiah 4:10, we find the warlike tribe of Judah about ready to throw in the towel, saying, “The strength of the laborers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall.”

They also feared an enemy attack while they worked. So Nehemiah prayed, posted a guard, and encouraged the people to remember God’s faithfulness. But after helping the people with their fear, the next attack came against Nehemiah himself.

Sanballat and Geshem tried to lure him into meeting with them in one of the villages. When he resisted their scheme, they created a false report about him and threatened to report him to the king. Then they tried to frighten Nehemiah into taking refuge in the temple to escape their threats of death. And was he afraid? Yes. But he didn’t show it. He was not controlled by the fear. And he asked God to strengthen him (verse 9).

Christian, we do not have to be under the control of our emotions if we walk under the control of the Holy Spirit. The Bible says that one fruit of the Spirit is self-control, or self-discipline.

Paul wrote to his young friend Timothy, “For God did not give us a spirit of [fear], but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7). The answer to fear is not denial. Like Nehemiah, admit your fear. That’s the first step. Then place your trust in the never-changing One who, right up to this day, has never lost a battle.

Prayer

Lord, when I am afraid, I will trust in You. Amen.

To Ponder

Walking in the Spirit is a daily decision to hand over control of our lives to God. When we do this, there is no room for fear.

 

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The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Personal Responsibility

Today’s Scripture: Leviticus 20:7

“Consecrate yourselves, therefore, and be holy, for I am the Lord your God.”

Another reason that we do not experience more holiness in daily living is that we have misunderstood “living by faith” (Galatians 2:20) to mean no effort at holiness is required on our part. In fact, sometimes we’ve even suggested that any effort on our part is “of the flesh.”

The words of J. C. Ryle, Bishop of Liverpool from 1880 to 1900, are instructive to us on this point: “Is it wise to proclaim in so bald, naked, and unqualified a way as many do, that the holiness of converted people is by faith only, and not at all by personal exertion? Is it according to the proportion of God’s Word? I doubt it. That faith in Christ is the root of all holiness . . . no well-instructed Christian will ever think of denying. But surely the Scriptures teach us that in following holiness the true Christian needs personal exertion and work as well as faith.”

We must face the fact that we have a personal responsibility for our walk of holiness. One Sunday our pastor in his sermon said words to this effect: “you can put away that habit that has mastered you if you truly desire to do so.” Because he was referring to a particular habit which was no problem to me, I quickly agreed with him in my mind. But then the Holy Spirit said to me, “and you can put away the sinful habits that plague you if you will accept your personal responsibility for them.” Acknowledging that I did have this responsibility turned out to be a milestone for me in my own pursuit of holiness.

Will you begin to take personal responsibility for your sin, realizing that as you do, you must depend on the grace of God? (Excerpt taken from The Pursuit of Holiness)

 

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The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Streams of Living Water

Today’s Scripture: Hosea 12-14

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. – Galatians 2:20

Hosea 13:15 presents a prophecy of judgment against the nation of Israel: “An east wind from the Lord will come, blowing in from the desert; his spring will fail and his well dry up. His storehouse will be plundered of all its treasures.”

Here is a picture of someone whose inner source of life and power has dried up. His life was once a blessing to those around him but has now become a curse. As I studied this passage, I was reminded of a man I knew well.

His testimony for Christ shone brightly against the dark background of the people among whom he worked–people whose lives had been ruined by drugs, alcohol, and sin of every description. This man was instrumental in leading many of these people to Christ and seeing them begin new lives. But his inner spring dried up. He left his wife and children, and dismissed his actions by saying that the love was gone and his marriage was no longer working. What happened was not a reaction to outward pressure or tragedy. It was an inward spiritual drought, brought on by his lack of daily personal fellowship with Christ.

In John 7:37-38, Jesus said: “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” And then John unlocks the mystery of Jesus’ words. By this, John said, Jesus meant the Spirit.

The secret to a life that fulfills us and refreshes others is to live under the daily control of the Holy Spirit. Then our spring will never fail, and our well will not dry up.

Prayer

Lord, may Your sweet, refreshing Spirit fill me and cause a stream of living water to flow from my life. Amen.

To Ponder

Is the flow of the Holy Spirit in your life a trickle or a stream?

 

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