Tag Archives: christianity

Joyce Meyer – Are the “-ites” After You?

 

The Moabites, the Ammonites, and with them the Meunites came against Jehoshaphat to battle—2 Chronicles 20:1

In today’s verse, the Moabites, the Ammonites, and the Meunites were after King Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah. In other places in the Old Testament, the Jebusites, the Hittites, and the Canaanites were troublemakers for God’s people.

But with us, it is the “fear-ites,” the “disease-ites,” the “stress-ites,” the “financial problem–ites,” the “insecurity-ites,” the “grouchy -neighbor–ites,” and so on.

I wonder, which “-ites” are chasing you right now? Whatever they are, you can learn from King Jehoshaphat’s response to the “-ites” who were after him. The first thing he did was fear, but then he quickly did something else: he set himself to seek the Lord. Determined to hear from Him, Jehoshaphat even proclaimed a fast throughout his kingdom for that very purpose. He knew he needed to hear from God. He needed a battle plan, and only God could give him one that would succeed.

Like Jehoshaphat, we should develop the habit of running to God instead of to people when we have trouble. We should seek Him rather than consulting our own wisdom or asking for other people’s opinions. We need to ask ourselves whether we “run to the phone or run to the throne” when faced with trouble. God may use a person to speak a word of advice to us, but we always need to seek Him first.

Hearing God’s voice is a great way to fight fear. When we hear from Him, faith fills our hearts and drives fear away. Jehoshaphat knew he needed to hear from God centuries ago and we have the same need now. Be sure to seek God and listen to His voice today.

God’s word for you today: Ask God to protect you from the “-ites” in your life.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – The Only Way

 

“Jesus told him, ‘I am the Way – yes, and the Truth and the life. No one can get to the Father except by means of Me'” (John 14:6).

Dr. Bob Pierce, founder of World Vision, was conducting a great city-wide campaign in Tokyo and asked me to be in charge of the student phase of the crusade. So day after day, for more than a month, I spoke to thousands of students on many campuses, presenting the claims of Christ and challenging the students to receive Him as their Savior and Lord.

Many thousands responded, but occasionally a student would object and say that Jesus had no relevance for the Japanese – that Christianity is for the Westerner, not for the Asian. They were surprised when I reminded them that Jesus was born and reared in and carried out His ministry in the Middle East and that He was in many ways closer to them culturally and geographically that He was to me.

I reminded them, and I want to remind you, that though the Lord Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem and grew up in Nazareth, in what is now Israel, He came to this world to die for all people in all lands.

The Scripture reminds us, “Whosoever will may come.” In addition to coming to Him for salvation, Christians have the privilege of coming to God the Father a thousand times, and more, each day in prayer in the name of Jesus. This is because He is our mediator, unlike anyone else who has ever lived – Mohammed, Buddha, Confucius. No other religious leader died for us and was raised from the dead.

Jesus alone can bridge the great chasm between the holiness of God and the sinfulness of man, because He personally has paid the penalty for our sins. God proved His love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still in our sins.

Bible Reading: John 14:1-5

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Today I will ask the Holy Spirit to examine my heart to see if there be any wicked way in me, so that I can confess and turn from my sin. I will visualize our mediator – the Lord Jesus Christ – seated at the right hand of God making intercession for me. I will also ask the Lord to lead me today to someone who does not yet know our Savior, that I may share with him or her the most joyful news ever announced.

Presidential Prayer Team – Instant Delivery

 

If you send a letter to the President of the United States, will he read it? Well, first consider that the White House receives 65,000 letters weekly – not including other forms of communication like emails and phone calls. If the president did nothing but read around the clock, he will have to read 6.4 letters a minute just to keep up. Instead, the White House has a correspondence division with 13 departments to channel incoming mail. And an “autopen,” a mechanical device that mimics the president’s signature, is used to send most replies.

And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned. Mark 5:30

Now…consider Jesus. The very moment you send Him a message through prayer, He knows. And without a hint of distraction, He turns to hear your plea. Your message isn’t sent to some sorting department where it will be delayed, forgotten or evaluated by some clerk for its importance. Imagine if every Christian in America utilized this power of direct access to the Omnipotent One.

Don’t make the mistake today – or any day – of thinking God will not hear your prayers for yourself, your loved ones, or your nation. He will hear…and immediately turn to you!

Recommended Reading: I Kings 18:20-29, 36-39

Charles Stanley – Genuine Justification

 

Romans 3:23-26

Jesus’ death was central to God’s plan of salvation. Scripture tells us the Son of Man had to be lifted up and all who trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior would be saved.(John 3:14-16) The cross was essential for God to accomplish His desire for us—that we would be redeemed and have a personal relationship with Him for all eternity.

Every one of us has violated God’s law, and justice requires that a penalty be paid. When we labor for the Lord and serve Him faithfully, we want Him to be just in rewarding us. But what about when we transgress against Him? We have a sin debt that must be paid, and because He is perfect and just, God cannot simply overlook offenses—atonement must be made.

In order for us to have a close personal relationship with God, there must be a way for imperfect, sin-stained man to approach the perfect, holy Creator. Therefore, the Father provided a substitute—His Son Jesus Christ—who took it upon Himself to pay our penalty. If we accept that payment on our behalf, God declares us no longer guilty, reconciling us to Himself so we can enjoy a right relationship with Him eternally (Rom. 8:6-10). There is no justification apart from the blood of Jesus Christ.

To be justified means to be declared “no longer guilty.” With His death on the cross, Jesus paid the price for our reconciliation. Through His shed blood, we are now sanctified. If we accept this priceless gift, it enables us to enjoy communion with Almighty God in this life and the next.

Our Daily Bread — A Good Man

 

Romans 3:10-18

By grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God. —Ephesians 2:8

“Jerry was a good man,” the pastor said at Jerald Stevens’ memorial service. “He loved his family. He was faithful to his wife. He served his country in the armed services. He was an excellent dad and grandfather. He was a great friend.”

But then the pastor went on to tell the friends and family gathered that Jerry’s good life and good deeds were not enough to assure him a place in heaven. And that Jerry himself would have been the first to tell them that!

Jerry believed these words from the Bible: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23) and “the wages of sin is death” (6:23). Jerry’s final and eternal destination in life’s journey was not determined by whether he lived a really good life but entirely by Jesus dying in his place to pay sin’s penalty. He believed that each of us must personally accept the free gift of God, which is “eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (6:23).

Jerry was a good man, but he could never be “good enough.” And neither can we. It is only by grace that we can be saved through faith. And that has absolutely nothing to do with our human efforts. “It is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8).

“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2 Cor. 9:15). —Cindy Hess Kasper

Christ’s work for my salvation is complete!

No work of mine can add to what He’s done;

I bow to worship at the Master’s feet,

And honor God the Father’s only Son. —Hess

 

We are not saved by good works, but by God’s work.

Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening

 

Morning “But all the Israelites went down to the Philistines, to sharpen every man his

share, and his coulter, and his axe, and his mattock.” / 1 Samuel 13:20

We are engaged in a great war with the Philistines of evil. Every weapon within our reach must be used. Preaching, teaching, praying, giving, all must be brought into action, and talents which have been thought too mean for service, must now be employed. Coulter, and axe, and mattock, may all be useful in slaying Philistines; rough tools may deal hard blows, and killing need not be elegantly done, so long as it is done effectually. Each moment of time, in season or out of season; each fragment of ability, educated or untutored; each opportunity, favourable or unfavourable, must be used, for our foes are many and our force but slender.  Most of our tools want sharpening; we need quickness of perception, tact, energy, promptness, in a word, complete adaptation for the Lord’s work. Practical common sense is a very scarce thing among the conductors of Christian enterprises. We might learn from our enemies if we would, and so make the Philistines sharpen our weapons. This morning let us note enough to sharpen our zeal during this day by the aid of the Holy Spirit. See the energy of the Papists, how they compass sea and land to make one proselyte, are they to monopolize all the earnestness? Mark the heathen devotees, what tortures they endure in the service of their idols! are they alone to exhibit patience and self-sacrifice? Observe the prince of darkness, how persevering in his endeavours, how unabashed in his attempts, how daring in his plans, how thoughtful in his plots, how energetic in all! The devils are united as one man in their infamous rebellion, while we believers in Jesus are divided in our service of God, and scarcely ever work with unanimity. O that from Satan’s infernal industry we may learn to go about like good Samaritans, seeking whom we may bless!

 

 

Evening “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that

I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.” /

Ephesians 3:8

The apostle Paul felt it a great privilege to be allowed to preach the gospel. He did not look upon his calling as a drudgery, but he entered upon it with intense delight. Yet while Paul was thus thankful for his office, his success in it greatly humbled him. The fuller a vessel becomes, the deeper it sinks in the water. Idlers may indulge a fond conceit of their abilities, because they are untried; but the earnest worker soon learns his own weakness. If you seek humility, try hard work; if you would know your nothingness, attempt some great thing for Jesus. If you would feel how utterly powerless you are apart from the living God, attempt especially the great work of proclaiming the unsearchable riches of Christ, and you will know, as you never knew before, what a weak unworthy thing you are. Although the apostle thus knew and confessed his weakness, he was never perplexed as to the subject of his ministry. From his first sermon to his last, Paul preached Christ, and nothing but Christ. He lifted up the cross, and extolled the Son of God who bled thereon. Follow his example in all your personal efforts to spread the glad tidings of salvation, and let “Christ and him crucified” be your ever recurring theme. The Christian should be like those lovely spring flowers which, when the sun is shining, open their golden cups, as if saying, “Fill us with thy beams!” but when the sun is hidden behind a cloud, they close their cups and droop their heads. So should the Christian feel the sweet influence of Jesus; Jesus must be his sun, and he must be the flower which yields itself to the Sun of Righteousness. Oh! to speak of Christ alone, this is the subject which is both “seed for the sower, and bread for the eater.” This is the live coal for the lip of the speaker, and the master-key to the heart of the hearer.

John MacArthur – Unlimited Prayer

 

“Men ought always to pray” (Luke 18:1, KJV).

As a child I was taught to pray with my head bowed, eyes closed, and hands folded. Even as a young man I thought that was the only acceptable mode of prayer.

In my seminary days I sang in a quartet that traveled to various churches throughout the United States. The first time I traveled with them we had a prayer meeting in the car, and the driver prayed with his eyes open. All of us were glad he did, but I wondered if God really heard his prayer.

I have since learned that praying with my eyes closed is a helpful way to avoid distractions, but it isn’t mandated in Scripture–nor are most of the other limitations people often place on prayer. For example, some people want to limit prayer to a certain posture, but Scripture tells of people praying while standing, sitting, kneeling, looking upward, bowing down, and lifting up their hands.

Some try to limit prayer to certain times of the day, such as morning or evening. But in the Bible people prayed at all times: morning, evening, three times a day, before meals, after meals, at bedtime, at midnight, day and night, in their youth, in their old age, when troubled, and when joyous.

Similarly, Scripture places no limits on the place or circumstances of prayer. It tells of people praying in a cave, in a closet, in a garden, on a mountainside, by a river, by the sea, in the street, in the Temple, in bed, at home, in the stomach of a fish, in battle, on a housetop, in a prison, in the wilderness, and on a cross.

The point is clear: there is no specific correct mode or kind of prayer, and prayer isn’t limited by your location or circumstances. You are to pray always. That includes any kind of prayer, on any subject, and at any time of the day or night.

Suggestions for Prayer: Make a list of your current plans, thoughts, and concerns. Have you made each of them a matter of prayer? Commit yourself to sharing every aspect of your life with God.

For Further Study:  Read Psalm 136. Note how the Lord is intimately involved in the lives of His people.

Joyce Meyer – Testing the Motive of the Heart

 

After these events, God tested and proved Abraham and said to him, Abraham! And he said, Here I am. [God] said, Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah; and offer him there as a burnt offering upon one of the mountains of which I will tell you. So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him and his son Isaac; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and then began the trip to the place of which God had told him.

—Genesis 22:1-3

I believe God was testing Abraham’s priorities. Isaac had probably become very important to Abraham, so God tested Abraham to see if he would give up Isaac to Him in faith and obedience. When God saw Abraham’s willingness to obey, He provided a ram for Abraham to sacrifice in place of Isaac.

Remember, we all go through tests. As with Abraham, these tests are designed to try, prove, and develop our faith. One of the tests I had to face was, “What if I never have the ministry I’ve dreamed about for so long? What if I never get to minister to more than fifty people at a time? Can I still love God and be happy?”

What about you? If you don’t get whatever it is you want, can you still love God? Will you still serve Him all the days of your life? Or are you just trying to get something from Him? A fine line divides the motives of the heart between selfish and selfless; and we must always make sure we understand which side of the line we are standing on.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – The Only Way

 

“Jesus told him, ‘I am the Way – yes, and the Truth and the life. No one can get to the Father except by means of Me'” (John 14:6).

Dr. Bob Pierce, founder of World Vision, was conducting a great city-wide campaign in Tokyo and asked me to be in charge of the student phase of the crusade. So day after day, for more than a month, I spoke to thousands of students on many campuses, presenting the claims of Christ and challenging the students to receive Him as their Savior and Lord.

Many thousands responded, but occasionally a student would object and say that Jesus had no relevance for the Japanese – that Christianity is for the Westerner, not for the Asian. They were surprised when I reminded them that Jesus was born and reared in and carried out His ministry in the Middle East and that He was in many ways closer to them culturally and geographically that He was to me.

I reminded them, and I want to remind you, that though the Lord Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem and grew up in Nazareth, in what is now Israel, He came to this world to die for all people in all lands.

The Scripture reminds us, “Whosoever will may come.” In addition to coming to Him for salvation, Christians have the privilege of coming to God the Father a thousand times, and more, each day in prayer in the name of Jesus. This is because He is our mediator, unlike anyone else who has ever lived – Mohammed, Buddha, Confucius. No other religious leader died for us and was raised from the dead.

Jesus alone can bridge the great chasm between the holiness of God and the sinfulness of man, because He personally has paid the penalty for our sins. God proved His love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still in our sins.

Bible Reading: John 14:1-5

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Today I will ask the Holy Spirit to examine my heart to see if there be any wicked way in me, so that I can confess and turn from my sin. I will visualize our mediator – the Lord Jesus Christ – seated at the right hand of God making intercession for me. I will also ask the Lord to lead me today to someone who does not yet know our Savior, that I may share with him or her the most joyful news ever announced.

Presidential Prayer Team – Know His Power

 

The Jewish leaders, the Sadducees, to whom Jesus spoke did not believe in resurrection or the power of God. They were sad, you see, because they really didn’t know Scripture. They were wrong in their beliefs and unwilling to acknowledge the power of God in Christ.

You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God.

Matthew 22:29

Jesus even quoted Exodus 3:6 to them when God appointed Moses rescuer of Israel: “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” God is not “God of the dead, but of the living.” (Matthew 22:32) They should have at least understood that His power was able. But they refused to accept it.

And so it is today! So many believe they know what the Word says, but they really haven’t taken the time to sit, study and reflect on the character of God and what He can work through them.

Do you reserve consistent time to read and meditate on Scripture? Intercede for this nation’s leaders, that they may know the true God and then know the wonder-working power He gives to those who believe. And know Him personally…willing to do whatever He desires of you.

Recommended Reading: Jeremiah 32:16-27

Greg Laurie – Your Life Depends on It

 

The word disciple means “learner.” A disciple is a pupil, one who comes to be taught. But a disciple is not a passively interested listener. The idea of a disciple is that of someone who listens to one who possesses full knowledge, drinking in every word and marking every inflection of the voice, with an intense desire to apply what has been taught. A disciple really wants to learn.

I daydreamed my way through a good portion of my early education. But I have found that I will listen when something is important to me. I must admit that when I fly, I don’t listen all that closely to the flight attendants’ safety instructions at the beginning of the flight. I note where the emergency exits are and then go on with whatever I am doing. If the plane were going down, however, and I knew that I had twenty minutes before impact, you can be sure I would listen carefully to any safety announcement made at that time.

Why? Because my life would depend upon it.

Our spiritual lives depend on knowing the Bible.

A disciple is one who listens carefully and pays attention, because the most important thing is to know what God requires, what God desires, and what God wills. What is the best way to discover these things? We find the answers to all of these questions in the Word of God. For to obey God in anything, we must first know what He asks.

Charles Stanley – How We Don’t Get to Heaven

 

John 3:1-17

If asked, “Why should you go to heaven?” most people will answer very sincerely that the basis of their acceptance by God is the fact that a) they are pretty good or b) they aren’t sinful and therefore don’t deserve to be condemned. This is a prevalent theological fallacy in our world today. As a young man, I attended three different churches before somebody told me the truth about salvation.

In reality, it doesn’t matter what kind of a person you are—the issue is the simple truth of God’s Word. The misguided idea that we can earn salvation has devastating implications. For one thing, if you could enter heaven based on your earthly merits, Jesus’ death at Calvary would have been totally unnecessary. And if that were the case, it would follow that God the Father made a terrible mistake in sending His Son to a cruel death. What’s more, if salvation were possible apart from Jesus Christ, then you’d be able to have a personal relationship with God apart from Jesus Christ as well.

We must not distort God’s great love for us by using faulty theology. We are forgiven solely on the basis of Jesus Christ’s incredible sacrifice—which comes from a place of unconditional love. If we base our salvation on anything else, we destroy the cornerstone of Christianity.

It’s important to learn Scripture well enough to discern truth from false teaching. Many people go to churches that claim, “God loves everyone, so you’ll be okay if you just do your best.” If that were the case, Christianity wouldn’t be symbolized by a cross, because Calvary would have been a mistake.

 

Our Daily Bread — Expect Great Things

 

Hebrews 11:32-40

Who through faith . . . out of weakness were made strong. —Hebrews 11:33-34

William Carey was an ordinary man with an extraordinary faith. Born into a working-class family in the 18th century, Carey made his living as a shoemaker. While crafting shoes, Carey read theology and journals of explorers. God used His Word and the stories of the discovery of new people groups to burden him for global evangelism. He went to India as a missionary, and not only did he do the work of an evangelist but he learned Indian dialects into which he translated the Word of God. Carey’s passion for missions is expressed by his words: “Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.” Carey lived out this maxim, and thousands have been inspired to do missionary service by his example.

The Bible tells of many whose faith in God produced amazing results. Hebrews tells of those “who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong” (11:33-34).

The list of heroes of the faith has grown through the ages, and we can be a part of that list. Because of God’s power and faithfulness, we can attempt great things for God and expect great things from God. —Dennis Fisher

If God can hang the stars on high,

Can paint the clouds that drift on by,

Can send the sun across the sky,

What can His power do through you? —Jones

 

When God is your partner, you can make your plans large!

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The Mystery of Faith

 

Long before Horatio Caine or Gil Grissom made crime scene investigating a primetime enterprise, the Bloodhound Gang was “there on the double” “wherever there’s trouble,” a doughty group of junior detectives who used science to solve crimes. Written by Newbery Medal-winning children’s author Sid Fleischman, the Bloodhound Gang was a beloved segment on the PBS television program 3-2-1 Contact, and my first encounter with the almost unbearable suspension, “To be continued.” Thankfully, with the help of their knowledge of science, no mystery remained unsolved for long.

What I did not realize at the time, or through years of absorbing Unsolved Mysteries, CSI, and my own scientific pursuits, was the hold that simple word “solve” would have on my understanding of mystery. For the Bloodhound Gang, as much as for the philosophers of science who have given rise to the notion, science is the invasion and defeat of mystery. That is to say, for many scientists (though certainly not for all historically), mysteries are there to be solved and put finally beyond us.

One can see how such a notion fuels the perception that science and faith are at odds with one another; science being the conquest of mystery and faith the act of making room for it. For Steven Pinker, Harvard Professor and cognitive scientist, certain aspects of religious belief can be thought of as “desperate measure[s] that people resort to when the stakes are high and they’ve exhausted the usual techniques for the causation of success.”(1) In other words, religion, like the story of the stork for parents not ready for their kids to know where babies come from, is simply a desperate attempt to explain away mystery, even if only by making space for it. And faith is thus seen as the grossly inferior CSI agent.

But what if mystery is less like a case for the Bloodhound Gang and more like the molecule of DNA they use to solve the crime? In so much of the culture in which we operate today, mystery is thought of in reductionistic terms. It is a momentary fascination that needs some higher reasoning, future information, or an hour of crime scene investigating to solve and explain. Everything we do technologically, medically, and scientifically is an attempt to put an end to mystery—to explain everything. But is that remotely possible? And would a reasonable explanation always dispel the mystery in the first place? As Thomas Huxley once put it, “[H]ow is it that anything so remarkable as a state of consciousness comes about as a result of irritating nervous tissue?”(2) Is mystery always something to be solved?

In fact, the Greek word ‘mysterion,’ from which we get the word “mystery” does not necessarily mean something that is concealed (and hence, in need of our solution). It can also mean something that is revealed—as in a secret. In other words, mystery is not a problem in need of resolution, a concealed issue in need of an explanation. But mystery in this sense is something shown or given, albeit in a surprising, obscure way. It is in this sense of the word that early church father Tertullian spoke of the mystery of faith and ceremonial acts that join the believer to Christ—namely, our baptisms into his life, death, and resurrection, our celebration and consumption of his body and blood. It is a mystery, a gift, a fuller life revealed. Faith is not a theological solution to mystery in the CSI sense of the word; it is the celebration of this mystery—indeed, The mystery.

And at this, it is a mystery all the more captivating than those that can be solved in an hour or in a microscope. For it is a mystery that God has revealed to minds which don’t fully understand or yet fully see, a mystery worthy of a whole lifetime. It is mystery reminiscent of the words of Simone Weil: “God wears Himself out through the infinite thickness of time and space in order to reach the soul and to captivate it…it has in its turn, but gropingly, to cross the infinite thickness of time and space in search of Him whom it loves. It is thus that the soul, starting from the opposite end, makes the same journey that God made towards it. And that is the cross.”(3)

Every Sunday before holding the bread by which we remember all that has been revealed in Christ, all that has been given in the cross, whether seen in part or partly understood, Christians profess in unison the mystery of faith. It is a mystery that does not need my solution, a mystery that continues to surprise, to nourish, and to reveal itself in life and in death: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

(1) Steven Pinker, “The Evolutionary Psychology of Religion,” presented at the annual meeting of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, Madison, Wisconsin, October 29, 2004.

(2) T.H. Huxley & W.J. Youmans, The Elements of Physiology and Hygiene: A Text-book for Educational Institutions (New York: Appleton & Co., 1868), 178.

(3) Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace, trans. Arthur Wills (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1997), 140-141.

Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening

 

Morning “Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the

spices thereof may flow out.” / Song of Solomon 4:16

Anything is better than the dead calm of indifference. Our souls may wisely desire the north wind of trouble if that alone can be sanctified to the drawing forth of the perfume of our graces. So long as it cannot be said, “The Lord was not in the wind,” we will not shrink from the most wintry blast that ever blew upon plants of grace. Did not the spouse in this verse humbly submit herself to the reproofs of her Beloved; only entreating him to send forth his grace in some form, and making no stipulation as to the peculiar manner in which it should come? Did she not, like ourselves, become so utterly weary of deadness and unholy calm that she sighed for any visitation which would brace her to action? Yet she desires the warm south wind of comfort, too, the smiles of divine love, the joy of the Redeemer’s presence; these are often mightily effectual to arouse our sluggish life. She desires either one or the other, or both; so that she may but be able to delight her Beloved with the spices of her garden. She cannot endure to be unprofitable, nor can we. How cheering a thought that Jesus can find comfort in our poor feeble graces. Can it be? It seems far too good to be true. Well may we court trial or even death itself if we shall thereby be aided to make glad Immanuel’s heart. O that our heart were crushed to atoms if only by such bruising our sweet Lord Jesus could be glorified. Graces unexercised are as sweet perfumes slumbering in the cups of the flowers: the wisdom of the great Husbandman overrules diverse and opposite causes to produce the one desired result, and makes both affliction and consolation draw forth the grateful odours of faith, love, patience, hope, resignation, joy, and the other fair flowers of the garden. May we know by sweet experience, what this means.

 

Evening  “He is precious.” / 1 Peter 2:7

As all the rivers run into the sea, so all delights centre in our Beloved. The glances of his eyes outshine the sun: the beauties of his face are fairer than the choicest flowers: no fragrance is like the breath of his mouth. Gems of the mine, and pearls from the sea, are worthless things when measured by his preciousness. Peter tells us that Jesus is precious, but he did not and could not tell us how precious, nor could any of us compute the value of God’s unspeakable gift. Words cannot set forth the preciousness of the Lord Jesus to his people, nor fully tell how essential he is to their satisfaction and happiness. Believer, have you not found in the midst of plenty a sore famine if your Lord has been absent? The sun was shining, but Christ had hidden himself, and all the world was black to you; or it was night, and since the bright and morning star was gone, no other star could yield you so much as a ray of light. What a howling wilderness is this world without our Lord! If once he hideth himself from us, withered are the flowers of our garden; our pleasant fruits decay; the birds suspend their songs, and a tempest overturns our hopes. All earth’s candles cannot make daylight if the Sun of Righteousness be eclipsed. He is the soul of our soul, the light of our light, the life of our life. Dear reader, what wouldst thou do in the world without him, when thou wakest up and lookest forward to the day’s battle? What wouldst thou do at night, when thou comest home jaded and weary, if there were no door of fellowship between thee and Christ? Blessed be his name, he will not suffer us to try our lot without him, for Jesus never forsakes his own. Yet, let the thought of what life would be without him enhance his preciousness.

 

John MacArthur – Unceasing Prayer

 

“Pray at all times in the Spirit” (Eph. 6:18).

Prayer is communication with God, and like all communication, it can be developed to maximum efficiency or allowed to languish. Which you choose will determine the quality of your spiritual life.

Ironically, the freedom of worship we enjoy in our society and our high standard of living make it easy to become complacent about prayer and presume on God’s grace. Consequently, many who say they trust in God actually live as if they don’t need Him at all. Such neglect is sinful and leads to spiritual disaster.

Jesus taught that “men ought always to pray, and not to faint” (Luke 18:1, KJV). “Faint” speaks of giving in to evil or becoming weary or cowardly. Paul added that we should pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and petition, and “be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints” (Eph. 6:18).

First Thessalonians 5:17 says, “Pray without ceasing.” That doesn’t mean to do nothing but pray. It simply means living in a constant state of God-consciousness. If you see a beautiful sunrise or a bouquet of flowers, your first response is to thank God for the beauty of His creation. If you see someone in distress, you intercede on his or her behalf. You see every experience of life in relation to God.

God wants you to be diligent and faithful in prayer. With that goal in mind we will devote this month to a study of prayer from two texts: Daniel’s prayer in Daniel 9:1-19, and the disciples’ prayer in Matthew 6:9-13. Both are models of majestic, effective prayer.

As we study those passages together, be aware of your own pattern of prayer. Examine it carefully for strengths and weaknesses. Be prepared to make any necessary changes.

Suggestions for Prayer: Thank God for the privilege of communing with Him in prayer.

Ask Him to reveal any areas in your praying that need to be strengthened.

For Further Study: Read Daniel 9:1-19.

What prompted Daniel’s prayer?

What was Daniel’s attitude toward God? Toward himself and his people?

What did Daniel request?

Joyce Meyer – Decide to Believe

 

Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations. Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing. —James 1:2–4

Too often people stare at me with a blank look when I urge them to decide to believe. It’s as if I’m asking them to do something they can’t do. Faith comes from hearing the Word of God (see Romans 10:17), but it also involves a decision.

We enter into a relationship with God through believing in Jesus Christ, but that’s only the beginning.

Believing doesn’t end there. As I understand the realm of the Spirit, if we follow the Lord, we live with a growing faith. That means we learn to believe for bigger things. We learn to trust God for things we would never have thought of in our earliest Christian days.

When we become Christians, the Bible says we are adopted into the family of God: “…but you have received the Spirit of adoption [the Spirit producing sonship] in…which we cry, Abba (Father)! Father!” (Romans 8:15b).

That’s the beginning. That’s also where too many Christians stop. The Spirit keeps reaching for your hands so He can pull you forward. That’s when you must decide to believe—or you resist and stay exactly where you are in your Christian experience.

Read the verse at the beginning of this topic. It says your faith will be tested, but you must hold onto it and move forward. The testing may come when the devil attempts to make you doubt the promises God has given you.

There is never a stopping place in your spiritual growth—God wants to take you onward. But you have to make the choice to believe. Sometimes that takes courage, but that’s how the Christian life functions. We grow by taking steps of faith.

When God speaks to your heart—to your inner being—you need to learn to say without hesitation, “Let it be so, Lord.” You have to learn to agree with whatever the Spirit of God says or wants.

Instead, many tend to resist. They don’t say no. Satan is too subtle to nudge them to do that. He puts questions in their minds, urging them to ask, “How can that be?” They start asking God to help them understand. If your boss wants you to do a task, you can ask, “Why?”or ask for an ­explanation.

But that is not how the Holy Spirit works. You say, “Lord, if You’ll help me understand, I will believe and obey.” God says, “Just obey. If I want you to understand, I’ll make it clear to you.” God doesn’t have to explain anything to us.

It frequently happens that believers know something down deep in their hearts—in their inner beings—but their minds fight against it. They may consider themselves unworthy. They may ask, “Who am I that You would use me to change lives?” They waste a lot of energy by telling God why they can’t do what He wants them to do. God already knows everything that is wrong with us or ever will be wrong with us, and He is willing to work through us anyway. God requires availability not ability.

God asks you to do something quite simple: Believe. That’s all. If God speaks, you need to learn to say, “Even though I don’t understand, I’ll do it.” One of the best examples I can think of in Scripture is the story of Ananias of Damascus. God told him that Saul (later called Paul) was blind and in a particular house. He was to go and lay hands on him, and God would heal him (see Acts 9:10–19).

Ananias was afraid. Saul was the great persecutor of Christians, but God told him to go because the blinded man was a chosen vessel. Despite his fear and inability to understand why God would choose a great persecutor to be a chosen vessel, Ananias went and prayed for Saul, and the future apostle was healed.

That’s how God wants us to behave. He wants us to choose to believe Him even if what He’s asking us to do doesn’t compute in our thoughts.

Holy Spirit of God, help me always to believe Your promises, even when I don’t understand Your purpose. I want to learn to trust You more, as I move forward in faith to accomplish what You have for me to do. Help me always to be obedient, in Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – We Hear His Voice

 

“My sheep recognize My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life and they shall never perish. No one shall snatch them away from Me, for My Father has given them to Me, and He is more powerful than anyone else, so no one can kidnap them from Me. I and the Father are one” (John 10:27-30).

Are you one of God’s “sheep”? Do you know for sure that you are a child of God? Do you have any question about your salvation? How do you know that Christ is in your life and that you have eternal life and that no one can take you away from our Lord? What is the basis of your assurance?

Frequently, one hears a Christian share the dramatic testimony of how Christ changed his life from years of drug addiction, gross immorality or some other distressing problem. On the other hand, there are many, like myself, who have knelt quietly in the privacy of the home, at a mountain retreat, or in a church sanctuary, and there received Christ into their lives with no dramatic emotional experience at that time of decision. Both are valid, authentic ways to come to Christ.

The apostle Paul had a dramatic conversion experience. However, Timothy, his son in the faith, had learned of Christ from his mother and grandmother in his early youth. The important thing is not how you met Christ, but the assurance that you are a child of God, your sins have been forgiven and you have eternal life. It is not presumptuous or arrogant to say that you know these things to be true, because God’s Word says so (1 John 5:11-13): “And what is it that God has said? That He has given us eternal life, and that this life is in His Son. So whoever has God’s Son has life; whoever does not have His Son, does not have life. I have written this to you who believe in the Son of God so that you may know you have eternal life.”

Bible Reading: John 10:22-26

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: As one of God’s sheep, I will ask the Holy Spirit to help me be more sensitive and alert to the voice of my Savior, in order that I may follow Him more closely and always obey Him, and especially that I may be sensitive to what He would have me say to those around me who are in need of His love and forgiveness.

Presidential Prayer Team – Omnipotent God

 

You remember the account of the Savior’s conception…how the all-powerful God fused His immaterial Spirit with the material body of Mary, creating the life that would be born “Immanuel, God with us.” You’ll also recall when God first formed man of the dust of the ground: He breathed His own supernatural breath into the natural nostrils of Adam, and life was given. Other biblical examples speak of God’s power and strength, His creative majesty and wonder, and absolute power over everything.

The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.Luke 1:35

From that same sheer will, God is all-loving and all-forgiving. How much omnipotence does it take to totally forgive and forever forget sin? His love does not limit His power, nor does His power limit His love. In the same way, His justice does not overrule His mercy, nor does His mercy supersede His justice.

That same universally omnipotent Lord has numbered the hairs on your head (Luke 12:7) and kept track of your tears (Psalm 56:8). Aren’t you just amazed? This great God has a personal interest in you.

Praise Him in your prayer time today. Intercede for family, friends and a nation to come to know and love so great a Savior and Lord.

Recommended Reading: Psalm 139:1-14

Greg Laurie – To Be Like Him

 

“For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.”—Romans 8:29

God loves us, and He is always looking out for our eternal benefit. We are fond of quoting Romans 8:28, which says, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” But after verse 28 comes verse 29: “For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.”

If we isolate verse 28, we may get the wrong idea and think that everything always has to turn out nicely. We might think that whatever happens, it will get better, and we can tie it all up with a nice little bow and say, “You see? This bad thing happened, and it turned into a good thing. And now. . . .”

That is true of a lot of things in life. But then there are things that are bad, and they stay bad. And they always will be bad. So even when what we are going through is difficult, the Bible says, “For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!” (2 Corinthians 4:17).

The ultimate good is not our temporal happiness. The ultimate good is that we are going to be like Jesus Christ. That is God’s objective. As the apostle John reminds us, “But he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is.”

So there are things in life that will make sense. And there are other things that won’t make sense. But just remember this: God loves you, and He is always looking out for your eternal benefit.