Tag Archives: daily devotion

John MacArthur – Being Filled with Mercy

 

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” (Matt. 5:7).

Like the other beatitudes, Matthew 5:7 contains a twofold message: to enter the kingdom you must seek mercy. Once there, you must show mercy to others.

The thought of showing mercy probably surprised Christ’s audience because both the Jews and the Romans tended to be merciless. The Romans exalted justice, courage, discipline, and power. To them mercy was a sign of weakness. For example, if a Roman father wanted his newborn child to live, he simply held his thumb up; if he wanted it to die, he held his thumb down.

Jesus repeatedly rebuked the Jewish religious leaders for their egotistical, self-righteous, and condemning attitudes. They were intolerant of anyone who failed to live by their traditions. They even withheld financial support from their own needy parents (Matt. 15:3-9).

Like the people of Jesus’ time, many people today also lack mercy. Some are outright cruel and unkind, but most are so consumed with their quest for self-gratification that they simply neglect others.

Christians, on the other hand, should be characterized by mercy. In fact, James used mercy to illustrate true faith: “What use is it, my brethren, if a man says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,’ and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself” (James 2:14- 17). He also said mercy is characteristic of godly wisdom: “The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy” (3:17).

As one who has received mercy from God, let mercy be the hallmark of your life.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Thank God for His great mercy.

Ask Him to give you opportunities to show mercy to others today.

For Further Study:

Read Luke 10:25-37.

Who questioned Jesus and what was his motive?

What characteristics of mercy were demonstrated by the Samaritan traveler?

What challenge did Jesus give His hearer? Are you willing to meet that challenge?

Joyce Meyer – Be Prepared

 

Strength and dignity are her clothing and her position is strong and secure; she rejoices over the future [the latter day or time to come, knowing that she and her family are in readiness for it]!  —Proverbs 31:25

This woman’s strength and dignity are her clothing, and her position is strong and secure. This certainly must have increased her confidence. She isn’t afraid of losing her position or something bad happening. She boldly faces the future because she knows she and her family are prepared for it.

Proverbs 27:23 tells us: “Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, and look well to your herds.” Lack of preparation is one of the major causes for low confidence. Being prepared requires working ahead of time instead of putting things off until the last minute. Matthew 25 tells us of the five wise virgins who took extra oil with them as they waited for the bridegroom to come, but the five foolish virgins didn’t do anything to prepare. When the bridegroom was delayed, the foolish lost their opportunity to meet the bridegroom.

This same scenario happens to many people in life. They procrastinate until it is too late to take advantage of an opportunity that could have been a tremendous blessing to them. Knowing you are prepared for whatever comes will increase your confidence in an amazing way.

Lord, help me to be diligent and prepared for the opportunities You will bring my way. I want to walk in the confidence that I am always ready to go. Amen.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Inner Strengthening

 

“That out of His glorious, unlimited resources He will give you the mighty inner strengthening of His Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 3:16).

In Christ are all the attributes and characteristics promised to His children as the fruit of the Spirit. And the Holy Spirit was given to glorify Christ.

Do you need love?

The Lord Jesus Christ is the incarnation of love. Paul prays that our roots may “go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love; and may you be able to feel and understand, as all God’s children should, how long, how wide, how deep and how high His love really is; and to experience this love for yourselves (though it is so great that you will never see the end of it, or fully know or understand it”) (Ephesians 3:17-19).

Do you need peace?

Christ is the “Prince of Peace.” “I am leaving you with a gift,” said Jesus, “peace of mind and heart! And the peace I give isn’t fragile like the peace the world gives” (John 14:27).

Do you need joy?

Christ is joy.

Do you need patience?

Christ is patience.

Do you need wisdom?

Christ is wisdom.

Are you in need of material possessions so that you can better serve Christ?

They are available in Him, for God owns “the cattle on a thousand hills,” and He promised to supply all our needs (Philippians 4:19).

All that we need is to be found in Christ and nowhere else. The supernatural life is Christ, for in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.

Bible Reading: Ephesians 3:17-21

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  Knowing that God’s unlimited resources make possible the mighty inner strengthening in my life, I shall focus my attention upon Him through reading His inspired Word and obeying His commands.

 

Presidential Prayer Team; C.H. – More Than Shoes

 

When Francisco came to know Christ, he left home to study. From a farming family, Francisco was very poor. When asked to share his testimony, he looked down at the toes poking through his shoes and prayed, “Lord, how could I preach in these shoes?” Not wanting to dishonor God, he prayed all night for shoes. Before the week’s end, Francisco had not one…but three pairs of shoes!

Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think. Ephesians 3:20

God is more than shoes. He is capable of meeting your every need. Today’s verse reminds you He can do more than you can imagine. In Acts 3, a lame beggar asks Peter and John for money as they enter the temple. Peter told him, “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” (Acts 3:6) The beggar asked for money, but received a miracle.

The Lord can do more than you can conceive, too. In what areas do you need Him to do abundantly more? Ask God to open your eyes to how He is capable of anything. Then pray for God to do move abundantly and beyond your expectations in the lives of the president and his cabinet members.

Recommended Reading: Acts 3:1-10

Greg Laurie – The Leaning Tower of You

 

Workers laid the foundation for one of Italy’s most famous structures in 1173, a tower designed to stand next to a cathedral. During construction, however, they discovered the soil was softer than previously thought, and the tower began to sink.

Today, the top of that tower is nearly thirteen feet off center. People come from around the world to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and scientists travel to Pisa yearly to measure its slow descent. They calculate that, at its current rate of decline and without taking any countermeasures, it will one day collapse.

Nothing is more important in construction work than making sure you have the foundation right. If you don’t get that correct, then nothing else will matter. It may be more fun to decide what color to paint the rooms and how you will decorate the finished structure, but without a proper foundation, nothing else you do will last long enough to make any difference.

Smart and successful Christians build their lives on the right foundation. Scripture makes it clear that the only foundation possible for a sound spiritual life is Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:11). And where do you learn about Jesus? In the Word of God. The Word is Truth and it will never lead you astray. If you are building your life on the right foundation, which is Jesus Christ, then you’re also regularly getting into the Word. Only that foundation will stand the test of time.

Don’t become The Leaning Tower of You.

Build your life on the foundation of Jesus Christ, as you learn of Him in Scripture, and stand straight and tall as the years pass.

Charles Stanley – Triumph through Failure

 

John 21:1-19

We’ve all made tracks through the valley of failure. What matters is how we respond: do we give up and live a defeated life, or do we believe God can restore us?

The story of Peter’s failure and sub-sequent restoration gives us tremendous encouragement. Jesus knew that Peter would fall short, but He had specifically prayed for the disciple’s faith not to fail. The Lord also told him ahead of time that failure would not be the end of the story—Peter would stand up again and strengthen the others.

Notice an important distinction: Peter failed; he wasn’t a failure. The Enemy wants us to view how we fall short as part of our identity rather than something that has resulted from our actions. But the truth is that we belong to God, and our shortcomings can actually prepare us to be used more greatly by Him. In His hand, such times in our lives are tools to push our walk forward in great leaps. In order for the Lord to mold Peter into the leader of strength and humility he’d soon become, the disciple’s heart needed to undergo purification by being broken.

When we build walls around our heart to deny God access, we are resisting much-needed brokenness and healing. If we want to see the Lord use us, we must allow Him to get rid of the “chaff” that prevents us from reaching our maximum potential.

Amazingly, failure can be the catalyst that moves us to a whole new vision of what God is doing in our lives. He can utilize our missteps to bring into focus His plans and purposes for our life. The result will be glory to Him and blessing to us.

 

Our Daily Bread — Honor System

 

Luke 16:1-10

He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. —Luke 16:10

Many homes near ours offer produce and perennials for sale by the road. Sometimes we’ll drive up to an unattended stand that operates on the “honor system.” As we make our selection, we put our money into a cash box or an old coffee can. Then we go home to enjoy the freshly picked fruits and vegetables.

But the honor system doesn’t always work. My friend Jackie has a flower stand in front of her house. One day, as she glanced out her window she saw a well-dressed woman with a big hat loading pots of perennials into the trunk of her car. Jackie smiled as she mentally calculated a $50 profit from her labors in the garden. But when she checked the cash box later, it was empty! The honor system revealed that this woman was not honorable.

Perhaps to her, taking the flowers seemed like a small thing. But being honest in little things indicates how we will respond in the big things (Luke 16:10). Honesty in all areas of our lives is one way we can bring honor to Jesus Christ, our Savior.

The best “honor system” for a follower of Christ is Colossians 3:17, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” —Cindy Kasper

Give of your best to the Master;

Give Him first place in your heart;

Give Him first place in your service,

Consecrate every part. —Grose

Honesty means never having to look over your shoulder.

 

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – History and What Really Happened

 

In a special documentary, a major television network investigated the beginnings of Christianity and the influence of the apostle Paul in spreading the message of Christ. The narrator noted his fascination with the historical figure, commenting that if not for the voice of Paul, it is “unlikely that the movement Jesus founded would have survived beyond the first century.” Yet of the resurrection of Christ he also noted, “Something must have happened, otherwise it’s hard to explain how the story of Jesus has endured for so long.”

It’s a question that has been asked and is still worth asking. Why has the story of Christ endured? Has it survived through the centuries because of effective speakers in antiquity? Has it endured, as Sigmund Freud argued, because it is a story that fulfills wishes, or as Friedrich Nietzsche attested, because it masks and medicates our disgust of life? Has the story of Christ endured because something really happened after Jesus’s body was taken down from the Cross or was it only the clever marketing of ardent followers?

We live in an age where religion is often examined with the goal of finding a religion, or a combination of religions, that best suits our lives and lifestyles. We are intrigued by characters in history like Jesus and Paul, Buddha and Gandhi. We look at their lives and rightly determine their influence in history—the radical life and message of Christ, the fervor with which Paul spread the story of Christianity, the passion of Buddha, the social awareness of Gandhi. But far too often, our fascination stops there, comfortably and confidently keeping the events of history at a distance or mingling them all together as one and the same.

C.S. Lewis writes of “the great cataract of nonsense” that blinds us to knowledge of earlier times and keeps us content with history in pieces. He speaks of the common tendency to treat the voices of history with a certain level of incredulity and inferiority. Elsewhere, he refers to this as chronological snobbery, a tendency to concern oneself primarily with present sources while dissecting history as we please. Yet to do so, warns Lewis, is to walk unaware of the cataracts through which we see the world today. Far better is the mind that thoroughly considers the past, he reasons, allowing its lessons to interact with the army of voices that battle for our allegiance. For a person who has lived thoroughly in many eras is far less likely to be deceived by the errors of his own age.

We must be wary, then, among other things, of assuming the earliest followers of Christ thought resurrection a reasonable phenomenon or miracles a natural occurrence. Investigating the life of Paul, it seems important to ask why a once fearful persecutor of Christ’s followers was willing to die for the story he carried around the world, testifying to the very event that split history. Investigating the enduring story of Christ, we might ask why the once timid and frightened disciples were abruptly transformed into bold witnesses. What happened that led countless Jews and many others to dramatically change directions in life and in lifestyle? That something incredible happened is not a difficult conclusion at which to arrive. It takes far greater faith to conclude otherwise.

A friend of mine is fond of saying that truth is something you can hang your hat on. Even as we struggle to see it today, her words communicate a reality Jesus’s disciples knew well. Truth is dependable and enduring; it is solid and it is real, present and needed and useful. The disciples and the apostle Paul were transformed by seeing Christ alive—a phenomenon that would be just as unthinkable to ancient minds as it would be for us today. In fact, even the most hesitant among them, and the most unlikely of followers, found the resurrected Christ an irrefutable reality. Comfort was irrelevant; personal preference was not a consideration. They could not deny who stood in front of them. Jesus was alive. And they went to their deaths proclaiming it.

It seems the story of Christ may have endured for innumerable reasons: because in the fullness of time God indeed sent his Son; because knowingly Jesus walked to the Cross and into the hands of those who knew not what they did; because something really happened after his body was laid in the tomb; and because with great power and God’s grace, the apostles continued to testify of the events that surprised them. Moreover, the story of Christ remains today because it is something we can hang our hats on. Through centuries of lives that have withered like grass, those who believe in Christ have stood on that which is enduring:  “And you will see the son of man sitting at the right hand of the mighty one and coming on the clouds of heaven.:

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

(1) Mark 14:62.

Alistair Begg – A Heavy Heart

 

My heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast. Psalm 22:14

Our blessed Lord experienced a terrible sinking and melting of soul. “A man’s spirit will endure sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?” Deep spiritual depression is the most devastating of all trials; nothing compares to it. No wonder the suffering Savior cries to His God, “Do not be far off,” for more than at any other time a man needs his God when his heart is melted within him because of heaviness.

Believer, come to the cross this morning, and humbly worship the King of glory as one who has been brought far lower, in mental distress and inward anguish, than anyone among us; and consider Him a faithful High Priest who is able to sympathize with our weakness. Especially let those of us whose sadness springs directly from the withdrawal of a present sense of our Father’s love enter into near and intimate communion with Jesus. Let us not give in to despair; our Master has already walked this dark road.

Our souls may sometimes long and faint, and thirst even to the point of anguish, to see the light of the Lord’s face; at such times let us calm ourselves by focusing on the sympathy of our great High Priest. Our drops of sorrow may be forgotten in the ocean of His griefs; how high ought our love to rise! O strong and deep love of Jesus, come in like a flood, cover all my powers, drown all my sins, wash away all my cares, lift up my earthbound soul, and bring me up to my Lord’s feet.

Let me lie, a poor broken shell, washed up by His love, having no virtue or value; but knowing that if He will bend His ear to me, He will hear within my heart faint echoes of the vast waves of His own love that have brought me to where I am happy to stay, even at His feet forever.

Charles Spurgeon – Spiritual resurrection

 

“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.” Ephesians 2:1

Suggested Further Reading: Colossians 2:9-14

Does it not seem a strange thing, that you, who have walked to this place this morning, shall be carried to your graves; that the eyes with which you now behold me shall soon be glazed in everlasting darkness; that the tongues, which just now moved in song, shall soon be silent lumps of clay; and that your strong and stalwart frame, now standing in this place, will soon be unable to move a muscle, and become a loathsome thing, the brother of the worm and the sister of corruption? You can scarcely get hold of the idea; death does such awful work with us, it is such a vandal with this mortal fabric, it so rends to pieces this fair thing that God has built up, that we can scarcely bear to contemplate his works of ruin. Now, endeavour, as well as you can, to get the idea of a dead corpse, and when you have done so, please to understand, that this is the metaphor employed in my text, to set forth the condition of your soul by nature. Just as the body is dead, incapable, unable, unfeeling, and soon about to become corrupt and putrid, so are we if we be unquickened by divine grace; dead in trespasses and sins, having within us death, which is capable of developing itself in worse and worse stages of sin and wickedness, until all of us here, left by God’s grace, should become loathsome beings; loathsome through sin and wickedness, even as the corpse through natural decay. Understand, that the doctrine of the Holy Scripture is, that man by nature, since the fall, is dead; he is a corrupt and ruined thing; in a spiritual sense, utterly and entirely dead. And if any of us shall come to spiritual life, it must be by the quickening of God’s Spirit, given to us sovereignly through the good will of God the Father, not for any merits of our own, but entirely of his own abounding and infinite grace.

For meditation: Have you passed from death to life by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (John 5:24)? Better to be a nobody alive in Christ than a king dead in trespasses and sins (Ecclesiastes 9:4).

Sermon no. 127

12 April (Easter 1857)

John MacArthur – Evaluating Your Righteousness

 

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Matt. 5:6).

Righteousness means “to be right with God.” When you hunger and thirst for righteousness, you passionately desire an ongoing and ever-maturing relationship with God Himself.

Righteousness begins with salvation and continues in sanctification. Only after you abandon all self- righteousness and hunger for salvation, will you be cleansed from sin and made righteous in Christ. Then you embark on a lifelong process of becoming as righteous as Christ–a process that will culminate when you are in His presence fully glorified (Rom. 8:29-30; 1 John 3:2). There’s always need for improvement in this life (Phil. 3:12-14), but satisfaction comes in communing with Christ and growing in His grace.

You can know if you’re hungering and thirsting for righteousness by asking yourself some simple questions. First, are you dissatisfied with your sin? Self- satisfaction is impossible if you are aware of your sin and grieve when you fall short of God’s holy standard.

Second, do external things satisfy your longings? A hungry man isn’t satisfied until he eats. A thirsty man isn’t satisfied until he drinks. When you hunger and thirst after righteousness, only God’s righteousness can satisfy you.

Third, do you have an appetite for God’s Word? Hungry people don’t need to be told to eat. It’s instinctive! Spiritual hunger will drive you to feed on the Word to learn what God says about increasing in righteousness.

Fourth, are you content amid difficulties? A hungry soul is content despite the pain it goes through because it sees every trial as a means by which God is teaching greater righteousness. If you react with anger or resentment when things go wrong, you’re seeking superficial happiness.

Finally, are your hunger and thirst unconditional? The rich young ruler in Matthew 19 knew there was a void in his life but was unwilling to give up his possessions. His hunger was conditional.

Christ will fully satisfy every longing of your heart, yet you will also constantly desire more of His righteousness. That’s the blessed paradox of hungering and thirsting after righteousness.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Read Psalm 112 as a hymn of praise to God.

For Further Study:

Read the following verses, noting how God satisfies those who trust in Him: Psalm 34:10, Psalm 107:9, Isaiah 55:1-3, John 4:14, and John 6:35.

Joyce Meyer – Humility Before God

 

Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted. —Luke 18:14

In Luke 18:10–11, we read about two men who went up to the temple to pray. One was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. Jesus said, “The Pharisee took his stand ostentatiously and began to pray thus before and with himself: God, I thank You that I am not like the rest of men—extortioners (robbers), swindlers [unrighteous in heart and life], adulterers—or even like this tax collector here.” Then he went on to list all of his good works.

What I like about this passage is that the Bible does not say the Pharisee was praying to God. It says he went into the temple to pray, but he prayed “thus before and with himself.” Here we read about a man who appeared to be praying, and yet the Bible says he was not even talking to God; he was talking to himself! I think sometimes we also pray to impress people, maybe even to impress ourselves. Let’s be honest: we can be impressed with our own eloquence. When we are talking to God and trying to hear from Him in agreement with someone else or with a group of people, we have to be very careful that we are not preaching to the other people and that we are not simply trying to sound superspiritual, but that we are really sharing our hearts with God. Agreement is incredibly powerful, but it has to be pure, and it has to come from a place of humility.

God’s word for you today: God sees all the good works you have done in secret and He will reward you.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Without Me – Nothing

 

“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing” (John 15:4,5, KJV).

As a young man in college and later in business, I used to be very self-sufficient – proud of what I could do on my own. I believed that a man could do just about anything he wanted to do through his own effort, if he were willing to pay the price of hard word and sacrifice, and I experienced some considerable degree of success.

Then, when I became a Christian, the Bible introduced me to a whole new and different philosophy of life – a life of trusting God for His promises. It took me a while to see the fallacy and inadequacy of trying to serve God in my own strength and ability, but that new life of faith in God finally replaced my old life of self-sufficiency.

Now, I realize how totally incapable I am of living the Christian life, how really weak I am in my own strength, and yet how strong I am in Christ. God does not waste our ability and training. We do not lay aside our God-given gifts and talents. We give them back to Him in service, and He multiplies them for His glory.

As Paul says, “I can do all things through Him [Christ] who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13, NAS). In John 15, the Lord stresses the importance of drawing our strength from Him:

“Take care to live in Me, and let Me live in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit when severed from the vine. Nor can you be fruitful apart from Me. Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him shall produce a large crop of fruit. For apart from Me, you can’t do a thing” (John 15:4,5). Our strength, wisdom, love and power for the supernatural life come from the Lord alone.

Bible Reading: John 15:6-11

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  I will make it a special goal to abide in Christ so that His life-giving power for supernatural living will enable me to bear much fruit for His glory.

Presidential Prayer Team; H.R. – Worth the Wait

 

God has wonderful dreams just for you! On those days when you feel hopeless and abandoned, remember He has not forgotten you. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you…plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Hope is the expectation of the belief that something better is yet to come. Hope is one of His greatest gifts to you. Hope is the promise that He has for your today and your tomorrows.

Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. Jeremiah 33:3

Your expectations of God and His promises may fall short of His grand plans because He sees the big picture and has in store the best for you. That means He may not always provide the answer you want on your timetable, but He will respond according to His plan. God loves you more than anyone! It’s worth the wait!

Pray with hopeful expectation. Bring your requests confidently to God. Put your hope in the Lord and be prepared for Him to go beyond everything you can imagine! Then intercede for God to also renew the hope of believers in America…so they may share His promises with others.

Recommended Reading: Psalm 40:1-10

Greg Laurie – “Good” People

 

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God — Romans 3:23

Not long ago I was a guest on a morning television show. We were having a nice chat when, near the end of the program, the host dropped a bombshell. He said, “Greg, I have a question for you. You believe that most of the world is non-Christian and that because of that, they are going to burn in hell for all eternity. What kind of loving God would ever create such a scenario? Is that like a petty boss that some people have created, not understanding God?”

I had about two minutes to respond to that question. But after the show ended and the cameras stopped rolling, our conversation continued. He went on to ask me about good people and how a God of love could allow good people to face judgment.

I pointed out that we have to define what “good” is. It seems as though we have a sliding scale of good. Everyone seems to believe they are good. They are always the moral center of their universe. They immediately give themselves a free pass, but other people aren’t as good as they are. The problem is that we have conflicting views regarding what is good.

So how do we determine what good is? We all have the answer, and it is found in the Bible. God says, “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10).

This doesn’t mean there aren’t good people in a broad sense; it means there is no one good enough to get to heaven on their own merit. That is where the judgment of God comes in if we reject His offer of forgiveness.

It is not about being the nicest person or the kindest person. It is about being a forgiven person. That is who will be in heaven: forgiven people.

Max Lucado – Three Cookie Days

 

Every day, God prepares for us a plate of experiences.  Some days are “three cookie days.” Many are not!  Sometimes our plate has nothing but vegetables, twenty-four hours of celery, carrots, and squash.  Apparently God knows we need some strength, and though the portion may be hard to swallow, isn’t it for our own good?  All are important and all are from God. Romans 8:28 says, “We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him.”

The next time your plate has a portion you find hard to swallow, talk to God about it.  Jesus did. In the garden of Gethsemane His Father handed Him a cup of suffering so sour, so vile, that Jesus handed it back to heaven.

“My Father,” He prayed, “if it is possible may this cup be taken from Me.  Yet not as I will, but as You will.” (Mark 14:36).

Charles Stanley – Heaven: Our Eternal Home

 

Revelation 21:1-6

A wise person will prepare for the inevitable. And the most inevitable thing in the world is our physical passing. We weren’t designed to live forever in our earthly bodies; we are eternal beings with eternal purposes. With so sure an outcome, we would be wise to spend time on earth preparing for our eternal future.

Have you trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior? If so, then you can be confident that you will spend eternity with Him in heaven. However, a common question for believers is, “But what will we do when we get there?” Despite common portrayals of the afterlife, we will not be sitting around on clouds and playing harps. An exciting future awaits believers.

We will praise God. If you’ve ever been passionately in love with someone, you probably remember how hard it is to think about anything else. In a way, that’s how we will view God in heaven—as our ultimate source of love and companionship—only, our relationship with Him will far surpass any “feeling” of love we’ve ever experienced. Far more than simply a feeling, it will be the outgrowth of a completely perfect union with our heavenly Father.

We will shine for God. In heaven, earthly limitations will be stripped away, allowing the glory of God within every believer to shine brilliantly (Matt. 13:43).

We will reign with God. Do you understand how valuable you are to your Creator? Romans 8:16-17 tells us that we are notonly God’s children but also co-heirs with Christ. This means we will take part in all that the Father has designated for His Son.

Heaven is a reality, and in John 14:6, Jesus explained that there is just one way to get there: through Him.

Our Daily Bread — Making Up For Lost Time

 

Joel 2:21-27

I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten. —Joel 2:25

None of us can say that we have no regrets. Often we are led down paths of bad choices—some paths longer than others—which can have a lingering effect on the mind, body, and soul.

A friend of mine spent a number of years living a life of alcohol and drug abuse. But God did an amazing work in his life, and he recently celebrated 25 years of being free from substance abuse. He now runs a successful business, has a devoted wife, and his children love Jesus. He has a passion to reach out to others who are in the ditch of life, and he serves as a wise and loving mentor in the rescue operations of their lives.

God never gives up on us! Even if we’ve made poor choices in the past that have left us with regret, we can choose how we will live now. We can choose to continue destructive living, simply wallow in regret, or we can run to Christ believing that He has ways to “restore . . . the years that the swarming locust has eaten” (Joel 2:25). When we repentantly seek His healing and freeing power, He is merciful.

While some consequences from the past may remain, we can be confident that God has a good and glorious future for those who trust in Him! —Joe Stowell

Lord, it is with humble and grateful hearts that we

come to You and lay all that we have been in the past

at Your feet. Take us as we are and make something

beautiful out of our lives that brings glory to You!

God never gives up on making something beautiful out of our lives.

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Don’t All Religions Lead to God?

 

We live in a context of spiritual longing. Many people are searching for that which will satisfy an inner craving for meaning and significance. The artist Damian Hirst recently said this: “Why do I feel so important when I’m not? Nothing is important and everything is important. I do not know why I am here but I am glad that I am. I’d rather be here than not. I am going to die and I want to live forever, I can’t escape that fact, and I can’t let go of that desire.”

But this does not always translate into people finding Christ and starting to follow him. There is a dizzying array of options when it comes to religion, and the culture around us says that they are all equally valid. It seems absolutely bizarre to people that someone would say, “This one way is the truth and the only truth.”  The poet Steve Turner describes brilliantly what many think when it comes to religion: “Jesus was a good man just like Buddha, Mohammed, and ourselves. We believe he was a good teacher of morals but we believe that his good morals are really bad. We believe that all religions are basically the same, at least the one we read was. They all believe in love and goodness, they only differ on matters of creation, sin, heaven, hell, God, and salvation.”

In my experience, there are usually two motivations for dismissing the idea that Christ is the only way to God, and we need to examine them both. The first objection is that it is arrogant to say that Jesus is the only way. How could Christians possibly be so arrogant as to say that all the other religions are wrong and Jesus is the only path to God? Often the parable of the elephant is used to illustrate the sheer arrogance of Christianity. It goes something like this: “Three blind scribes are touching different parts of an elephant. The one who is holding the tail says, “This is a rope.” Another holding the elephant’s leg says, “This is not a rope; you are wrong. It is a tree.” Still another who is holding the trunk of the elephant says, “You are both wrong. It is a snake!” The moral of the story is that all religions are like these men. They each touch a different part of ultimate reality and therefore any one of them is arrogant to say they have the whole truth.

But take a step back and think about what is being said here. Do you see the breathtaking claim that is being made? Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, Moses, and Muhammad are all blind, but in fact, I can see! These leaders all had a small perspective, but I am the one who sees the full picture. Now who is being arrogant? It is just as arrogant to say that Buddha, Muhammad, and Jesus were all wrong in their exclusive claims as it is to say that Jesus is the only way. The issue is not about who is arrogant, but what is actually true and real.

The second motivation in dismissing Christ is often a question of exclusion. How can you exclude all of these religions? Jesus may have said he was the way to the Father, but how can I follow him and become an intolerant person who excludes others? Again, we need to think carefully about this view because the reality is that whatever position we hold will exclude something. Even the person who believes that all ways lead to God excludes the view that only some ways lead to God or that only one way leads to God. Every view excludes something. Again, the issue is not about who is excluding people, but what is actually true and real.

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except by me” (John 14:6). There are a number of possibilities here for why he might have said this, and exploring these possibilities is crucial. First, perhaps he was genuinely a good person but he was deluded.  He was sincere, but he was wrong; he believed that he was the Son of God, but he wasn’t. In other words, he was mentally imbalanced. Or second, perhaps Jesus knew he wasn’t God but went around telling people that he was the only way to God regardless. In other words, he was a sinister character purposely telling lies. Or finally, perhaps Jesus was who he said he was. Perhaps he made these radical statements because they were true and real. In other words, he is indeed the way to God.

Amy Orr-Ewing is  is director of programmes for the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics and UK director for Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Oxford, England.

Alistair Begg – Bruised and Broken

 

I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint.  Psalm 22:14

Did earth or heaven ever witness a sadder spectacle than this? In soul and body, our Lord felt Himself to be weak as water poured upon the ground. The placing of the cross in its socket had shaken Him with great violence, had strained all the ligaments, pained every nerve, and more or less dislocated all His bones. Burdened by His own weight, the impressive sufferer felt the strain increasing every moment of those six long hours. His sense of faintness and general weakness were overpowering, and He felt Himself to be nothing but a mass of misery and swooning sickness.

When Daniel saw the great vision, he describes his sensations in this way: “No strength was left in me. My radiant appearance was fearfully changed, and I retained no strength.”1 How much more devastating must it have been for Jesus when He saw the dreadful vision of the wrath of God and felt it in His own soul! Sensations that our Lord endured, we could not have faced, and unconsciousness would have had to come to our rescue. In His case He was wounded and felt the sword; He drained the cup and tasted every drop.

O King of Grief! (a title strange, but true,

To Thee of all kings only due)

O King of Wounds! how shall I grieve for Thee,

Who in all grief savest me!

As we kneel before our ascended Savior’s throne, let us carefully remember the way by which He prepared it as a throne of grace for us; let us in spirit drink of His cup, that we may be strengthened for our hour of heaviness whenever it may come. In His natural body every member suffered, and so must it be in the spiritual; just as out of all His griefs and woes His body emerged uninjured to glory and power, similarly His mystical body will come through the furnace with not so much as the smell of smoke upon it.