Tag Archives: aviation

Charles Stanley – When Our Faith Wavers

James 1:1-8

Faith is the heart of our Christian life. It is the means by which we are saved, receive forgiveness for our sins, enjoy a personal relationship with the Lord, and have the assurance of our salvation. By faith, we experience the peace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The Bible also tells us that praying in confident trust “avails much” (James 5:16 NKJV). Yet our lives and especially our prayers tend to be characterized by doubts and wavering faith.

Our faith wavers when . . .

We apply human thinking to our circumstances. Sometimes God is going to require us to do something with which human reasoning disagrees (Isa. 55:9).

We allow our feelings to overcome our faith. It could be a sense of unworthiness or inadequacy that trips us up. Fear of criticism or failure might cause us to doubt we can do what the Lord asks.

We fail to see God at work in our circumstances. Doubts creep in when we have asked Him to take action but nothing appears to be happening.

We have guilt over sin, past or present. We cannot operate with strong faith when we are under conviction of sin or dwelling on guilt over past wrongdoing.

We listen to the enemy’s lies. Satan is the father of lies, and his objective is to have us reject God’s truth and believe his deception instead.

Faith is defined as “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1). What is the condition of your faith? Do confidence and conviction describe you?

Bible in One Year: Ezekiel 17-19

 

 

 

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 (Today’s Date is 12 – 13 – 14)

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 (KJV)

13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

Greg Laurie – Start with a Bridge

greglaurie

Change from the Inside Out

Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.

— Ephesians 5:16

A problem that Christians often have when they share the gospel is going into attack mode on a person’s sin straightaway: “Oh yeah, I see that you are into this. Well, let tell me you something. . . .”

Wait. Hold on. Maybe you ought to try to bring that person to Christ first. I am not saying that you shouldn’t confront someone about his or her sin. But remember the example of Jesus as He talked with the Samaritan woman at the well? She had been married and divorced five times and was living with a man. But Jesus didn’t start by slamming her for her immorality. He spoke to her in a symbolic way: “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life” (John 4:13–14).

When possible, find common ground and build a bridge to your listener. Paul, when he stood before King Agrippa, began by saying, “I am fortunate, King Agrippa, that you are the one hearing my defense today against all these accusations made by the Jewish leaders, for I know you are an expert on all Jewish customs and controversies” (Acts 26:2–3).

This was not flattery on Paul’s part, but the truth. Agrippa was steeped in the ways of the Jews as their secular ruler appointed by Rome. Paul was respectful of Agrippa’s office. Agrippa was an immoral man, and Paul could have brought that out. Instead, he began building a bridge.

There is a built-in offense in the message of the cross. Let’s not make it worse. When we share the gospel, we need to build a bridge with people and not unnecessarily offend them.

 

 

Our Daily Bread — Traveling Companion

Our Daily Bread

Psalm 39

For I am a stranger with You, a sojourner, as all my fathers were. —Psalm 39:12

I looked up the members of my seminary graduating class recently and discovered that many of my friends are now deceased. It was a sober reminder of the brevity of life. Three score and ten, give or take a few years, and we’re gone (Ps. 90:10). Israel’s poet was right: We’re but strangers here and sojourners (39:12).

The brevity of life makes us think about our “end”—the measure of our days and how fleeting they are (v.4), a feeling that grows more certain as we draw closer to the end of our lives. This world is not our home; we’re but strangers and sojourners here.

Yet we are not alone on the journey. We are strangers and sojourners with God (39:12), a thought that makes the journey less troubling, less frightening, less worrisome. We pass through this world and into the next with a loving Father as our constant companion and guide. We’re strangers here on earth, but we are never alone on the journey (73:23-24). We have One who says, “I am with you always” (Matt. 28:20).

We may lose sight of father, mother, spouse, and friends, but we always know that God is walking beside us. An old saying puts it like this: “Good company on the road makes the way to seem lighter.” —David Roper

My times are in my Father’s hand;

How could I wish or ask for more?

For He who has my pathway planned

Will guide me till my journey’s o’er. —Fraser

As you travel life’s weary road, let Jesus lift your heavy load.

Bible in a year: Ezekiel 11-13; James 1

John MacArthur – Looking to the Future

John MacArthur

“By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised; therefore, also, there was born of one man, and him as good as dead at that, as many descendants as the stars of heaven in number, and innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore” (Heb. 11:11-12).

I’ve been blessed with a wonderful Christian heritage. In fact, I’m the fifth generation of preachers in our family. The faith of my predecessors has had an enormous impact on my life– either directly or indirectly. I have the same responsibility they did to influence others for good–as do you.

Hebrews 11:11-12 gives a very personal example of how one man’s faith influenced an entire nation. Verse 11 is better rendered: “By faith Abraham, even though he was past age–and Sarah herself was barren–was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise” (NIV).

God had promised Abraham that he would become the father of a great nation (Gen. 12:2). But Sarah, Abraham’s wife, had always been barren, and both of them were advanced in years. At one point Sarah became impatient and decided to take things into her own hands. She persuaded Abraham to have a son by her maid, Hagar (16:1-4). That act of disobedience proved to be costly because Ishmael, the child of that union, became the progenitor of the Arab people, who have been constant antagonists of the Jewish nation.

Despite his times of disobedience, Abraham believed that God would keep His promise. God honored Abraham’s faith by giving him not only Isaac, the child of promise, but descendants too numerous to count. One man’s faith literally changed the world.

Similarly, the faith you exercise today will influence others tomorrow. So be faithful and remember: despite your failures, God “is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us” (Eph. 3:20).

Suggestions for Prayer:

Thank God for those who have had a righteous influence on you.

Pray for greater opportunities to influence others for Christ.

For Further Study:

Read the account of Abraham and Sarah in Genesis 18-21 and 23.

 

 

John MacArthur – Focusing on Heaven

John MacArthur

“By faith [Abraham] lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Heb. 11:9-10).

Following God’s call isn’t always easy. He expects us to trust Him explicitly, yet doesn’t ask our advise on decisions that may impact us dramatically. He doesn’t tell us His specific plans at any given point in our lives. He doesn’t always shelter us from adversity. He tests our faith to produce endurance and spiritual maturity–tests that are sometimes painful. He makes some promises that we’ll never see fulfilled in this life.

If following God’s call is a challenge for us, imagine how it was for Abraham, who had no Bible, no pastor, no sermons, no commentaries, and no Christian encouragement or accountability. But what he did have was the promise of a nation, a land, and a blessing (Gen. 12:1-3). That was good enough for him.

Abraham never settled in the land of promise. Neither did his son Isaac or grandson Jacob. They were aliens, dwelling in tents like nomads. Abraham never built houses or cities. The only way he would possess the land was by faith. Yet Abraham patiently waited for God’s promises to be fulfilled.

As important as the earthly land was to him, Abraham was patient because his sight was on his heavenly home, “the city . . . whose architect and builder is God” (Heb. 11:10). He knew beyond any doubt that he would inherit that city, whether or not he ever saw his earthly home in his lifetime.

Similarly, being heavenly minded gives you the patience to continue working for the Lord when things get tough. It’s the best cure I know for discouragement or spiritual fatigue. That’s why Paul says to set your mind “on the things above, not on the things that are on earth” (Col. 3:2). If your mind is set on heaven, you can endure whatever happens here.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Praise God for your heavenly home.

Seek His grace to help you keep a proper perspective amid the difficulties of this life.

For Further Study:

Read the portion of Abraham’s life recorded in Genesis 12- 17.

 

Our Daily Bread — To Whom It Is Due

Our Daily Bread

Romans 13:1-10

Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor. —Romans 13:7

My husband and I live in a rural area surrounded by farms where this slogan is popular: “If you ate a meal today, thank a farmer.” Farmers definitely deserve our gratitude. They do the hot, hard work of tilling soil, planting seeds, and harvesting the food that keeps us from starving to death.

But every time I thank a farmer, I also try to remember to offer praise to God, for He is the One responsible for producing the food we eat. He gives light, sends rain, and creates the energy within the seed that gives it the strength to push through the soil and produce fruit.

Although the earth and everything in it belong to God (Ps. 24:1), He has chosen humans to be its caretakers. We are responsible to use the earth’s resources as He would use them—to do His work in the world (115:16). And just as we are stewards of God’s physical creation, we also are stewards of His design for society. We do this by respecting those He has placed in authority, by paying taxes, by giving honor to those who have earned it, and by continuing to pay our debt of love (Rom. 13:7-8). But one thing we reserve for God: All praise and glory belong to Him, for He is the One who makes everything possible (Ps. 96:8). —Julie Ackerman Link

Sing praise to God who reigns above,

The God of all creation,

The God of power, the God of love,

The God of our salvation. —Schütz

God’s unsearchable ways deserve our unbounded praise.

Bible in a year: Ezekiel 3-4; Hebrews 11:20-40

 

 

John MacArthur – Rebuking the World

John MacArthur

“By faith Noah…condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith” (Heb 11:7).

Genesis 6:5 says, “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Before moving in judgment against the most evil and corrupt society in history, God appointed Noah to build an ark, which became a symbol of life and salvation to all who believed God. For those who disbelieved, it represented impending death and judgment.

Concurrent with constructing the ark, Noah preached about coming judgment. Peter called him “a preacher of righteousness” (2 Pet. 2:5), and every board he cut and nail he drove in was a living illustration of the urgency of his message.

God’s warning was stern and His message horrifying, but His patience and mercy prevailed for 120 years. As Peter said, “The patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark” (1 Pet. 3:20). The people had ample warning of judgment, but they chose to disregard Noah’s message.

As sad as the account of Noah’s day is, perhaps the greatest tragedy is that man’s attitude toward God hasn’t changed since then. Jesus said, “The coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. For as in those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking, they were marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away, so shall the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matt. 24:37-39).

Like Noah, you are to proclaim righteousness to an evil and perverse generation by your works and your life. Be faithful to do so even if people don’t want to listen. After 120 years of diligent work and faithful preaching by Noah, only eight people entered the ark. But God’s purposes were accomplished and the human race was preserved.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Sometimes you’ll encounter people who scoff at God’s judgment and mock your testimony. Don’t be discouraged. Pray for them and be available to minister to them whenever possible.

For Further Study:

Read 2 Peter 3. What effect should the prospect of future judgment have on your present behavior?

 

Greg Laurie – His Work, His Timing

greglaurie

Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. —Philippians 1:6

I am an “artist”—kind of. Actually, I am an artist with very limited skills. But sometimes when I’m spending time with friends, they will ask me to draw something. So I’ll pull out a felt-tip pen and draw little cartoons.

Then someone inevitably says, “Draw me! Draw me!” They like me to do caricatures of them, but the thing about caricatures is they are never flattering. If you ever look at political cartoons, they always exaggerate a person’s features. If someone has a nose that is slightly long or ears that are somewhat big, the cartoonist exaggerates everything. That is the whole idea. But people don’t like that.

I’ve also noticed that when I’m drawing, people don’t see what I see. As they are looking over my shoulder, almost breathing down my neck, they want to know what I’m doing. They may see only a circle, but in my mind’s eye, I already see the finished work.

Sometimes when we look at the blank canvas of our lives, we ask, “What is going on? What is God doing? Where is this going? This doesn’t make sense. I don’t even know whether I agree with that.” But God, as an artist, is at work. And as Ecclesiastes 7:8 says, “The end of a thing is better than its beginning; the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.”

God’s work will be done in His time. He sees the expected end. He knows what it will look like before He has finished because He is God. He knows how your life is going to turn out.

So don’t put a period where God has put a comma. He is not done with you. No matter your age, you are a work in progress—and He is still working.

John MacArthur – Nothing you do can please God apart from faith.

John MacArthur

“Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is” (Hebrews 11:6)

Throughout history, people have tried everything imaginable to gain favor with God. Most turn to religion, but religion apart from Christ is merely a satanic counterfeit of the truth.

Many trust in their own good works, not realizing that even their best efforts are offensive to God (Isa. 64:6; Phil. 3:8). And the more we try to justify ourselves, the more we offend God, because “by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight” (Rom. 3:20).

Some trust in their family heritage or nationality. The Jewish people thought they were pleasing to God simply because they were descendants of Abraham. But John the Baptist warned them, saying, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bring forth fruit in keeping with repentance; and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father’; for I say to you, that God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham” (Matt. 3:7-9).

Apart from faith, man cannot please God. And the first step of faith is simply believing God exists. That isn’t enough to save a person–even the demons have that level of faith (James 2:19)–but it’s a start, and by God’s grace can blossom into full saving faith.

God has given ample evidence of His existence. Romans 1:20 says, “Since the creation of the world [God’s] invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made.” David said, “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands” (Ps. 19:1).

Creation itself proclaims the existence, power, and glory of God, yet most people “suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Rom. 1:18) by rejecting the Creator and denying their accountability to Him. Rather than bowing to the true God, they pay homage to “Mother Nature” or evolution. How foolish!

Suggestions for Prayer:

Praise God for the beauty of His creation.

Worship Him as the giver of every good gift (James 1:17).

For Further Study:

Read Romans 1:18-32. Is there a connection between denying God, practicing idolatry, and committing gross immoralities? Explain.

Our Daily Bread — Remembering Our Father’s Words

Our Daily Bread

Psalm 119:89-93

I will never forget Your precepts, for by them You have given me life. —Psalm 119:93

Jim Davidson was climbing down Mount Rainier when he fell through a snow bridge and into a crevasse (a pitch-black, ice-walled crack in a glacier). As Jim stood bloodied and bruised in that dark ice cave, he reflected on his childhood and recalled how his father had repeatedly reminded him that he could accomplish great things if he pressed through adversity. Those words helped to sustain Jim as he spent the next 5 hours climbing out of that dark ice cave to safety with very little gear and under extremely difficult circumstances.

The psalmist seemed to climb out of his own crevasse of affliction and pain by recalling his heavenly Father’s words. He admitted that if God and His Word had not sustained him with joy, he would have died in his misery (Ps. 119:92). He expressed full confidence in the Lord’s eternal Word (v.89) and in the faithfulness of His character (v.90). As a result of God’s faithfulness, the psalmist made a commitment never to forget God’s words to him because they had a central part in rescuing his life and bringing him strength.

In our darkest caves and moments of affliction, our souls can be revived by our Father in heaven when we recall and fill our minds with His encouraging words. —Marvin Williams

THINKING IT OVER

What crevasse of discouragement are you currently in?

How can you use this time as an occasion to revive your

soul by filling your mind and heart with God’s Word?

Remembering God’s words revives our soul.

Bible in a year: Jeremiah 48-49; Hebrews 7

 

Our Daily Bread — The Rock

Our Daily Bread

Matthew 7:24-27; Ephesians 2:18-22

Jesus Christ Himself [is] the chief cornerstone. —Ephesians 2:20

On a trip to Massachusetts, my husband and I visited Plymouth Rock, an iconic symbol in the United States. It is traditionally thought to be the place where the Pilgrims, who traveled to America on the Mayflower in 1620, first set foot. While we enjoyed learning about its significance, we were surprised and disappointed that it is so small. We learned that due to erosion and people chipping off pieces, it is now just one-third its original size.

The Bible refers to Jesus as a Rock (1 Cor. 10:4), who never changes (Heb. 13:8). He is the solid Rock on which we can build our lives. The church (the body of believers) is built on a foundation with “Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone.” In Him all believers are joined together (Eph. 2:20-22).

Jesus is the solid Rock we can cling to when the storms of life blow and beat against us (Matt. 7:25). Writer Madeleine L’Engle said: “It’s a good thing to have all the props pulled out from under us occasionally. It gives us some sense of what is rock under our feet and what is sand.”

Plymouth Rock is an interesting mass of minerals with an intriguing historical significance. But Jesus is a precious cornerstone, and those who trust in Him will always have a solid Rock to depend upon. —Cindy Hess Kasper

O build on the Rock, forever sure,

The firm and true foundation,

Its hope is the hope which shall endure—

The hope of our salvation. —Belden

Christ, the Rock, is our sure hope.

Bible in a year: Jeremiah 46-47; Hebrews 6

 

Joyce Meyer – Trials Reveal Your Character

Joyce meyer

Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience.—James 1:3

Trials “try” us, and tests “test” us. Most of the time, the purpose of them is to show us who we really are, to reveal character in us. We can think all kinds of good thoughts about ourselves, but until we are put to the test, we don’t know whether those things have become realities in us or not. We may consider ourselves generous, honest, or deeply committed to a particular truth or ideal, but the depth of these dynamics only reveals itself when we’re under pressure. When we go through trials, we learn whether or not we really have the character and commitment we think we have.

I believe it’s very important for us to really know ourselves; tests are good for us because they affirm strengths and reveal weaknesses. Don’t be afraid to face your weaknesses. God’s strength is available to you specifically for them.

I must say that before my trials worked steadfastness and patience into my life, they brought out many other negative qualities, mindsets, and attitudes I didn’t know I had. One reason God allows us to go through tests and trials is so the hidden things in our hearts can be exposed. Until they are exposed, we cannot do anything about them. But once we see them, we can begin to face them and ask God to help us.

God does not allow us to go through difficult times because He likes to see us suffer; He uses them for us to recognize our need for Him. Everything you go through ultimately does work out for your good because it makes you stronger and builds your endurance; it develops godly character; it helps you to know yourself and to be able to deal with things at an honest level with God and take care of those things so you can reach spiritual maturity.

Trust in Him: How do you behave under pressure? The next time you encounter some sort of trial or test, decide to believe it is for your good. Placing your trust in God opens the door for Him to work miracles out of messes—transforming your weaknesses into godly character.

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Where the Light Is Strong

Ravi Z

A classic vaudeville routine begins with a pitch-black theater except for a large circle of light coming from a street lamp. In the spotlight, a man is on his knees, crawling with his hands in front of him, carefully probing the lighted circle. After a few moments a policeman walks on stage. Seeing the man on all fours, he poses the obvious question: “Did you lose some¬thing?”

“Yes,” the man replies. “I have lost my keys.”

Kindly, the police officer joins the man’s search, and two figures now circle the lighted area on hands and knees.  After some time, the officer stops. “Are you absolutely certain this is where you lost your keys?  We’ve covered every inch.”

“Why no,” the man replies matter-of-factly, pointing to a darkened corner. “I lost them over there.”

Visibly shaken, the policeman exclaims, “Well, then why in the name of all heaven are we looking for them over here?”

The man responds with equal annoyance: “Isn’t that obvious?  The light is better over here!”

The classic comedy enacts a subtle point. It is far easier to limit our examining of life’s missing keys to easy, comfortable places. Like a modern parable, the story registers an illogic common to most. Searching dark and difficult corners—where the keys may have in fact been lost—is far less desirable.

Somewhere between reading belittling headlines of a once-popular celebrity and hearing an open invitation to weigh-in on the latest political scandal, I wondered if the drama didn’t register something more. It is becoming increasingly difficult to avoid the signs that we live, particularly in the west, in a world of criticism. We are encouraged by all facets of the media to examine the flaws of everyone, to search for the scandal in every story, and to pour over everything that divides us, offends us, or otherwise differs from us in any way.

But more than this, we are encouraged to opine and criticize regardless of whether we know anything about the subject or person whatsoever. Online news articles quite typically now have a section for comments where readers are invited to put their own remarks in writing. And comment they do. The long list of critics offers thoughts on anything from the topic, to the author, to things completely unrelated. Carrying this one step further, one online bookseller not only invites anyone to be an official book reviewer; they also invite anyone to comment on these comments, to vote on whether or not the reviewers themselves need to be critiqued. While I appreciate some of these services, the attitude they endorse seems so pervasive. Everyone is now a critic and an expert at once.

And this is where the man in the drama seems unquestionably familiar. How easy is it to search where the light is strong, to examine the faults and scandals of others as if it were the best place to logically spend our time? As the light of the media shines on an individual or the light of gossip draws our attention like searchlights to a grand opening, how easy is it to declare this particular spot the place we will fully scrutinize? How readily do we prefer to be critics of those in the spotlight rather than fumble over our own flaws in the dark?

In the Christian journey in the shadow of the God-Man, where some follow the darkened path of self-examination, it is helpful to know that Jesus was aware just how tempting is the option of the easier route. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own?… You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:3-4). The flaws we see in pop-stars, politicians, and co-workers may seem so startlingly clear to us. The critiques and opinions we can so readily offer about books and public scandal, internal gossip and things about which we actually know little all may seem innocent enough. But might there not be a better place to spend our energy searching? Maybe we are looking where the light is strong, but not where keys are really lost.

An old proverb explains, “The mocker seeks wisdom and finds none, but knowledge comes easily to the discerning.” Perhaps this is true because the mocker spends his time searching the comfortable places of life, the easy targets where light and company will always be found. The difficult, dimly lighted places require much more of us, and often we are left to search on our own. But the discerning know that wisdom comes with the kind of seeking that pulls us mysteriously inward, into places where there is actually something to find, and before a merciful throne that compels transparency. Here, everyone who seeks finds, the lost themselves are discovered, and once dark corners of the soul are changed by the light of Christ.

Jill Carattini is managing editor of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

 

 

Charles Spurgeon – The first and great commandment

CharlesSpurgeon

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” Mark 12:30

Suggested Further Reading: 2 John 1-6

We are bound to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Thus, we deduce that we are to love God supremely. Thou art to love thy wife, O husband. Thou canst not love her too much except in one case, if thou shouldst love her before God, and prefer her pleasure to the pleasure of the Most High. Then wouldst thou be an idolater. Child! Thou art to love thy parents; thou canst not love him too much who begat thee, nor her too much who brought thee forth; but remember, there is one law that doth over-ride that. Thou art to love thy God more than thy father or thy mother. He demands thy first and thy highest affection: thou art to love him “with all thy heart.” We are allowed to love our relatives: we are taught to do so. He that does not love his own family is worse than a heathen man and a publican. But we are not to love the dearest object of our hearts so much as we love God. You may erect little thrones for those whom you rightly love; but God’s throne must be a glorious high throne; you may set them upon the steps, but God must sit on the very seat itself. He is to be enthroned, the royal One within your heart, the king of your affections. Have you kept this commandment? I know I have not; I must plead guilty before God; I must cast myself before him, and acknowledge my transgression. But nevertheless, there standeth the commandment—“Thou shalt love God with all thy heart” that is, thou shalt love him supremely.

For meditation: The Lord Jesus Christ preached what he practised (Matthew 10:37,38). His Heavenly Father’s house came first, but he was obedient in his earthly parents’ house (Luke 2:48-51); his Heavenly Father’s will came first (Matthew 26:39), but even while he was carrying it out, his earthly mother’s wellbeing was upon his heart (John 19:26-27). We love our families, our fellow-believers and the lost ones best, when we love and obey God first.

Sermon no. 162

8 November (1857)

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

dr_bright

“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

 

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Louder Than Words

Ravi Z

A wordsmith, according to Merriam-Webster, is a person who works with words; especially a skillful writer. As a part of my quest to become a wordsmith, I have subscribed to what has become one of my favorite online sites, Wordsmith.org. Each day the site sends a word of the day to my inbox. For example, the word bumbledom came into my inbox today. A bumbledom is a behavior characteristic of a pompous and self-important petty official. While I love the sound of bumbledom rolling off of my tongue, I am not sure how often I will find a use for it in my writing and speaking. But it sure is fun to drop it into conversation!

Words are the lifeblood for writers. Indeed, words are to writers, what food is for chefs. Writers spend their days imagining just the right combination of words put together in such a way that a beautiful sentence or idea emerges. When this happens, what is written can actually take the reader beyond the page creating images, pictures, colors, sounds, and smells that transport the reader to another world. Just as a chef combines the right ingredients to create a delicious dish, a skilled writer mingles words and carves out sentences to offer an experience of transcendence beyond the everyday realities of life.

Words are powerful. But there are times when words are not enough. There are mysteries that lie beyond their reach, such as when a joy experienced is too great, or sorrows are too deep as to be inexpressible. In such encounters, words seem rudimentary and inadequate. Nothing written can adequately capture the depth of what is being experienced or contemplated.

A group of early Christian teachers understood that there was a relationship between “the things that are spoken and the things that are ineffable, the things that are known and the things that are unknowable.”(1) They understood that there was a limitation of language in the face of mystery. In the contemplation of the Divine, for example, God’s essence, or ousia in the Greek, is something that could not be captured by words since God is beyond human understanding. God must do the extraordinary—divine revelation—for anything of God to be known.

Church historian Jaroslav Pelikan describes this early Christian theology as apophatic: “Theology was, at one and the same time, sublime and ‘apophatic,’ that is, based on negation. As the evangelist John had said, ‘no one has ever seen God,’ which means one could see the glory of God, but not God himself.”(2) God’s being or essence was beyond human beings. All that could be known or even spoken of was what God had chosen to reveal.

And God’s chosen means of ultimate revelation was startlingly in a person. The writer of Hebrews proclaims: “Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word” (Hebrews 1:1-3). In the person of Jesus, who is the logos or Word of God, God is revealed.

In Jesus we receive a vision of the ineffable God. “No one has ever seen God,” the Evangelist proclaims. “It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known” (John 1:18). What we can know about God is centrally communicated in Jesus through his life and ministry. Jesus embodied God’s saving work of redemption in his life, his death, and his resurrection. God is revealed definitively in Jesus who came to seek and to save what was lost.

As one who writes and speaks, I know the power of words.  In the defense of the gospel, a carefully crafted argument is often critical to breaking through the barriers of misinformation and misunderstanding. Yet, I am reminded that even words have limits, and people must see the gospel lived out, and must experience its power. The gospel must be embodied by those who claim to believe it. The oft-used saying attributed to St. Francis of Assisi “preach the gospel at all times, and if necessary use words” is a helpful reminder of the power of our lives in communication. And if I’m honest, embodying the gospel takes far more creative effort than simply crafting an argument or a skillful, word-smithed sentence.

The Christian tradition presents a God chiefly revealed through a person. As a result, I am challenged to consider the speech given by my life and actions just as carefully as I choose my words for an essay. For, “the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). God has acted in a person, and this action speaks louder than words.

Margaret Manning is a member of the speaking and writing team at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Seattle, Washington.

(1) John of Damascus as quoted in Jaroslav Pelikan, The Christian Tradition, vol. 2 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1974), 31.

(2) Ibid., 32.

 

(The 5000 Post of the DDNI Blog )

Joyce Meyer – Seek to Be Humble

Joyce meyer

Do nothing from factional motives [through contentiousness, strife, selfishness, or for unworthy ends] or prompted by conceit and empty arrogance. Instead, in the true spirit of humility (lowliness of mind) let each regard the others as better than and superior to himself.

—Philippians 2:3

Having pure motives and humility are required if you are to fulfill the command to think more highly of others than yourself. In fact it cannot happen without a willingness to be obedient to the Holy Spirit.

To live in harmony you must recognize and respect the right of others to disagree with you, and you must do so with a good attitude. Humility requires that you forgive quickly and frequently…and that you not be easily offended. You cannot be self seeking, but instead you must be generous in mercy and patience.

Humble yourself and follow God’s instructions and you will enjoy the wonderful benefits of obedience: peace, joy, and a powerful, victorious life.

 

Joyce Meyer – Open the Door to Christ

Joyce meyer

Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears and listens to and heeds My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will eat with him, and he [will eat] with Me.—Revelation 3:20

Jesus is knocking at the door of many hearts right now, but we must remember that the doorknob is on our side. The Holy Spirit is a Gentleman; He will not force His way into our lives. We must welcome Him.

Open the door of your heart to Him by stretching your faith a little. Be like Peter—the one person in the group who got out of the boat and walked on the water. Peter probably had butterflies in his stomach when he got out of that boat, but as long as he kept his eyes on Jesus, he did all right (see Matt.14:23–30).

God has a great, big, wonderful life planned for you and me, but if we are stiff-necked, as God called the Israelites (see Exod. 33:3), or hardheaded (as we say today), then we will miss what God has for us. Stubbornness sets us in our ways, and we never stop to ask ourselves if our ways are really God’s ways or not.

In the Old Testament book of Haggai, the people were living in lack and experiencing many problems, so God told them to consider their ways (see Hag. 1:5). Many times when people are not fulfilled in life, they look for the reason in everything and everyone except themselves. If you are not satisfied with your life, do as God told the people of Judah: “Consider your ways.” Like me, you may find that you need to make some changes.

I was stubborn, opinionated, hardheaded, proud, and everything else that kept me from making progress. But, thank God, He has changed me! I pray that He continues to change me until I am just like Him—and that will be a lifelong journey.

Answer that knock at your heart’s door and allow the Holy Spirit to come into your life in all His fullness.

Trust in Him: God will not force His way into your life—you must open the door for Him. Step out in faith and put your trust in Him, so that He can do great things through you and for you.

 

Greg Laurie – His Power Gives Courage

greglaurie

And He said to her, “Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith has made you well. Go in peace.” —Luke 8:48

Everyone wanted a piece of Jesus. But a determined father named Jairus had a daughter who was on the brink of death, and he begged Jesus to come to his house. As they made their way to Jairus’ home, the crowd pushed and pulled and screamed and yelled.

In that crowd was a woman with some type of physical ailment, and she thought Jesus could heal her if she could only reach him. She bled constantly, and because of that, she had been decreed unclean under the ceremonial law. She spent all of her money trying to find a cure. Ostracized and isolated, she lived in loneliness. She thought, But if I could just touch the hem of His garment, I will be healed. So as Jesus walked through the crowd, she managed to get her hand through and touch the hem of His garment.

Suddenly Jesus stopped and said, “Who touched Me?”

Everyone denied it, and the Bible tells us that Peter and the others said, “Master, the multitudes throng and press You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’ ” In other words, Who didn’t touch You? Everyone touched You!

But Jesus said, “Somebody touched Me, for I perceived power going out from Me.”

So the crowd parted, and there stood the woman. She probably thought Jesus would rebuke her or humiliate her or embarrass her. But instead He told her, “Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith has made you well.”

“Be of good cheer” also could be translated, “Be of good courage.” Jesus was saying, “I want to commend you for your faith and put it on display for everyone else to see.”

In this case, His power gave courage. And His power will be there to help you in your time of need.