Tag Archives: current-events

Charles Stanley – Confidence That Empowers

Charles Stanley

Philippians 4:10-13

Our world emphatically proclaims the importance of self-esteem, which is a favorable impression of oneself. Surely, we are told, an individual who values himself highly will accomplish much. Yet Scripture tells us that true confidence flows, not from self, but from our identity in Christ.

In God’s Word, we learn that Paul experienced this appropriate assurance. He expressed certainty regarding the message and ministry God gave him (Rom. 1:16; Gal. 1:15-17). The apostle was also sure of eternal security in Jesus (Rom. 8:37-39). Today’s passage also shows that Paul stood firmly on his belief that He could do anything in God’s will because Jesus was living through him.

The Holy Spirit is the basis for our confidence—not positive thinking, right circumstances, or the ability to think highly of ourselves. Even in the midst of difficulty, we can live with boldness because the Spirit of the living God lives in us and enables us to follow Him.

Of course, we have a role too. The Spirit directs us and strengthens us, but we are responsible to listen, obey, and diligently follow His guidance each day. We can have assurance in an unstable world because almighty God provides everything we need to live triumphantly.

Are you facing situations that make you feel inadequate or insecure? Search the Bible for descriptions of the Lord’s character. Realize that our sovereign, almighty God—the Beginning and the End—lives inside of you through His Holy Spirit. Find your confidence in your Creator, Redeemer, and Friend.

 

 

 

Our Daily Bread — The Journey Begins

Our Daily Bread

2 Peter 1:5-11

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away. —2 Corinthians 5:17

Eighty-one years ago today a 9-year-old boy prayed to ask Jesus to be the Savior of his life. His mother wrote these words in a memory book: “Clair made a start today.”

Clair—my dad—has now walked with Christ for 8 decades. He marks the day when he made his decision to follow Christ as the beginning of his journey. Growing spiritually is a lifelong process—not a one-time event. So how does a new believer feed his faith and continue to grow? These are some things I observed in my dad’s life over the years.

He read the Scriptures regularly to increase his understanding of God and made prayer a daily part of his life (1 Chron. 16:11; 1 Thess. 5:17). Bible reading and prayer help us grow closer to God and withstand temptation (Ps. 119:11; Matt. 26:41; Eph. 6:11; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 1 Peter 2:2). The Holy Spirit began to develop the “fruit of the Spirit” in him as he surrendered his life in faith and obedience (Gal. 5:22-23). We display God’s love through our witness and service.

My dad’s spiritual journey continues and so does ours. What a privilege to have a relationship in which we can “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”! (2 Peter 3:18). —Cindy Hess Kasper

I want my heart to be in tune with God,

In every stage of life may it ring true;

I want my thoughts and words to honor Him,

To lift Him up in everything I do. —Hess

Salvation is the miracle of a moment; growth is the labor of a lifetime.

Bible in a year: Genesis 27-28; Matthew 8:18-34

 

Alistair Begg – The Redeemer’s Never-Ceasing Intercession

Alistair Begg

I have prayed for you.

Luke 22:32

 

How encouraging is the thought of the Redeemer’s never-ceasing intercession for us. When we pray, He pleads for us; and when we are not praying, He is advocating our cause, and by His supplications shielding us from unseen dangers. Notice the word of comfort addressed to Peter–“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but” 1–what? “But go and pray for yourself”?

That would be good advice, but it is not so written. Neither does He say, “But I will keep you watchful, and so you shall be preserved.” That would be a great blessing. No, it is, “But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail.” 2

We little know what we owe to our Savior’s prayers. When we reach the hilltops of heaven and look back upon all the way whereby the Lord our God has led us, how we shall praise Him who, before the eternal throne, undid the mischief that Satan was doing upon earth.

How we shall thank Him because He never held His peace but day and night pointed to the wounds upon His hands and carried our names upon His breastplate! Even before Satan had begun to tempt, Jesus had forestalled him and entered a plea in heaven. Mercy outruns malice. Consider, He does not say, “Satan hath desired to have you.” He checks Satan even in his very desire and nips it in the bud. He does not say, “But I have desired to pray for you.” No, but “I have prayed for you–I have done it already; I have gone to court and entered a counterplea even before an accusation is made.” O Jesus, what a comfort it is that You have pleaded our cause against our unseen enemies; You have unmasked their ambushes. Here is a matter for joy, gratitude, hope, and confidence.

1 Luke 22:31

2 Luke 22:32

 

 

Charles Spurgeon – The war of truth

CharlesSpurgeon

“And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand.” Exodus 17:9

Suggested Further Reading: 2 Timothy 2:1-7

There are many things that should make you valiant for God and for his truth. The first thing I will bring to your remembrance is the fact, that this warfare in which you are engaged is an hereditary warfare; it is not one which you began, but it is one which has been handed to you from the moment when the blood of Abel cried aloud for vengeance. Each martyr that has died has passed the blood-red flag to the next, and he in his turn has passed it on to another. Every confessor who has been nailed to the stake to burn, has lit his candle, and handed it to another, and said, “Take care of that!” And now here is the old “sword of the Lord and of Gideon.” Remember what hands have handled the hilt; remember what arms have wielded it; remember how often it has “pierced to the dividing asunder of the joints and marrow.” Will you disgrace it? There is the great banner: it has waved in many a breeze; long ere the flag of this our land was made, this flag of Christ was borne aloft. Will you stain it? Will you not hand it to your children, still unsullied, and say, “Go on, go on; we leave you the heritage of war; go on, and conquer. What your fathers did, do you again, still keep up the war, till time shall end.” I love my Bible because it is a Bible baptized with blood; I love it all the better, because it has the blood of Tyndale on it; I love it, because it has on it the blood of John Bradford, and Rowland Taylor, and Hooper; I love it, because it is stained with blood.

For meditation: The Christian faith does not change with the course of time; we are still to contend for the truth (Jude 3). The church today has no right to insult the memory of the martyrs by making friends with unbiblical teaching which they bravely opposed with their lives.

Sermon no. 112

11 January (1857)

 

Joyce Meyer – Nevertheless

Joyce meyer

Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever. —Isaiah 9:1 NLT

I once read a book that was based entirely on the word nevertheless. It taught the reader to take every problem in his or her life, look at it honestly, and then say, “nevertheless,” and find some offsetting positive thing in the individual’s life that brought the problem into perspective.

It might sound something like this: “I have a lot of hard work to get accomplished in the next two weeks; nevertheless, after that my schedule is much more open, and I will be able to have some fun and get some extra rest.” All mothers get weary from time to time and might say, “My kids are driving me crazy; nevertheless, I’m so blessed to have these children in my life, and I know there are families who can’t have children at all.” A father who has to work two jobs to make ends meet might say, “I am so tired of working all the time; nevertheless, I am thankful that God has provided me with jobs.”

No matter who we are or what our challenge in life is, there is always a “nevertheless”—some positive thing we can look at or talk about that brings the rest of life into perspective. Why don’t you try it? The next time you are tempted to complain about your life in any way, go ahead and state your complaint, and then say, “nevertheless,” and find something positive about your life to offset the complaint.

Trust in Him: No matter what you are going through in life, you can trust God to be with you. Think about your current situation and find your “nevertheless.” Say it out loud to encourage yourself by finding the positive in every situation.

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Love Without Limit

dr_bright

“I have given them the glory You gave Me – the glorious unity of being one, as We are – I in them and You in Me, all being perfected into one – so that the world will know You sent Me and will understand that You love them as much as You love Me” (John 17:22,23).

One day, as I was reading this prayer of Jesus to God the Father, I leaped from my chair in excitement when I realized that God loves me as much as He loves His only begotten Son!

What is more, He loves us unconditionally. That means He loves us not because we are good, or worthy of His love, but simply because of who He is.

Of course, the miracle of it all is that when Jesus, who is the incarnation of God’s love, comes to live within us, that same supernatural love becomes operative within us, enabling us to love others supernaturally as well.

Agape (sacrificial, supernatural and unconditional love) is best described in the well-known and oft-quoted 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians:

“Love is very patient and kind, never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud, never haughty or selfish or rude. Love does not demand its own way. It is not irritable or touchy. It does not hold grudges and will hardly even notice when others do it wrong. It is never glad about injustice, but rejoices whenever truth wins out. If you love someone you will be loyal to him no matter what the cost. You will always believe in him, always expect the best of him, and always stand your ground in defending him.”

Bible Reading: John 17:15-21

Today’s Action Point: When things go wrong today – or any day – I will choose to remember that God loves me just as much as He loves His only begotten Son! And I will tell everyone who will listen about God’s supernatural love for them.

Greg Laurie – Strength in Troubled Times

greglaurie

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. —Matthew 24:35

Where will you turn in a time of crisis? When tragedy hits? When disaster strikes? Will it be your favorite magazine? The morning newspaper? The evening news? You will need something to give you strength and direction in your time of need — and you can’t find a better resource than the Word of God.

As one pastor said, “One gem from that ocean is worth all the pebbles of earthly streams.” Just a single pebble from the ocean of God’s Word can make all the difference when tragedy or hardship strikes. How many in their affliction have found comfort from the Scriptures?

Trusting in what God has said through the Bible can sustain us and give us direction and hope and comfort when we most need it. Inspirational platitudes or clever sayings don’t help — or at least, not for very long — but the Word of God does. It has been said that “he who rejects the Bible has nothing to live by. Neither does he have anything to die by.”

Ideas and philosophies go in and out of style with the passing of years, but the Word of God never goes out of style. It never goes out of date, unlike this morning’s news. The Word of God always will be relevant.

That is why C. S. Lewis said, “All that is not eternal is eternally out of date.”

I urge you to get a good foundation in this Book because it is only a matter of time until hardship strikes you. It happens in every life, without exception. But if you have a good foundation in the Word of God, then you will be ready for difficulty when it comes. Don’t wait until then to try and catch up.

Get that foundation now.

Charles Stanley – The God Who Rescues

Charles Stanley

Hebrews 10:1-14

In ancient Israel, the priests were continually offering sacrifices to atone for the people’s sins. Specifically, the high priest annually entered the most sacred room in the temple to prepare a sacrifice that would absolve the entire nation of sin for that year. This room, which is known as the Holy of Holies, was where God’s Spirit dwelled in those days.

Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection changed the process. He became the High Priest, and the sacrifice was His own life—an offering powerful enough to pay the sin debt of all mankind. Through Jesus’ one offering, He made holy any person who trusts in Him as Savior. He does not have to die every year. And unlike the Jewish priests who could enter God’s presence only once annually, Jesus sat down at the Father’s right hand, to remain in His holy presence forever. There, Christ continues His work as High Priest by interceding on behalf of believers when Satan accuses them.

God recognized that in our humanity, we would remain weak—even after being born again (John 3:3; 2 Cor. 12:9). So His rescue plan extends beyond pardoning our sins. He also sends His Holy Spirit to indwell every Christian. That means the Helper is always present to guide us in making wise, righteous decisions.

The Father’s redemption plan meets all of mankind’s needs. Jesus Christ offered a perfect sacrifice to cover our every sin, and now He continues to intercede on our behalf. At the same time, the indwelling Holy Spirit molds us into holy creatures while helping us to avoid temptation.

 

 

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – What Is New?

Ravi Z

The world is full of beginnings and endings. We begin a new year with a certain hope—another year, another chance, a new day. But we carry with us the same fears, the same longings, the same resolutions. A more cynical riposte thus might be: Is there ever really anything new about a new year?

When the past or present seems so broken that its shards seem to reach well into the future, new days are often filled more with fear than with promise. I remember a time myself when I could see the end of a difficult situation, but I could not see a beginning unmarred by the residue of the past. ”Is there really such a thing as new day?” was the question I held disconsolately. A friend gave me the following words and asked me to hold them instead:

“But this I call to mind,

and therefore I have hope:

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases,

his mercies never come to an end;

they are new every morning;

great is your faithfulness.

‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul,

‘therefore I will hope in him.’”(1)

Spoken in a time of exile, I imagine these words were as pungent for the people they were spoken to as they were for me. The ancient writer held fast to the assurance of things new, even in the midst of a situation that blinded him from any vision of what that could possibly mean. In all of the suffering and sorrow surrounding him, it would not have been unreasonable for him to admit that he saw no way out. With all the damage that had been done, with the uncertainty of exile, and the finality of a destroyed Jerusalem, no one would have blamed him for seeing new mornings as nothing but a cynical promise of more of the same.

But this was not the lament on this writer’s lips. Written in the style of an ancient funeral song, the writer’s words, though consumed with death, call to this God by name: The steadfast love of Yahweh never ceases, his mercies never come to an end. Another translation reads, Because of Yahweh’s great love we are not consumed; his mercies are new every morning. What the writer was able to see in the midst of his own lamentation is that only an all-powerful God can truly make a beginning. New mornings, new years, in and of themselves, are useless and worse than useless if they are not seen as belonging to the one who makes all things new.

And often, it is in the midst of a definitive ending that this particular God brings new beginnings to life. In a poem called “Ash Wednesday,” T.S. Eliot describes redemption as a figure moving about ashes and endings.

The new years walk, restoring

Through a bright cloud of tears, the years, restoring

With a new verse the ancient rhyme. Redeem

The time. Redeem

The unread vision in the higher dream.

Perhaps there is something restorative about a new years walk, something hopeful in unread visions and new days, precisely because there is a coming new day that this God has promised. Perhaps the hope promised in new mornings, the assurance of new mercies and new beginnings, is only a hint of the promise of a certain redemption, a new earth.  In this higher dream, God is the dreamer, redeeming worlds, redeeming time; God’s redemption is the great love that prevents us from being consumed.

It is no coincidence that the last words of the Christian story are aimed at describing the beginning of something more than we see now. Depicting the vision of “a new heaven and a new earth,” John reports a voice crying out: “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them as their God; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.”

This day is new because it is a day made by the God of visions and beginnings, the God who came to live among mortals, the God who offers himself as a new portion every morning. Behold him come, for this is the Christian hope of newness.

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

(1) Lamentations 3:21-24.

Alistair Begg – I Shall See God

Alistair Begg

In my flesh I shall see God.

Job 19:26

 

Consider the subject of Job’s devout anticipation: “I shall see God.” He does not say, “I shall see the saints”–though doubtless that will be untold happiness–but “I shall see God.” It is not “I shall see the pearly gates, I shall behold the walls of jasper, I shall gaze upon the crowns of gold,” but “I shall see God.”

This is the sum and substance of heaven; this is the joyful hope of all believers. It is their delight to see Him now in the ordinances by faith. They love to behold Him in communion and in prayer; but there in heaven they shall have an open and unclouded vision, and thus seeing “him as he is,”1 shall be made completely like Him.

Likeness to God–what more can we wish for? And a sight of God–what can we desire better? Some read the passage, “Yet I shall see God in my flesh” and find here an allusion to Christ as the Word made flesh, and that glorious beholding of Him that shall be the splendor of the latter days.

Whether so or not, it is certain that Christ shall be the object of our eternal vision; nor shall we ever want any joy beyond that of seeing Him. Do not think that this will be a narrow sphere for the mind to dwell in. It is but one source of delight, but that source is infinite. All His attributes shall be subjects for contemplation, and as He is infinite under each aspect, there is no fear of exhaustion. His works, His gifts, His love to us, and His glory in all His purposes and in all His actions, these shall make a theme that will be ever new.

The patriarch looked forward to this sight of God as a personal enjoyment. “Whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another.”2 Take realizing views of heaven’s bliss; think what it will be to you. “Your eyes will behold the king in his beauty.”3 All earthly brightness fades and darkens as we gaze upon it, but here is a brightness that can never dim, a glory that can never fade–“I shall see God.”

1 1 John 3:2

2Job 19:27

3Isaiah 33:17

Charles Spurgeon – Paul’s sermon before Felix

CharlesSpurgeon

“And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.” Acts 24:25

Suggested Further Reading: Acts 17:30-18:1

Felix, unhappy Felix! why is it that thou dost rise from thy judgment-seat? Is it that thou hast much business to do? Stop, Felix; let Paul speak to thee a minute longer. Thou hast business; but hast thou no business for thy soul? Stop, unhappy man! Art thou about again to be extortionate, again to make thy personal riches greater? Oh! stop: canst thou not spare another minute for thy poor soul? It is to live for ever: hast thou nought laid up for it—no hope in heaven, no blood of Christ, no pardon of sin, no sanctifying Spirit, no imputed righteousness? Ah! man, there will be a time when the business that seems so important to thee will prove to have been but a day-dream, a poor substitute for the solid realities thou hast forgotten. Dost thou reply, “Nay, the king has sent me an urgent commission; I must attend to Caesar.” Ah! Felix, but thou has a greater monarch than Caesar, there is one who is Emperor of heaven and Lord of earth: canst thou spare no time to attend to his commands? Before his presence Caesar is but a worm. Man! wilt thou obey the one, and wilt thou despise the other? Ah! no; I know what thou durst not say. Felix, thou art turning aside again to indulge in thy lascivious pleasures. Go, and Drusilla with thee! But stop! Darest thou do that, with that last word ringing in thy ears, “Judgment to come?” What! Wilt thou repeat that wanton dalliance that hath damned thee already, and wilt thou go again to stain thy hands in lust, and doubly damn thy spirit, after warnings heard and felt? O man! I could weep o’er thee.

For meditation: When you hear the Word of God preached, do you get impatient for the sermon to finish and forget about it as soon as you can? That can be a very dangerous habit. We need to act upon it there and then—receive, remember, repent (Revelation 3:3; Luke 8:18).

Sermon no. 171

10 January (1858)

John MacArthur – Living to the Glory of God

John MacArthur

God chose us “to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in [His beloved Son]” (Eph. 1:6).

Englishman Henry Martyn served as a missionary in India and Persia in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Upon his arrival in Calcutta, he cried out “Let me burn out for God.” As he watched the people prostrating themselves before their pagan idols and heard blasphemy uttered against Christ, he wrote, “This excited more horror in me than I can well express. . . . I could not endure existence if Jesus was not glorified; it would be hell to me, if He were to be always thus dishonored” (John Stott, Our Guilty Silence [InterVarsity, 1967], pp. 21-22).

Martyn had a passion for God’s glory–and he was in good company. Angels glorify God (Luke 2:14), as do the heavens (Ps. 19:1) and even animals (Isa. 43:20). But as a believer, you glorify God in a unique way because you are a testimony to His redeeming grace.

You were created for the purpose of glorifying God–even in the most mundane activities of life, such as eating and drinking (1 Cor. 10:31). You are to flee immorality so you can glorify God in your body (1 Cor. 6:19- 20). You are to walk worthy of your calling “that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified” (2 Thess. 1:12).

Glorifying God is an enormous privilege and an awesome responsibility. When others see His character on display in your life, it reminds them of His power, goodness, and grace. But when they don’t, it dishonors God and calls His character into question.

Aim your life at God’s glory and make it the standard by which you evaluate everything you do.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Thank the Lord for the privilege of glorifying Him.

Ask Him to show you any areas of your life that do not honor Him.

Find a trusted Christian friend who will pray with you and hold you accountable for the areas you know need to change.

For Further Study:

Read Exodus 33:12-34:8

What did Moses request?

What was God’s response and what does it teach us about His glory?

 

Joyce Meyer – Determine Your Priorities

Joyce meyer

You shall have no other gods before or besides Me. —Exodus 20:3

The best way to determine if God is first in your life is to slow down and ask yourself some simple questions: What do I think about the most? What do I pray and talk about the most? What do I do with my time?

You see, we always make time for what we really want to do— no matter how busy we are. If you want to spend time with God, then you are going to make Him a priority.

Ask the Holy Spirit to show you where your priorities are out of line. Then allow His conviction to motivate you to seek a deeper relationship with God. It is God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, Who will give you the ability to adjust your lifestyle and bring it in line with the Word (see 1 Thessalonians 5:23 NLT). If you truly want Him to, He will enable you to put God first in your thoughts, conversations, and actions.

You may need to make some changes in your schedule, but they will be ones that will produce good results.

Power Thought: God is number one in my life.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Nothing You Cannot Do

dr_bright

“I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13, KJV).

What would you give for the power to live a truly holy, fruitful life? Strangely enough, it is yours for the asking. If your problem is timidity in witnessing, God promises to help you share your faith with others: “For the Holy Spirit, God’s gift, does not want you to be afraid of people, but to be wise and strong, and to love them and enjoy being with them” (2 Timothy 1:7).

If it is victory over temptation, He reminds us that temptation is not a sin; it is only in the yielding that it becomes sin.

If you need victory in your thought-life, He promises to allow no tempting or testing above that you are able to bear – and that certainly includes your thought-life (1 Corinthians 10:13). You are invited to “cast all your anxiety upon the Lord, because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

If it is forgiveness you seek, He offers it freely. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9, KJV).

In short, you have no burden, no problem, no need that is too big for our Lord to handle. “Ye receive not, because ye ask not,” He reminds us.

If your need is for physical healing, know that He is able to heal you if it is His will. If His answer to your prayer is no, thank Him for the sure knowledge that His grace is sufficient in the midst of pain and suffering. Acknowledge His sovereign right to be God in your life, whatever the cost may be. “Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust Him to help you do it and He will” (Psalm 37:5).

Bible Reading: Philippians 4:6-12

Today’s Action Point: I will begin this day – and every day – by committing everything I do to the Lord and expecting Him to help me. I will remember that I can do everything God asks me to do with the help of Christ, who gives me the strength and power (Philippians 4:13).

 

Presidential Prayer Team; J.K. – Courageous Changes

ppt_seal01

The human body truly is a magnificent creation. Consider the stomach – a muscular, hollow organ that stores, mixes and digests the food you eat, and protects you from infectious organisms. There’s also the heart what pumps oxygen-rich blood into every living cell in the body. It beats approximately 80,000 to 100,000 times a day, pumping almost 2,000 gallons of blood, for a lifetime.

What comes out of a person is what defiles him.

Mark 7:20

But these amazing physical characteristics can be overshadowed by the heart’s moral qualities, for it can pump out evil thoughts and words at an alarming rate. That is what defiles you, corrupting your life. The opposite, a right relationship with the Lord, is a matter of inward affection and attitude resulting in true worship of and obedience to Creator God. Exalting Scripture and holding its principles as truth will strengthen your faith…giving you confidence and direction to do God’s will.

The New Year can be a time of great opportunity for self-examination in order to make courageous changes. Take time to do that. Then intercede for this country’s people, and for your president and other leaders, that they would do the same and apply it to governing the nation.

Recommended Reading: I Thessalonians 3:11-4:7, 11-12

 

Greg Laurie – From His Perspective

greglaurie

Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” —Matthew 19:26

I heard the story of an elderly minister who liked to visit people in hospitals. He often would take along a little, embroidered bookmark that he carried in his Bible. On the back of the bookmark was a group of tangled threads with no apparent pattern. He would hand this bookmark, with the back facing up, to those who were hurting or upset and say, “Look at that and tell me what it says.” As they looked at all the tangled threads, they would say, “I have no idea what it says. It doesn’t seem to say anything.”

Then he said, “Now, turn it over.” As they would flip that bookmark over, they saw the words “God is love.” The minister would say, “Many times as we look at what God is doing, we just see tangled threads with no rhyme or reason. But from God’s perspective, He is dealing with us in love, and He knows what He is doing.”

The next time you think it’s all over for you, just remember how things turned out for Joseph in the book of Genesis. Just remember how things turned out for Daniel — no doubt things looked pretty grim when he was in the den of lions. It looked hopeless as well for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego when they were thrown into the fiery furnace. Things looked pretty hopeless for Peter when he was in prison, awaiting execution. And things certainly looked bleak for Martha and Mary when their brother died.

You see, things can look bad at one moment, but then God will step in and turn events around. Then as time goes on, you will look back and say, “Now I understand what God was doing.”

 

 

Max Lucado – Stubborn Peace

Max Lucado

Who do you know with a stubborn peace? Their problems aren’t any different, but there’s a serenity that softens the corners of their lips.

A priest visited just such a man in the hospital.  The man was nearing death. The priest noticed an empty chair beside the bed and wondered if someone else had been there. The old man smiled, “I place Jesus on that chair, and I talk to him.” The priest was puzzled so the man explained. “Years ago a friend told me prayer is as simple as talking to a good friend.  So every day I pull up a chair and Jesus and I have a good talk.”

When his daughter informed the priest her father had died, she explained, “When I got to his room, I found him dead.  Strangely, his head was resting, not on the pillow, but on an empty chair beside his bed.”  The picture of stubborn peace!

From The Applause of Heaven

Our Daily Bread — As Below, So Above

Our Daily Bread

Luke 24:44-53

You are witnesses of these things. . . . but tarry in the city . . . until you are endued with power from on high. —Luke 24:48-49

The Roman paganism of Jesus’ day taught that the actions of gods in the heavens above affected the earth below. If Zeus got angry, thunderbolts shot out. “As above, so below,” went the ancient formula.

Jesus, though, sometimes inverted that. He taught: As below, so above. A believer prays, and heaven responds. A sinner repents, and the angels rejoice. A mission succeeds, and God is glorified. A believer rebels, and the Holy Spirit is grieved.

I believe these things, yet somehow I keep forgetting them. I forget that my prayers matter to God. I forget that the choices I make today bring delight or grief to the Lord of the universe. I forget that I am helping my neighbors to their eternal destinations.

The good-news message of God’s love that Jesus brought to this earth we can now bring to others. That was the challenge He gave His disciples before ascending to His Father (see Matt. 28:18-20). We who follow Jesus serve as an extension of His incarnation and ministry. It is why He came to earth. Before He left, He told His disciples that He would send His Spirit from above to them below (Luke 24:48). He did not leave us alone. He fills us with His power that we might touch lives here below to affect eternity. —Philip Yancey

Thank You, O my Father,

For giving us Your Son,

And leaving Your Spirit

Till the work on earth is done. —Green

You ascended before our eyes, and we turned back grieving, only to find You in our hearts. —Augustine

Bible in a year: Genesis 23-24; Matthew 7

 

John MacArthur – Living out Your Royal Heritage

John MacArthur

“In love [God] predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will” (Eph. 1:4-5).

Moses told Israel that God didn’t choose them because of their great numbers or any inherent goodness on their part, but as an expression of God’s sovereign will and sacrificial love (Deut. 7:7-8). That’s true of you as well if you’re a Christian.

The Greek word translated “love” in Ephesians 1:4 speaks not of emotional or sentimental love but of love that seeks God’s best for others at any cost. It is marked by sacrifice rather than selfishness–giving rather than receiving. It seeks to forgive rather than condemn–to dismiss offenses rather than count them.

Such love is epitomized in God Himself, who loved you so much that He sacrificed His Son on your behalf, who willingly laid down His own life for you (John 3:16; 15:13).

While false gods are worshiped out of fear and ignorance, the true God–your Heavenly Father–has eliminated all fear so that you can confidently enter into His presence (Heb. 10:19; 1 John 4:18). You have received a spirit of adoption and can address Him as “Abba! Father!” (Rom. 8:15), the Aramaic equivalent of Daddy or Papa.

Your Heavenly Father delights in your praise and glories in your obedience. Be a faithful child. Make this day count for Him. Live out your royal heritage. Seek His wisdom in all you do. Go to His Word and follow its counsel. Demonstrate His love to others in practical ways.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Thank God for granting you the privilege of being a member of His family.

Thank Him for the many manifestations of His love that you enjoy each day.

Ask Him to lead you to someone to whom you can demonstrate His love in a practical and sacrificial way.

For Further Study:

Read 1 Corinthians 13

List the characteristics of godly love.

How does the quality of your love for others compare to God’s standard? What steps can you take today to bring your love into greater conformity to His?

 

Joyce Meyer – You’re Invited

Joyce meyer

The next day Jesus desired and decided to go into Galilee; and He found Philip and said to him, Join Me as My attendant and follow Me. — John 1:43

When Jesus invited people to become His disciples and follow Him, I think He was basically asking them if they wanted to join His party. I realize that He was talking about His group, but I think traveling with Jesus was probably a lot of fun as well as a lot of hard work. Repeatedly throughout the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) we see that Jesus invited people to leave their lifestyles and side with His party; He is still issuing that invitation today.

Living for God, serving Him and others can be so much fun if we approach it with the mind of Christ. It comes down to our attitude. My favorite image of Jesus is one I have seen of Him laughing. Jesus’ mission could not have been any more serious and yet I am positive that He laughed with His disciples, made jokes about their goofy ways, enjoyed food, rested and somehow managed to turn the mission into something that was enjoyable. When we receive Jesus Christ as our Savior and decide we want to be a Christian and live a Christian lifestyle, we are not going to a solemn assembly or a funeral; we are joining His party.

Jesus can even make dying to self, which means being delivered from selfish, self-centered living, an interesting journey if we look at it properly. I speak a lot on spiritual maturity, dying to selfishness, taking up our cross and living holy lives, and I am continually amazed at how much people laugh while I do it. Somehow the Holy Spirit brings the teaching out of me in a way that makes people laugh while they are being corrected. God is amazing! People tell me all the time how funny I am and yet I speak a very straightforward, hard-hitting message that is quite serious. I have joined Jesus’ party.

Love Yourself Today: What about you? Have you joined Jesus’ party? Are you enjoying your life and having a good time as you follow Him? You’re invited!