Tag Archives: christianity

Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening


Morning “The iniquity of the holy things.” / Exodus 28:38

What a veil is lifted up by these words, and what a disclosure is made! It

will be humbling and profitable for us to pause awhile and see this sad sight.

The iniquities of our public worship, its hypocrisy, formality, lukewarmness,

irreverence, wandering of heart and forgetfulness of God, what a full measure

have we there! Our work for the Lord, its emulation, selfishness,

carelessness, slackness, unbelief, what a mass of defilement is there! Our

private devotions, their laxity, coldness, neglect, sleepiness, and vanity,

what a mountain of dead earth is there! If we looked more carefully we should

find this iniquity to be far greater than appears at first sight. Dr. Payson,

writing to his brother, says, “My parish, as well as my heart, very much

resembles the garden of the sluggard; and what is worse, I find that very many

of my desires for the melioration of both, proceed either from pride or vanity

or indolence. I look at the weeds which overspread my garden, and breathe out

an earnest wish that they were eradicated. But why? What prompts the wish? It

may be that I may walk out and say to myself, In what fine order is my garden

kept!’ This is pride. Or, it may be that my neighbours may look over the wall

and say, How finely your garden flourishes!’ This is vanity. Or I may wish for

the destruction of the weeds, because I am weary of pulling them up. This is

indolence.” So that even our desires after holiness may be polluted by ill

motives. Under the greenest sods worms hide themselves; we need not look long

to discover them. How cheering is the thought, that when the High Priest bore

the iniquity of the holy things he wore upon his brow the words, “Holiness to

the Lord:” and even so while Jesus bears our sin, he presents before his

Father’s face not our unholiness, but his own holiness. O for grace to view

our great High Priest by the eye of faith!


Evening “Thy love is better than wine.” / Song of Solomon 1:2

Nothing gives the believer so much joy as fellowship with Christ. He has

enjoyment as others have in the common mercies of life, he can be glad both in

God’s gifts and God’s works; but in all these separately, yea, and in all of

them added together, he doth not find such substantial delight as in the

matchless person of his Lord Jesus. He has wine which no vineyard on earth

ever yielded; he has bread which all the corn-fields of Egypt could never

bring forth. Where can such sweetness be found as we have tasted in communion

with our Beloved? In our esteem, the joys of earth are little better than

husks for swine compared with Jesus, the heavenly manna. We would rather have

one mouthful of Christ’s love, and a sip of his fellowship, than a whole world

full of carnal delights. What is the chaff to the wheat? What is the sparkling

paste to the true diamond? What is a dream to the glorious reality? What is

time’s mirth, in its best trim, compared to our Lord Jesus in his most

despised estate? If you know anything of the inner life, you will confess that

our highest, purest, and most enduring joys must be the fruit of the tree of

life which is in the midst of the Paradise of God. No spring yields such sweet

water as that well of God which was digged with the soldier’s spear. All

earthly bliss is of the earth earthy, but the comforts of Christ’s presence

are like himself, heavenly. We can review our communion with Jesus, and find

no regrets of emptiness therein; there are no dregs in this wine, no dead

flies in this ointment. The joy of the Lord is solid and enduring. Vanity hath

not looked upon it, but discretion and prudence testify that it abideth the

test of years, and is in time and in eternity worthy to be called “the only

true delight.” For nourishment, consolation, exhilaration, and refreshment, no

wine can rival the love of Jesus. Let us drink to the full this evening.

Matching Your Practice to Your Position – John MacArthur


God chose us “that we should be holy and blameless before Him” (Eph. 1:4).

God chose you in Christ to make you holy and blameless in His sight. To be “holy” is to be separated from sin and devoted to righteousness. To be “blameless” is to be pure without spot or blemish–like Jesus, the Lamb of God (1 Pet. 1:19).

Ephesians 1:4 is a positional statement. That is, Paul describes how God views us “in Christ.” He sees us as holy and blameless because Christ our Savior is holy and blameless. His purity is credited to our spiritual bank account. That’s because God made Christ “who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21).

Despite our exalted position in God’s sight, our practice often falls far short of His holy standard. Therefore the challenge of Christian living is to increasingly match our practice to our position, realizing that sinless perfection won’t come until we are in heaven fully glorified (Rom. 8:23).

How do you meet that challenge? By prayer, Bible study, and yielding your life to the Spirit’s control. Commit yourself to those priorities today as you seek to fulfill the great purpose to which you’ve been called: “good works, which God prepared beforehand, that you should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10).

Suggestions for Prayer:    Thank God that He does not expect you to earn your own righteousness but has provided it in His Son.

Ask His Spirit to search your heart and reveal any sin that might hinder your growth in holiness. Confess that sin and take any steps necessary to eliminate it from your life.

For Further Study: Read Philippians 1:9-11

What ingredients must be added to Christian love to produce sincerity and blamelessness?

What is the primary source of those ingredients (see Ps. 119:97-105)?

What specific steps are you going to take to add or increase those ingredients in your life?

Worth It All – Greg Laurie


That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong—2 Corinthians 12:10

Sometimes as believers we can be spiritual lightweights. At the first indication of a hardship or difficulty, we fold like stack of cards. We say, “I didn’t sign up for this. I don’t want difficulty; I just want to get along with everyone.”

But if you are a true follower of Christ, there will be suffering in your life. Here is a description of what it was like for the apostle Paul:

I have worked harder, been put in prison more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again. Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not. I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm. (2 Corinthians 11:23–27).

Like Paul, if you are going to be used of God, then you are going to be attacked. If you are a real Christian, it will cause some friction. If you are a real Christian, you will face opposition.

I am not trying to paint a portrait of Christianity that is undesirable; I am just being honest as I describe what it means to follow Christ. And it’s worth it all.

Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening


Morning  “For me to live is Christ.” / Philippians 1:21

The believer did not always live to Christ. He began to do so when God the

Holy Spirit convinced him of sin, and when by grace he was brought to see the

dying Saviour making a propitiation for his guilt. From the moment of the new

and celestial birth the man begins to live to Christ. Jesus is to believers

the one pearl of great price, for whom we are willing to part with all that we

have. He has so completely won our love, that it beats alone for him; to his

glory we would live, and in defence of his gospel we would die; he is the

pattern of our life, and the model after which we would sculpture our

character. Paul’s words mean more than most men think; they imply that the aim

and end of his life was Christ–nay, his life itself was Jesus. In the words

of an ancient saint, he did eat, and drink, and sleep eternal life. Jesus was

his very breath, the soul of his soul, the heart of his heart, the life of his

life. Can you say, as a professing Christian, that you live up to this idea?

Can you honestly say that for you to live is Christ? Your business–are you

doing it for Christ? Is it not done for self- aggrandizement and for family

advantage? Do you ask, “Is that a mean reason?” For the Christian it is. He

professes to live for Christ; how can he live for another object without

committing a spiritual adultery? Many there are who carry out this principle

in some measure; but who is there that dare say that he hath lived wholly for

Christ as the apostle did? Yet, this alone is the true life of a

Christian–its source, its sustenance, its fashion, its end, all gathered up

in one word–Christ Jesus. Lord, accept me; I here present myself, praying to

live only in thee and to thee. Let me be as the bullock which stands between

the plough and the altar, to work or to be sacrificed; and let my motto be,

“Ready for either.”


Evening  “My sister, my spouse.” / Song of Solomon 4:12

Observe the sweet titles with which the heavenly Solomon with intense

affection addresses his bride the church. “My sister, one near to me by ties

of nature, partaker of the same sympathies. My spouse, nearest and dearest,

united to me by the tenderest bands of love; my sweet companion, part of my

own self. My sister, by my Incarnation, which makes me bone of thy bone and

flesh of thy flesh; my spouse, by heavenly betrothal, in which I have espoused

thee unto myself in righteousness. My sister, whom I knew of old, and over

whom I watched from her earliest infancy; my spouse, taken from among the

daughters, embraced by arms of love, and affianced unto me forever. See how

true it is that our royal Kinsman is not ashamed of us, for he dwells with

manifest delight upon this two-fold relationship. We have the word “my” twice

in our version; as if Christ dwelt with rapture on his possession of his

Church. “His delights were with the sons of men,” because those sons of men

were his own chosen ones. He, the Shepherd, sought the sheep, because they

were his sheep; he has gone about “to seek and to save that which was lost,”

because that which was lost was his long before it was lost to itself or lost

to him. The church is the exclusive portion of her Lord; none else may claim a

partnership, or pretend to share her love. Jesus, thy church delights to have

it so! Let every believing soul drink solace out of these wells. Soul! Christ

is near to thee in ties of relationship; Christ is dear to thee in bonds of

marriage union, and thou art dear to him; behold he grasps both of thy hands

with both his own, saying, “My sister, my spouse.” Mark the two sacred

holdfasts by which thy Lord gets such a double hold of thee that he neither

can nor will ever let thee go. Be not, O beloved, slow to return the hallowed

flame of his love.

Adjusting to God’s Plan – By Dr. Charles Stanley


Colossians 3:1-3

What does life at its best look like to you? You and I may have ideas of what that would mean for us, but there is only One who truly knows the worthiest course of action for our lives. He understands how to lead us to an existence that is truly fulfilling, but must sometimes work against our agendas to do so.

In fact, I have been a Christian for almost 70 years, and in all that time God has never once said to me, “What do you want to do?” He has always told me what He wanted me to do. Also, the Lord has never modified His plans to suit my purposes; instead He has always required that I adjust to His. The reason that He directs me and all other believers in the way we are to go is because He is God—perfect in all wisdom and knowledge. He knows what is best for us at all times.

Since our Father desires to be involved in every aspect of our life, He gives clear direction so that we can understand what His will is for every circumstance we encounter. By walking in the center of God’s will, we accomplish that which we were created to do. Inevitably, we also experience life at its best. Imperfect humans will not automatically be in God’s will, so we must make an effort to seek His way and live according to biblical precepts. God is immutable; He is not going to change to suit us. That means we must make whatever adjustments are necessary in order to be obedient.

Sadly, by deciding not to adjust to the Lord’s will, far too many Christians miss out on His best—He shows them what changes need to be made, but they balk. Consequently, these believers spend their life wondering why peace and a lasting sense of satisfaction eludes them, no matter how many great things they might do or experience. Only obedient living according to the Father’s plan makes it possible to attain genuine fulfillment.

Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening


Morning “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” / 1 Peter 5:7

It is a happy way of soothing sorrow when we can feel–“HE careth for me.”

Christian! do not dishonour religion by always wearing a brow of care; come,

cast your burden upon your Lord. You are staggering beneath a weight which

your Father would not feel. What seems to you a crushing burden, would be to

him but as the small dust of the balance. Nothing is so sweet as to

“Lie passive in God’s hands,

And know no will but his.”

O child of suffering, be thou patient; God has not passed thee over in his

providence. He who is the feeder of sparrows, will also furnish you with what

you need. Sit not down in despair; hope on, hope ever. Take up the arms of

faith against a sea of trouble, and your opposition shall yet end your

distresses. There is One who careth for you. His eye is fixed on you, his

heart beats with pity for your woe, and his hand omnipotent shall yet bring

you the needed help. The darkest cloud shall scatter itself in showers of

mercy. The blackest gloom shall give place to the morning. He, if thou art one

of his family, will bind up thy wounds, and heal thy broken heart. Doubt not

his grace because of thy tribulation, but believe that he loveth thee as much

in seasons of trouble as in times of happiness. What a serene and quiet life

might you lead if you would leave providing to the God of providence! With a

little oil in the cruse, and a handful of meal in the barrel, Elijah outlived

the famine, and you will do the same. If God cares for you, why need you care

too? Can you trust him for your soul, and not for your body? He has never

refused to bear your burdens, he has never fainted under their weight. Come,

then, soul! have done with fretful care, and leave all thy concerns in the

hand of a gracious God.


Evening  “Now the hand of the Lord was upon me in the evening.” / Ezekiel 33:22

In the way of judgment this may be the case, and, if so, be it mine to

consider the reason of such a visitation, and bear the rod and him that hath

appointed it. I am not the only one who is chastened in the night season; let

me cheerfully submit to the affliction, and carefully endeavour to be profited

thereby. But the hand of the Lord may also be felt in another manner,

strengthening the soul and lifting the spirit upward towards eternal things. O

that I may in this sense feel the Lord dealing with me! A sense of the divine

presence and indwelling bears the soul towards heaven as upon the wings of

eagles. At such times we are full to the brim with spiritual joy, and forget

the cares and sorrows of earth; the invisible is near, and the visible loses

its power over us; servant-body waits at the foot of the hill, and the

master-spirit worships upon the summit in the presence of the Lord. O that a

hallowed season of divine communion may be vouchsafed to me this evening! The

Lord knows that I need it very greatly. My graces languish, my corruptions

rage, my faith is weak, my devotion is cold; all these are reasons why his

healing hand should be laid upon me. His hand can cool the heat of my burning

brow, and stay the tumult of my palpitating heart. That glorious right hand

which moulded the world can new-create my mind; the unwearied hand which bears

the earth’s huge pillars up can sustain my spirit; the loving hand which

incloses all the saints can cherish me; and the mighty hand which breaketh in

pieces the enemy can subdue my sins. Why should I not feel that hand touching

me this evening? Come, my soul, address thy God with the potent plea, that

Jesus’ hands were pierced for thy redemption, and thou shalt surely feel that

same hand upon thee which once touched Daniel and set him upon his knees that

he might see visions of God.

Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening


Morning  “Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” /

2 Peter 3:18

“Grow in grace”–not in one grace only, but in all grace. Grow in that

root-grace, faith. Believe the promises more firmly than you have done. Let

faith increase in fulness, constancy, simplicity. Grow also in love. Ask that

your love may become extended, more intense, more practical, influencing every

thought, word, and deed. Grow likewise in humility. Seek to lie very low, and

know more of your own nothingness. As you grow downward in humility, seek also

to grow upward–having nearer approaches to God in prayer and more intimate

fellowship with Jesus. May God the Holy Spirit enable you to “grow in the

knowledge of our Lord and Saviour.” He who grows not in the knowledge of

Jesus, refuses to be blessed. To know him is “life eternal,” and to advance in

the knowledge of him is to increase in happiness. He who does not long to know

more of Christ, knows nothing of him yet. Whoever hath sipped this wine will

thirst for more, for although Christ doth satisfy, yet it is such a

satisfaction, that the appetite is not cloyed, but whetted. If you know the

love of Jesus–as the hart panteth for the water-brooks, so will you pant

after deeper draughts of his love. If you do not desire to know him better,

then you love him not, for love always cries, “Nearer, nearer.” Absence from

Christ is hell; but the presence of Jesus is heaven. Rest not then content

without an increasing acquaintance with Jesus. Seek to know more of him in his

divine nature, in his human relationship, in his finished work, in his death,

in his resurrection, in his present glorious intercession, and in his future

royal advent. Abide hard by the Cross, and search the mystery of his wounds.

An increase of love to Jesus, and a more perfect apprehension of his love to

us is one of the best tests of growth in grace.


Evening  “And Joseph knew his brethren, but they knew not him.” / Genesis 42:8

This morning our desires went forth for growth in our acquaintance with the

Lord Jesus; it may be well tonight to consider a kindred topic, namely, our

heavenly Joseph’s knowledge of us. This was most blessedly perfect long before

we had the slightest knowledge of him. “His eyes beheld our substance, yet

being imperfect, and in his book all our members were written, when as yet

there was none of them.” Before we had a being in the world we had a being in

his heart. When we were enemies to him, he knew us, our misery, our madness,

and our wickedness. When we wept bitterly in despairing repentance, and viewed

him only as a judge and a ruler, he viewed us as his brethren well beloved,

and his bowels yearned towards us. He never mistook his chosen, but always

beheld them as objects of his infinite affection. “The Lord knoweth them that

are his,” is as true of the prodigals who are feeding swine as of the children

who sit at the table.

But, alas! we knew not our royal Brother, and out of this ignorance grew a

host of sins. We withheld our hearts from him, and allowed him no entrance to

our love. We mistrusted him, and gave no credit to his words. We rebelled

against him, and paid him no loving homage. The Sun of Righteousness shone

forth, and we could not see him. Heaven came down to earth, and earth

perceived it not. Let God be praised, those days are over with us; yet even

now it is but little that we know of Jesus compared with what he knows of us.

We have but begun to study him, but he knoweth us altogether. It is a blessed

circumstance that the ignorance is not on his side, for then it would be a

hopeless case for us. He will not say to us, “I never knew you,” but he will

confess our names in the day of his appearing, and meanwhile will manifest

himself to us as he doth not unto the world.

Praying in Jesus’ Name – Charles Stanley


John 16:19-33

Shortly before the crucifixion, Jesus told His followers to pray in His name—in other words, to make requests according to His will. He pointed out that power is attached to prayer offered this way: “The Father will give you whatever you ask in My name” (John 15:16 niv). Supplication in Christ’s name means we’re declaring our . . .

• Association with the Savior. What makes it possible for us to approach God through prayer is our relationship with Jesus. At salvation, we went from being foreigners and aliens to being children of God. (Eph. 2:19) Our Creator has become our heavenly Father. He hears our requests because we have been made family through the redemptive work of His Son. The presence of Christ’s Spirit within us proves we are one of His own.

• Access to the Father. Jesus’ death opened the way for us to have immediate, unhindered admittance to the Father’s presence. When Jesus finished His work in making the final priestly sacrifice (Heb. 7:28), the veil in the temple, which closed off the Holy of Holies from man, was torn in two. (Mark 15:38) This symbolized the spiritual truth that access to God was now open to all who believe. Through the Holy Spirit, we have the right to talk to God directly without a human intermediary (Eph. 2:18).

Jesus Christ fully paid the penalty for our sins by dying on the cross. Accepting His atoning death on our behalf means we are in a new family relationship and we have unhindered access to the Father. Let’s stop right now and give thanks to God for the incredible privilege of prayer!

Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening


Morning  “I will give thee for a covenant of the people.” / Isaiah 49:8

Jesus Christ is himself the sum and substance of the covenant, and as one of

its gifts. He is the property of every believer. Believer, canst thou estimate

what thou hast gotten in Christ? “In him dwelleth all the fulness of the

Godhead bodily.” Consider that word “God” and its infinity, and then meditate

upon “perfect man” and all his beauty; for all that Christ, as God and man,

ever had, or can have, is thine–out of pure free favour, passed over to thee

to be thine entailed property forever. Our blessed Jesus, as God, is

omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent. Will it not console you to know that all

these great and glorious attributes are altogether yours? Has he power? That

power is yours to support and strengthen you, to overcome your enemies, and to

preserve you even to the end. Has he love? Well, there is not a drop of love

in his heart which is not yours; you may dive into the immense ocean of his

love, and you may say of it all, “It is mine.” Hath he justice? It may seem a

stern attribute, but even that is yours, for he will by his justice see to it

that all which is promised to you in the covenant of grace shall be most

certainly secured to you. And all that he has as perfect man is yours. As a

perfect man the Father’s delight was upon him. He stood accepted by the Most

High. O believer, God’s acceptance of Christ is thine acceptance; for knowest

thou not that the love which the Father set on a perfect Christ, he sets on

thee now? For all that Christ did is thine. That perfect righteousness which

Jesus wrought out, when through his stainless life he kept the law and made it

honourable, is thine, and is imputed to thee. Christ is in the covenant.

“My God, I am thine–what a comfort divine!

What a blessing to know that the Saviour is mine!

In the heavenly Lamb thrice happy I am,

And my heart it doth dance at the sound of his name.”


Evening   “The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord,

make his paths straight.” / Luke 3:4

The voice crying in the wilderness demanded a way for the Lord, a way

prepared, and a way prepared in the wilderness. I would be attentive to the

Master’s proclamation, and give him a road into my heart, cast up by gracious

operations, through the desert of my nature. The four directions in the text

must have my serious attention.

Every valley must be exalted. Low and grovelling thoughts of God must be given

up; doubting and despairing must be removed; and self-seeking and carnal

delights must be forsaken. Across these deep valleys a glorious causeway of

grace must be raised.

Every mountain and hill shall be laid low. Proud creature-sufficiency, and

boastful self-righteousness, must be levelled, to make a highway for the King

of kings. Divine fellowship is never vouchsafed to haughty, highminded

sinners. The Lord hath respect unto the lowly, and visits the contrite in

heart, but the lofty are an abomination unto him. My soul, beseech the Holy

Spirit to set thee right in this respect.

The crooked shall be made straight. The wavering heart must have a straight

path of decision for God and holiness marked out for it. Double-minded men are

strangers to the God of truth. My soul, take heed that thou be in all things

honest and true, as in the sight of the heart-searching God.

The rough places shall be made smooth. Stumbling-blocks of sin must be

removed, and thorns and briers of rebellion must be uprooted. So great a

visitor must not find miry ways and stony places when he comes to honour his

favoured ones with his company. Oh that this evening the Lord may find in my

heart a highway made ready by his grace, that he may make a triumphal progress

through the utmost bounds of my soul, from the beginning of this year even to

the end of it.

Experiencing God’s Peace – John MacArthur


“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph. 1:2)

Throughout history mankind has sought peace through military alliances, balances of power, and leagues of nations. Yet lasting peace still remains an elusive dream. Even during times of relative peace, nations struggle with internal strife and crime.

The Bible says that man on his own cannot know peace because he is alienated from its source. But we need not despair. True peace is immediately available from God our Father (the God of peace–Rom. 15:33), and the Lord Jesus Christ (the Prince of Peace–Isa. 9:6). It’s a gift of God’s grace to those who love and obey Jesus Christ.

The New Testament so clearly teaches the inextricable link between God’s grace and peace that “Grace to you and peace” became a common greeting in the early church. Grace is God’s great kindness toward those who are undeserving of His favor but who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ. It is the fountain and peace is the stream. As recipients of His grace, we have peace with God (Rom. 5:1)–we are reconciled to Him through faith in His Son and we will never experience His wrath. We also have the peace of God (Phil. 4:7)–the Spirit’s way of assuring us that God is in control even in the midst of difficult circumstances. That’s why Paul calls it the peace that surpasses all comprehension (Phil. 4:7).

The world’s peace is relative and fleeting because it is grounded in circumstances. God’s peace is absolute and eternal because it is grounded in His grace. Does God’s peace reign in your heart, or have you allowed sin or difficult circumstances to diminish your devotion to Christ?

Suggestions for Prayer:      Thank God that you have peace with Him through faith in Jesus Christ. Ask the Spirit to reveal any sin that might be hindering God’s peace from ruling in your heart. Be prepared to respond in confession and repentance. Ask for opportunities to demonstrate God’s peace to others today.

For Further Study:  Read Philippians 4:6-7    What is God’s antidote for anxiety?    How does God’s peace affect a believer’s heart and mind?

Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening


Morning   “They did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.” / Joshua 5:12

Israel’s weary wanderings were all over, and the promised rest was attained.

No more moving tents, fiery serpents, fierce Amalekites, and howling

wildernesses: they came to the land which flowed with milk and honey, and they

ate the old corn of the land. Perhaps this year, beloved Christian reader,

this may be thy case or mine. Joyful is the prospect, and if faith be in

active exercise, it will yield unalloyed delight. To be with Jesus in the rest

which remaineth for the people of God, is a cheering hope indeed, and to

expect this glory so soon is a double bliss. Unbelief shudders at the Jordan

which still rolls between us and the goodly land, but let us rest assured that

we have already experienced more ills than death at its worst can cause us.

Let us banish every fearful thought, and rejoice with exceeding great joy, in

the prospect that this year we shall begin to be “forever with the Lord.”

A part of the host will this year tarry on earth, to do service for their

Lord. If this should fall to our lot, there is no reason why the New Year’s

text should not still be true. “We who have believed do enter into rest.” The

Holy Spirit is the earnest of our inheritance; he gives us “glory begun

below.” In heaven they are secure, and so are we preserved in Christ Jesus;

there they triumph over their enemies, and we have victories too. Celestial

spirits enjoy communion with their Lord, and this is not denied to us; they

rest in his love, and we have perfect peace in him: they hymn his praise, and

it is our privilege to bless him too. We will this year gather celestial

fruits on earthly ground, where faith and hope have made the desert like the

garden of the Lord. Man did eat angels’ food of old, and why not now? O for

grace to feed on Jesus, and so to eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan this



Evening   “We will be glad and rejoice in thee.” / Song of Solomon 1:4

We will be glad and rejoice in thee. We will not open the gates of the year to

the dolorous notes of the sackbut, but to the sweet strains of the harp of

joy, and the high sounding cymbals of gladness. “O come, let us sing unto the

Lord: let us make a joyful noise unto the rock of our salvation.” We, the

called and faithful and chosen, we will drive away our griefs, and set up our

banners of confidence in the name of God. Let others lament over their

troubles, we who have the sweetening tree to cast into Marah’s bitter pool,

with joy will magnify the Lord. Eternal Spirit, our effectual Comforter, we

who are the temples in which thou dwellest, will never cease from adoring and

blessing the name of Jesus. We will, we are resolved about it, Jesus must have

the crown of our heart’s delight; we will not dishonour our Bridegroom by

mourning in his presence. We are ordained to be the minstrels of the skies,

let us rehearse our everlasting anthem before we sing it in the halls of the

New Jerusalem. We will be glad and rejoice: two words with one sense, double

joy, blessedness upon blessedness. Need there be any limit to our rejoicing in

the Lord even now? Do not men of grace find their Lord to be camphire and

spikenard, calamus and cinnamon even now, and what better fragrance have they

in heaven itself? We will be glad and rejoice in Thee. That last word is the

meat in the dish, the kernel of the nut, the soul of the text. What heavens

are laid up in Jesus! What rivers of infinite bliss have their source, aye,

and every drop of their fulness in him! Since, O sweet Lord Jesus, thou art

the present portion of thy people, favour us this year with such a sense of

thy preciousness, that from its first to its last day we may be glad and

rejoice in thee. Let January open with joy in the Lord, and December close

with gladness in Jesus.

The Measure of True Success – John MacArthur


“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints who are at Ephesus, and who are faithful in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 1:1).

Our society is success oriented. We love success stories. We even have television programs that exalt the lifestyles of the rich and famous. But God’s standard for success is quite different. Unimpressed by our status or wealth, He looks instead for faithfulness to His will.

Paul understood that principle and diligently pursued his calling as an apostle–one of those unique men who were foundational to the church and recipients, teachers, and writers of the New Testament.

That was a high calling, yet judging from Paul’s lifestyle most people would hardly call him successful– having suffered imprisonments, beatings, death threats, shipwrecks, robberies, hatred from his theological enemies, sleepless nights, hunger, thirst, and exposure to the elements (2 Cor. 11:23-27). But none of those things deterred him from obeying God’s will. His final testimony was, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim. 4:7). That’s true success! Although we’re not apostles, we’re to follow Paul’s example of faithfulness (1 Cor. 11:1). That’s possible because, like the Ephesian believers, we are “saints [holy ones] . . . who are faithful in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 1:1). By God’s grace we’ve trusted in Christ as our Lord and Savior (Eph. 2:8-9) and received His righteousness (Phil. 3:9), Spirit (Eph. 3:16), and every spiritual resource necessary for faithful, victorious Christian living (Eph. 1:3).

What remains is to cultivate greater love for Christ and more consistent obedience to His Word. Those are the hallmarks of a true disciple and God’s measure of success. Make it your goal that your life today warrants the Lord’s commendation, “Well done, good and faithful [servant]” (Matt. 25:21).

Suggestions for Prayer:  Praise God for His wonderful grace, by which He granted you salvation and all the spiritual resources you need.

Thank Him for His Word, where you learn the principles of godly living.

Ask Him for opportunities today to encourage the faithfulness of others.


For Further Study:  Read Ephesians 1:3-4; 2:10; Titus 2:11-12

What is the goal of your salvation?

Are you living each day in light of that goal?

Loving Your Child – Charles Stanley


As parents, we want our children to love us, spend time with us, talk with us, and stay close to us for as long as we live. More importantly, we would like them to want to do those things. But if we don’t love them unconditionally now, it’s unlikely they will remain nearby in the future.

“But aren’t I responsible to help them develop to their fullest potential?” you might ask. “Are there not times when I need to push a little?”

Absolutely! In fact, motivating your children to excellence and improvement is part of expressing unconditional love and acceptance to them. To allow kids simply to get by in life is a form of covert rejection.

If you want to motivate your children without expressing an attitude of conditional acceptance, two things must be true:

First, all your prodding and exhortation must be preceded by demonstrations of unconditional love for them. There must be memorials, so to speak, to their worthiness in your eyes. By “memorials,” I mean prior events or conversations that have clearly expressed your love.

Memorials are beneficial because they give your children something to recall for reassurance when you pressure them to perform. Sometimes your expectations will be too high, and they will fail. Without reminders of your unconditional acceptance, children might fear your disappointment and rejection.

Memorials can also take the form of a gift or even the bestowal of certain privileges. In presenting the gift, stress several times that it is not connected with any particular occasion or action on their part; you are giving simply because you love them.

• Second, to properly motivate your child, you must measure him by his own ability, not somebody else’s. Comparing one child’s performance to that of another eventually destroys self-esteem, expressions of individuality, and creativity.

The real key here is to view each of your children as a unique individual. Every young person is gifted in some particular way. Your goal as a parent is to recognize that area of strength and emphasize it as your child develops, for within these strengths is his or her greatest potential for excellence. By cultivating these strengths, you will also do great things for your children’s self-esteem.

When I was growing up, I didn’t do so well in high school. Everything turned out okay, but I didn’t have a good start. As a result, I never told my kids that I expected them to make As or Bs while they were in school. I didn’t tell them they had to make the baseball team or be the most popular. Instead, my question to them was, “Did you do your best?”

One good way to find out whether or not your children feel unconditional acceptance is simply to ask them, “What do you think it would take for you to make Mom and Dad as proud of you as we could possibly be?”

Evaluate the answer carefully. Is it task-oriented? Do they feel they must do all their chores every day or be straight-A students? Do they feel obligated to make a team or squad, or perform some other task to win your approval?

Perhaps the answer is more character-related. Do your children believe that doing their best at every task they undertake is what would please you? Do they know you would be proud of them for obeying God, regardless of the cost?

Their reply will give you insight into what you’ve actually communicated, regardless of what you have said. The value system you establish will serve as a basis upon which they accept themselves and others.

Simply telling your children that you accept them unconditionally is not enough. The apostle John wrote, “My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18 NKJV). Unconditional love and acceptance are communicated more clearly by what we do and how we do it than simply by what we say.

Our children must have a backlog of memories to sustain their belief that we truly love them, no matter what. Such love tells our sons and daughters that we accept them for who they are—despite what they do. What a sense of security and acceptance this gives them!

Do you want to encourage your kids to succeed? You don’t need to push expectations on them. If we direct their focus to the Lord, then they will want to be obedient and do their best for Him.

Never take for granted the impact that you have on their lives. Remember, the way you act toward your kids today greatly influences the way they will respond to you tomorrow.

Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening


Morning “Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.” / 1 Samuel 7:12

The word “hitherto” seems like a hand pointing in the direction of the past.

Twenty years or seventy, and yet, “hitherto the Lord hath helped!” Through

poverty, through wealth, through sickness, through health, at home, abroad, on

the land, on the sea, in honour, in dishonour, in perplexity, in joy, in

trial, in triumph, in prayer, in temptation, “hitherto hath the Lord helped

us!” We delight to look down a long avenue of trees. It is delightful to gaze

from end to end of the long vista, a sort of verdant temple, with its

branching pillars and its arches of leaves; even so look down the long aisles

of your years, at the green boughs of mercy overhead, and the strong pillars

of lovingkindness and faithfulness which bear up your joys. Are there no birds

in yonder branches singing? Surely there must be many, and they all sing of

mercy received “hitherto.”

But the word also points forward. For when a man gets up to a certain mark and

writes “hitherto,” he is not yet at the end, there is still a distance to be

traversed. More trials, more joys; more temptations, more triumphs; more

prayers, more answers; more toils, more strength; more fights, more victories;

and then come sickness, old age, disease, death. Is it over now? No! there is

more yet-awakening in Jesus’ likeness, thrones, harps, songs, psalms, white

raiment, the face of Jesus, the society of saints, the glory of God, the

fulness of eternity, the infinity of bliss. O be of good courage, believer,

and with grateful confidence raise thy “Ebenezer,” for–

He who hath helped thee hitherto

Will help thee all thy journey through.

When read in heaven’s light how glorious and marvellous a prospect will thy

“hitherto” unfold to thy grateful eye!


Evening  “What think ye of Christ?” / Matthew 22:42

The great test of your soul’s health is, What think you of Christ? Is he to

you “fairer than the children of men”–“the chief among ten thousand”–the

“altogether lovely”? Wherever Christ is thus esteemed, all the faculties of

the spiritual man exercise themselves with energy. I will judge of your piety

by this barometer: does Christ stand high or low with you? If you have thought

little of Christ, if you have been content to live without his presence, if

you have cared little for his honour, if you have been neglectful of his laws,

then I know that your soul is sick–God grant that it may not be sick unto

death! But if the first thought of your spirit has been, how can I honour

Jesus? If the daily desire of your soul has been, “O that I knew where I might

find him!” I tell you that you may have a thousand infirmities, and even

scarcely know whether you are a child of God at all, and yet I am persuaded,

beyond a doubt, that you are safe, since Jesus is great in your esteem. I care

not for thy rags, what thinkest thou of his royal apparel? I care not for thy

wounds, though they bleed in torrents, what thinkest thou of his wounds? are

they like glittering rubies in thine esteem? I think none the less of thee,

though thou liest like Lazarus on the dunghill, and the dogs do lick thee–I

judge thee not by thy poverty: what thinkest thou of the King in his beauty?

Has he a glorious high throne in thy heart? Wouldest thou set him higher if

thou couldest? Wouldest thou be willing to die if thou couldest but add

another trumpet to the strain which proclaims his praise? Ah! then it is well

with thee. Whatever thou mayest think of thyself, if Christ be great to thee,

thou shalt be with him ere long.

“Though all the world my choice deride,

Yet Jesus shall my portion be;

For I am pleased with none beside,

The fairest of the fair is he”

Memory Full! – Greg Laurie


My computer screen flashes a little warning sign on those occasions when I try to load too much information onto my hard drive. It tells me my memory is full—it has no more room for any more information.

In a similar way, if we would fill our hearts and minds with God’s Word, then when the devil comes with his perverse thoughts and ungodly schemes, he will see a sign that notifies him that our memory is full. It is so important for us to fill our minds and hearts with the Word of God!

Certainly it is good to carry a Bible in your briefcase, pocket, or purse; but the best place to carry the Bible is in your heart. It is good to go through the Word of God, but it is better for the Word of God to go through you. It is great to mark your Bible, but it is best if your Bible marks you. It must affect the way you live.

The Bible tells us to store up its words in our hearts, teach them to our children, and write them down (Deuteronomy 11:18-20). Memorizing a verse may not feel like a supernatural experience, but it is an important discipline. That is why the Lord told Joshua to meditate on His Word “day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success” (Joshua 1:8).

When you store the Word of God in your memory, the next time you face a difficult situation, suddenly that verse will come to you with freshness from the very throne of God. It will speak to your situation and strengthen your heart.

So get God’s Word into your heart and mind! And put it into practice.

Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening


Morning   “Can the rush grow up without mire?” / Job 8:11

The rush is spongy and hollow, and even so is a hypocrite; there is no

substance or stability in him. It is shaken to and fro in every wind just as

formalists yield to every influence; for this reason the rush is not broken by

the tempest, neither are hypocrites troubled with persecution. I would not

willingly be a deceiver or be deceived; perhaps the text for this day may help

me to try myself whether I be a hypocrite or no. The rush by nature lives in

water, and owes its very existence to the mire and moisture wherein it has

taken root; let the mire become dry, and the rush withers very quickly. Its

greenness is absolutely dependent upon circumstances, a present abundance of

water makes it flourish, and a drought destroys it at once. Is this my case?

Do I only serve God when I am in good company, or when religion is profitable

and respectable? Do I love the Lord only when temporal comforts are received

from his hands? If so I am a base hypocrite, and like the withering rush, I

shall perish when death deprives me of outward joys. But can I honestly assert

that when bodily comforts have been few, and my surroundings have been rather

adverse to grace than at all helpful to it, I have still held fast my

integrity? Then have I hope that there is genuine vital godliness in me. The

rush cannot grow without mire, but plants of the Lord’s right hand planting

can and do flourish even in the year of drought. A godly man often grows best

when his worldly circumstances decay. He who follows Christ for his bag is a

Judas; they who follow for loaves and fishes are children of the devil; but

they who attend him out of love to himself are his own beloved ones. Lord, let

me find my life in thee, and not in the mire of this world’s favour or gain.


Evening   “And the Lord shall guide thee continually.” / Isaiah 58:11

“The Lord shall guide thee.” Not an angel, but Jehovah shall guide thee. He

said he would not go through the wilderness before his people, an angel should

go before them to lead them in the way; but Moses said, “If thy presence go

not with me, carry us not up hence.” Christian, God has not left you in your

earthly pilgrimage to an angel’s guidance: he himself leads the van. You may

not see the cloudy, fiery pillar, but Jehovah will never forsake you. Notice

the word shall–“The Lord shall guide thee.” How certain this makes it! How

sure it is that God will not forsake us! His precious “shalls” and “wills” are

better than men’s oaths. “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Then

observe the adverb continually. We are not merely to be guided sometimes, but

we are to have a perpetual monitor; not occasionally to be left to our own

understanding, and so to wander, but we are continually to hear the guiding

voice of the Great Shepherd; and if we follow close at his heels, we shall not

err, but be led by a right way to a city to dwell in. If you have to change

your position in life; if you have to emigrate to distant shores; if it should

happen that you are cast into poverty, or uplifted suddenly into a more

responsible position than the one you now occupy; if you are thrown among

strangers, or cast among foes, yet tremble not, for “the Lord shall guide thee

continually.” There are no dilemmas out of which you shall not be delivered if

you live near to God, and your heart be kept warm with holy love. He goes not

amiss who goes in the company of God. Like Enoch, walk with God, and you

cannot mistake your road. You have infallible wisdom to direct you, immutable

love to comfort you, and eternal power to defend you. “Jehovah”–mark the

word–“Jehovah shall guide thee continually.”

Benefits of God’s Greatest Gift – Charles Stanley


Matthew 27:51

On Christmas, we think of a newborn in a manger, perhaps with a halo surrounding his head. This sweet image is certainly meaningful to us. But it has become so commonplace in our culture that we tend to miss the enormity of Jesus’ sacrifice and the amazing implications for us.

As we saw yesterday, salvation and an eternal home are two wonderful privileges that come to us through God’s gift of His Son. Now let’s look at three more.

We have a personal relationship with the omniscient and omnipresent God. He is the Good Shepherd, who cares for us individually, unconditionally, and with great passion. He will do whatever it takes to keep us close to Him; no matter how we sin, He will never disown us. What security and value we have because of His great love!

Jesus says that He is our faithful, trustworthy friend, available at all times, whether in seasons of heartache or rejoicing. The Lord offers the type of intimate relationship that we all long to have. And only He can fill our void in a truly lasting, satisfying way.

The moment we are saved, God gives us another gift: His Holy Spirit indwells each believer, counseling, teaching, and enabling us to do His Will. He will never leave us and, in fact, will one day accompany us to heaven.

God is our Shepherd, Friend, and indwelling Teacher. His gift of redemption allows us to live abundantly now and also promises eternity in His presence. Take the time to explore some of the countless benefits of His gift so you can enjoy and be grateful for all the blessings we have in Jesus.

Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening


Morning   “For your sakes he became poor.” / 2 Corinthians 8:9

The Lord Jesus Christ was eternally rich, glorious, and exalted; but “though

he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor.” As the rich saint cannot be

true in his communion with his poor brethren unless of his substance he

ministers to their necessities, so (the same rule holding with the head as

between the members), it is impossible that our Divine Lord could have had

fellowship with us unless he had imparted to us of his own abounding wealth,

and had become poor to make us rich. Had he remained upon his throne of glory,

and had we continued in the ruins of the fall without receiving his salvation,

communion would have been impossible on both sides. Our position by the fall,

apart from the covenant of grace, made it as impossible for fallen man to

communicate with God as it is for Belial to be in concord with Christ. In

order, therefore, that communion might be compassed, it was necessary that the

rich kinsman should bestow his estate upon his poor relatives, that the

righteous Saviour should give to his sinning brethren of his own perfection,

and that we, the poor and guilty, should receive of his fulness grace for

grace; that thus in giving and receiving, the One might descend from the

heights, and the other ascend from the depths, and so be able to embrace each

other in true and hearty fellowship. Poverty must be enriched by him in whom

are infinite treasures before it can venture to commune; and guilt must lose

itself in imputed and imparted righteousness ere the soul can walk in

fellowship with purity. Jesus must clothe his people in his own garments, or

he cannot admit them into his palace of glory; and he must wash them in his

own blood, or else they will be too defiled for the embrace of his fellowship.

O believer, herein is love! For your sake the Lord Jesus “became poor” that he

might lift you up into communion with himself.


Evening   “The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it

together.” / Isaiah 40:5

We anticipate the happy day when the whole world shall be converted to Christ;

when the gods of the heathen shall be cast to the moles and the bats; when

Romanism shall be exploded, and the crescent of Mohammed shall wane, never

again to cast its baleful rays upon the nations; when kings shall bow down

before the Prince of Peace, and all nations shall call their Redeemer blessed.

Some despair of this. They look upon the world as a vessel breaking up and

going to pieces, never to float again. We know that the world and all that is

therein is one day to be burnt up, and afterwards we look for new heavens and

for a new earth; but we cannot read our Bibles without the conviction that–

“Jesus shall reign where’er the sun

Does his successive journeys run.”


We are not discouraged by the length of his delays; we are not disheartened by

the long period which he allots to the church in which to struggle with little

success and much defeat. We believe that God will never suffer this world,

which has once seen Christ’s blood shed upon it, to be always the devil’s

stronghold. Christ came hither to deliver this world from the detested sway of

the powers of darkness. What a shout shall that be when men and angels shall

unite to cry “Hallelujah, hallelujah, for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth!”

What a satisfaction will it be in that day to have had a share in the fight,

to have helped to break the arrows of the bow, and to have aided in winning

the victory for our Lord! Happy are they who trust themselves with this

conquering Lord, and who fight side by side with him, doing their little in

his name and by his strength! How unhappy are those on the side of evil! It is

a losing side, and it is a matter wherein to lose is to lose and to be lost

forever. On whose side are you?

The Revelation of Man’s Destiny – John MacArthur


“He did not subject to angels the world to come, concerning which we are speaking. But one has testified somewhere, saying, ‘What is man, that Thou rememberest him? Or the son of man, that Thou art concerned about him? Thou hast made him for a little while lower than the angels; Thou hast crowned him with glory and honor, and hast appointed him over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet.’ For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him” (Heb. 2:5- 8).

When we look at the vast, seemingly endless universe and then think about the little dot we call earth in the middle of it all, we cannot help but wonder, “What is man? What right do we have to be so much on God’s mind?”

David had an answer: “Thou hast made him for a little while lower than the angels . . . crowned him with glory and honor . . . appointed him over the works of Thy hands . . . put all things in subjection under his feet” (Heb. 2:6-8). The writer of Hebrews was quoting one of the Psalms (Ps. 8:4-6) to show that God made man to be king.

David undoubtedly penned his psalm based on what God said in the beginning: “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth” (Gen. 1:26). God’s original design for man in his innocence was to be king over an undefiled earth.

When God made Adam, who was pure and innocent, He gave Him honor and glory. God crowned man king of the earth: “Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet” (Heb. 2:8). One day we again will be given the right to rule the earth, and all God’s creation will be put under our feet.

Suggestion for Prayer: Read Psalm 8 and offer it as your own praise to God.

For Further Study:  Read Daniel 7:18, 27 and note the extent of the saints’ ultimate rule.

The Revelation of Man’s Destiny  –  John MacArthur

“He did not subject to angels the world to come, concerning which we are speaking. But one has testified somewhere, saying, ‘What is man, that Thou rememberest him? Or the son of man, that Thou art concerned about him? Thou hast made him for a little while lower than the angels; Thou hast crowned him with glory and honor, and hast appointed him over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet.’ For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him” (Heb. 2:5- 8).

When we look at the vast, seemingly endless universe and then think about the little dot we call earth in the middle of it all, we cannot help but wonder, “What is man? What right do we have to be so much on God’s mind?”

David had an answer: “Thou hast made him for a little while lower than the angels . . . crowned him with glory and honor . . . appointed him over the works of Thy hands . . . put all things in subjection under his feet” (Heb. 2:6-8). The writer of Hebrews was quoting one of the Psalms (Ps. 8:4-6) to show that God made man to be king.

David undoubtedly penned his psalm based on what God said in the beginning: “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth” (Gen. 1:26). God’s original design for man in his innocence was to be king over an undefiled earth.

When God made Adam, who was pure and innocent, He gave Him honor and glory. God crowned man king of the earth: “Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet” (Heb. 2:8). One day we again will be given the right to rule the earth, and all God’s creation will be put under our feet.

Suggestion for Prayer: Read Psalm 8 and offer it as your own praise to God.

For Further Study:  Read Daniel 7:18, 27 and note the extent of the saints’ ultimate rule.

The Confirmation from God – John MacArthur


“How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, God also bearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will” (Heb. 2:3-4).

When Jesus preached the gospel, He performed miracles that made what He said believable. He said, “Though you do not believe Me, believe the works” (John 10:38). Jesus claimed to be from God, then made it obvious He really was from God.

Nicodemus came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “No one can do these signs that You do unless God is with Him” (John 3:2). Jesus confirmed His ministry by His own miracles. Peter reiterated that fact on the day of Pentecost: “Jesus the Nazarene [was] a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs” (Acts 2:22).

God also gave these same confirming signs to His second generation of preachers–the apostles–so no one could dispute the validity of their message. What the apostles said was not their own opinion; it was divine truth substantiated by signs, wonders, and miracles.

Signs, wonders, and miracles are synonyms referring to all the supernatural things the apostles did. But the apostles also confirmed the Word with “gifts of the Holy Spirit.” That’s a reference to the temporary sign gifts described in Scripture, such as tongues and healings, not to the permanent edifying gifts given to the church for all time.

Today God attests to the gospel with the miracle of His written Word. Let it not be said that you neglected Jesus Christ. History confirms that hours of neglect cost Napoleon Waterloo. Neglecting Christ’s salvation will cost you eternal blessing and joy and bring you damnation. Don’t allow yourself to drift past God’s grace.

Suggestion for Prayer: Thank God for His Word, and that through it you have all the truth you need to communicate the gospel.

For Further Study:  Read Acts 5-19 and list all the miracles performed by the apostles to confirm the gospel.