Tag Archives: Bible

Charles Spurgeon – God’s barriers against man’s sin

CharlesSpurgeon

“Fear ye not me? saith the Lord: will ye not tremble at my presence, which have placed the sand for the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass it: and though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet can they not prevail; though they roar, yet can they not pass over it? But this people hath a revolting and rebellious heart; they are revolted and gone.” Jeremiah 5:22-23

Suggested Further Reading: Isaiah 1:1-4

God here contrasts the obedience of the strong, the mighty, the untamed sea, with the rebellious character of his own people. “The sea,” saith he, “obeys me; it never breaks its boundary; it never leaps from its channel; it obeys me in all its movements. But man, poor puny man, the little creature whom I could crush as the moth, will not be obedient to me. The sea obeys me from shore to shore, without reluctance, and its ebbing floods, as they retire from its bed, each of them says to me, in the voices of the pebbles, ‘O Lord, we are obedient to thee, for thou art our master.’ But my people”, says God, “are a revolting and a rebellious people; they go astray from me.” And is it not, my brethren, a marvellous thing, that the whole earth is obedient to God, save man? Even the mighty leviathan, who maketh the deep to be hoary, sinneth not against God, but his course is ordered according to his Almighty Master’s decree. Stars, those wondrous masses of light, are easily directed by the very wish of God; clouds, though they seem erratic in their movement, have God for their pilot; “he maketh the clouds his chariot;” and the winds, though they seem restive beyond control, yet do they blow, or cease to blow just as God wills. In heaven, on earth, even in the lower regions, we could scarcely find such a disobedience as that which is practised by man; at least, in heaven, there is a cheerful obedience; and in hell there is constrained submission to God, while on earth man makes the base exception, he is continually revolting and rebelling against his Maker.

For meditation: Jonah, a great wind, a great fish, a plant, a worm, an east wind (Jonah 1:3,4,17; 2:10; 4:6-8)—which is the odd one out?

Answer: God’s servant Jonah—the rest obeyed God at once. This should humble us!

Sermon no. 220

16 November (1856)

John MacArthur – Stepping out in Faith

John MacArthur

“By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going” (Heb. 11:8).

Abraham is the classic example of the life of faith. As the father of the Jewish nation, he was the most strategic example of faith available to the writer of Hebrews. But the people to whom Hebrews was written needed to understand that Abraham was more than the father of their race; he also was, by example, the father of everyone who lives by faith in God (Rom. 4:11).

Contrary to popular first-century Jewish thought, God didn’t choose Abraham because he was righteous in himself. When called by God, Abraham was a sinful man living in an idolatrous society. His home was in the Chaldean city of Ur, which was located in ancient Mesopotamia between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

God’s call to Abraham is recorded in Genesis 12:1-3: “Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you; and I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing; and I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

Note Abraham’s response: “So Abram went forth as the Lord had spoken to him” (v. 4). He listened, trusted, and obeyed. His pilgrimage of faith began when he separated himself from the pleasures of a pagan land to pursue God’s plan for his life.

So it is with you if you’re a man or woman of true faith. You’ve forsaken sinful pleasures to follow Christ. And as your love for Christ increases, there’s a corresponding decrease in worldly desires.

I pray your focus will continually be on fulfilling God’s will for your life, and that you’ll always know the joy and assurance that comes from following Him.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Ask God for the grace and spiritual fortitude to walk by faith today.

For Further Study:

Memorize 1 John 2:15 as a reminder to remain separate from the world.

 

 

Joyce Meyer – Steps In The Right Direction

Joyce meyer

Let each one of us make it a practice to please (make happy) his neighbor for his good and for his true welfare, to edify him [to strengthen him and build him up spiritually].—Romans 15:1, 2

Today’s scripture give us great advice, but we usually do the opposite of what it advises us to do. We want others to live to make us happy and do what pleases us. The result is that no matter what people do, we are rarely happy and satisfied.

The ways of the world, which are focused on “self,” do not work and the condition our society is in today proves that. In general people are more selfish than ever; they are also more dissatisfied. God’s ways do work and His way is to genuinely love other people. If we do as He instructs we may make some sacrifices, but we will have a kind of joy that cannot be found anywhere except in the center of God’s will. We will also be obeying His great commandment, which is to love one another.

Will you be honest and ask yourself some questions that may be difficult to answer but will bring you face-to-face with where you are in the whole theme of loving other people? How much do you do for others? Are you trying to find out what people want and need so you can provide it for them? Are you sincerely trying to know the people in your life in a genuine way? How well do you really even know the people in your own family?

As I answered these questions a few years ago, I was appalled at the level of selfishness in my life even though I had been a Christian minister for many years. The bottom line was that I was selfish and self-centered and I needed to change. These changes did not come easily or quickly, neither are they completed, but as I press on daily I am making progress and I am happier all the time.

Love Others Today: How are you doing on your love walk? Take a few extra steps today.

 

 

Presidential Prayer Team; J.R. – Strong Strands

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Imagine a strand of wire about as thick as the lead of a pencil. It might be strong enough to support the weight of a few hundred pounds…maybe. Now think about the Brooklyn Bridge. It weighs about 15,000 tons, stretches for more than a mile, and has stood for 130 years. You would consider the wire ordinary and the bridge magnificent. But the Brooklyn Bridge is made mostly of those thin strands of wire, thousands of them intricately laid together. “The strength of the finished cable,” wrote historian David McCollough in The Great Bridge, “would depend on getting each strand into its exact, particular position.”

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.

Colossians 3:15

Christians often overlook the importance of unity, but believers in Jesus are “called in one body.” You are an integral part of God’s plan to bring people into relationship with Him, and others will be drawn to the Savior through you…but only when you are in the particular position God has for you. Your spiritual strength is maximized when you work with other believers as the Lord intended.

May America’s Christian leaders and citizens not be seen as frayed and splayed, but as one body – united and strong!

Recommended Reading: Ephesians 2:11-21

 

 

Greg Laurie – Why Jesus Had to Die, Part 3

greglaurie

Last weekend we looked at Jesus in Gethsemane. Today we look at Jesus on the cross.

On the cross, Jesus gave seven statements—each one significant and necessary. One of the most arresting is “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” No fiction writer would have his hero say words like those. They surprise us, disarm us, and cause us to wonder what He meant. In many ways, this is virtually impossible to fathom.

No man has ever experienced loneliness and isolation as Jesus did at this point. First Judas betrayed Him, but His other disciples still stood with Him—until Gethsemane; then they too fled. But Simon Peter was still following, albeit at a distance. Then he too turned away from the Lord, openly denying Him.

But there was still the Father, who was always there. In John 8:29 Jesus said, “And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone.” Jesus said to His disciples, “Indeed, the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet, I am not alone, because the Father is with Me” (John 16:32).

But at the cross, God the Father turned away His face from God the Son. Why? Because God, in all His holiness, could not look at sin. So holy is God that we are told that He is “of purer eyes than to behold evil and cannot look on wickedness” (Habakkuk 1:13).

So the holy Father had to “turn His face” and pour His wrath upon His own Son. Understand, for Jesus that was the greatest sacrifice He could have possibly made. It is my belief that His greatest pain occurred at this moment.

He felt forsaken of God because this is the consequence of sin. For a person to be forsaken of God is the penalty which naturally and inevitably follows separation from God because of sin. Jesus was forsaken of God so I don’t have to be. Jesus was forsaken that I might be forgiven. Jesus entered the darkness that I might walk in the light! Jesus was forsaken of God for a time that I might enjoy His presence forever!

As Christ hung there, he was bearing the sins of the world, dying as a substitute. To Him was imputed the guilt of our sins, and He was suffering the punishment for those sins on our behalf. The very essence of that punishment was the outpouring of God’s wrath against sinners.

“Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the punishment for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:4–5).

 

Our Daily Bread — Our Fearless Champion

Our Daily Bread

Matthew 8:23-34

Why are you fearful? —Matthew 8:26

Falling asleep was a challenging event during my childhood. No sooner had my parents turned out the lights than the crumpled clothes I had thrown on the chair would take on the form of a fiery dragon and the thoughts of something living under my bed put me into a panic that made sleep impossible.

I’ve come to realize that the immobilizing power of fear is not just a childhood experience. Fear keeps us from forgiving, taking a stand at the office, giving our resources to God’s kingdom, or saying no when all our friends are saying yes. Left to ourselves, we are up against a lot of fiery dragons in our lives.

In the story of the disciples in the storm-tossed boat, I’m struck by the fact that the only one who was not afraid was Jesus. He was not afraid of the storm, nor was He afraid of a crazy man in a graveyard or of the legion of demons that possessed him (Matt. 8:23-34).

In the face of fear, we need to hear Jesus ask, “Why are you fearful?” (v.26) and be reminded that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Heb. 13:5-6). There is nothing that He can’t overcome and therefore nothing for Him to fear. So, next time you’re haunted by your fears, remember that you can rely on Jesus, our fearless Champion! —Joe Stowell

Lord, thank You for the reminder that You will

never leave us nor forsake us. When I am afraid, I

know that I can rely on Your presence and power

to calm my heart and overcome my fears.

In times of fear, call out to Jesus, our fearless Champion.

Bible in a year: Ezekiel 1-2; Hebrews 11:1-19

Alistair Begg – By His Sovereign Choice

Alistair Begg

But the Lord’s portion is his people.

Deuteronomy 32:9

How are they His? By His own sovereign choice. He chose them and set His love upon them. He did this completely apart from any goodness in them at the time or any goodness that He foresaw in them.

He had mercy on whom He would have mercy and ordained a chosen company to eternal life; in this way, therefore, they are His by His unconstrained election.

They are not only His by choice, but by purchase. He has bought and paid for them completely, and so there can be no dispute about His title.

Not with corruptible things like silver and gold, but with the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord’s portion has been fully redeemed.

There is no mortgage on His estate; no lawsuits can be raised by opposing claimants. The price was paid in open court, and the Church is the Lord’s estate forever. See the blood-mark upon all the chosen, invisible to the human eye but known to Christ, for “the Lord knows those who are his.”1

He forgets none of those whom He has redeemed from among men; He counts the sheep for whom He laid down His life and remembers carefully the Church for which He gave Himself.

They are also His by conquest. What a battle He had in us before we would be won! How long He laid siege to our hearts! How often He sent us terms of surrender, but we barred our gates and built our walls against Him.

Do we not remember that glorious hour when He carried our hearts by storm, when He placed His cross against the wall and scaled our ramparts, planting on our strongholds the blood-red flag of His omnipotent mercy? Yes, we are indeed the conquered captives of His omnipotent love. As those chosen, who have been purchased and subdued, we know that the rights of our divine possessor are inalienable: We rejoice that we can never be our own; and we desire, day by day, to do His will and to declare His glory.

1 2 Timothy 2:19

Charles Spurgeon – Awake! Awake!

CharlesSpurgeon

“Therefore let us not sleep as do others; but let us watch and be sober.” 1 Thessalonians 5:6

Suggested Further Reading: Titus 1:7- 2:8

“Let us watch.” There are many that never watch. They never watch against sin; they never watch against the temptations of the enemy; they do not watch against themselves, nor against “the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eye, and the pride of life.” They do not watch for opportunities to do good, they do not watch for opportunities to instruct the ignorant, to confirm the weak, to comfort the afflicted, to succour them that are in need; they do not watch for opportunities of glorifying Jesus, or for times of communion; they do not watch for the promises; they do not watch for answers to their prayers; they do not watch for the second coming of our Lord Jesus. These are the refuse of the world: they watch not, because they are asleep. But let us watch: so shall we prove that we are not slumberers. Again: let us “be sober.” Albert Barnes says, this most of all refers to abstinence, or temperance in eating and drinking. Calvin says, not so: this refers more especially to the spirit of moderation in the things of the world. Both are right: it refers to both. There be many that are not sober; they sleep, because they are not so; for insobriety leadeth to sleep. They are not sober—they are drunkards, they are gluttons. They are not sober—they cannot be content to do a little business—they want to do a great deal. They are not sober—they cannot carry on a trade that is sure—they must speculate. They are not sober—if they lose their property, their spirit is cast down within them, and they are like men that are drunken with wormwood. If on the other hand, they get rich, they are not sober: they so set their affections upon things on earth that they become intoxicated with pride.

For meditation: The Christian in the pew should aim at the same standards as those which he expects to see in the Christian in the pulpit (1 Corinthians 11:1).

Sermon no. 163

15 November (1857)

 

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?

 

Joyce Meyer – More Than Enough

Joyce meyer

Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams].

—Ephesians 3:20

When the things we are facing in our lives loom so big in our eyes that our mind goes “tilt,” we need to think in the spirit. In the natural, many things are impossible. But in the supernatural, spiritual realm, with God nothing is impossible. God wants us to believe for great things, make big plans, and expect Him to do things so great it leaves us with our mouths hanging open in awe. James 4:2 tells us we have not because we ask not! We can be bold in our asking.

Sometimes in my meetings people will approach the altar for prayer and sheepishly ask if they can request two things. I tell them they can ask God for all they want to, as long as they trust Him to do it His way, in His timing.

When you pray, do it standing up on the inside. What I mean is, do it respectfully, yet aggressively and boldly. Recall that God said He is the Almighty God (Genesis 17:1); in other words, “more than enough.”

Lord, open my spiritual eyes to see what it means to pray to the Almighty God who is “more than enough.” I come humbly and boldly with expectancy of great things. Amen.

 

Presidential Prayer Team; P.G.- Lifespan Look

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The final chapter of Romans lists special greetings from Paul to people who stood with him as he labored for the Lord. It’s easy in reading the Bible to just skip over passages like this, but each one of these individuals played a part in the development of God’s eternal kingdom. Paul acknowledged them and, across the centuries, their names have remained.

To whom not only I give thanks but all the churches of the Gentiles give thanks as well.

Romans 16:4

Look across the span of our own life. Who stood with you? Your fourth-grade teacher, a college professor, the neighbor who brought casseroles when you were ill? Or the Sunday school leader who influenced your decision for Christ, or your church’s pastoral staff who helped you keep your focus on the Lord?

Who have you come alongside in times of joy and sorrow, need and plenty? Maybe its family, friends, missionaries in fields near or far, homes for abused women and children…or even your Prayer Team.

Just as Paul gratefully recalled important people in his ministry, take a moment to give thanksgiving to the Lord for those He placed in your life. Then prayerfully come alongside the men and women who serve in America’s government, an often thankless job.

Recommended Reading: Romans 16:1-15

 

Greg Laurie – What Makes a Christian?

greglaurie

And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not. —2 Corinthians 11:26

I once went to a children’s ministry event at our church dressed up as Noah. No one knew it was me, which made the whole experience a lot of fun. I was pretending to be someone I really was not. I was playing a little game, actually.

There are people today who do the same thing with the Christian faith. They pretend to be something they really are not.

So how do we know whether someone is a Christian? “It comes down to what they believe,” we might say. There is truth to that, but that is not all there is to it. You can believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that He is the only way to God, and that He is coming back again and still not necessarily be a Christian. Now, if you are a Christian, you will believe what I just stated. But just because you believe that in and of itself doesn’t necessarily make you a Christian.

We may say, “Well, a Christian is judged by the way he or she behaves.” But that is not necessarily true. You can pray, keep the Ten Commandments to the best of your ability, attend church regularly, and even be baptized and not necessarily be a Christian. Those things should be a part of your life if you are a Christian. But those things, in and of themselves, don’t make you a Christian.

It is not enough to be exposed to the truth. You also need to act on it. You need to make a choice. It means recognizing that you have sinned (see Romans 3:23), turning away from your sins, and trusting in and receiving Jesus Christ into your life as your Lord and Savior. That is what makes you a Christian.

Have you made this choice? If you are not sure, please click here

 

Max Lucado – Becoming Like Him

Max Lucado

Healthy marriages have a sense of tenderness, an honesty, an ongoing communication. The same is true in our relationship with God. Sometimes we go to Him with our joys, sometimes our hurts, but we always go. And as we go, the more we go, the more we become like Him. Paul says we’re being changed from “glory to glory” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

People who live long lives together eventually begin to sound alike, to talk alike, even think alike. As we walk with God, we take on His thoughts, His principles, His attitudes.  We take on His heart.

And just as in marriage, communion with God is no burden. Indeed, it’s a delight.

The Psalmist says, “How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty.  My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord, my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God” (Ps. 84:1-2 NIV).

Nothing—nothing compares with it!

From The Lucado Inspirational Reader

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Too Good to Be True

Ravi Z

You may have heard it said that religion only survives because people desperately want it to be true, because they can’t come to terms with their own mortality (or that of loved ones). It was Sigmund Freud who helped to popularize this idea, as he suggested that the concept of a loving Creator was simply a psychological projection of a person’s innermost wishes:

“We tell ourselves that it would be very nice if there was a God who created the world and was a benevolent Providence and if there were a moral order in the universe and an after-life; but it is the very striking fact that all this is exactly as we are bound to wish it to be.”(1)

This kind of argument would seem to ring true, at least on a superficial level. You would expect it to be more likely for people to believe in something that they like than something that they don’t, and it is clear that Christianity is powerfully compelling. In fact, the argument itself is an admission of this, as it acknowledges the innate desire in us all that is fulfilled by God. Who wouldn’t want to be in a relationship with a loving deity who not only wants the best for those he has created, but who is offering eternity in a place that is more wonderful than can be imagined? Yet the Bible also contains some very hard-hitting passages, which would seem to contradict the notion that religious belief is simply a projection of our wishes. C. S. Lewis pointed out that scripture also teaches that believers should fear the Lord, but you would not then suggest that this meant faith was some kind of “fear fulfillment”!(2)

The problem with the argument is that it cuts both ways. If you suggest that people only believe because they want it to be true, then the counter-claim is that atheists are only non-believers because they don’t want it to be true. Some people have expressly stated this, such as Aldous Huxley who wrote:

“For myself, as, no doubt, for most of my contemporaries, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation. The liberation we desired was simultaneously liberation from a certain political and economic system and liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom; we objected to the political and economic system because it was unjust.”(3)

As Czeslaw Milosz points out, this is a negative wish-fulfillment, because “A true opium of the people is a belief in nothingness after death—the huge solace of thinking that for our betrayals, greed, cowardice, murders, we are not going to be judged.”(4)

The problem with these types of argument is that, as Manfred Lutz points out, Freud can provide an equally compelling reason for why someone might believe as to why they might disbelieve. Yet, crucially, when it comes to discerning the all-important matter of which position is actually true, he cannot help us.(5) As this suggests, just because you want to believe in something does not mean that it is true.

What is interesting about the Christian faith is that the intellectual arguments for God are backed up with a reality that can be personally experienced. There are countless examples of people who discover a life-changing faith even though they were once hostile to the idea of it. This may sound too good to be true, but this is something that is within everyone’s reach. The final word should perhaps go to the Victorian pastor William Haslam, whose conversion experience in 1851 has to rank as one of the best—not to mention funniest—examples of someone encountering God when they least expected it. The transformation was as dramatic as it was real, and it resulted in an outpouring of joy that he had never felt before:

“So I went up into the pulpit and gave out my text. I took it from the gospel of the day—’What think ye of Christ?’ As I went on to explain the passage, I saw that the Pharisees and scribes did not know that Christ was the Son of God, or that He was come to save them. They were looking for a king, the son of David, to reign over them as they were. Something was telling me, all the time, ‘You are no better than the Pharisees yourself—you do not believe that He is the Son of God, and that He is come to save you, any more than they did.’ I do not remember all I said, but I felt a wonderful light and joy coming into my soul, and I was beginning to see what the Pharisees did not. Whether it was something in my words, or my manner, or my look, I know not; but all of a sudden a local preacher, who happened to be in the congregation, stood up, and putting up his arms, shouted in a Cornish manner, ‘The parson is converted! The parson is converted! Hallelujah!’ and in another moment his voice was lost in the shouts and praises of three or four hundred of the congregation. Instead of rebuking this extraordinary ‘brawling,’ as I should have done in a former time, I joined in the outburst of praise, and to make it more orderly, I gave out the Doxology—’Praise God, from whom all blessings flow’—and the people sang it with heart and voice, over and over again. My Churchmen were dismayed, and many of them fled precipitately from the place. Still the voice of praise went on, and was swelled by numbers of passers-by, who came into the church, greatly surprised to hear and see what was going on. When this subsided, I found at least twenty people crying for mercy, whose voices had not been heard in the excitement and noise of thanksgiving. They all professed to find peace and joy in believing. Amongst this number there were three from my own house; and we returned home praising God. The news spread in all directions that ‘the parson was converted,’ and that by his own sermon, in his own pulpit too…. So clear and vivid was the conviction through which I passed, and so distinct was the light into which the Lord had brought me, that I knew and was sure that He had ‘brought me up out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a Rock, and put a new song into my mouth.’ He had ‘quickened’ me, who was before ‘dead in trespasses and sins.’… At the end of this great and eventful day of my life—my spiritual birthday, on which I passed from death to life by being “born from above”—I could scarcely sleep for joy.(6)

Simon Wenham is research coordinator for Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Europe.

(1) S. Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents (New York, 1962), 21, in A. McGrath, Mere Apologetics (Grand Rapids, 2012), 167.

(2) C. S. Lewis, The World’s Last Night: And Other Essays (New York, 2022), 19.

(3) R. S. Baker and J. Sexton (eds.), Aldous Huxley Complete Essays, iv (Lanham, 2001), 369.

(4) C. Milosz, “The Discrete Charm of Nihilism”, in J. C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Oxford, 2011), 47.

(5) M. Lutz, God: A Brief History of the Greater One (Munich, 2007), in Lennox, Gunning, 46.

(6) W. Haslam, From Death Unto Life: Twenty Years of Ministry (Teddington, 2006), 42.

 

 

Charles Stanley – Lessons from My Grandfather

Charles Stanley

Deuteronomy 4:9

Every generation is faced with the choice to live morally or immorally. For this reason, parents and grandparents have an awesome responsibility to pass down the biblical truths and principles that have guided their own lives. I can personally attest to the impact my grandfather’s words had in shaping the way I think.

When I graduated from high school at the age of 17, I decided to visit my granddad, whom I had seen only two times in my life. I had an entire week to spend at his home, and all I wanted to do was listen to him. As he spoke to me, the thing that impressed me above all else was hearing him say, “Charles, obey God. If He tells you to run your head through a brick wall, start for the wall. As you go to put your head through, God will make a hole for it.”

He knew a lot about brick walls and how the Lord makes holes in them. Though his youthful passion had been to preach, he’d had so little schooling that this dream seemed impossible—he didn’t know how to begin. But what my grandfather did was to get on his knees. Then he opened his Bible and learned to read well by practicing. And he began to preach by simply crying out to the Lord for help.

From those humble beginnings, my grandfather began to minister, and he eventually established numerous churches as God presented opportunities. That week of visiting and sharing taught me that when you really want to do the Lord’s will, He will move heaven and earth to show you the way.

 

 

 

Our Daily Bread — On Helping Others

Our Daily Bread

Leviticus 19:9-15

When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. —Leviticus 19:9

When snowstorms bury the grazing lands, ranchers must feed their herds by hand. As hay is tossed from wagons and trucks, the strongest animals bull their way to the front. Timid or sickly animals get little or no feed unless the rancher intervenes.

Workers in refugee camps and food pantries report a similar pattern. When they open their stores to those in need, the weak and timid may not make it to the front of the line. Like the ranchers, these human lifelines must take steps to ensure that their services reach the feeble, weary, and sick at the edge of society’s attention.

They are carrying out a principle set forth by God long ago. In Leviticus 19, Moses instructed Israel’s farmers and vintners to leave portions of their crops so the poor and the stranger could have something to eat (vv.9-10).

We too can serve as caretakers to the weak and weary. Whether we’re teachers coaxing quiet students to open up, workers coming alongside a struggling co-worker, prisoners looking out for new arrivals, or parents showing attention to their children, we have ways to honor God by helping others.

As we seek to serve those in need, may the grace of God that reached us in our need move us to reach out to others in theirs. —Randy Kilgore

Father, open my eyes to those struggling to have

enough food, enough love, enough hope; then open my

heart to find ways to help them receive love, using my

hands in service to them—and through them, to You.

By serving others, we serve God.

Bible in a year: Lamentations 3-5; Hebrews 10:19-39

 

Alistair Begg – Guilty of Double-dealing

Alistair Begg

And I will cut off from this place . . . Those who bow down and swear to the Lord and yet swear by Milcom.

Zephaniah 1:4-5

These people thought they were safe because they were with both parties: they went with the followers of Jehovah and bowed at the same time to Milcom. But duplicity is abominable with God, and His soul hates hypocrisy.

The idolater who distinctly gives himself to his false god has one sin less than he who brings his polluted and detestable sacrifice into the temple of the Lord, while his heart is with the world and its sins.

To hold with the hare and run with the hounds is a coward’s policy. In the common matters of daily life, a double-minded man is despised, but in religion he is loathsome to the last degree.

The penalty pronounced in the verse before us is terrible, but it is well-deserved; for how should divine justice spare the sinner who knows the right, approves it, and professes to follow it, and all the while loves the evil and gives it dominion in his heart?

My soul, search yourself this morning and see whether you are guilty of double-dealing. You profess to be a follower of Jesus-do you truly love Him? Is your heart right with God? Are you a member of the family of old Father Honest, or are you a relative of Mr. Shady?

A name for being alive is of little value if I am actually dead in trespasses and sins. To have one foot on the land of truth and another on the sea of falsehood will involve a terrible fall and a total ruin. Christ will be all or nothing.

God fills the whole universe, and as a result there is no room for another god. If, then, He reigns in my heart, there will be no space for another reigning power.

Do I rest alone on Jesus crucified and live alone for Him? Is it my desire to do so? Is my heart set on doing so?

If yes, then blessed be the mighty grace that has led me to salvation; and if no, then, Lord, pardon my sad offense, and unite my heart to fear Your name.

 

 

John MacArthur – Building a Picture of Salvation

John MacArthur

“By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household” (Heb. 11:7).

Lesson: God called Noah to a gargantuan task. Conservative figures estimate that the ark was about 438 feet long, 73 feet wide, and 44 feet high. That makes it almost one-and-a-half times the length of a football field and more than four stories high. Its three decks totaled almost 96,000 square feet with a total volume of about 1.3 million cubic feet. Naval engineers concur that its shape and dimensions constitute an incredibly stable ship design.

But beyond the enormity of its size and precision of its measurements, the ark is a wonderful illustration of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. For example, Noah was instructed to cover the ark inside and out with pitch (Gen. 3:14). The Hebrew word for pitch has the same root as the word for atonement. The pitch kept the waters of judgment from entering the ark just as Christ’s atoning blood keeps judgment from the repentant sinner.

The ark was large enough to hold two of each species of animals plus every person who turned to God for safety. Only eight persons chose to be saved on God’s terms, but had more come, surely He would have accommodated them. It is His desire that none perish, but that all come to repentance (2 Pet. 3:9). Those who perished in the Flood did so because they rejected God’s means of salvation.

Similarly, Jesus’s blood is sufficient to atone for every sinner and every sin since man’s fall in the Garden of Eden. No one who comes to Him will be cast out (John 6:37), yet so few avail themselves of His gracious provision (Matt. 7:14).

Noah was a man who “walked with God” (Gen. 6:9), yet he wasn’t without sin. That’s obvious from his drunken and immodest behavior after the Flood (9:20-21). But Noah, like every true believer, was justified by God’s grace, his faith being counted as righteousness. That has always been the basis of salvation (Gen. 15:6;Rom. 4:5).

Suggestions for Prayer:

Thank God for His amazing grace, by which He saved you and continues to cleanse you from every sin.

For Further Study:

Read Romans 4:1-8.

 

 

Joyce Meyer – The Gifts of Healing

Joyce meyer

To another the extraordinary powers of healing by the one Spirit.—1 Corinthians 12:9

The gifts of healing work with the gift of faith. Although all believers are encouraged to pray for the sick and see them recover (see Mark 16:17–18), the Holy Spirit does distribute extraordinary gifts of healing to some people, just as He gives other spiritual gifts to certain people.

In our conferences we often pray for people and see many wonderful healings. We have received stacks of testimonies and reports of confirmed physical healings over the years. I pray the prayer of faith during our conferences and on our broadcasts and I believe by faith that God is working.

When a person receives healing through a spiritual gift, that healing may not be evident immediately. Healing can be a process that works somewhat like medicine. It is necessary to receive it by faith and believe it is working. The results often become visible later. I often encourage people to say, “The healing power of God is working in me right now.”

We should trust God in the area of our health. I thank God for doctors and medicine when I need it, but Jesus is our Healer (see Isaiah 53:5).

God’s word for you today: God is your physician and His Word is your medicine. Ask Him to heal you in every way.

 

Presidential Prayer Team; A.W. – Anger Displacement

ppt_seal01

Have you ever seen an angry camel? They can be fairly feisty: biting, kicking, trampling or spitting. According to David Taylor, a wild animal expert, camel handlers in Asia avoid confrontation with their animal when it becomes mad by giving it their coat. The camel jumps on it, bites it and tears the coat to pieces. The anger is placed on something else, allowing beast and human to live in harmony again.

I will give thanks to you, O Lord, for though you were angry with me, your anger turned away.

Isaiah 12:1

The prophet Isaiah often focused on God’s judgment because of broken harmony between Him and His people due to their rebellion. In today’s verse, however, Isaiah is singing a song of praise and giving thanks because he sees the future where God’s people will be freed from their enemies and their sin.

Have you considered what allows God to live with you in harmony even though He’s angry at your sin? Instead of placing His anger on you, He placed it on Jesus on the cross, making you safe from His wrath. Incredible! As you pray today, thank God for turning His anger from you. Ask that He turn the country’s leader’s hearts toward Him so He might deliver them, too.

Recommended Reading: Hosea 14:1-9