Tag Archives: christianity

A Warning to the Intellectually Convinced – John MacArthur

 

“How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard” (Heb. 2:3).

I will never forget a lady who came to my office, confessing that she was a prostitute and was desperate for help. I presented the claims of Christ to her and asked if she wanted to confess Christ as Lord of her life. She said yes and prayed, seemingly inviting Christ into her life.

Then I suggested that we burn her book of contacts. She looked at me incredulously and said, “What do you mean?” “If you want to live for Jesus Christ,” I explained, “and you’ve truly accepted His forgiveness and embraced Him as Lord, then you need to prove it.” “But that book is worth a lot of money,” she said. “I don’t want to burn it.” After putting it back in her purse, she looked me right in the eye and said, “I guess I don’t really want Jesus, do I?”

When it came to counting the cost, she wasn’t ready. I don’t know whatever became of her, but my heart aches for her and others like her.

I’m sure you know people like her–they know and believe that Christ is the Savior, they know they need Him, but they are unwilling to make a commitment to Him. Perhaps they even go to church and hear the Word of God. They are like the proverbial man who says he believes a boat will keep him afloat, but never sets foot in one.

Those people are the most tragic of all. They need to be warned–to be given a powerful shove toward Christ. May the Lord use you as His instrument for that purpose in the lives of many who are on the edge of a decision for Christ.

Suggestion for Prayer:  Ask God to soften the hearts of people you know who understand the facts of the gospel, but haven’t yet made a commitment to it.

For Further Study:  Read Matthew 19:16-22. What kinds of questions should you ask of someone who appears eager to become a Christian?

God’s Gift to Us (Part 1) – Greg Laurie

 

For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.  – John 3:17

When you’re a child, Christmas is all about receiving gifts. In December, your head is swimming with nothing but images of your favorite toys.

But the true message of Christmas is not the presents we give to one another. The true meaning is the gift that God gave to us, His Son Jesus Christ.

During the next two days, I want to point out to you three things about the gift God gave to us in that tiny manger in Bethlehem.

The first thing we want to realize about God’s gift to us is that it came in simple wrapping. Some people will go to great lengths to wrap presents beautifully. But God’s gift came to us not in beautiful, ornate wrapping, but in a dirty manger found in a cold cave in a little-known town called Bethlehem.

That’s the beauty of the Christmas event. Jesus took His place in a manger so that we might have a home in heaven. The Savior was not wrapped in satin sheets, but in common rags. There in a manger rested the greatest gift in the plainest of wrapping.

The second thing I want to point out about God’s gift to us is that we don’t deserve it. Consider this: God gave us the ultimate gift of His Son Jesus Christ while we were still sinning against Him (see Romans 5:8).

We did nothing whatsoever to merit or deserve His gift. That is the amazing truth of Christmas. Despite who we are, God sent His Son so “that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

With Christmas just days away, begin to prepare your heart for the celebration of the birth of our Savior. Meditate on the fact that Jesus was born to die so that we might live.

Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening

 

Morning   “Rend your heart, and not your garments.” / Joel 2:13

Garment-rending and other outward signs of religious emotion, are easily

manifested and are frequently hypocritical; but to feel true repentance is far

more difficult, and consequently far less common. Men will attend to the most

multiplied and minute ceremonial regulations–for such things are pleasing to

the flesh–but true religion is too humbling, too heart-searching, too

thorough for the tastes of the carnal men; they prefer something more

ostentatious, flimsy, and worldly. Outward observances are temporarily

comfortable; eye and ear are pleased; self-conceit is fed, and

self-righteousness is puffed up: but they are ultimately delusive, for in the

article of death, and at the day of judgment, the soul needs something more

substantial than ceremonies and rituals to lean upon. Apart from vital

godliness all religion is utterly vain; offered without a sincere heart, every

form of worship is a solemn sham and an impudent mockery of the majesty of

heaven.

 

Heart-rending is divinely wrought and solemnly felt. It is a secret grief

which is personally experienced, not in mere form, but as a deep, soul-moving

work of the Holy Spirit upon the inmost heart of each believer. It is not a

matter to be merely talked of and believed in, but keenly and sensitively felt

in every living child of the living God. It is powerfully humiliating, and

completely sin-purging; but then it is sweetly preparative for those gracious

consolations which proud unhumbled spirits are unable to receive; and it is

distinctly discriminating, for it belongs to the elect of God, and to them

alone.

The text commands us to rend our hearts, but they are naturally hard as

marble: how, then, can this be done? We must take them to Calvary: a dying

Saviour’s voice rent the rocks once, and it is as powerful now. O blessed

Spirit, let us hear the death-cries of Jesus, and our hearts shall be rent

even as men rend their vestures in the day of lamentation.

 

Evening    “Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy

herds.” / Proverbs 27:23

Every wise merchant will occasionally hold a stock-taking, when he will cast

up his accounts, examine what he has on hand, and ascertain decisively whether

his trade is prosperous or declining. Every man who is wise in the kingdom of

heaven, will cry, “Search me, O God, and try me”; and he will frequently set

apart special seasons for self-examination, to discover whether things are

right between God and his soul. The God whom we worship is a great

heart-searcher; and of old his servants knew him as “the Lord which searcheth

the heart and trieth the reins of the children of men.” Let me stir you up in

his name to make diligent search and solemn trial of your state, lest you come

short of the promised rest. That which every wise man does, that which God

himself does with us all, I exhort you to do with yourself this evening. Let

the oldest saint look well to the fundamentals of his piety, for grey heads

may cover black hearts: and let not the young professor despise the word of

warning, for the greenness of youth may be joined to the rottenness of

hypocrisy. Every now and then a cedar falls into our midst. The enemy still

continues to sow tares among the wheat. It is not my aim to introduce doubts

and fears into your mind; nay, verily, but I shall hope the rather that the

rough wind of self-examination may help to drive them away. It is not

security, but carnal security, which we would kill; not confidence, but

fleshly confidence, which we would overthrow; not peace, but false peace,

which we would destroy. By the precious blood of Christ, which was not shed to

make you a hypocrite, but that sincere souls might show forth his praise, I

beseech you, search and look, lest at the last it be said of you, “Mene, Mene,

Tekel: thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.”

Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening

 

Morning  “I remember thee.” / Jeremiah 2:2

Let us note that Christ delights to think upon his Church, and to look upon

her beauty. As the bird returneth often to its nest, and as the wayfarer

hastens to his home, so doth the mind continually pursue the object of its

choice. We cannot look too often upon that face which we love; we desire

always to have our precious things in our sight. It is even so with our Lord

Jesus. From all eternity “His delights were with the sons of men;” his

thoughts rolled onward to the time when his elect should be born into the

world; he viewed them in the mirror of his foreknowledge. “In thy book,” he

says, “all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when

as yet there was none of them” (Ps. 139:16). When the world was set upon its

pillars, he was there, and he set the bounds of the people according to the

number of the children of Israel. Many a time before his incarnation, he

descended to this lower earth in the similitude of a man; on the plains of

Mamre (Gen. 18), by the brook of Jabbok (Gen. 32:24-30), beneath the walls of

Jericho (Jos. 5:13), and in the fiery furnace of Babylon (Dan. 3:19, 25), the

Son of Man visited his people. Because his soul delighted in them, he could

not rest away from them, for his heart longed after them. Never were they

absent from his heart, for he had written their names upon his hands, and

graven them upon his side. As the breastplate containing the names of the

tribes of Israel was the most brilliant ornament worn by the high priest, so

the names of Christ’s elect were his most precious jewels, and glittered on

his heart. We may often forget to meditate upon the perfections of our Lord,

but he never ceases to remember us. Let us chide ourselves for past

forgetfulness, and pray for grace ever to bear him in fondest remembrance.

Lord, paint upon the eyeballs of my soul the image of thy Son.

 

Evening  “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in

and out, and find pasture.” / John 10:9

Jesus, the great I AM, is the entrance into the true church, and the way of

access to God himself. He gives to the man who comes to God by him four choice

privileges.

1. He shall be saved. The fugitive manslayer passed the gate of the city of

refuge, and was safe. Noah entered the door of the ark, and was secure. None

can be lost who take Jesus as the door of faith to their souls. Entrance

through Jesus into peace is the guarantee of entrance by the same door into

heaven. Jesus is the only door, an open door, a wide door, a safe door; and

blessed is he who rests all his hope of admission to glory upon the crucified

Redeemer.

2. He shall go in. He shall be privileged to go in among the divine family,

sharing the children’s bread, and participating in all their honours and

enjoyments. He shall go in to the chambers of communion, to the banquets of

love, to the treasures of the covenant, to the storehouses of the promises. He

shall go in unto the King of kings in the power of the Holy Spirit, and the

secret of the Lord shall be with him.

3. He shall go out. This blessing is much forgotten. We go out into the world

to labour and suffer, but what a mercy to go in the name and power of Jesus!

We are called to bear witness to the truth, to cheer the disconsolate, to warn

the careless, to win souls, and to glorify God; and as the angel said to

Gideon, “Go in this thy might,” even thus the Lord would have us proceed as

his messengers in his name and strength.

4. He shall find pasture. He who knows Jesus shall never want. Going in and

out shall be alike helpful to him: in fellowship with God he shall grow, and

in watering others he shall be watered. Having made Jesus his all, he shall

find all in Jesus. His soul shall be as a watered garden, and as a well of

water whose waters fail not.

Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening

 

Morning  “Come unto me.” / Matthew 11:28

The cry of the Christian religion is the gentle word, “Come.” The Jewish law

harshly said, “Go, take heed unto thy steps as to the path in which thou shalt

walk. Break the commandments, and thou shalt perish; keep them, and thou shalt

live.” The law was a dispensation of terror, which drove men before it as with

a scourge; the gospel draws with bands of love. Jesus is the good Shepherd

going before his sheep, bidding them follow him, and ever leading them onwards

with the sweet word, “Come.” The law repels, the gospel attracts. The law

shows the distance which there is between God and man; the gospel bridges that

awful chasm, and brings the sinner across it.

From the first moment of your spiritual life until you are ushered into glory,

the language of Christ to you will be, “Come, come unto me.” As a mother puts

out her finger to her little child and woos it to walk by saying, “Come,” even

so does Jesus. He will always be ahead of you, bidding you follow him as the

soldier follows his captain. He will always go before you to pave your way,

and clear your path, and you shall hear his animating voice calling you after

him all through life; while in the solemn hour of death, his sweet words with

which he shall usher you into the heavenly world shall be–“Come, ye blessed

of my Father.”

Nay, further, this is not only Christ’s cry to you, but, if you be a believer,

this is your cry to Christ–“Come! come!” You will be longing for his second

advent; you will be saying, “Come quickly, even so come Lord Jesus.” You will

be panting for nearer and closer communion with him. As his voice to you is

“Come,” your response to him will be, “Come, Lord, and abide with me. Come,

and occupy alone the throne of my heart; reign there without a rival, and

consecrate me entirely to thy service.”

 

Evening  “Yea, thou heardest not; yea, thou knewest not; yea, from that time that thine

ear was not opened.” / Isaiah 48:8

It is painful to remember that, in a certain degree, this accusation may be

laid at the door of believers, who too often are in a measure spiritually

insensible. We may well bewail ourselves that we do not hear the voice of God

as we ought, “Yea, thou heardest not.” There are gentle motions of the Holy

Spirit in the soul which are unheeded by us: there are whisperings of divine

command and of heavenly love which are alike unobserved by our leaden

intellects. Alas! we have been carelessly ignorant–“Yea, thou knewest not.”

There are matters within which we ought to have seen, corruptions which have

made headway unnoticed; sweet affections which are being blighted like flowers

in the frost, untended by us; glimpses of the divine face which might be

perceived if we did not wall up the windows of our soul. But we “have not

known.” As we think of it we are humbled in the deepest self-abasement. How

must we adore the grace of God as we learn from the context that all this

folly and ignorance, on our part, was foreknown by God, and, notwithstanding

that foreknowledge, he yet has been pleased to deal with us in a way of mercy!

Admire the marvellous sovereign grace which could have chosen us in the sight

of all this! Wonder at the price that was paid for us when Christ knew what we

should be! He who hung upon the cross foresaw us as unbelieving, backsliding,

cold of heart, indifferent, careless, lax in prayer, and yet he said, “I am

the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour … Since thou wast

precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee:

therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life!” O redemption,

how wondrously resplendent dost thou shine when we think how black we are! O

Holy Spirit, give us henceforth the hearing ear, the understanding heart!

Christ’s Eternal Existence – John MacArthur

 

“Thou, Lord, in the beginning didst lay a foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of Thy hands; they will perish, but Thou remainest; and they all will become old as a garment. And as a mantle Thou wilt roll them up; as a garment they will also be changed. But Thou art the same, and Thy years will not come to an end” (Heb. 1:10-12).

Jesus Christ is no creature. To be able to lay the foundation of the earth and create the heavens in the beginning implies that He must have existed before the beginning. The apostle John testified to this when he said, “In the beginning was the Word” (John 1:1). Christ is eternal.

Jesus is also immutable, which means He never changes. Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever.” We need to hang onto this truth as we approach a day when much of what we know will change drastically.

One day what looks so permanent will fold up. Like the people Peter warned, we are tempted to think that “all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation” (2 Pet. 3:4). But Hebrews 1:11 tells us that one day Jesus will discard the heavens and the earth, just as we would a useless garment.

Even more amazing, verse 12 specifies that Christ will roll up the heavens. Revelation 6:14 says, “The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.” During the time of the tribulation, the heavens, as if stretched to all corners, will roll right up like a scroll.

But we can be confident that although creation will perish, Jesus will not, and He will create a new heaven and a new earth. Living creatures, worlds, and stars are subject to decay, but not Christ. He never changes and is never subject to change. What confidence that should give us for the daily issues of life we face each day!

Suggestion for Prayer:  Thank the Lord for His unchanging plan for your life and His ability to keep it.

For Future Study:  Read 2 Peter 3 and develop an approach to answering charges unbelievers make about biblical prophecies regarding the end times.

The Restriction of Man’s Destiny – John MacArthur

 

“Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever, and the righteous scepter is the scepter of His kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy companions” (Heb. 1:8-9).

In these days it’s difficult for us as Christians to be totally supportive of our governmental leaders when we see so much of what God calls righteous compromised or ridiculed. But the King of kings–Christ Himself–is the only leader who has a perfectly right attitude toward righteousness.

Christ rules from an eternal throne, and He rules eternity as God and King. The scepter He holds is symbolic of His rule, particularly as a rule of righteousness.

But there’s more to it than that: He just doesn’t act righteously; He loves righteousness itself. How often have we obeyed without joy, expressing an attitude of willing condescension? But Jesus gives us a different model.

James 1:17 says, “Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow.” True righteousness never varies from what is true, just, and good. And 1 John 1:5 says, “God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.” God is total light and total righteousness. Everything Jesus did resulted from His love of righteousness.

Because Christ loves righteousness, He hates lawlessness. Since He loves what is right, He must hate what is wrong. The two are inseparable–one cannot exist without the other. You cannot truly love righteousness and also like sin. When there is true love for God, there will also be true love for righteousness and total hatred of sin.

The more you and I become conformed to Jesus Christ, the more we will love righteousness. Our attitudes toward righteousness and sin will ultimately reveal how closely we are conformed to Christ. Check out your attitudes and actions. How are you doing?

Suggestion for Prayer:  Like the psalmist, ask God to show you any hurtful way in you (Ps. 139:24).

For Further Study:  Read Psalm 119 and note how many times the psalmist makes reference to either his love for God’s law or righteousness.

Christ’s SuperiorNature – John MacArthur

 

“Of the angels He says, ‘Who makes His angels winds, and His ministers a flame of fire.’ But of the Son He says, ‘Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever'” (Heb. 1:7-8).

People today who claim that Jesus was just a man, an angel, a prophet, or some inferior god are in error and bring upon themselves the curse of God. The Bible, and especially the writer of Hebrews, are clear about who Christ is.

First, the writer deals with the nature of angels when he says, “Who makes His angels winds, and His ministers a flame of fire.” “Makes” simply means “to create.” The antecedent of “who” is Christ. Therefore it is obvious that Christ created the angels.

They are also His possession: “His angels.” They are His created servants, who do not operate on their own initiative, but on the direction of Christ.

But the greatest difference between the nature of angels and Christ is that He is the eternal God. The Father says to the Son, “Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever.” That is one of the most powerful, clear, emphatic, and irrefutable proofs of the deity of Christ in Scripture.

Jesus throughout His ministry claimed equality with God. He said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). The apostle John closed his first epistle by saying, “We know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding, in order that we might know Him who is true, and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life” (1 John 5:20).

God the Son came to help us understand that God is truth and that Christ Himself is the true God. Our faith is based on the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Suggestion for Prayer: Ask God to give you a greater understanding of the reality that Jesus is in fact God.

For Further Study: Read John 1:1-18 and mark the verses that define Christ’s relationship to God. If an unbeliever were to ask you what that passage means, how would you answer him or her?

The Real Heaven – Charles Stanley

 

Matthew 25:14-30

I’m not sure how this misconception about heaven got started, but I can assure you that the Bible doesn’t support the idea that we’ll be lying around on clouds, strumming harps. We have been gifted, equipped, and enabled to fulfill God’s purpose in this life. And He will still have a purpose for us in the life to come.

In today’s passage, Jesus described the kingdom of heaven in the context of a wealthy man giving his servants money to invest. The men who served their master faithfully were heartily congratulated and given greater responsibility. When we reach Christ’s judgment seat, our foremost reward will be to hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matt. 25:23 niv). I can’t imagine words that could please me more than a commendation from the Savior I love above all.

We will also receive our new assignment in God’s heavenly kingdom. This is the part of the reward that corresponds to the words, “You were faithful in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things” (v. 23). There will be no lazing about for us! We will have a renewed heaven and earth to live in and enjoy (2 Peter 3:13). In our perfected bodies with hearts and souls attuned to the Lord, we will serve Him and each other.

God has a plan for every believer to pursue, and He has gifted each of His children specifically for that purpose. There is no place for laziness now or after we reach our eternal home. This world is our training ground for the greater life to come, so let’s prepare like good and faithful servants.

Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening

 

Morning  “His ways are everlasting.” / Habakkuk 3:6

What he hath done at one time, he will do yet again. Man’s ways are variable,

but God’s ways are everlasting. There are many reasons for this most

comforting truth: among them are the following–the Lord’s ways are the result

of wise deliberation; he ordereth all things according to the counsel of his

own will. Human action is frequently the hasty result of passion, or fear, and

is followed by regret and alteration; but nothing can take the Almighty by

surprise, or happen otherwise than he has foreseen. His ways are the outgrowth

of an immutable character, and in them the fixed and settled attributes of God

are clearly to be seen. Unless the Eternal One himself can undergo change, his

ways, which are himself in action, must remain forever the same. Is he

eternally just, gracious, faithful, wise, tender?–then his ways must ever be

distinguished for the same excellences. Beings act according to their nature:

when those natures change, their conduct varies also; but since God cannot

know the shadow of a turning, his ways will abide everlastingly the same.

Moreover there is no reason from without which could reverse the divine ways,

since they are the embodiment of irresistible might. The earth is said, by the

prophet, to be cleft with rivers, mountains tremble, the deep lifts up its

hands, and sun and moon stand still, when Jehovah marches forth for the

salvation of his people. Who can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest

thou? But it is not might alone which gives stability; God’s ways are the

manifestation of the eternal principles of right, and therefore can never pass

away. Wrong breeds decay and involves ruin, but the true and the good have

about them a vitality which ages cannot diminish.

This morning let us go to our heavenly Father with confidence, remembering

that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him the

Lord is ever gracious to his people.

 

Evening  “They have dealt treacherously against the Lord.” / Hosea 5:7

Believer, here is a sorrowful truth! Thou art the beloved of the Lord,

redeemed by blood, called by grace, preserved in Christ Jesus, accepted in the

Beloved, on thy way to heaven, and yet, “thou hast dealt treacherously” with

God, thy best friend; treacherously with Jesus, whose thou art; treacherously

with the Holy Spirit, by whom thou hast been quickened unto life eternal! How

treacherous you have been in the matter of vows and promises. Do you remember

the love of your espousals, that happy time–the springtime of your spiritual

life? Oh, how closely did you cling to your Master then! saying, “He shall

never charge me with indifference; my feet shall never grow slow in the way of

his service; I will not suffer my heart to wander after other loves; in him is

every store of sweetness ineffable. I give all up for my Lord Jesus’ sake.”

Has it been so? Alas! if conscience speak, it will say, “He who promised so

well has performed most ill. Prayer has oftentimes been slurred–it has been

short, but not sweet; brief, but not fervent. Communion with Christ has been

forgotten. Instead of a heavenly mind, there have been carnal cares, worldly

vanities and thoughts of evil. Instead of service, there has been

disobedience; instead of fervency, lukewarmness; instead of patience,

petulance; instead of faith, confidence in an arm of flesh; and as a soldier

of the cross there has been cowardice, disobedience, and desertion, to a very

shameful degree.” “Thou hast dealt treacherously.” Treachery to Jesus! what

words shall be used in denouncing it? Words little avail: let our penitent

thoughts execrate the sin which is so surely in us. Treacherous to thy wounds,

O Jesus! Forgive us, and let us not sin again! How shameful to be treacherous

to him who never forgets us, but who this day stands with our names engraven

on his breastplate before the eternal throne.

Our Heavenly Appointment – Charles Stanley

 

2 Corinthians 5:1-10

Each tick of the clock brings us one second closer to our heavenly appointment with the Lord Jesus. As believers in Christ, we will stand before Him one day and give an account for our lives. At that time we will be held accountable for our actions and recompensed for the choices we made while on earth, whether good or bad (2 Cor. 5:10).

This is not a judgment of condemnation. At salvation, when we acknowledged Christ as our Savior, all blame was removed from us (Rom. 8:1). In taking our place on the cross, Jesus bore our sins and experienced the wrath of God against our iniquity (1 Peter 2:24). As a result, the penalty for our sin has been fully paid.

When we stand before our Lord, He’ll look to see which of our choices were in keeping with His will. Every act of obedient service, whether large or small, will be remembered and rewarded. At the same time, I believe there will be loss and tears when our actions of selfishness and unrighteousness are considered.

Colossians 3 gives us a picture of who we are to be and how God wants us to live: our minds should be focused on things above, not earthly matters (v. 2). And we are to get rid of anger, malice, and slander, clothing ourselves instead with compassion, kindness, and patience (vv. 8, 12).

Since the Lord holds us accountable for our actions, it is urgent that we replace ungodly patterns with righteous ways. Both inward attitudes and outward behavior matter to Him. When facing decisions each day, seek scriptural guidance and godly counsel. Then reflect on which choice would please God.

Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening

 

Morning   “Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.” / 1 Thessalonians 5:24

Heaven is a place where we shall never sin; where we shall cease our constant

watch against an indefatigable enemy, because there will be no tempter to

ensnare our feet. There the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at

rest. Heaven is the “undefiled inheritance;” it is the land of perfect

holiness, and therefore of complete security. But do not the saints even on

earth sometimes taste the joys of blissful security? The doctrine of God’s

word is, that all who are in union with the Lamb are safe; that all the

righteous shall hold on their way; that those who have committed their souls

to the keeping of Christ shall find him a faithful and immutable preserver.

Sustained by such a doctrine we can enjoy security even on earth; not that

high and glorious security which renders us free from every slip, but that

holy security which arises from the sure promise of Jesus that none who

believe in him shall ever perish, but shall be with him where he is. Believer,

let us often reflect with joy on the doctrine of the perseverance of the

saints, and honour the faithfulness of our God by a holy confidence in him.

May our God bring home to you a sense of your safety in Christ Jesus! May he

assure you that your name is graven on his hand; and whisper in your ear the

promise, “Fear not, I am with thee.” Look upon him, the great Surety of the

covenant, as faithful and true, and, therefore, bound and engaged to present

you, the weakest of the family, with all the chosen race, before the throne of

God; and in such a sweet contemplation you will drink the juice of the spiced

wine of the Lord’s pomegranate, and taste the dainty fruits of Paradise. You

will have an antepast of the enjoyments which ravish the souls of the perfect

saints above, if you can believe with unstaggering faith that “faithful is he

that calleth you, who also will do it.”

 

Evening   “Ye serve the Lord Christ.” / Colossians 3:24

To what choice order of officials was this word spoken? To kings who proudly

boast a right divine? Ah, no! too often do they serve themselves or Satan, and

forget the God whose sufferance permits them to wear their mimic majesty for

their little hour. Speaks then the apostle to those so-called “right reverend

fathers in God,” the bishops, or “the venerable the archdeacons”? No, indeed,

Paul knew nothing of these mere inventions of man. Not even to pastors and

teachers, or to the wealthy and esteemed among believers, was this word

spoken, but to servants, aye, and to slaves. Among the toiling multitudes, the

journeymen, the day labourers, the domestic servants, the drudges of the

kitchen, the apostle found, as we find still, some of the Lord’s chosen, and

to them he says, “Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not

unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the

inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.” This saying ennobles the weary

routine of earthly employments, and sheds a halo around the most humble

occupations. To wash feet may be servile, but to wash his feet is royal work.

To unloose the shoe-latchet is poor employ, but to unloose the great Master’s

shoe is a princely privilege. The shop, the barn, the scullery, and the smithy

become temples when men and women do all to the glory of God! Then “divine

service” is not a thing of a few hours and a few places, but all life becomes

holiness unto the Lord, and every place and thing, as consecrated as the

tabernacle and its golden candlestick.

“Teach me, my God and King, in all things thee to see;

And what I do in anything to do it as to thee.

All may of thee partake, nothing can be so mean,

Which with this tincture, for thy sake, will not grow bright and clean.

A servant with this clause makes drudgery divine;

Who sweeps a room, as for thy laws, makes that and the action fine.”

What’s Jesus Doing Now? – Charles Stanley

 

Hebrews 1:1-3

The New Testament tells us what Jesus did while He was on earth, but what is He doing now that He has ascended to the Father in heaven? His physical absence does not mean that He has abandoned us. Though we cannot presently see Him, His Word assures us that He is always acting on our behalf to empower, lead, and complete us.

He gives us abundant life (John 10:10). Christ enables us to live with peace, joy, and the strength and determination to persist in accomplishing whatever He calls us to do.

The Lord makes intercession for us (Rom. 8:34). Jesus hears our every prayer and is seated at His Father’s right hand, presenting our requests to Him.

Christ reveals the Father. By seeing God through the Son’s eyes, we understand that He’s our loving heavenly Father, who is personally interested in every aspect of our lives. Scripture invites us to follow Jesus’ example of ongoing intimate conversation with God.

He’s preparing a place for us and will one day come to take us home to heaven so we can be with Him forever (John 14:2-3).

The Lord Jesus is also preparing for His return to rule and reign on earth as King of kings and Lord of lords.

“Out of sight, out of mind” is definitely not a phrase that describes Christ’s relationship with us. He never forgets us and is continually working to complete His plans for both our lives and the entire world. His constant care should motivate us to make sure that He’s not out of our sight and mind.

Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening

 

Morning   “So shall we ever be with the Lord.” / 1 Thessalonians 4:17

Even the sweetest visits from Christ, how short they are–and how transitory!

One moment our eyes see him, and we rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of

glory, but again a little time and we do not see him, for our beloved

withdraws himself from us; like a roe or a young hart he leaps over the

mountains of division; he is gone to the land of spices, and feeds no more

among the lilies.

“If today he deigns to bless us

With a sense of pardoned sin,

He to-morrow may distress us,

Make us feel the plague within.”

Oh, how sweet the prospect of the time when we shall not behold him at a

distance, but see him face to face: when he shall not be as a wayfaring man

tarrying but for a night, but shall eternally enfold us in the bosom of his

glory. We shall not see him for a little season, but

“Millions of years our wondering eyes,

Shall o’er our Saviour’s beauties rove;

And myriad ages we’ll adore,

The wonders of his love.”

In heaven there shall be no interruptions from care or sin; no weeping shall

dim our eyes; no earthly business shall distract our happy thoughts; we shall

have nothing to hinder us from gazing forever on the Sun of Righteousness with

unwearied eyes. Oh, if it be so sweet to see him now and then, how sweet to

gaze on that blessed face for aye, and never have a cloud rolling between, and

never have to turn one’s eyes away to look on a world of weariness and woe!

Blest day, when wilt thou dawn? Rise, O unsetting sun! The joys of sense may

leave us as soon as they will, for this shall make glorious amends. If to die

is but to enter into uninterrupted communion with Jesus, then death is indeed

gain, and the black drop is swallowed up in a sea of victory.

 

Evening   “Whose heart the Lord opened.” / Acts 16:14

In Lydia’s conversion there are many points of interest. It was brought about

by providential circumstances. She was a seller of purple, of the city of

Thyatira, but just at the right time for hearing Paul we find her at Philippi;

providence, which is the handmaid of grace, led her to the right spot. Again,

grace was preparing her soul for the blessing–grace preparing for grace. She

did not know the Saviour, but as a Jewess, she knew many truths which were

excellent stepping-stones to a knowledge of Jesus. Her conversion took place

in the use of the means. On the Sabbath she went when prayer was wont to be

made, and there prayer was heard. Never neglect the means of grace; God may

bless us when we are not in his house, but we have the greater reason to hope

that he will when we are in communion with his saints. Observe the words,

“Whose heart the Lord opened.” She did not open her own heart. Her prayers did

not do it; Paul did not do it. The Lord himself must open the heart, to

receive the things which make for our peace. He alone can put the key into the

hole of the door and open it, and get admittance for himself. He is the

heart’s master as he is the heart’s maker. The first outward evidence of the

opened heart was obedience. As soon as Lydia had believed in Jesus, she was

baptized. It is a sweet sign of a humble and broken heart, when the child of

God is willing to obey a command which is not essential to his salvation,

which is not forced upon him by a selfish fear of condemnation, but is a

simple act of obedience and of communion with his Master. The next evidence

was love, manifesting itself in acts of grateful kindness to the apostles.

Love to the saints has ever been a mark of the true convert. Those who do

nothing for Christ or his church, give but sorry evidence of an “opened”

heart. Lord, evermore give me an opened heart.

Principles for Effective Prayer – Charles Stanley

 

Each of us has prayed about situations and for other people without seeing results. When that happens, it’s easy to become discouraged. Rather than give up, we should review our lives to see if we need to alter something.

1. Our prayers must flow from a heart that is in step with God. If we want our prayers to be effective, we must be open to His Spirit and be compassionate, forgiving, and sincere as we intercede. Therefore, pray that you will have His love and compassion for others and that you will forgive fully—just as He has forgiven you (Eph. 4:32).

2. Our prayers are a link between our needs and God’s inexhaustible resources. Ask the Lord to reveal your or your loved one’s true needs and His power to meet those needs so that you can intercede in faith.

3. Identify with the need of the other person. To be truly compassionate in our supplication, we must see others through Jesus’ eyes. When we realize that people are truly hurting on the inside, our mercy for them is released, and we can intercede for them with greater zeal, understanding, and emotion.

Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening

 

Morning  “Therefore will the Lord wait that he may be gracious unto you.” / Isaiah

30:18

God often delays in answering prayer. We have several instances of this in

sacred Scripture. Jacob did not get the blessing from the angel until near the

dawn of day–he had to wrestle all night for it. The poor woman of

Syrophoenicia was answered not a word for a long while. Paul besought the Lord

thrice that “the thorn in the flesh” might be taken from him, and he received

no assurance that it should be taken away, but instead thereof a promise that

God’s grace should be sufficient for him. If thou hast been knocking at the

gate of mercy, and hast received no answer, shall I tell thee why the mighty

Maker hath not opened the door and let thee in? Our Father has reasons

peculiar to himself for thus keeping us waiting. Sometimes it is to show his

power and his sovereignty, that men may know that Jehovah has a right to give

or to withhold. More frequently the delay is for our profit. Thou art perhaps

kept waiting in order that thy desires may be more fervent. God knows that

delay will quicken and increase desire, and that if he keeps thee waiting thou

wilt see thy necessity more clearly, and wilt seek more earnestly; and that

thou wilt prize the mercy all the more for its long tarrying. There may also

be something wrong in thee which has need to be removed, before the joy of the

Lord is given. Perhaps thy views of the Gospel plan are confused, or thou

mayest be placing some little reliance on thyself, instead of trusting simply

and entirely to the Lord Jesus. Or, God makes thee tarry awhile that he may

the more fully display the riches of his grace to thee at last. Thy prayers

are all filed in heaven, and if not immediately answered they are certainly

not forgotten, but in a little while shall be fulfilled to thy delight and

satisfaction. Let not despair make thee silent, but continue instant in

earnest supplication.

 

Evening  “My people shall dwell in quiet resting places.” / Isaiah 32:18

Peace and rest belong not to the unregenerate, they are the peculiar

possession of the Lord’s people, and of them only. The God of Peace gives

perfect peace to those whose hearts are stayed upon him. When man was

unfallen, his God gave him the flowery bowers of Eden as his quiet resting

places; alas! how soon sin blighted the fair abode of innocence. In the day of

universal wrath when the flood swept away a guilty race, the chosen family

were quietly secured in the resting-place of the ark, which floated them from

the old condemned world into the new earth of the rainbow and the covenant,

herein typifying Jesus, the ark of our salvation. Israel rested safely beneath

the blood-besprinkled habitations of Egypt when the destroying angel smote the

first-born; and in the wilderness the shadow of the pillar of cloud, and the

flowing rock, gave the weary pilgrims sweet repose. At this hour we rest in

the promises of our faithful God, knowing that his words are full of truth and

power; we rest in the doctrines of his word, which are consolation itself; we

rest in the covenant of his grace, which is a haven of delight. More highly

favoured are we than David in Adullam, or Jonah beneath his gourd, for none

can invade or destroy our shelter. The person of Jesus is the quiet

resting-place of his people, and when we draw near to him in the breaking of

the bread, in the hearing of the word, the searching of the Scriptures,

prayer, or praise, we find any form of approach to him to be the return of

peace to our spirits.

“I hear the words of love, I gaze upon the blood,

I see the mighty sacrifice, and I have peace with God.

‘Tis everlasting peace, sure as Jehovah’s name,

‘Tis stable as his steadfast throne, for evermore the same:

The clouds may go and come, and storms may sweep my sky,

This blood-sealed friendship changes not, the cross is ever nigh.”

Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening

 

Morning   “Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments;

and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.” / Revelation 3:4

We may understand this to refer to justification. “They shall walk in white;”

that is, they shall enjoy a constant sense of their own justification by

faith; they shall understand that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to

them, that they have all been washed and made whiter than the newly-fallen

snow.

Again, it refers to joy and gladness: for white robes were holiday dresses

among the Jews. They who have not defiled their garments shall have their

faces always bright; they shall understand what Solomon meant when he said “Go

thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart. Let

thy garments be always white, for God hath accepted thy works.” He who is

accepted of God shall wear white garments of joy and gladness, while he walks

in sweet communion with the Lord Jesus. Whence so many doubts, so much misery,

and mourning? It is because so many believers defile their garments with sin

and error, and hence they lose the joy of their salvation, and the comfortable

fellowship of the Lord Jesus, they do not here below walk in white.

The promise also refers to walking in white before the throne of God. Those

who have not defiled their garments here shall most certainly walk in white up

yonder, where the white-robed hosts sing perpetual hallelujahs to the Most

High. They shall possess joys inconceivable, happiness beyond a dream, bliss

which imagination knoweth not, blessedness which even the stretch of desire

hath not reached. The “undefiled in the way” shall have all this–not of

merit, nor of works, but of grace. They shall walk with Christ in white, for

he has made them “worthy.” In his sweet company they shall drink of the living

fountains of waters.

 

Evening   “Thou, O God, hast prepared of thy goodness for the poor.” / Psalm 68:10

All God’s gifts are prepared gifts laid up in store for wants foreseen. He

anticipates our needs; and out of the fulness which he has treasured up in

Christ Jesus, he provides of his goodness for the poor. You may trust him for

all the necessities that can occur, for he has infallibly foreknown every one

of them. He can say of us in all conditions, “I knew that thou wouldst be this

and that.” A man goes a journey across the desert, and when he has made a

day’s advance, and pitched his tent, he discovers that he wants many comforts

and necessaries which he has not brought in his baggage. “Ah!” says he, “I did

not foresee this: if I had this journey to go again, I should bring these

things with me, so necessary to my comfort.” But God has marked with prescient

eye all the requirements of his poor wandering children, and when those needs

occur, supplies are ready. It is goodness which he has prepared for the poor

in heart, goodness and goodness only. “My grace is sufficient for thee.” “As

thy days, so shall thy strength be.”

Reader, is your heart heavy this evening? God knew it would be; the comfort

which your heart wants is treasured in the sweet assurance of the text. You

are poor and needy, but he has thought upon you, and has the exact blessing

which you require in store for you. Plead the promise, believe it and obtain

its fulfilment. Do you feel that you never were so consciously vile as you are

now? Behold, the crimson fountain is open still, with all its former efficacy,

to wash your sin away. Never shall you come into such a position that Christ

cannot aid you. No pinch shall ever arrive in your spiritual affairs in which

Jesus Christ shall not be equal to the emergency, for your history has all

been foreknown and provided for in Jesus.

It’s All About Him – Greg Laurie

 

A little girl noticed that her mom was getting really stressed out around Christmas. Everything was bothering her mom, and she was very irritable.

Evening came and the mom bathed the little girl, got her ready for bed, put her under the covers, and had her say her prayers. She would usually pray the Lord’s Prayer, but on this particular evening, she amended it a little bit.

Her petition went something like this, “Father, forgive us our Christmases, as we forgive those who Christmas against us.”

That is what happens when we lose focus of the real meaning of Christmas, isn’t it? We get so caught up in the busyness of the season that sometimes we forget the wonder of it all: that deity took on humanity, that God became a man.

Scripture sums it up well in 2 Corinthians 8:9, which says, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich” (NKJV). Jesus literally went from the throne of heaven to a simple little cave or stable.

Can you imagine what must have gone through Mary’s mind that day when the angel Gabriel appeared to her and told her she would be the mother of the Messiah? Her head must have been swimming. “What about Joseph? What are people going to say?”

But God had it all put together, because the time was just right in every way.

There was one small detail: the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem, as Scripture prophesied (see Micah 5:2). But Mary and her husband-to-be Joseph lived in Nazareth. So the Lord touched a little man who was big in his own mind.

His name was Caesar, and at this particular time in history, he was the most powerful man on Earth. One day, Caesar gave a decree that all of the world should be taxed.

In reality, he was nothing more than a pawn in the hand of God. The Lord needed Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem, so He moved events.

Mary and Joseph made the difficult journey to Bethlehem, which was especially perilous for a woman who was as far along in her pregnancy as Mary was. But they did make it, and there, the miraculous birth of Christ took place, just as Scripture said it would.

This little baby grew up quickly, and although we would love to know more about his boyhood, the Bible offers only a few details.

But we do read of one day in the synagogue in Nazareth when, as the custom was, the time had come for Jesus to read. He walked to the front of the synagogue, opened up the scroll, and began to read from Isaiah: ” ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord’ ” (Luke 4:18-19 NLT).

When He had finished, He sat down and said, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (verse 21). He had declared himself the Messiah. His public ministry had begun.

This One who was sent from God was always in perfect sync with the Father. While He spoke with the learned spiritual leaders, He always had time for the outcasts of society—people like the woman at the well and the tax collector, Zacchaeus. People like you. People like me.

His ministry on Earth was only a few years, and then He was crucified. You can be sure that as He hung there on the cross, where all of the sin of humanity was placed upon Him, that this was God’s most painful moment.

But then it was finished. He rose again from the dead, and after a time, ascended back into heaven, promising to come back to this earth. And we eagerly await that day.

This Jesus who was born in a manger, who walked this earth, who was crucified, and who rose again, is not some mere historical figure, although He was that. He is alive, and He is still in the business of changing lives.

That is the reason He came: to put us in touch with God, to forgive us of all of our sins, and to give our lives purpose and meaning.

Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening

 

Morning  “Base things of the world hath God chosen.” / 1 Corinthians 1:28

Walk the streets by moonlight, if you dare, and you will see sinners then.

Watch when the night is dark, and the wind is howling, and the picklock is

grating in the door, and you will see sinners then. Go to yon jail, and walk

through the wards, and mark the men with heavy over-hanging brows, men whom

you would not like to meet at night, and there are sinners there. Go to the

Reformatories, and note those who have betrayed a rampant juvenile depravity,

and you will see sinners there. Go across the seas to the place where a man

will gnaw a bone upon which is reeking human flesh, and there is a sinner

there. Go where you will, you need not ransack earth to find sinners, for they

are common enough; you may find them in every lane and street of every city,

and town, and village, and hamlet. It is for such that Jesus died. If you will

select me the grossest specimen of humanity, if he be but born of woman, I

will have hope of him yet, because Jesus Christ is come to seek and to save

sinners. Electing love has selected some of the worst to be made the best.

Pebbles of the brook grace turns into jewels for the crown-royal. Worthless

dross he transforms into pure gold. Redeeming love has set apart many of the

worst of mankind to be the reward of the Saviour’s passion. Effectual grace

calls forth many of the vilest of the vile to sit at the table of mercy, and

therefore let none despair.

Reader, by that love looking out of Jesus’ tearful eyes, by that love

streaming from those bleeding wounds, by that faithful love, that strong love,

that pure, disinterested, and abiding love; by the heart and by the bowels of

the Saviour’s compassion, we conjure you turn not away as though it were

nothing to you; but believe on him and you shall be saved. Trust your soul

with him and he will bring you to his Father’s right hand in glory

everlasting.

 

Evening  “I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” / 1

Corinthians 9:22

Paul’s great object was not merely to instruct and to improve, but to save.

Anything short of this would have disappointed him; he would have men renewed

in heart, forgiven, sanctified, in fact, saved. Have our Christian labours

been aimed at anything below this great point? Then let us amend our ways, for

of what avail will it be at the last great day to have taught and moralized

men if they appear before God unsaved? Blood-red will our skirts be if through

life we have sought inferior objects, and forgotten that men needed to be

saved. Paul knew the ruin of man’s natural state, and did not try to educate

him, but to save him; he saw men sinking to hell, and did not talk of refining

them, but of saving from the wrath to come. To compass their salvation, he

gave himself up with untiring zeal to telling abroad the gospel, to warning

and beseeching men to be reconciled to God. His prayers were importunate and

his labours incessant. To save souls was his consuming passion, his ambition,

his calling. He became a servant to all men, toiling for his race, feeling a

woe within him if he preached not the gospel. He laid aside his preferences to

prevent prejudice; he submitted his will in things indifferent, and if men

would but receive the gospel, he raised no questions about forms or

ceremonies: the gospel was the one all-important business with him. If he

might save some he would be content. This was the crown for which he strove,

the sole and sufficient reward of all his labours and self-denials. Dear

reader, have you and I lived to win souls at this noble rate? Are we possessed

with the same all-absorbing desire? If not, why not? Jesus died for sinners,

cannot we live for them? Where is our tenderness? Where our love to Christ, if

we seek not his honour in the salvation of men? O that the Lord would saturate

us through and through with an undying zeal for the souls of men.

Discovering God’s Will – Charles Stanley

 

Psalm 119:105-106

Life involves both small daily choices and large consequential ones. Including God in our decision-making is always the wisest course of action. The Scripture that we have memorized is something the Holy Spirit uses to help us discover God’s will.

The pattern I have found beneficial in making decisions can also help you with choices regarding relationships, finances, health, employment, or other important areas. The first step involves assessing the heart, mind, and will. To receive the Lord’s direction, we need a clean heart, a clear mind, and a surrendered will. Sinful habits can cloud thinking and keep us from understanding His plan. Confessing our sins and turning from them brings cleansing and clarity (1 John 1:9). A stubborn will that says, “I want my way” prevents us from heeding God’s instruction. Instead, we need to surrender our desires and commit ourselves to saying yes to His plan.

The second step is to wait patiently on the Lord for His answer. It takes courage to stand firm, especially when others are telling us what they think we should do. Our own emotions may be pushing us to act now, but we must resist moving ahead of God. To be patient means trusting the Lord while we wait to learn His answer and discover His timing.

Discerning God’s plan requires preparation of our heart, mind, and will. It also often requires patience. During our time of waiting, we are to follow His known will—to be a faithful servant in His kingdom, loving Him with our whole heart, and loving our neighbors as ourselves (Matt. 22:37-39).