Tag Archives: current-events

Charles Stanley – A Life of Peace

Charles Stanley

Isaiah 26:2-4

Your home offers protection from the elements. So when a storm rolls in, you seek shelter within the safety of those four walls. The same principle applies to life’s storms. If we’ve built a solid house on a foundation of faith, then we’ve got a haven to run to when dark clouds gather and anxiety threatens to overwhelm us.

Let’s suppose a problem is worrying you, and your stomach is in knots. Friends and family try to be understanding, but they’re growing weary of you taking your heartache out on them. You are so focused on the issue that it feels as if your shoulders are bearing a heavy weight. Now listen to the liberating alternative God offers: “Cast your burden upon [Me] and [I] will sustain you” (Ps. 55:22). He doesn’t erase the ills that invade this life. Instead, He shields us from the weight of worry by taking situations into His own hands.

However, the call to a free and peaceful life goes unheeded unless a person has confidence in the Lord. Trust is built through relationship—praying during daily trials and triumphs, seeking biblical guidance for decisions, and testing God’s Word to see that it is true and practical. That’s how a house of faith is constructed brick by brick on the solid rock of Jesus Christ.

A believer who trusts in the Lord receives the peace that Isaiah 26:3 promises. But unshakeable peace isn’t instantaneous; it is cultivated through a consistent relationship with God. A lifestyle of dependence upon Him is the key to weathering storms with supernatural calm.

 

Our Daily Bread — “Lie Down”

Our Daily Bread

Exodus 20:8-11

He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul. —Psalm 23:2-3

Our golden retriever can get so overly excited that he will go into a seizure. To prevent that from happening, we try to calm him. We stroke him, speak to him in a soothing voice, and tell him to lie down. But when he hears “lie down,” he avoids eye contact with us and starts complaining. Finally, with a dramatic sigh of resignation, he gives in and plops to the floor.

Sometimes we too need to be reminded to lie down. In Psalm 23, we learn that our Good Shepherd makes us “lie down in green pastures” and leads us “beside the still waters.” He knows that we need the calm and rest that these provide, even when we don’t realize it ourselves.

Our bodies are designed to have regular rest. God Himself rested on the seventh day after His work of creation (Gen. 2:2-3; Ex. 20:9-11). Jesus knew there was a time to minister to the crowds and a time to rest. He instructed His disciples to “come aside . . . and rest a while” (Mark 6:31). When we rest, we refocus and are refreshed. When we are filling every hour with activity—even with worthwhile things—God often gets our attention by making us “lie down.”

Rest is a gift—a good gift from our Creator who knows exactly what we need. Praise Him that He sometimes makes us “lie down in green pastures.” —Cindy Hess Kasper

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your

care for our well-being in every area

of our lives. Help us to be rested

and refreshed in You.

If we don’t come apart and rest awhile, we may just plain come apart! —Havner

Bible in a year: Numbers 12-14; Mark 5:21-43

Insight

The Ten Commandments, or Decalogue (Greek, meaning “ten words”), are 10 laws given by God as guidelines for daily living. The first four commandments (Ex. 20:1-11) place the worship of God as primary for His people. The first commandment (v.3) calls us to worship God alone. He is the only one we are to serve. The second (vv.4-5) urges us to worship God appropriately and correctly, for God doesn’t tolerate idolatry of any kind. The third commandment (v.7) directs us to worship God sincerely and reverently. Our actions and attitudes must not dishonor Him. The fourth commandment (vv.8-11) lays out the frequency, regularity, and consistency of our worship. We are to set aside one day each week for worship.

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The Art of Discipline

Ravi Z

There is often an assumption made that creativity is an unbounded force, flowing freely and continually to the artist. The canvas is never blank, the page never empty, the clay never unformed. The artist never experiences boredom or tedium with regards to her craft, but instead experiences the effortless flow of creative energy each and every day. There is little need for discipline or structure in the artist’s world, or so we assume.

In contrast, most artists will tell you that creativity is something that must be practiced—exercised, as it were, just like any muscle. In fact, creativity achieves its greatest potential when bounded by discipline, and a tireless commitment to practice, routine, and structure. The painter, Wayne Thiebaud, once said that “an artist has to train his responses more than other people do. He has to be as disciplined as a mathematician. Discipline is not a restriction but an aid to freedom.”(1) Thiebaud insists that rather than being opposed to creativity, discipline provides the conduit through which creative engagement grows and develops freely.

It is not difficult to understand why many would falsely believe that creativity is by nature undisciplined, when many assume that structure and routine are signs of a lack of creativity, or worse, are signs of boredom. Boring routine appears to be antithetical to the creative life. But as author F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote in a notebook entry, “Boredom is not an ‘end product’ but an important and necessary ‘stage in life and art,’ acting like a filter that allows ‘the clear product to emerge.’”(2)

We often make the same assumptions about growth and creativity in our daily lives. We often expect unbounded growth and instant results. We often expect the constant flow of “good feelings” surging through us. If we do not experience these things, or if the novel continually eludes us, we believe that something isn’t right. But perhaps this sentiment belies a hidden disdain for the repetitive nature of discipline and routine. We falsely believe that discipline is antithetical to the flourishing of freedom.

 

As a result, many of us find ourselves chasing after the wind of emotional experience or spiritual “high,” constantly seeking the “next thing” that will move us or make us feel good. Ritual, discipline, commitment, and structure seem impediments to growth, rather than the soil in which growth is nourished and fed. We falsely believe that transformation is like osmosis, a process over which we have little control or responsibility.

Not surprisingly, Jesus makes this connection between spiritual growth, transformation and discipline. In the gospel of John he exhorts his followers to “abide” in him—literally to rest and to take nourishment from the life Jesus offers (John 15:4-5). But as we abide we are told about the discipline inherent in abiding: “Just as the Father has loved me, I have also loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love; just as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full” (John 15:9-11).

Jesus insists that human flourishing is intimately enjoined to keeping his commands. Joy flows from a life that abides in the love of Jesus. Abiding in the love of Jesus, and experiencing the fullness of joy are not separated from discipline and obedience. The routine and discipline of abiding are the nutrients necessary for the spiritual life to flourish and grow.

Many might find this statement quiet paradoxical since we do not often associate joy with discipline! Daily living often feels like monotonous routine. But joy can flow when the routine of living is artfully engaged. Finding joy in faithful nurture, care and disciplined engagement with routine is not dependent on the whims of our personalities, or feelings that come and go. Joy is the result of a life lived in the rhythm of rest, routine, and discipline. As one abides the monotony of disciplined routine can be transformed into joy-filled ritual.

Life is often both tedious and difficult. Creative engagement in art and life requires both. But disciplined obedience is not a blockade to joy, but rather a doorway that opens into the presence of God. An invitation to encounter one who produces from artful discipline something beautiful that remains, awaits all who will enter.

Margaret Manning is a member of the speaking and writing team at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Seattle, Washington.

(1) As cited in Clint Brown, Artist to Artist: Inspiration & Advice from Artists Past & Present (Corvalis, OR: Jackson Creek Publishers, 1998), 87.

(2) As cited in Kathleen Norris, Acedia & Me (New York: Riverhead Books, 2008), 41.

 

Alistair Begg – The Consequence of Disobedience

Alistair Begg

Jonah 1:3

Instead of going to Nineveh to preach the Word, as God told him, Jonah disliked the work and went down to Joppa to escape from it. There are occasions when God’s servants shrink from duty. But what is the consequence? What did Jonah lose by his conduct? He lost the presence and comfortable enjoyment of God’s love. When we serve our Lord Jesus as believers should do, God is with us; and though we have the whole world against us, if we have God with us, what does it matter? But the moment we retreat and seek to establish our own agenda, we are at sea without a pilot. Then we will bitterly lament and groan out, “O my God, where have You gone? How could I have been so foolish as to shun Your service, and in this way lose all the bright shinings of Your face? This is a price too high. Let me return to my allegiance, that I may rejoice in Your presence.”

In the next place, Jonah lost all peace of mind. Sin soon destroys a believer’s comfort. It is the poisonous tree whose leaves distill deadly drops that destroy the life of joy and peace. Jonah lost everything upon which he might have drawn for comfort in any other case. He could not plead the promise of divine protection, for he was not in God’s ways; he could not say, “Lord, I meet with these difficulties in the discharge of my duty; therefore help me through them.” He was reaping his own deeds; he was filled with his own ways.

Christian, do not play the Jonah unless you wish to have all the waves and the billows rolling over your head. You will find in the long run that it is far harder to shun the work and will of God than to at once yield yourself to it. Jonah lost his time, for he had to go to Tarshish after all. It is hard to contend with God; let us yield ourselves to Him immediately.

The family reading plan for February 25, 2014 Job 25 , 26 | 1 Corinthians 12

 

Charles Spurgeon – The people’s Christ

CharlesSpurgeon

“I have exalted one chosen out of the people.” Psalm 89:19

Suggested Further Reading: Acts 1:1-11

How exalted was he in his ascension! He went out from the city to the top of the hill, his disciples attending him while he waited the appointed moment. Mark his ascension! Bidding farewell to the whole circle, up he went gradually ascending, like the exaltation of a mist from the lake, or the cloud from the streaming river. Aloft he soared; by his own mighty buoyancy and elasticity he ascended up on high—not like Elijah, carried up by fiery horses; nor like Enoch of old, of whom it could be said he was not, for God took him. He went himself; and as he went, I think I see the angels looking down from heaven’s battlements, and crying, “See the conquering hero comes!” while at his nearer approach again they shouted, “See the conquering hero comes!” So his journey through the plains of ether is complete—he nears the gates of heaven—attending angels shout, “Lift up your heads, ye everlasting gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors!” The glorious hosts within scarce ask the question, “Who is this king of glory?” when from ten thousand thousand tongues there rolls an ocean of harmony, beating in mighty waves of music on the pearly gates and opening them at once, “The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.” Lo! heaven’s barriers are thrown wide open and cherubim are hastening to meet their monarch,

“They brought his chariot from afar,

To bear him to his throne;

Clapp’d their triumphant wings and said,

“The Saviour’s work is done.”

Behold he marches through the streets. See how kingdoms and powers fall down before him! Crowns are laid at his feet, and his Father says, “Well done, my Son, well done!” while heaven echoes with the shout, “Well done! Well done!” Up he climbs to that high throne, side by side with the Paternal Deity. “I have exalted one chosen out of the people.”

For meditation: Our ascended Lord Jesus Christ—his principal posture (he sits), his persistent pleading (he intercedes), his patient preparation (he waits to return)—Hebrews 10:11-13.

Sermon no. 11

25 February (1855)

John MacArthur – Living in a Worthy Manner

John MacArthur

“So that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects” (Col. 1:10).

In Colossians 1:9 Paul speaks of being controlled by the knowledge of God’s will. In verse 10 he speaks of walking in a manner worthy of the Lord. There is a direct cause-and-effect relationship between those verses. When you are controlled by the knowledge of God’s will, you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord.

The Greek word translated “walk” means “to order one’s behavior.” It’s a common New Testament metaphor for one’s lifestyle. Paul made a similar plea to the Thessalonians: “Walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory” (1 Thess. 2:12).

The thought of being worthy of the Lord might raise some eyebrows because we usually relate worthiness to merit or something deserved. But that isn’t Paul’s point at all. The Greek word translated “worthy” in Colossians 1:10 speaks of something that weighs as much or carries the same value as something else. He isn’t saying we deserve Christ, but that our conduct should be consistent with His.

That is Peter’s point in 1 Peter 2:21: “You have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps.” John said, “The one who says he abides in [Christ] ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked” (1 John 2:6). He added in 2 John 6, “Walk according to His commandments.” That’s how you demonstrate your love for Christ (John 14:15) and please Him in every respect.

As a word of encouragement, a worthy walk is not a walk of sinless perfection. That won’t happen until you are fully glorified. But each day you are growing in godliness as a result of the Spirit’s transforming work in you (2 Cor. 3:18). Be faithful to that process. Set your affections on Christ, look to His Word, and rejoice in the privilege of becoming more like Him today.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Thank God for the power and guidance of His Spirit in your life.

Be diligent to confess your sin when you stray from a worthy walk.

For Further Study:

Read Ephesians 4:1-3 and Philippians 1:27-30.

What specific attitudes are involved in a worthy walk?

Does a worthy walk eliminate the possibility of suffering or persecution? Explain.

 

 

Joyce Meyer – How to Win the Battle

Joyce meyer

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. —Ephesians 6:14–15 NIV

The Bible says that if we meet our battles with peace and respond to the upsets in life with peace, we will experience victory. It’s a paradox; it doesn’t make any sense. How can we win if we stop fighting?

My husband used to make me mad because he would not fight with me. I was upset and angry, and I wanted him to say just one thing so I could rail on and on. But when Dave saw that I was just looking for an argument, he would be quiet and tell me, “I am not going to fight with you.” Sometimes he would even get in the car and leave for a while, infuriating me even more, but I could not fight with someone who would not fight back.

Moses told the Israelites not to fight when they found the Red Sea facing them on one side and the Egyptian army chasing them on the other. They became frightened, and he told them, “Fear not; stand still (firm, confident, undismayed) and see the salvation of the Lord which He will work for you today. For the Egyptians you have seen today you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace and remain at rest” (Exod. 14:13–14).

Notice that Moses told the Israelites to “hold [their] peace and remain at rest.” Why? They were at war, and it was necessary for them to respond with peace in order to win the battle. God would fight for them if they would show their confidence in Him by being peaceful. If you hold on to your peace, He will do the same for you.

Trust in Him Are you fighting a battle when you should be holding your peace? Choose to stop fighting and trust God to fight for you. That is how to win a battle.

 

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Anything You Ask

dr_bright

“You can get anything – anything you ask for in prayer – if you believe” (Matthew 21:22).

God’s Word reminds us that we have not because we ask not (James 4:2). Jesus said, “If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:7, KJV).

A godly widow with six children was facing great stress. The family had eaten their last loaf of bread at the evening meal. The next morning, with no food in the house, the trusting mother set seven plates on the table.

“Now, children,” she said, gathering them around her, “we must ask God to supply our need.”

Just as she finished her prayer, one of the children shouted, “There’s the baker at the door.”

“I was stalled in the snow,” the baker said, after entering the house,” and I just stopped by to get warm. Do you need any bread this morning?”

“Yes,” said the mother, “but we have no money.”

“Do you mean to say you have no bread for these children?” he asked.

“Not a bit,” said the mother.

“Well,” said the baker, “you will soon have some.” Whereupon he returned to his wagon, picked up seven loaves and brought them into the house. Then he laid one on each plate.

“Mama!” one of the children cried out. “I prayed for bread, and God heard me and sent me bread.”

“And me!” chorused each of the children, feeling that God had answered personally.

God does not require us to have great faith. We are simply to have faith in a great God.

Bible Reading: Mark 11:20-26

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will continue to abide in Christ and have His Word abide in my heart, so that when needs arise today – whether large or small; physical, material or spiritual – I will choose to place my simple faith in God, knowing that He is willing and able to hear and answer prayer. I will also encourage others to join me in the great adventure of prayer.

 

Presidential Prayer Team; C.P. – Point of Contact

ppt_seal01

The dedication of the temple in Jerusalem was a dramatic scene. Imagine King Solomon in all of his splendor – on his knees before all the people of Israel, declaring how wonderful God was to keep His promises to David, to Solomon and to all the people!

There is no God like you…keeping covenant and showing steadfast love.

II Chronicles 6:14

Solomon acknowledged that God was uncontainable and no temple would hold Him; nevertheless, he asked the Lord to hear any prayer directed to the temple. The temple was a point of contact. After his prayer, God sent fire from heaven to burn the sacrifices, and His glory filled the temple.

Today Christians have a point of contact – Jesus. When you pray in the name of Jesus, God hears you and answers your prayer. And now you, not a building, are the temple of the Holy Spirit! The same wonderful God who kept His promises to David and Solomon keeps His commitments to you. Hold fast to God’s promises. Honor the name of Jesus and the Spirit who dwells in you. Pray for the leaders and citizens of this nation to be more like Solomon…and humble themselves before God and seek Him as the only foundation worthy of their trust.

Recommended Reading: I Corinthians 3:10-20

Greg Laurie – An Appointment with God

greglaurie

The Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” —Genesis 3:9

In addition to walking in harmony with God, Amos 3:3 provides another nuance of meaning. It also gives the idea of keeping an appointment. Did you know that you have an appointment with God? You do. It is there, written in eternity. In fact, God wants to meet with you on a regular basis.

I wonder just how many times each day that God wants to speak to us, but He can’t get a word in edgewise. The Lord might say, “I have wanted to talk to you for a long time, but you are too busy. This morning I wanted to talk to you, but you didn’t have any time for Me. You read the newspapers and watched TV and talked on the phone. You never opened the Word. You never prayed. At lunch I tried to say something, but your prayer was so fast. Later I tried to talk with you. You have been so busy. You have an appointment with Me. Why don’t you keep it?”

Remember how Adam had an appointment with God every day in the Garden of Eden? He would hear the voice of the Lord in the Garden in the cool of the evening. One day Adam missed that appointment because of sin. God said to Adam, “Where are you?”

I wonder if the Lord would say that to some of us each day: “Where are you? Where were you? I have been looking for you. I wanted to speak to you. I want you to walk with Me, and I want to walk with you.”

Just imagine, the Creator of the universe wants to spend time with you! Is there any appointment that is worth keeping more than this one?

Charles Stanley – Unshakeable Peace

Charles Stanley

Philippians 4:6-7

Anxiety is the enemy of a peaceful life. People go to great lengths to get rid of stress: travel ads promise vacations will sweep you away from it; gyms offer to help you “sweat it out”; and popular magazines suggest ways to lessen it by adjusting schedules or habits. The problem is that no one can adequately shift circumstances to achieve total freedom from heartache, burdens, or trouble.

However, we can have unshakeable peace during anxious times. Jesus said to seek peace in Him because He has overcome this world (John 16:33). The key is to shift our focus from the scary problem onto God, who lovingly provides whatever we need from His limitless resources and power (Ps. 50:10; Rom. 8:11).

Serenity can’t be manufactured—it’s a gift from our heavenly Father. His Spirit produces a sense of calm in believers who seek the Lord’s protection against anxiety (Gal. 5:22). The Greek word translated as guard in today’s passage literally means “to garrison about.” God wraps hearts and minds in peace, effectively safeguarding both against all-consuming worry or fear. Notice that He doesn’t make problems go away—we may still be under pressure or prone to weep, but we are cushioned against anxiety and encircled by peace as well.

Today’s verses tell us to pray rather than give in to anxiety. These words are Paul’s orders for doing battle against the stresses and troubles of this world. Prayer keeps your mind and heart garrisoned with peace. Keep trusting in God so that your defenses are strong and anxiety cannot slip in.

 

Our Daily Bread — Empty Fort Strategy

Our Daily Bread

Judges 7:2-8

Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me? —Jeremiah 32:27

In the Chinese historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, author Luo Guanzhong describes the “Empty Fort Strategy,” a use of reverse psychology to deceive the enemy. When 150,000 troops from the Wei Kingdom reached Xicheng, which had less than 2,500 soldiers, they found the city gate wide open and the famous military tactician Zhuge Liang calmly playing the zither with two children beside him. The Wei general, baffled by the scene and believing it was an ambush, ordered a full retreat.

The Bible offers another example of a bewildering battle strategy. In Judges 7, God had Gideon use 300 men, horns, jars, and blazing torches against armies that were “as numerous as locusts; and their camels were without number” (v.12).

Could Israel defeat such a formidable foe? It was humanly impossible! They had neither the manpower nor the military hardware. But they had one thing that worked for them and that was all they needed. They had God’s promise: “With these 300 men I will rescue you and give you victory” (v.7 NLT). The result? Victory!

Are you facing a formidable challenge? The Lord has said, “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?” (Jer. 32:27). —Poh Fang Chia

Be strong in the Lord and be of good courage;

Your mighty Defender is always the same.

Mount up with wings, as the eagle ascending;

Victory is sure when you call on His name. —Johnson

With God, all things are possible.

Bible in a year: Numbers 9-11; Mark 5:1-20

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The True and the Beautiful

Ravi Z

What if it was all true? The sudden suspicion that Jesus might be who he said he was seized me like a thought from another world. Was it possible that a religion was worth following not because of whatever therapeutic good it might afford me, not because of any moralistic obligation or cultural niceties, but simply because it was true? The thought meant entertaining a new starting point; it meant admitting that I might not have been seeing with all the facts in the first place. It meant considering that God was there all along.

Of course, it did not mean that my angered questions gracefully bowed out at the thought that they might be premature or even nonsensical. Reason has very little to say to the child who wants to know why his father left; words are not what he is looking for. My initial discovery of truth had to give way to something beyond ideas and logic, and it did not take long for this to become apparent. If Jesus is who he said he is then Christianity is indeed not a matter of preference or pedigree; but neither does it suggest that the pilgrimage will be void of questions that cannot be answered or existential struggles wholly unsatisfied by human thought.

As someone who suddenly wanted to know and to tell the truth, I discovered that truth is not simply something passive that we intercept, like the outcome of a CSI episode that leaves us entirely certain of “what really happened.” Truth certainly has this definitive element, to be sure; the Logos which became flesh is God’s definitive account of truth. But this is something far deeper and more dimensional than hard, unresponsive facts and verses, as further evidenced in John’s description of Christ as one full of grace and truth in himself. There is a corresponding, interactive quality to truth, which cannot be merely argued in words, but is best understood by engaging its depth and character within a world of impersonal, simplistic alternatives. For if truth is personal—indeed, a Person—it demands a lifetime of shared engagement with the one who is truth and the Spirit who actively leads us into its discovery. Evidences of the heights and depths of this divine truth can indeed be received as factual, definitive fingerprints. But so they are clues that point to a multi-dimensional, inexhaustible Person full of grace and truth—and beauty.

Such an idea is set to narrative in the characters of The Idiot, in whom Fyodor Dostoevsky sets forth the bold assertion that “beauty will save the world.” The sheer number of ways in which this quote has been taken from the prince who uttered it and handed to less-discerning philosophers attests to the risk inherent in the idea, and perhaps inherent in beauty itself. Even in the story, the prince’s grand pronouncement is immediately the subject of interrogation—”What sort of beauty?” But prince Myshkin affirms in response that it is who will save the world.  And here, Dostoevsky, too, entertains the proclamation in a person, in Myshkin himself, who lives the quality of beauty as if telling of his very soul. It is Myshkin who chooses again and again to help rather than to harm, to give mercy rather than malice; he forgives tirelessly, though surrounded by people who do not. In fact, it is this group that labels Myshkin the “idiot” because he refuses to participate in the withering ugliness of their own ways. In Dostoevsky’s analysis, if Beauty will save the world, it will indeed be a person.

For those waking to the light of truth, for those speaking to the light of truth, there is a temptation to overlook the personal in the midst of the philosophical. When Plato said that beauty is the splendor of truth, he had in mind the Forms, literally Ideas. Comforting though it is to those who instinctively sense we were not meant for the darkness of caves, the truth he had in mind is inherently different in substance and character than the God-Man who looked his troubled friends in the eyes and said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” Here we find not words, but the Word enfleshed, the transcendent in person. He is goodness, truth, and beauty incarnate, beckoning us out of the darkness to follow, to die, to become as he is. As it turns out, my old desire not merely to be good, but to somehow become united with it was not my own thought after all.

If the story of Christ is a call to participate in the glory of God as persons who imbibe that glory, then there is most certainly in beauty the potential to save, for God is both the Source and Subject. And it is thus quite possible that God reaches out to the world in beauty, mystery, or transcendence, in goodness or kindness, in truth, logic, or reason. For the divine and human Christ is all three in person—the Good, the True, and the Beautiful.

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

 

Alistair Begg – Rejoice in God’s Compassionate Love

Alistair Begg 

Zechariah 1:13-14

What a sweet answer to an anxious inquiry! This night let us rejoice in it. O Zion, there are good things in store for you; your time of travail will soon be over; your children shall come forth; your captivity shall end. Bear patiently the rod for a season, and under the darkness still trust in God, for His love burns toward you.

God loves the church with a love too deep for human imagination: He loves her with all His infinite heart. Therefore let her sons be of good courage; she cannot be far from prosperity to whom God speaks “gracious and comforting words.” The prophet goes on to tell us: “I am exceedingly jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion.” The Lord loves His church so much that He cannot bear that she should go astray to others; and when she has done so, He cannot endure that she should suffer too much or too heavily.

He will not have his enemies afflict her: He is displeased with them because they increase her misery. When God seems most to leave His church, His heart is warm toward her.

History shows that whenever God uses a rod to chasten His servants, He always breaks it afterwards, as if He loathed the rod that gave his children pain. “As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.”1

God has not forgotten us because He strikes–His blows are no evidences of absence of love. If this is true of His church collectively, it is also necessarily true of each individual member. You may fear that the Lord has passed you by, but it is not so: He who counts the stars and calls them by their names is in no danger of forgetting His own children. He knows your case as thoroughly as if you were the only creature He ever made or the only saint He ever loved. Approach Him and be at peace.

1 Psalm 103:13

The family reading plan for February 24, 2014 Job 24 | 1 Corinthians 11

 

Charles Spurgeon – The glorious right hand of the Lord

CharlesSpurgeon

“And the Lord said unto Moses, Is the Lord’s hand waxed short? thou shalt see now whether my word shall come to pass unto thee or not.” Numbers 11:23

Suggested Further Reading: Luke 12:22-31

Which of his people have found the riches of his grace drained dry? Which of his children has had to mourn that the unsearchable riches of Christ had failed to supply his need? In grace, as well as in providence and nature, the unanimous verdict is that God is still Almighty, that he does as he wills, and fulfils all his promises and his counsels. How is it, then, that such a question as this ever came from the lips of God himself? Who suggested it? What suggested it? What could there have been that should lead him or any of his creatures to say,“Is the Lord’s hand waxed short?” We answer, there is but one creature that God has made that ever doubts him. The little birds doubt not: though they have no barn nor field, yet they sweetly sing at night as they go to their roosts, though they know not where tomorrow’s meal shall be found. The very cattle trust him; and even in days of drought, ye have seen them when they pant for thirst, how they expect the water; how the very first token of it makes them show in their very animal frame, by some dumb language, that they felt that God would not leave them to perish. The angels never doubt him, nor the devils either: devils believe and tremble. But it was left for man, the most favoured of all creatures, to mistrust his God. This high, this black, this infamous sin, of doubting the power and faithfulness of Jehovah, was reserved for the fallen race of rebellious Adam, and we alone, out of all the beings that God has ever fashioned, dishonour him by unbelief, and tarnish his honour by mistrust.

For meditation: Man is good at taming and training animals (James 3:7) but they still have a thing or two to teach him about God (2 Peter 2:15-16; Luke 12:24).

Sermon no. 363

24 February (1861)

John MacArthur – Understanding God’s Will

John MacArthur

“We have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding” (Col. 1:9).

Paul’s prayer for the Philippians (Phil. 1:9-11) is closely paralleled by his prayer for the Colossians (Col. 1:9-12). Both epistles were written from the same Roman prison at about the same time in Paul’s life. Both prayers focus on godly living, but each approaches it from a slightly different perspective.

The Philippians were gracious people who needed to exercise greater knowledge and discernment in their love. The Colossians also were gracious but their devotion to Christ was being challenged by heretics who taught that Christ is insufficient for salvation and godly living. True spirituality, the false teachers said, is found in Christ plus human philosophy, religious legalism, mysticism, or asceticism. Paul encouraged the Colossian believers and refuted the false teachers by showing the utter sufficiency of Christ.

At the outset of his prayer Paul stressed the importance of being controlled by the knowledge of God’s will (which is revealed in His Word). That’s the meaning of the Greek word translated “filled” in verse 9. “Knowledge” translates a word that speaks of a deep, penetrating knowledge that results in behavioral change. “Spiritual wisdom and understanding” refers to knowledge that cannot be known through human reasoning or philosophy. It is imparted by the Holy Spirit Himself.

In effect Paul was saying, “I pray that you will be continually controlled by the life-transforming knowledge of God’s will, which the Holy Spirit imparts as you prayerfully study and meditate on God’s Word.”

Scripture supplies the principles you need to live a godly life. The Spirit gives you the power to do so. Many false teachers will try to divert you from the simplicity of devotion to Christ by offering you philosophy, psychology, and a myriad of other hopeless alternatives. Don’t be victimized. In Christ you have everything you need!

Suggestions for Prayer:

Thank God for His all-sufficient Son and for the resources that are yours in Him.

Ask for wisdom to apply those resources to every situation you face today.

For Further Study:

Read Colossians 1:15þ2:23.

What was Christ’s role in creation?

What was Paul’s goal as a minister?

What warnings and commands did Paul give?

 

Joyce Meyer – Our Words are Seeds

Joyce meyer

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable. —Hebrews 4:13 NLT

Every action is a seed we sow, and we will reap a harvest from our seeds. Our words, thoughts, attitudes, and actions are all seeds that we sow, and seeds produce harvest. Sow mercy; reap mercy. Sow judgment; reap judgment. Sow kindness; reap kindness. If you don’t like how your life is right now, I have good news for you. You can change your life by sowing right seeds.

If you’re not in a good place in life, you didn’t make one wrong choice to end up where you are, and you can’t make one right choice to get yourself out of it. Change won’t happen overnight. But if you invest your life in learning what is the right thing to do and then do it with God’s help, you will reap the harvest.

Power Thought: With God’s help, I’m sowing good seeds every day of my life.

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Don’t Worry

dr_bright

“So don’t be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time” (Matthew 6:34).

The taxi driver who drove me from the airport to the hotel in Virginia Beach stated several times that he was having difficulty making ends meet for his wife and 2-year-old son.

He had two jobs and worked seven days a week. Even so, he could hardly get by. The rent was high; the utility bills were extravagant, and he was trying to save enough money so that he could move to another city where the hourly wages were considerably higher. There, he would be able to achieve a better way of life.

I asked him if he went to church.

“No,” he said, “I don’t have time. I’m too busy.”

During the next 30 minutes we talked about the love of God, and God’s purpose and plan for men which was revealed to us in the person of Jesus Christ.

“I once went to church as a young man,” he said,” and my mother is very religious. In fact, she used to preach to me all the time. But somehow I have gotten away from God and from the church.”

I shared with him the Four Spiritual Laws, and the prayer: “Lord Jesus, I need You. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of the throne of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be.”

By the time we reached the hotel, he was ready to pray that prayer in all earnestness, from the depths of his heart. So he offered the prayer, and I prayed with him. And it seemed as though, before my very eyes, the load he had been carrying for so long was lifted and that God, who had made the promise, had already begun to fulfill that promise.

Bible Reading: Matthew 6:28-33

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Today I will ask God to help me forget the conflicts and unfortunate memories of the past: to take no anxious thought for tomorrow, and to joyfully live in the reality of His supernatural presence and provision.

Presidential Prayer Team; J.K. – Plant Your Feet

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Two prayers in the letter to the Ephesians show Paul’s concern and love for these new Christians. Concerned with the spiritual condition of man, the first emphasizes revelation, “having the eyes of your hearts enlightened.” (Ephesians 1:17-18) The second prayer underscores enablement to behave like Christians: “Be strengthened with power through his Spirit…so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith – that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend” the immensity of the love of God in Christ (Ephesians 3:16-18). Spiritual strength from the Holy Spirit will lead to a deeper relationship with God.

You, being rooted and grounded in love.

Ephesians 3:17

When the trials of life test the depth of your trust in God, you will be as secure as the man who built his house upon the rock (Matthew 7:24-27). Just as roots grow deep into the ground for nourishment and stability, planting your feet in God’s Word will give you strength for the moment and transforming power for each day of your Christian life.

Grow in your love for the Lord. Let others see His love in you. Then pray for President Obama and the members of Congress…that they may have revelation to enable them to govern with the eyes of Jesus.

Recommended Reading: Ephesians 3:14-21

Greg Laurie – Going His Way?

greglaurie

Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction? —Amos 3:3

I have a German shepherd that was a former guide dog for the blind. Because he had slight hip dysplasia, he was put up for adoption. When we got him, he was perfectly trained. We could take him anywhere. He was happy to sit next to us. Another dog would walk by and he couldn’t care less.

Then I got a hold of him. I would unleash him and let him run around in the park. Day by day he started getting worse. The next thing you know, he was lunging at dogs and taking off after cats and rabbits and squirrels.

I called the people we got him from and asked what went wrong. They told me I couldn’t let him do all that “dog stuff.” I couldn’t let him stop and sniff where he wanted to sniff. I couldn’t let him chase rabbits. They gave me a little muzzlelike device to put on him. Gaining control of his muzzle meant he would obey, because it would hurt to pull away. When I took the device off him, he was in sync with me again.

We can be like that with God sometimes. We are running around and being crazy, doing what we want to do. So the Lord has to pull us back into line because He wants us to walk with Him.

To walk with God means that I must get into harmony with Him. I must go the direction that God wants me to go.

How about you? Are you walking with God today? Or are you pulling against Him, trying to do things your own way? If so, then it’s time to stop, ask God’s forgiveness, and get in sync with Him once again.