Tag Archives: church

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.

 

Max Lucado – Because of What He Did

 

Few things can weary you more than the fast pace of the human race.  Too many sprints for success. Too many days of doing whatever it takes eventually take their toll.  You’re left gasping for air, holding your sides on the side of the track. You’re asking yourself, “When I get what I want, will it be worth the price I paid?”

It’s this weariness that makes the words of Jesus so compelling. “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28).

Come to Me.  Why Him?  He offers the invitation as a penniless rabbi in an oppressed nation.  He has no political office.  He hasn’t written a best-seller or earned a diploma.  Yet they called Him Lord. They called Him Savior. Not so much because of what He said, but because of what He did. What He did—on the Cross!  He did it for the weary people of this world.

Charles Stanley – Is Salvation Enough?

 

Romans 14:7-12

There are many people who have trusted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and yet continue to live in rebellion against Him. Why is it that some individuals who claim to follow the Son of God refuse to serve Him?

The simple answer is that salvation is only part of the picture. The eternal destiny of anyone who receives the Lord is sealed forever—he will go to heaven. But salvation doesn’t guarantee a godly or fruitful life here on earth.

The will of the Father is that we live under the lordship of His Son. That means we must submit to Jesus as the one in charge of our life. Daily decisions and leadership of those under our care ultimately belong in God’s hands, not our own—Christ provides us with the guidance and direction. Though we’ll sometimes make mistakes, we need to remember that God’s grace is for imperfect people.

The problem is that we often desire to give Him dominion over just certain areas of our life. For example, too many of us want Him out of our finances, out of our schedule, or out of our career. But when we are lying in a hospital bed, which of us will tell Jesus to stay out of our health? So ask yourself, Is Jesus the Lord of my life or not?

Salvation is a one-time experience, but the Christian life doesn’t stop there—the lordship of Jesus Christ is ongoing. There comes a time when every believer must recognize that God’s Son came to do more than save us. He came to be the Master of our life—for our good and His glory.

 

 

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The Main Thing

 

Lee Iacocca once said, “The main thing in life is to keep the main thing, the main thing.” I don’t know about you, but I often find it hard to stay focused and to not get distracted by secondary (and often good) things.

As a follower of Jesus, my own distracted restlessness is challenged by words like John Piper’s statement, “God is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in Him” or Augustine’s prayer, “You have made us for yourself and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in thee.” I am always learning to repose in God, always seeking to go further in the contemplative life by setting my focus on God alone.

Eugene Peterson speaks of a soul’s initial coming before God with the language of adoration and love, which unfortunately often falls into disuse or into limited use. The language we often develop is one less centered in adoration and more focused on the self. Conversely, the focus of the psalmist, while not denying personal needs and fears, is always on God, God’s character, qualities, attributes, and ways. The language is one of love, adoration, and appreciation—even in the midst of uncertainty or trouble, even after years of following God. God is the main thing.

For those in need of clarity amidst constant diversion, the psalmist lives a countercultural example of focus and priority. On any given day, the psalmist offers a challenge to thinking in terms of self-need, answered or unanswered prayer, and ongoing concerns. The psalmist introduces the peculiar notion of contemplating God for who God is.

In contrast to the very clear and pronounced weaknesses in some solutions to life’s needs and challenges, the kingdom Jesus came to proclaim is a glorious possibility and real presence. This kingdom is why we are here; its king can captivate our passions and our wills. During a recent trip, I was reminded of the amazing contrast of Christ’s enduring kingdom versus the short-term shelf life of many of the “utopian” movements in history. The Nazis, the Communists, and any and all pretentious systems inevitably crumble before the unshakeable kingdom of God. As a believer, I can remind myself that I pray today with the church across the ages and around the world: God’s Kingdom come. God’s will be done on earth—here and now—as it is in heaven.

This is one answer the Christian holds in a mind-numbing sea of distraction. As we gather physically or otherwise with believers in our time and across history, whether during the reflective season of Lent or the overwhelming events of Holy Week, we come as people in need, people with problems, wounds, issues, and concerns. And we are joined with other believers as people in process. We are all souls on a journey. The salvation and full redemption of our bodies is yet to come, and yet until then, we press on in these bodies in faith, hope, and love—by God’s grace, mercy, ongoing-forgiveness, and Spirit.

As we begin this day, the invitation to clarity is the same as it was yesterday and will be tomorrow. Fix your minds and hearts on Christ, his glorious being, his dynamic kingdom, and his compassionate love.

Stuart McAllister is vice president of training and special projects at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening

 

Morning  “My expectation is from him.” / Psalm 62:5

It is the believer’s privilege to use this language. If he is looking for aught from the world, it is a poor “expectation” indeed. But if he looks to God for the supply of his wants, whether in temporal or spiritual blessings, his “expectation” will not be a vain one. Constantly he may draw from the bank of faith, and get his need supplied out of the riches of God’s lovingkindness. This I know, I had rather have God for my banker than all the Rothschilds. My Lord never fails to honour his promises; and when we bring them to his throne, he never sends them back unanswered. Therefore I will wait only at his door, for he ever opens it with the hand of munificent grace. At this hour I will try him anew. But we have “expectations” beyond this life. We shall die soon; and then our “expectation is from him.” Do we not expect that when we lie upon the bed of sickness he will send angels to carry us to his bosom? We believe that when the pulse is faint, and the heart heaves heavily, some angelic messenger shall stand and look with loving eyes upon us, and whisper, “Sister spirit, come away!” As we approach the heavenly gate, we expect to hear the welcome invitation, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” We are expecting harps of gold and crowns of glory; we are hoping soon to be amongst the multitude of shining ones before the throne; we are looking forward and longing for the time when we shall be like our glorious Lord–for “We shall see him as he is.” Then if these be thine “expectations,” O my soul, live for God; live with the desire and resolve to glorify him from whom cometh all thy supplies, and of whose grace in thy election, redemption, and calling, it is that thou hast any “expectation” of coming glory.

 

Evening  “The barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by Elijah.” / 1 Kings 17:16

See the faithfulness of divine love. You observe that this woman had daily necessities. She had herself and her son to feed in a time of famine; and now, in addition, the prophet Elijah was to be fed too. But though the need was threefold, yet the supply of meal wasted not, for she had a constant supply. Each day she made calls upon the barrel, but yet each day it remained the same. You, dear reader, have daily necessities, and because they come so frequently, you are apt to fear that the barrel of meal will one day be empty, and the cruse of oil will fail you. Rest assured that, according to the Word of God, this shall not be the case. Each day, though it bring its trouble, shall bring its help; and though you should live to outnumber the years of Methuselah, and though your needs should be as many as the sands of the seashore, yet shall God’s grace and mercy last through all your necessities, and you shall never know a real lack. For three long years, in this widow’s days, the heavens never saw a cloud, and the stars never wept a holy tear of dew upon the wicked earth: famine, and desolation, and death, made the land a howling wilderness, but this woman never was hungry, but always joyful in abundance. So shall it be with you. You shall see the sinner’s hope perish, for he trusts his native strength; you shall see the proud Pharisee’s confidence totter, for he builds his hope upon the sand; you shall see even your own schemes blasted and withered, but you yourself shall find that your place of defence shall be the munition of rocks: “Your bread shall be given you, and your water shall be sure.” Better have God for your guardian, than the Bank of England for your possession. You might spend the wealth of the Indies, but the infinite riches of God you can never exhaust.

 

John MacArthur – Acknowledging the Ultimate Source of Everything

 

“Joyously giving thanks to the Father” (Col. 1:11- 12).

The inseparable link between joy and thanksgiving was a common theme for Paul. In Philippians 4:4-6 he says, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! . . . Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” He told the Thessalonians to “rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:16- 18).

As often as Paul expressed thanks and encouraged others to express theirs, he was careful never to attribute to men the thanks due to God alone. For example in Romans 1:8 he says, “I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world.” He thanked God, not the Roman believers, because he knew that faith is a gift from God.

That doesn’t mean you can’t thank others for the kindnesses they show, but in doing so you must understand that they are instruments of God’s grace.

Thanking Him shows humility and acknowledges His rightful place as the Sovereign Lord and the giver of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17). Those who reject His lordship and refuse to give Him thanks incur His wrath (Rom. 1:21).

Only those who love Christ can truly give thanks because He is the channel through which thanks is expressed to the Father. As Paul says in Colossians 3:17, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” Hebrews 13:15 adds, “Through [Christ] then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.”

As one who is privileged to know the God of all grace, be generous in your praise and thanksgiving today. See everything as a gift from His hand for your joy and edification.

Suggestions for Prayer: Recite Psalm 136 as a prayer of praise to God.

For Further Study: From Psalm 136 list the things that prompted the psalmist’s thanksgiving. How can that psalm serve as a model for your own praise?

 

Joyce Meyer – Hope In God

 

Why are you cast down, O my inner self? And why should you moan over me and be disquieted within me? Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him, my Help and my God—Psalm 42:5

Discouragement destroys hope, so naturally the devil always tries to discourage you. Without hope you give up, which is what Satan wants you to do. The Bible repeatedly tells you not to be discouraged or dismayed. God knows you will not come through to victory if you get discouraged—He wants you to be encouraged, not discouraged.

When discouragement or condemnation tries to overtake you, ask the Lord for strength and courage. Tomorrow is a new day. God loves you and His mercy is new every morning. Say, “I refuse to be discouraged. Father, the Bible says You love me. You sent Jesus to die for me. I’ll be fine—tomorrow will be a great day.” Hope in Him!

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – I Am With You Always

 

“And then teach new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you; and be sure of this — that I am with you always, even to the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20).

When David Livingstone sailed for Africa the first time, a group of his friends accompanied him to the pier to wish him bon voyage.

Concerned for the safety of the missionary, some of his well-wishers reminded him of the dangers which would confront him in the dark land to which he was journeying. One of the men tried to convince him he should remain in England.

Opening his Bible, Livingstone read the six decisive words that had sealed the matter for him long before: “Lo, I am with you always.”

Then turning to the man who was especially concerned about his safety, Livingstone smiled before he gave a calm reply.

“That, my friend, is the word of a gentleman,” he said. “So let us be going.”

For many years, I have visited scores of countries on each continent, each year traveling tens of thousands of miles, as the director of the worldwide ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ. What a joy and comfort it is to know that I am never outside of His care! Whether at home or abroad, He is always with me, even to the end of the world. I can never travel so far away that He is not with me.

And so it is with you, if you have placed your trust and faith in Jesus Christ. You have His indwelling Holy Spirit as your constant companion – the one who makes possible the supernatural life that is the right and privilege of every believer. How important that we never lose sight of this truth: He is with us always.

Bible Reading: Matthew 28:16-20

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Today I am reminded afresh that Jesus, to whom God has given all authority in heaven and earth, is with me; that He will never leave me nor forsake me; that His supernatural power is available to me moment by moment, enabling me to do all that God has called me to do — if only I will trust and obey Him.

Presidential Prayer Team – Sword or Scalpel

 

Words of great leaders have brought healing and hope to nations, such as Winston Churchill’s, “Sure I am of this, that you have only to endure to conquer.” Words also bring discouragement, death and destruction. Words can be sharp like swords, wounding the hearts of the people you are speaking to or about, but they can also be sharp like a surgeon’s knife, cutting out the bad tissue to enable healing.

There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 12:18

Hebrews 4:12 says “the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword.” People often rebel at the truth because it can mean letting go of something valued, or involve making changes difficult to implement. Many doctrines abound; usually the most pleasant are the most popular.

Yield to God’s Word, though it may be uncomfortable. Allow Him to work in you, from the inside out until the adjustments you need to make become less difficult. Speak words in agreement with His. And pray for your national leaders, that their words will unite, build up and strengthen this country, not divide it or tear it down.

Recommended Reading: Hebrews 4:11-16

Greg Laurie – The Sovereignty of God

 

Your regulations remain true to this day, for everything serves your plans—Psalm 119:91

Luke’s gospel tells the story of ten men with leprosy who were in need of a touch from Jesus. Leprosy was incurable. They asked Jesus for a healing, and He extended it to them. But out of the ten, only one returned to give Him thanks. We read that “One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, ‘Praise God!’ He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done . . .” (Luke 17:15).

Earlier he had prayed loudly for a healing, and then he was loud with his praise. I love the fact that the original language uses two words from which get our English word “megaphone.” The man was loud in thanking Jesus for what He had done for him.

As Christians, we should give thanks to God because we recognize that He is in control of all circumstances surrounding our lives. As Proverbs 16:9 reminds us, “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.”

God is sovereign, which means that God is able to do what He pleases with whomever He chooses whenever He wishes. The prophet Jeremiah said, “I know, Lord, that our lives are not our own. We are not able to plan our own course” (Jeremiah 10:23). And we read in Proverbs 20:24, “The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?” That is the sovereignty of God.

But what about when bad things happen? Is God still in control? Yes. And the Bible tells us that despite the bad things that happen, which many times are inexplicable, God can work all things together for good to those that love Him (see Romans 8:28). As the psalmist wrote, “Everything serves [His] plans” (119:91).

Max Lucado – Know Your Strengths

 

When you teach, do people listen? When you lead, do people follow? Identify your strengths, and —this is important—major in them.  Singing for others would give me wonderful satisfaction. The problem is, it wouldn’t give the same satisfaction to my audience.  I’m what you might call a prison singer—I never have the key, and I’m always behind a few bars.

Paul gives good advice in Romans 12:3: “Have a sane estimate of your capabilities.”

Be aware of your strengths. Take a few irons out of the fire so one can get hot. Failing to focus on our strengths may prevent us from accomplishing the unique task God has called us to do. We cannot meet every need in the world. But some of us try. In the end, we run out of fuel. So, have a sane estimate of your abilities—and stick to them.

Charles Stanley – Dressed for the Battle

 

Ephesians 6:13-18

Each morning it’s wise to dress for the day’s weather or activities. The same is true spiritually, yet many believers leave home unprepared.

God has graciously provided the needed equipment for any challenges. First, we strap on the belt of truth. Like the leather apron that covered a Roman soldier’s abdomen, the truth of who we are in Christ—namely, saints with supernatural power from God’s indwelling Spirit—protects us.

Next, when we’re tempted to live by anger, fear, or dissatisfaction, the breastplate of righteousness can deflect such “arrows,” enabling us to respond in a godly manner.

Third, sandals of peace help us to remain standing, firmly planted in God’s peaceful will. Roman battle sandals usually had thick, spiked soles so soldiers could anchor themselves as they fought.

Then faith, offering Christ’s protection against anything Satan throws, is compared to a door-sized Roman shield. Faith is also what brought us salvation—when we exchanged our old thought patterns for new ways of thinking. Consequently, with salvation’s helmet, we put on the mind of Christ, which gives us discernment and wisdom.

And finally, we take up the sword of the Spirit so that we can combat Satan’s lies with Scripture’s truth.

We cannot know precisely what we’ll face each day, but Scripture warns us that there is a battle raging in the spiritual realm. Don’t venture out until your are dressed for the fight. Before rising, let your first prayer include step-by-step application of God’s armor.

 

Our Daily Bread — Grandpa Snucked Out

 

Psalm 16

My heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will rest in hope. —Psalm 16:9

My cousin Ken fought a courageous 4-year battle with cancer. In his final days, his wife, three children, and several grandchildren were in and out of his room, spending time with him and sharing special goodbyes. When everyone was out of the room for a moment, he slipped into eternity. After the family realized that he was gone, one young granddaughter sweetly remarked, “Grandpa snucked out.” One moment the Lord was with Ken here on earth; the next moment Ken’s spirit was with the Lord in heaven.

Psalm 16 was a favorite psalm of Ken’s that he had requested to be read at his memorial service. He agreed with the psalmist David who said that there was no treasure more valuable than a personal relationship with God (vv.2,5). With the Lord as his refuge, David also knew that the grave does not rob believers of life. He said, “You will not leave my soul in Sheol [the grave]” (v.10). Neither Ken nor anyone else who knows Jesus as Savior will be abandoned in death.

Because of Jesus’ own death and resurrection, we too will rise one day (Acts 2:25-28; 1 Cor. 15:20-22). And we will find that “at [God’s] right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Ps. 16:11). —Anne Cetas

“In the Beloved” accepted am I,

Risen, ascended, and seated on high;

Saved from all sin through His infinite grace,

I am accorded in heaven a place. —Martin

 

God is our treasure now, and being with Him in heaven will bring pleasures forever.

Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening

 

Morning “Thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy

habitation.” / Psalm 91:9

The Israelites in the wilderness were continually exposed to change. Whenever the pillar stayed its motion, the tents were pitched; but tomorrow, ere the morning sun had risen, the trumpet sounded, the ark was in motion, and the fiery, cloudy pillar was leading the way through the narrow defiles of the mountain, up the hill side, or along the arid waste of the wilderness. They had scarcely time to rest a little before they heard the sound of “Away! this is not your rest; you must still be onward journeying towards Canaan!” They were never long in one place. Even wells and palm trees could not detain them. Yet they had an abiding home in their God, his cloudy pillar was their roof-tree, and its flame by night their household fire. They must go onward from place to place, continually changing, never having time to settle, and to say, “Now we are secure; in this place we shall dwell.” “Yet,” says Moses, “though we are always changing, Lord, thou hast been our dwelling-place throughout all generations.” The Christian knows no change with regard to God. He may be rich today and poor to-morrow; he may be sickly today and well to-morrow; he may be in happiness today, to-morrow he may be distressed–but there is no change with regard to his relationship to God. If he loved me yesterday, he loves me today. My unmoving mansion of rest is my blessed Lord. Let prospects be blighted; let hopes be blasted; let joy be withered; let mildews destroy everything; I have lost nothing of what I have in God. He is “my strong habitation whereunto I can continually resort.” I am a pilgrim in the world, but at home in my God. In the earth I wander, but in God I dwell in a quiet habitation.

 

Evening “Whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” / Micah 5:2

The Lord Jesus had goings forth for his people as their representative before the throne, long before they appeared upon the stage of time. It was “from everlasting” that he signed the compact with his Father, that he would pay blood for blood, suffering for suffering, agony for agony, and death for death, in the behalf of his people; it was “from everlasting” that he gave himself up without a murmuring word. That from the crown of his head to the sole of his foot he might sweat great drops of blood, that he might be spit upon, pierced, mocked, rent asunder, and crushed beneath the pains of death. His goings forth as our Surety were from everlasting. Pause, my soul, and wonder! Thou hast goings forth in the person of Jesus “from everlasting.” Not only when thou wast born into the world did Christ love thee, but his delights were with the sons of men before there were any sons of men. Often did he think of them; from everlasting to everlasting he had set his affection upon them. What! my soul, has he been so long about thy salvation, and will not he accomplish it? Has he from everlasting been going forth to save me, and will he lose me now? What! Has he carried me in his hand, as his precious jewel, and will he now let me slip from between his fingers? Did he choose me before the mountains were brought forth, or the channels of the deep were digged, and will he reject me now? Impossible! I am sure he would not have loved me so long if he had not been a changeless Lover. If he could grow weary of me, he would have been tired of me long before now. If he had not loved me with a love as deep as hell, and as strong as death, he would have turned from me long ago. Oh, joy above all joys, to know that I am his everlasting and inalienable inheritance, given to him by his Father or ever the earth was! Everlasting love shall be the pillow for my head this night.

John MacArthur – Attaining Spiritual Stability

 

“Strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience” (Col. 1:11).

An alarming number of Christians seem to lack spiritual stability. Many are “carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming” (Eph. 4:14). Others lack moral purity. Many are driven by their emotions rather than sound thinking. Increasingly, therapists and psychologists are replacing pastors and biblical teachers as the heroes of the faith. While we still proclaim a sovereign, all- powerful God, our conduct often belies our creed.

Despite our inconsistences, the power for spiritual stability is ours in Christ as we allow the knowledge of His will to control our lives. Paul describes the working of that power in Colossians 1:11. There the Greek words translated “strengthened” and “power” speak of inherent power that gives one the ability to do something.

The phrase “according to” indicates that the power for spiritual stability is proportional to God’s abundant supply–and it is inexhaustible! The literal Greek says you are being “empowered with all power according to the might of His glory.” That thought is akin to Philippians 2:12-13, where Paul says that the power for working out your salvation comes from God, who is at work in you to will and to work for His good pleasure.

In Colossians 1:11 the result of God’s enabling is “the attaining of all steadfastness and patience.” “Steadfastness” speaks of endurance regarding people; “patience” speaks of endurance regarding things or circumstances. When you are steadfast and patient, you are spiritually stable. Your responses are biblical, thoughtful, and calculated; not worldly, emotional, or uncontrolled. You bear up under trials because you understand God’s purposes and trust His promises.

Paul said, “Be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might” (Eph. 6:10). That is possible when you trust God and rely on the infinite power that is yours in Christ.

Suggestions for Prayer: Perhaps you know someone who is struggling with spiritual instability. Pray for him or her and ask God to use you as a source of encouragement.

For Further Study: Psalm 18 is a psalm of victory that David wrote after God delivered him from Saul. Read it, then answer these questions:

What characteristics of God did David mention?

How might those characteristics apply to situations you are facing?

Joyce Meyer – Be Filled With the Truth

 

Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him; I will set him on high, because he knows and understands My name [has a personal knowledge of My mercy, love, and kindness—trusts and relies on Me, knowing I will never forsake him, no, never]. —Psalm 91:14

Don’t let the devil have your thoughts first thing in the morning. Begin early to get your day started right. As soon as you wake up, tell the Lord you love Him. Tell Him you need Him and are depending on Him. Read His Word and confess His promises as you prepare for the day.

Listen to teaching tapes while you are driving to work. Fill yourself with knowledge of God’s truth. Don’t talk yourself into a disaster before the day even begins. Instead say, “I am the righteousness of God in Christ; because He is with me today, I will rejoice in all things.”

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – The End Will Come

 

“And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it, and then, finally, the end will come” (Matthew 24:14).

I applaud every effort to warn Christians and nonbelievers to be ready for our Lord’s return, as Scripture clearly teaches that He will come again and has delayed His return in order that more people might have a chance to hear the gospel. To this end, we must give priority to taking the gospel to all men everywhere throughout the world.

However, we dare not wrongly interpret the Scriptures, as so many in previous generations have done, resulting in a lack of concern for the souls of men and a failure to correct the evils of society.

God expects us as His children to be His representatives here on earth. We are to love with His love, sharing the message of salvation with all who will listen and helping to meet the needs of widows, orphans and prisoners in His name.

True believers in previous generations have always been at the forefront of moral and social reforms as well as being active in evangelism. Child labor laws, women’s suffrage and abolition of slavery, for example, grew out of a mighty spiritual awakening that swept England through the ministry of John Wesley, George Whitefield and their colleagues.

We in our generation must be no less concerned about injustice wherever we find it. The most important way to solve our social ills, however, is to change the hearts of men by introducing them to our Lord Jesus Christ. Our priority commitment as Christians must be to disciple and evangelize in obedience to our Lord’s command.

Then we should instruct new believers that “loving our neighbors as ourselves” includes helping them where they hurt. But remember, the Lord cares more about the soul than He does about the body. The body will soon perish but the soul will live forever.

Bible Reading: Matthew 24:7-13

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will keep my priorities straight – first sharing the good news of salvation to as many as possible, but at the same time demonstrating love and compassion to widows, orphans, prisoners and all who are in need, in obedience to our Lord’s command.

Greg Laurie – Real Faith

 

After preaching the Good News in Derbe and making many disciples, Paul and Barnabas returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch of Pisidia, where they strengthened the believers. They encouraged them to continue in the faith, reminding them that we must suffer many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God—Acts 14:21–22

If your faith cannot make it through adversity, then, with all respect, I would have to say that it isn’t real faith. The faith that cannot be tested is the faith that cannot be trusted. Real faith gets stronger through hardship, not weaker. It becomes more resilient; it doesn’t fall apart.

In Acts 14, we read that Paul and Barnabas encouraged the believers “to continue in the faith, reminding them that we must suffer many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God” (verse 22).

Notice that Paul and Barnabas encouraged them to continue in the faith—not in the feeling. Emotions come and go. There are times when you feel God’s presence, and then there are times when you don’t. So what do you do then? You press on, because “the just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17). Whether we feel God’s presence today or we don’t, that is okay. We are to press on, because this is a walk of faith. Don’t worry about emotions. Don’t focus on emotions that fluctuate. Remember that God is with you, and one day you will join Him in glory.

A. B. Simpson wrote, “Once it was the blessing, now it is the Lord; once it was the feeling, now it is His Word. Once His gifts I wanted, now the Giver own; once I sought for healing, now Himself alone.”

When you are a young Christian, you want the blessing. But as you grow, you just want God. That is a mark of maturity. We need to continue in the faith when the skies are blue and also when they are filled with clouds. We must press on when our health is good and also when it is not what it used to be. Because we know in that final day it will all be worth it.