Tag Archives: current-events

John MacArthur – Blessing the God of Blessings

John MacArthur

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us” (Eph. 1:3).

Paul’s brief doxology identifies God the Father as the ultimate recipient and source of blessing–the One to whom blessing is ascribed and the One who bestows blessings on those who love Him.

“Blessed” translates the Greek word euloge[ma]o, from which we get eulogy. To bless or eulogize God is to praise Him for His mighty works and holy character.

That should be the response of your heart just as it has been the response of believers throughout the ages. The psalmist said “Blessed be God, who has not turned away my prayer” (Ps. 66:20); and “blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who alone works wonders” (Ps. 72:18). Peter said, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Pet. 1:3).

When the situation is reversed and God blesses us, it isn’t with praise, for apart from Him there is nothing praiseworthy about us. Instead, He gives us undeserved benefits through His many deeds of kindness. Scripture identifies Him as the source of every good thing (James 1:17), who works all things together for our good and His glory (Rom. 8:28).

That is but a sampling of the many blessings He lavishes on us in His Son, Christ Jesus. It’s a marvelous cycle: God blesses us with deeds of kindness; we bless Him with words of praise.

Beware of the sin of thanklessness. Recognize God’s blessings in your life and let them fill your heart and lips

Suggestions for Prayer:

Identify ten specific blessings that God has granted to you in recent days and praise Him for each one.

Ask Him to make you more aware of and thankful for His goodness in your life.

Always be ready to seek forgiveness when you take His blessings for granted.

For Further Study:

Read Psalm 103

What blessings does David mention?

How do they apply to your life?

Joyce Meyer – Keep in Touch with God

Joyce meyer

Blessed (happy, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable) is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly [following their advice, their plans and purposes] . . . But his delight and desire are in the law of the Lord, and on His law (the precepts, the instructions, the teachings of God) he habitually meditates (ponders and studies) by day and by night.—Psalm 1:1–2

Keep in touch with God today; stay tuned to His voice. You may have a plan for the day, but God may lead you in a totally different direction if you are sensitive to the Holy Ghost. Be brave enough to flow with what you feel in your heart God wants you to do.

Today is going to be a good day. Listen for the voice of God to lead you. Be determined to walk in the Spirit and stay in the flow of God’s leading today.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Abundant Life for the Asking

dr_bright

“The thief’s purpose is to steal, kill and destroy. My purpose is to give life in all its fullness” (John 10:10).

For me, the Christian life is an exciting, joy-filled adventure. It has been that way through more than 30 years of walking with the Lord. If you are not already experiencing such a life, it can be the same for you today, tomorrow and the rest of your days, no matter what the circumstances.

Jesus promised the full and abundant life for all those who walk in faith and obedience. His “exceeding great and precious promises” include every kind of provision for you – spiritual, emotional, material.

You start by getting to know God – who He is, what He is like and the benefits we enjoy when we belong to Him. Your view of God influences all the rest of your relationships. Scripture says the righteous shall live by faith. Faith must focus on an object, and the object in which we have our faith is God and His inspired Word.

But how do we acquire that kind of faith? “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ” (Romans 10:17, NAS). It is as simple as that. You are building up your storehouse of faith every time you read the Word of God, every time you hear the Word of God and every time you memorize the Word of God.

Our view of God determines the quality and degree of our faith. A small view of God results in a small faith. Great faith is the result of a correct biblical view of God – recognizing Him as great, mighty, all-wise and worthy of our trust.

Our view of God as sovereign, holy, loving, righteous, just and compassionate produces these same qualities in our lives. If we view Him as a God of love and forgiveness, we are prompted to love and forgive others also.

Bible Reading: John 7:36-39

Today’s Action Point: Through the enabling of the Holy Spirit, I determine to begin practicing the presence of God in my life – every moment of the day. I will begin by meditating on His attributes through storing portions of His Word in my heart and mind. As a result, by faith I expect to experience and share with my family friends the full and abundant life which Jesus promised to all who are His.

 

Presidential Prayer Team; J.K. – The World’s Priests

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Today’s verse says you “ought always to pray.” The word for “ought” appears no less than 100 times in the New Testament. To the Greeks, it meant a forced compulsion defined by the situation. But Jesus’ explanation revealed that the directive has a much greater implication.

He told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.

Luke 18:1

It is God’s will that you pray…it is a loving, creative, purposeful will. Its intentions for you promise only hope and a bright future. It is in prayer and in the study of His Word that you are privileged to know Him and His will more.

Charles Spurgeon believed that the Lord’s people are the world’s priests. As such, you can be an intercessor for the needs of those in your midst…the weak who fall into sin or who despair in difficult circumstances, the strong who may grow presumptuous, the sick and the poor. In a world full of idols, wickedness, and people deprived of salvation, the opportunity to pray is constant

Make knowing the Lord your priority in 2014. Study His Word. Intercede for President Obama and the nation’s leaders…that they may know God’s will and do it. Diligently pray and do not lose heart.

Recommended Reading: Psalm 116:1-6, 12-14 

 

Charles Stanley – Discovering Life’s Purpose

Charles Stanley

Ephesians 2:8-10

Those who know and follow God’s direction will experience spiritual peace, joy, and contentment. To discover our life’s purpose, the first step—which makes all the other steps possible—is to receive Jesus Christ as our personal Savior. In other words, we must be saved.

Our part in salvation is to acknowledge we are sinners—to admit to God that we’ve lived in rebellion against Him because we wanted our own way (Rom. 3:23). Professing our belief that Jesus’ death on the cross fully paid our sin debt, we ask God’s forgiveness.

Recognizing Jesus as personal Savior and Lord, we commit our life to Him (Rom. 10:9; Gal. 2:20; 1 John 1:9). Since He is now in charge, our orders and direction will come from Him. Having become part of God’s family, we have His Spirit to help us discover and carry out our Father’s plan.

God’s purpose for His children includes sanctification, stewardship, and service. Sanctification describes continual growth in holiness. The Holy Spirit, with our cooperation, will transform our character to be more like the Lord’s. Stewardship means managing—according to God’s priorities—the time, talents, and treasure He has given us. And service for the kingdom is to mark our life, as it marked the life of Jesus (Matt. 20:28). We serve our Father by obediently ministering to others.

As we each seek the Lord’s specific plan for us, we can be confident that it will include character transformation, investment of our resources for His kingdom, and ministry to others.

 

Our Daily Bread — No Appetite

Our Daily Bread

Nehemiah 8:1-12

As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby. —1 Peter 2:2

When I was battling a bad cold recently, I lost my appetite. I could go through an entire day without eating much food. Water would suffice. But I knew I couldn’t survive long on water alone. I needed to regain my appetite because my body needed nourishment.

When the people of Israel came back from exile in Babylon, their spiritual appetite was weak. They had departed from God and His ways. To get the people back to spiritual health, Nehemiah organized a Bible seminar, and Ezra was the teacher.

Ezra read from the book of the law of Moses from morning until midday, feeding the people with the truth of God (Neh. 8:3). And the people listened attentively. In fact, their appetite for God’s Word was so stirred that the family leaders and the priests and Levites met with Ezra the following day to study the law in greater detail because they wanted to understand it (v.13).

When we feel estranged from God or spiritually weak, we can find spiritual nourishment from God’s Word. “As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2). Ask God to give you a renewed desire for relationship with Him, and begin feeding your heart, soul, and mind with His Word. —Poh Fang Chia

Break Thou the Bread of life, dear Lord, to me,

As Thou didst break the loaves beside the sea;

Beyond the sacred page I seek Thee, Lord,

My spirit pants for Thee, O living Word. —Lathbury

Feeding on God’s Word keeps us strong and healthy in the Lord.

Bible in a year: Genesis 4-6; Matthew 2

 

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Salvation Through Silence

Ravi Z

Before coming to the narrative of Christ’s birth, there is a dramatic conversation which takes place between a priest called Zechariah and the angel Gabriel. One day Zechariah was serving in the temple when the angel Gabriel appeared to him.(1) Zechariah was very afraid but Gabriel spoke to him saying, ‘Do not be afraid. Your prayer has been heard.’ Gabriel continued to tell Zechariah that he and his wife would have a son and they were to name him John. Ultimately, John would be the one to prepare people for the Lord Jesus.

Instead of rejoicing over the news brought to him from Gabriel, Zechariah objects, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” Gabriel responds by explaining to Zechariah precisely to whom he is speaking and also cites the authority on which he bears this news:

“I am Gabriel and I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.”

One only needs to read the first chapter of Luke’s Gospel to find out that this promise from the Lord was fulfilled. Elizabeth and Zechariah have a baby boy and they name him John. It is only after the naming of John that Zechariah is able to speak again.

 

There are many aspects of this story that are remarkable. First is the context in which the story takes place: the people of Israel, of whom Zechariah and Elizabeth were a part, have not heard from God for a period of roughly 400 years! When Gabriel appears to Zechariah, it is highly likely that this is the first time Zechariah has heard from God in such a way.

To make theological matters even more complicated for Zechariah, Gabriel’s second statement, after telling him to not be afraid, is ‘Your prayer has been heard.’ There is deep irony in this statement primarily because of the theological background leading up to this conversation. For all of Zechariah’s life, he had never heard God’s voice like this. The very act of God speaking to him would seem preposterous. Therefore, it is understandable why Zechariah questions Gabriel. Zechariah and his people have prayed to God, many for their entire lives, and they have never heard anything. How could Zechariah be sure this was truly a message from the Lord? This encounter undoubtedly marked a watershed moment, not only for Zechariah, but for God’s people and the entire world. God would speak now and man would be silent.

God’s silence is often a challenge to belief. One point I glean from the early part of this story is that God’s silence does not necessarily imply that God is inactive. In Israel’s case, God had been silent for years, yet in this angelic encounter, nearly the first words of instruction from the Lord are, ‘Your prayer has been heard.’ For those of us who are immersed in the urgency of the digital world, we would do well to heed the implicit lesson of patience found in this story. God had been silent for a long time, but God was listening. There are times in our lives in which we do not hear God’s voice. Gabriel’s words tell us that although we might not hear God speaking, God is still listening.

After Zechariah objects to the seemingly audacious promise given from the Lord, Gabriel points out that it is not on his own authority that he speaks, but God’s. Implicit in Gabriel’s statement is the reality that God is bringing help to Israel, not because of what Zechariah or Elizabeth have done, but rather because of who God is. Historically speaking, God was the one who helped, rescued, and saved Israel countless times. The people of Israel knew this history well and they also knew why God had reached down and helped them. This much was clear in the mind of Israel:  God’s salvation came only because of God’s character. God’s saving power came, not because of humanity’s effort, but because of God’s nature to save.

Gabriel then tells Zechariah that he will be silent. This is what strikes me most about the story: Gabriel appears to Zechariah in a time during which the people of Israel had not heard from God in years. The Lord speaks to Zechariah and tells him that God will act and fulfill his promise, but while He does so, Zechariah will be silent.

Generally I have viewed the silence of Zechariah as a punishment for not believing in God, and I think that this is true. But I also see this act of silence pointing to something deeper than one man receiving a punishment from God for not believing in Him, and here’s why: The people of Israel knew that God had helped them, they knew why God had helped them and they also had learnt how God had worked in history. Over time they had realized that God’s grace and salvation would be worked out through quietness and trust. Israel’s strength lay not in activity and being busy, but in silence. This was how God worked.

Zechariah’s silence is a symbol of God’s salvation. John’s life was spent concentrated on preparing people for Christ, the means by which people could be saved. But before John came, the Lord visited his father through Gabriel, telling Zechariah that He had heard his prayer, and was going to rescue his people not in a flurry of human activity, but in a way in which people could only watch him work and hear him speak. Perhaps one of the vital lessons we can learn from the Christmas story is to prioritize silence before God. At the very least, being quiet will remind us of a greater time, one of the greatest in history, when God spoke and humankind was there only to watch and listen.

Nathan Betts is a member of the speaking team at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Toronto, Canada.

(1) See Luke 1.

John MacArthur – Experiencing God’s Peace

John MacArthur

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

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

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

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

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

Suggestions for Prayer:

Thank God that you have peace with Him through faith in Jesus Christ.

Ask the Spirit to reveal any sin that might be hindering God’s peace from ruling in your heart. Be prepared to respond in confession and repentance.

Ask for opportunities to demonstrate God’s peace to others today.

For Further Study:

Read Philippians 4:6-7

What is God’s antidote for anxiety?

How does God’s peace affect a believer’s heart and mind?

Joyce Meyer – Talk About the Good Stuff

Joyce meyer

But I tell you, on the day of judgment men will have to give account for every idle (inoperative, nonworking) word they speak.—Matthew 12:36

It seems to me that we talk about how we feel more than practically anything else. We feel good or bad, happy or sad, excited or discouraged, and a thousand other things. The inventory of the various ways we feel is almost endless. Feelings are ever-changing, usually without notification.

These feelings don’t need our permission to fluctuate; they merely seem to do as they please for no specific reason we can identify. We have all experienced going to bed feeling just fine physically and emotionally, only to wake up the next morning feeling tired and irritable. “Why? Why do I feel this way?” we ask ourselves, and then we usually begin to tell anyone who will listen how we feel. It is interesting to note that we tend to talk a lot more about our negative feelings than we do our positive ones.

If I wake up feeling energetic and excited about the day, I rarely announce it to everyone I come in contact with; however, if I feel tired and discouraged, I want to tell everyone. It has taken me years to learn that talking about how I feel increases the intensity of those feelings.

So it seems to me that we should keep quiet about the negative feelings and talk about the positive ones.

You can always tell God how you feel and ask for His help and strength, but talking about negative feelings just to be talking does no good at all. If negative feelings persist, asking for prayer or seeking advice based on biblical truth is a good thing, but once again I want to stress that talking just to be talking is useless.

If we have to wait to see how we feel before we know if we can enjoy the day, then we are giving feelings control over us. But if we are willing to make right choices regardless of how we feel, God will always be faithful to give us the strength to do so.

Trust in Him: How are you feeling? If your feelings are positive, tell someone. If they are negative, tell God, and trust Him to work things out. Regardless of how you feel, choose to enjoy your day!

 

 

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – You Can Know the Spirit’s Fullness

dr_bright

“Be filled…with the Holy Spirit and controlled by Him” (Ephesians 5:18).

An enthusiastic, attractive couple traveled from their home in Chicago to Arrowhead Springs to share with me an idea about which they were very excited.

“We heard one of your filmed lectures on ‘How to Be Filled With the Holy Spirit.’ Our lives have been dramatically changed as a result of what you shared,” they said. “We have come all this way to encourage you to go on nationwide television and tell Christians how they can know the fullness and power of the Holy Spirit and experience His revolutionary impact in and through their lives.”

I am humbly grateful to God for the privilege of sharing these great truths concerning the Holy Spirit with tens of millions of people throughout the world, often with the same dramatic results experienced by this remarkable couple.

The disciples were with Jesus for more than three years. They heard Him teach as no man had ever taught. They saw Him perform miracles such as no man had ever performed – raising the dead, restoring sight to the blind and cleansing lepers. Though they were exposed to the most godly life ever lived on earth, during Jesus’ time of crisis, Judas betrayed Him, Peter denied Him and all the others deserted Him.

Jesus knew His disciples were fruitless, quarreling, ambitious, self-centered men, so – on the eve of His crucifixion – He told them, “It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I go, I will send Him to you…He will guide you into all the truth…He shall glorify Me; for He shall take of Mine, and shall disclose it to you” (John 16:7,13,14 NAS).

Bible Reading: Galatians 5:5, 16-18, 22, 23, 25

Today’s Action Point: Today I will receive by faith the power of the Holy Spirit in order to live a supernatural life and be a supernatural witness. I will continue to study the scriptural reference and various books concerning the Holy Spirit, so that I will better understand His role in my life.

 

Presidential Prayer Team; J.R. – Witness Preparation

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If you are called to a courtroom as a witness, all you have to do is tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, right? Actually, there’s more to it than that. Good lawyers know to properly prepare their witnesses for trial because, even when speaking sincerely, witnesses can be discredited by opposing counsel. So before entering the courtroom, witnesses are usually educated about the legal process, informed about questions they might be asked, and often engaged in practice sessions.

Prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.

I Peter 3:15

How do you defend your faith to those who want to know the reason for your hope? “You ask me how I know He lives,” say the words of a great old hymn, “He lives within my heart.” That’s true, but your testimony must go deeper than that. You must be prepared.

Why not make the commitment today to become a great “defender of the faith” in 2014? Start by setting a goal of reading through the Bible this year. And as you pray for your nation’s leaders, ask God to help them understand that the reason for America’s hope is found in His Holy Word.

Recommended Reading: Psalm 119:1-12

 

Greg Laurie – Sent to Minister

greglaurie

Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation? —Hebrews 1:14

Do each of us have a guardian angel? I can’t say for sure, but I do know this: Angels are involved in the lives of Christians here on earth. The Bible says, “The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them” (Psalm 34:7). We also read that angels are “ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation” (Hebrews 1:14). So the Bible teaches that we have angels around us as Christians.

Jesus also made an interesting statement when He was speaking about children: “Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 18:10). So perhaps children have guardian angels. I do think children need guardian angels. You have to always keep your eye on them — especially when they’re young. But whatever the case, angels are involved in our lives.

When you had that close call, it may have been an angel who intervened. Or when something stopped you suddenly, keeping you out of harm’s way, maybe it was an angel. But we are to properly give glory to God for His protection because we aren’t supposed to pray to angels or even thank angels. They are there to do the work of God, like God’s secret agents, and we are to give the glory to God for what happens.

But what about when the accident does take place? What about when the plane does go down? Where was the angel then? I’ll tell you where the angel was: escorting the believer into God’s presence.

When things happen, when life ends suddenly, it doesn’t seem logical to us. But God is still in control. And the angels did their job, guiding us, protecting us, and finally taking us to glory.

 

Charles Stanley – God’s Plan for Our Life

Charles Stanley

1 Peter 2:9-12

As we search to discover God’s plan for our lives, we should consider three things:

1. Glorifying God. We are commanded to let our light shine before men so we will bear spiritual fruit that glorifies the Lord. As our life increasingly follows the pattern of the Savior’s, our thoughts and responses will bring Jesus praise and point other people to Him.

2. Conforming to Christ’s likeness. In considering any decision, we should ask ourselves, Will this help me become more like Jesus or tempt me in my weaker areas and cause me to turn away from Him? If we submit our minds and emotions to the Lord, His Spirit will build Jesus’ character qualities into our life. As we rely on the Holy Spirit, He will help us make wise decisions and guide us safely past temptation.

3. Following the Lord’s will. When deciding how to proceed, it’s wise to ask, Is this in line with God’s known will? Throughout the Scriptures, the heavenly Father has revealed what pleases Him. His commands are clear regarding the way born-again believers should live. Our home, business, and community life are to function according to His will.

Wherever you are, don’t let yourself be pressured into actions or decisions that would be displeasing to God. Train yourself to stop and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal whether each choice will bring God glory, help to develop Christ’s character in you, and keep you in the center of God’s plan and purpose. Wait on Him, and do not step ahead until you have an answer.

 

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Happy New Year

Ravi Z

Is happiness really attainable? It is a question many have sought to answer—debated in philosophy halls, whispered about at slumber parties, promised in innumerable marketing campaigns—and particularly at the turn of a new year. Our countless approaches to pursuing happiness are as diverse as our many definitions of the word. But what if the attainability of happiness is intimately connected to our answer to another question? Namely, what is the source of your greatest enjoyment in life? In other words, could there be a connection between your worldview and your capacity to experience happiness?

In a significant study, Armand Nicholi, professor of clinical psychiatry at Harvard University, compared the life and work of Sigmund Freud to that of C.S. Lewis.(1) Each cultural giant was recognized for the remarkable accuracy with which he observed human emotion and experience. And yet, each man defined and experienced happiness in strikingly different manners, through radically different worldviews.

Freud’s experience and understanding of happiness emerged as fundamental to his materialist understanding of the world. He observed happiness to be “a problem of satisfying a person’s instinctual wishes.”(2) Consequently, the possibility of attaining happiness was met with pessimism.  Freud recognized that the human appetite is never fully satisfied. His observation is not without merit. Happiness, defined in such terms, is problematic, if at the same time, the goal is to achieve a lasting happiness. Money may be able to achieve one instinctual wish, and yet instinctual wishes ebb and flow with perpetually changing appetites. The average U.S. citizen’s buying power has doubled during the last four decades, yet studies report that the average American is not any happier, but in fact, less happy than reported in studies conducted forty years earlier. Sadly, Freud’s life itself reflected his definition of happiness. His letters were increasingly filled with pessimism and depression, even mentioning drug use as the only effective mood-lifter he could find.

What makes C.S. Lewis a fascinating point of comparison is that like Freud, he too, was intensely pessimistic about the possibilities of happiness early in life. And yet as emphasized by many biographers and close friends, his life was profoundly transformed in his early thirties, following a dramatic shift in worldview. Through a worldview far different than one of materialism, Lewis reasoned, “What does not satisfy when we find it, must not be the thing we were desiring.”(3) Happiness, for Lewis, could not ultimately be met in the material. As he found himself approaching a worldview shaped by something beyond the material, Lewis first thought he was coming to a place, an idea, and found instead that he came to a Person, one within the material world and also beyond and behind it. In fact, it was the surprise of finding a person that first redefined the notion of happiness for him—happiness from within this source of joy that marked his life even during times of pain and loss.

In this new year of potential promise, ultimate sources of happiness may be as worth considering as each possible option or hopeful resolution. The psalmist writes of a creator as a source within and beyond the material, “You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” There may well be a connection between our capacity for happiness and our understanding of life. In the Christian view, Christ stands in flesh and blood calling you nearer that your joy may be transformed by a present and enduring love.

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

(1) Armand Nicholi, The Question of God, (The Free Press:  New York, 2002).

(2) Ibid., 100.

(3) C.S. Lewis, Pilgrim’s Regress, (Eerdmans: Grand Rapids, 1992), 123.

 

Alistair Begg – Exult and Rejoice

Alistair Begg

We will exult and rejoice in you.

Song of Songs 1:4

We will be glad and rejoice in You. We will not open the gates of the year to the sorrowful notes of the organ, but to the sweet strains of the harp of joy and the high-sounding cymbals of gladness. “O come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.”1

We, the called and faithful and chosen, will drive away our griefs and set up our banners of confidence in the name of God. Let others lament over their troubles; we with joy will magnify the Lord. Eternal Spirit, our effectual Comforter, we who are the temples in which You dwell will never cease from adoring and blessing the name of Jesus.

Jesus must have the crown of our heart’s delight; we will not dishonor our Bridegroom by mourning in His presence. We are ordained to be the minstrels of the skies; let us rehearse our everlasting anthem before we sing it in the halls of the New Jerusalem. We will exult and rejoice: two words with one sense, double joy, blessedness upon blessedness.

Need there be any limit to our rejoicing in the Lord even now? Do not men of grace find their Lord to be the sweetest of incense even now, and what better fragrance have they in heaven itself? We will be glad and rejoice in You. That last word is the meat in the dish, the kernel of the nut, the soul of the text.

What heavens are laid up in Jesus! What rivers of infinite bliss have their source, aye, and every drop of their fullness in Him! Since, O sweet Lord Jesus, You are the present portion of Your people, favor us this year with such a sense of Your preciousness that from its first to its last day we may be glad and rejoice in You. Let January open with joy in the Lord, and December close with gladness in Jesus.

1Psalm 95:1

 

 

John MacArthur – The Measure of True Success

John MacArthur

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

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

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

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

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

Suggestions for Prayer:

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

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

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

For Further Study:

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

•             What is the goal of your salvation?

•             Are you living each day in light of that goal?

 

Joyce Meyer – Mind, Mouth, Moods, and Attitudes

Joyce meyer

Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

—LUKE 10:19 KJV

This is typically how your mind, mouth, moods, and attitudes are connected: When you have a negative circumstance, you have a negative thought. Then you say a negative thing about the circumstance, and then your mood begins to sink. Next you get a bad attitude, and you end up with more negative circumstances than you started with.

But you can break this cycle in your life. Did you know that? Luke 10:19 says we have power to “tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy” (KJV). To tread means “to walk all over, to take steps, to take action, to resist.” You have the power to do these things. When you have a problem, nothing negative will fix it. Keep your mind, mouth, moods, and attitudes positive, and watch God work miracles on your behalf.

Power Thought: In Christ, I have power over negative thinking.

 

Presidential Prayer Team; P.G. – A New Year of Hope

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According to the World Association of Publishers, more than half of the Earth’s adult population read the newspaper. The facts are hard to dismiss: newspapers are pervasive, and their influence is great. They are weavers of the fabric of society. Sadly, what they report seldom lends hope or feelings of security to the reader.

The hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth.

Colossians 1:5

For 2014, how about starting each day not with the newspaper, but with the Word of God? In those pages you’ll find the pathway to hope for the future, and confirmation that you’re on it. As you read, you’ll place yourself in an environment to grow into the person you want to be. What better resolution for the New Year than to spend more time with your Creator and the lover of your soul?

As you place yourself in the center of God’s Word and His will for your life, His reflected love will permeate and influence the lives of those around you, brightening the future. Won’t you also intercede daily for the nation’s leaders to find more time in the Bible for themselves? It is the only true hope for a weary America.

Recommended Reading: I John 3:16-24

Max Lucado – The Truth About Life

Max Lucado

Hair transplants, surgery, color in a bottle. All to hide what everyone already knows—we’re getting older.

If you ever want to stall a conversation at a party just say, “How’re you feeling about your approaching death?” It won’t put much life into the conversation.

I have a friend who has cancer.  He’s in remission. A nurse unaware of his condition was asking a question for his medical record.  “Are you presently ill?”  “Well yes, I have cancer,” he said.  She looked at him and asked, “Are you terminal?” He responded, “Yes, aren’t we all?”

You’d think we weren’t, the way the subject is kept hush-hush. Jesus does His best work at such moments. Just when the truth about life sinks in, His truth starts to surface.

The next time you find yourself facing the undeniables of life, whisper His name. He is nearer than you think!

From God Came Near

Charles Stanley – What God Wants You to Know

Charles Stanley

Romans 8:14-17

The Lord “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4). In other words, God would like all of humanity to accept Christ as Savior. Today we will explore certain truths that the Father longs for His children to know.

• Salvation. It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict us of our sinfulness and bring us to the knowledge that Jesus Christ died for our sin. When we receive the Lord as our personal Savior, we are reconciled to God and accorded full fellowship with Him. This happens the moment salvation occurs. Our sin debt is paid in full so we are free from guilt. Also, we are sealed by the Holy Spirit for eternity and set apart for God’s service.

• Identity. What is our identity in the Lord? Believers are children of God. The Bible calls us “joint heirs with Christ”—in other words, we share in the wealth of the Lord Jesus. Also, we have been transformed from sinners into saints. We may not always act saintly, but a true saint is someone who has been saved and set apart for the purposes of God.

• Position. Jesus Christ is always present to guide and provide for the believer. Through Him, we have instantaneous access to God the Father.

• Mission. Our primary mission in life is to demonstrate Christ to the world. Believers should live in such a way that others see the life of Jesus within us. And because we understand the wonder of our salvation, our identity in Christ, and our position to the Father, we share about the Savior with other people. God wants everyone to know the truth.