Tag Archives: daily devotion

John MacArthur – Receiving Christ’s Word

 

The twelve apostles included “Thaddaeus” (Matt. 10:3).

Lesson: Radio signals are fascinating. At any given moment every room in your house is filled with voices, music, and numerous other sounds–yet you can’t hear them unless your radio is tuned to their frequency. That’s a modern parallel to a spiritual truth Jesus taught in John 14:21, where He says, “He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me; and he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him, and will disclose Myself to him.” In effect Jesus was saying, “I reveal Myself to those who love Me–those whose spiritual receivers are tuned to My frequency. They receive My Word and obey it.”

In the biblical record Thaddaeus is a man of few words. His question in John 14:22 is the only thing he ever said that is recorded in Scripture. It was prompted by his perplexity over Jesus’ statement in verse 21 to disclose Himself only to those who love Him. Thaddaeus asked, “Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us, and not to the world?”

Thaddaeus didn’t understand Christ’s statement because it wasn’t consistent with his concept of the Messiah. Like the other disciples, he expected Jesus imminently to vanquish Roman oppression, free God’s people, and establish an earthly kingdom wherein He would sit on the throne of David, reigning as Lord and Savior. How could He do that without revealing who He was to everyone?

In verse 23 Jesus responds by reiterating that only those who love Him will be able to perceive Him, and they are the ones within whom He and the Father would dwell.

That brief conversation between the Lord and Thaddaeus addresses the very heart of Christianity. It isn’t those who say they love God who are true believers, but those who receive Christ and obey His Word. As Jesus said, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word” (v. 23).

Does obedience to the Word characterize your life? I pray it does. Remember, your obedience to Christ is the measure of your love for Him.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Thank God for His Word, by which the Spirit instructs and empowers you to live an obedient life.

For Further Study:

Read John 8:31-47.

To whom was Jesus speaking?

Why were they seeking to kill Him?

How did Jesus characterize the devil?

Joyce Meyer – Do Good Works

 

We are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us. —Ephesians 2:10

Years ago, when I first started walking more intimately with God, I used to wait for some special confirmation from Him for everything I wanted to do—until I learned that His Spirit abides in me to do good works. In the early years of walking with God, it was in my heart to give ten dollars to a woman in need.

I carried that desire in my heart for three weeks until I finally prayed, “God, is it really You telling me to give this person the money? I’ll do it if it’s really You!” Ten dollars was a lot of money back then and I did not want to part with it unless I had clear direction from God.

He spoke to me so clearly and responded, “Joyce, even if it isn’t really Me, I won’t get mad at you if you bless somebody!”

One of the fruits of the fact that God’s Spirit lives within us is goodness (see Galatians 5:22–23). Therefore, we have desires to be good to people. God told Abraham that He was going to bless him so he could be a blessing to others (see Genesis 12:2). Imagine how awesome it would be to reach the point where we simply live to make others happy as a service to God.

The world is full of people with needs. There is always someone, somewhere, who needs a word of encouragement. Someone needs a babysitter, help with transportation, or financial help. I find that when I spend time with God I feel a strong desire to help somebody and I have learned that desire is God speaking to me. God is good and when we spend time with Him we want to do good things for others.

Ask God each day to show you whom you can bless and remember that where love is, God abides (see 1 John 4:12).

God’s word for you today: Take advantage of every opportunity you have to do something good.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Wisdom Brings Peace

 

“Wisdom gives a good, long life, riches, honor, pleasure, peace” (Proverbs 3:16,17).

High up in the Andes Mountains stands a bronze statue of Christ – the base of granite, the figure fashioned from old cannons – marking the boundary between Argentina and Chile.

“Sooner shall these mountains crumble into dust,” reads the Spanish engraving, “than Argentines and Chileans break the peace sworn at the feet of Christ the Redeemer.”

Peoples of these two countries had been quarreling about their boundaries for many years, and suffering from the resultant mistrust.

In 1900, with the conflict at its highest, citizens begged King Edward VII of Great Britain to mediate the dispute. On May 28, 1903, the two governments signed a treaty ending the conflict.

During the celebration that followed, Senora de Costa, a noble lady of Argentina who had done much to bring about the peace, conceived the idea of a monument. She had the statue of Christ shaped from the cannons that had been used to strike terror into Chilean hearts.

At the dedication ceremony, the statue was presented to the world as a sign of the victory of good will. “Protect, Oh Lord, our native land,” prayed Senora de Costa. “Ever give us faith and hope. May fruitful peace be our first patrimony and good example its greatest glory.”

The monument stands today as a reminder that only Christ – the Prince of Peace – can bring real peace to the world. And that refers as much to individual peace as it does to national and international peace.

Bible Reading: Proverbs 3:18-23

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Like Solomon of old, I shall seek the wisdom that brings a good, long life, riches, honor, pleasure and the lasting peace that comes from God’s indwelling Holy Spirit.

 

Presidential Prayer Team; P.G. – Five Minutes to Midnight

 

Small notice was paid last month when Martyl Langsdorf died. In 1947, she designed the Doomsday Clock. In 1953, it stood just two ticks from midnight. By 1991, it retreated to 11:43pm. Today, the scientists who adjust the minute hand according to annual assessments of threats to humanity have set the clock at five minutes to midnight.

At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth. Philippians 2:10

News of wars, famines, earthquakes, spiritual deception, increases in wickedness point toward the imminent return of the Lord. Jesus and Paul both taught Christians to wait and be watchful, ready and sober, especially as you see the day of His return approaching. There will come a time when everyone will face God – when every knee will bow. Jesus’ absolute authority over Heaven and Earth will be acknowledged. There will be no exceptions.

Christian, are you living a watchful life, fully committed in anticipation of His return? Since you may be the only Bible someone else might read, does your witness give hope at five minutes to midnight? Pray for your own closer walk with your Savior, and intercede for your fellow citizens and your leaders that they will bow their knees…not in forced surrender, but in thanksgiving.

Recommended Reading: Philippians 2:1-11

Charles Stanley – God’s Spirit: An Essential

 

Luke 24:36-49

Just how necessary is the Holy Spirit for those wishing to live a God-pleasing life? For an answer, let’s look at a clear example from the Bible. Jesus had told the disciples to wait in Jerusalem until their baptism by His Spirit (Acts 2:1-4). This chosen group of men had lived with the Lord and listened to His teachings for more than three years; nevertheless, He knew they couldn’t begin their work without the divine partner God had planned for them. The same holds true for us today.

Just who is the Holy Spirit? He is called the third person of the Trinity, the other two members being God the Father and God the Son. Like them, He is fully God. Some Christians mistakenly think of the Spirit as a force or a power, but the Bible reveals He is a person—someone whom we can get to know.

He is also the promise of the Father. God pledged to send His Spirit as a helper to every single person in His family. Called the Spirit of truth (John 14:16-17), He is charged with transforming us into the image of Jesus.

Furthermore, the Holy Spirit is a gift to every Christian. At the moment of salvation, He is sent to live within each believer, sealing him or her as a child of God (Eph. 1:13). We do not have to pray to receive Him, nor can we perform any work to get Him.

Settle in your mind once and for all that within you is a divine Person. His presence is a gift promised and given to you by God on your spiritual “birth-day.” By getting to know the Holy Spirit better and listening carefully to what He says throughout the Scriptures, you will be able to please the Father (Col. 1:10).

Our Daily Bread — Navigating The Storm

 

Psalm 107:23-32

He commands and raises the stormy wind, . . . and He brings them out of their distresses. —Psalm 107:25,28

The ancient people of the nation of Axum (located on the Red Sea in modern Ethiopia) discovered that the stormy winds of the monsoon season could be harnessed by sail for speedy navigation. Rather than dreading the high winds and rains, they learned how to navigate their way through the storm.

Psalm 107 provides a wonderful word picture of how God allows storms to come our way, and then provides help for us to navigate through them. “He commands and raises the stormy wind, . . . and He brings them out of their distresses” (Ps. 107:25,28).

Trusting God for guidance in troubled times is a biblical theme. Hebrews 11 lists many who used their problems as an opportunity to exercise faith and to experience God’s grace, provision, and deliverance: “Who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, [and] out of weakness were made strong” (vv.33-34).

Stormy circumstances are inevitable. Although our first reaction may be to run from the problem, we can instead ask God to teach us how to trust Him to navigate us through the storm. —Dennis Fisher

When life feels like a storm-tossed sea

With crashing waves of pain and grief,

Turn to the Lord and trust in Him,

He’ll give you peace and bring relief. —Sper

Better to go through the storm with Christ than to have smooth sailing without Him.

Charles Spurgeon – The God of the aged

 

“Even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.” Isaiah 46:4

Suggested Further Reading: Psalm 71:1-18

Middle aged man! Listen to what David says, again, “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” Go on, then, unsheath your sword once more. “The battle is the Lord’s;” leave your declining years to him, and give your present years to him. Live to him now, and he will never cast you away when you are old. Do not lay up for old age and keep back from the cause of God; but rather trust God for the future. Be “diligent in business;” but take care you do not hurt your spirit, by being too diligent, by being grasping and selfish. Remember you will

“Want but little here below, Nor want that little long.”

And lastly, my dear venerable fathers in the faith, and mothers in Israel, take these words for your joy. Do not let the young people catch you indulging in melancholy, sitting in your chimney corner, grumbling and growling, but go about cheerful and happy, and they will think how blessed it is to be a Christian. If you are surly and fretful, they will think the Lord has forsaken you; but keep a smiling countenance, and they will think the promise is fulfilled. “And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.” Do, I beseech you, my venerable friends, try to be of a happy temperament and cheerful spirit, for a child will run away from a surly old man; but there is not a child in the world who does not love his grandfather if he is cheerful and happy. You can lead us to heaven if you have got heaven’s sunlight on your face.

For meditation: Elderly believers—the Bible tells us about their testimony (Psalm 92:14,15; Proverbs 16:31), their teaching (Titus 2:2,3) and their treatment (1 Timothy 5:1,2).

note: This sermon was substantially repeated at Stambourne, Essex, two days later on the commemoration of the jubilee of Spurgeon’s grandfather, Rev James Spurgeon.

Sermon nos. 81-82

25 May (1856)

John MacArthur – Living Courageously

 

The twelve apostles included “Thaddaeus” (Matt. 10:3).

Lesson: Thaddaeus was a man of many identities. In the King James translation of Matthew 10:3 he is called “Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus.” He is also called “Judas the son of James” (Luke 6:16; Acts 1:13) and “Judas (not Iscariot)” (John 14:22).

Judas, which means “Jehovah leads,” was probably the name given him at birth, with Thaddaeus and Lebbaeus added later as nicknames to reflect his character. Apparently Thaddaeus was the nickname given to him by his family. It comes from a Hebrew root word that refers to the female breast. Basically it means a “breast-child.” Perhaps Thaddaeus was the youngest child in the family or especially dear to his mother. Lebbaeus comes from a Hebrew root that means “heart.” Literally it means a “heart-child,” and speaks of someone who is courageous. That nickname was likely given him by his friends, who saw him as a man of boldness and courage.

Early church tradition tells us that Thaddaeus was tremendously gifted with the power of God to heal the sick. It is said that a certain Syrian king named Adgar was very ill and sent for Thaddaeus to come and heal him. On his way to the king, Thaddaeus reportedly healed hundreds of people throughout Syria. When he finally reached the king, he healed him then preached Christ to him. As a result, the king became a Christian. The country, however, was thrown into chaos, and a vengeful nephew of the king had Thaddaeus imprisoned then beaten to death with a club. If that tradition is true, it confirms that Thaddaeus was a man of great courage.

It takes courage to die for Christ but it also takes courage to live for Him. That’s why Paul said that God hasn’t given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline (2 Tim. 1:7). Each day trust in God’s promises and rely on His Spirit. That’s how you can face each new challenge with courage and confidence.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Thank God for the courage He has given you in the past and ask Him to help you face future spiritual battles without retreat or compromise.

For Further Study:

Read Daniel 3:1-30.

Why were Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego punished by King Nebuchadnezzar?

How did God honor their courage?

Joyce Meyer – Melted by Love

 

Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end].—1 Corinthians 13:8

The God-kind of love bears up under anything and everything that comes. It endures everything without weakening. It is determined not to give up on even the hardest case. The hard-core individual who persists in being mean can be eventually melted by love. It is hard to keep showing love to someone who never seems to appreciate it or even respond to it.

It is difficult to keep showing love to those individuals who take from us all we are willing to give but who never give anything back. But we are not responsible for how others act, only how we act. Our reward does not come from man but from God. Even when our good deeds seem to go unnoticed, God notices and promises to reward us openly for them: Your deeds of charity may be in secret; and your Father Who sees in secret will reward you openly (Matthew 6:4).

Love knows that if it refuses to quit, it will ultimately win the victory: And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint

(Galatians 6:9). Don’t fail to walk in love because love never fails!

Presidential Prayer Team; P.G. – Five Minutes to Midnight

 

Small notice was paid last month when Martyl Langsdorf died. In 1947, she designed the Doomsday Clock. In 1953, it stood just two ticks from midnight. By 1991, it retreated to 11:43pm. Today, the scientists who adjust the minute hand according to annual assessments of threats to humanity have set the clock at five minutes to midnight.

At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth.  Philippians 2:10

News of wars, famines, earthquakes, spiritual deception, increases in wickedness point toward the imminent return of the Lord. Jesus and Paul both taught Christians to wait and be watchful, ready and sober, especially as you see the day of His return approaching. There will come a time when everyone will face God – when every knee will bow. Jesus’ absolute authority over Heaven and Earth will be acknowledged. There will be no exceptions.

Christian, are you living a watchful life, fully committed in anticipation of His return? Since you may be the only Bible someone else might read, does your witness give hope at five minutes to midnight? Pray for your own closer walk with your Savior, and intercede for your fellow citizens and your leaders that they will bow their knees…not in forced surrender, but in thanksgiving.

Recommended Reading: Philippians 2:1-11 

Greg Laurie – In His Eyes

 

I was with my granddaughter Stella and she said the cutest thing. She looked deeply in my eyes, then pushed her little nose right up to mine and said, “Papa, I can see myself in your eyes!”

What Stella was saying was that she saw her reflection in my eyes. I responded, “Stella, you are always in my eyes, and in my heart too!”

Do you ever wonder how God sees you?

I think you might be surprised. We may think that God looks askance at us or with anger or disappointment—or that He may, as my friends in Hawaii like to say, be “giving you the stink eye!”

The fact of the matter is God looks at you with love.

We read in Scripture of that rich young ruler who came to Jesus. He was brash and proud and demanded to know what he needed to do to enter God’s kingdom. Before Jesus would reveal the answer, we read, “Jesus felt genuine love for this man as he looked at him” (Mark 10:21 NLT).

That is also the way He looks at you. With love. He sees you for what you can become, not just what you are.

Jesus gave to Simon the fishermen the new name of Peter. The name Peter means “Rock.” If there was anything Simon was not, at this point, it was a rock. He was legendary for his hot-headedness, impulsiveness, and willingness to speak his mind on pretty much everything. But Jesus saw that Simon would grow into that new name of Peter.

In the same way, we look at our own lives and see a lump of clay. God sees a beautiful vase.

We see a blank canvas. God sees a finished work of art.

We see coal. God sees a refined diamond.

We see problems. God sees solutions.

We see failures. God sees potential.

We see an end. God sees a new beginning.

Yes, you can see yourself in His eyes, just like Stella saw herself in mine. But to do so, you need to get really close.

“Come close to God, and God will come close to you” (James 4:8 NLT).

Charles Stanley – Selfish Christianity

 

John 6:22-27

Think honestly about this question: Which interests you more—who Jesus is or what He can do for you? I’m afraid that too many of us are more concerned about what the Lord can give us than we are about getting to know who He is.

But this is nothing new—Jesus had the same problem when He walked on earth. The crowds often sought Him out for what He could do for them. Even though their needs were quite often legitimate, Christ knew their motives.

There is a fine line between selfishly trying to use the Lord to get what we want and humbly coming to Him with our needs and struggles. Some of the issues we bring to Him are so pressing and urgent in our minds that our desire for Him to take action in the way we want becomes greater than our willingness to submit to His will. At times, what we call “faith” is really a demanding spirit.

We must remember that our earthly needs will come to an end, but Jesus Christ will remain forever. If our prayers have dealt only with presenting our requests to the Lord, then we are missing a great opportunity to get to know the One with whom we are going to spend all eternity. Let’s invest time in pursuing intimacy with the great God who created us. Then we can enjoy all the benefits of that relationship forever.

How much of your communion with God is devoted to your needs—even legitimate ones? Are you spending any time getting to know the Lord? Although God delights in our prayers and tells us to pray about everything, He also wants us to come to Him just because we enjoy being with Him.

Our Daily Bread — Heavenly Country

 

Hebrews 11:8-16

Our citizenship is in heaven. —Philippians 3:20

During high school, my closest friend and I took a pair of horses out for an afternoon ride. We slowly roamed through fields of wildflowers and wooded groves. But when we nosed the horses in the direction of the barn, they took off toward home like twin rockets. Our equine friends knew that it was time for dinner and a good brushing, and they could hardly wait.

As Christians, our true home is heaven (Phil. 3:20). Yet sometimes our desires tether us to the here and now. We enjoy God’s good gifts—marriage, children, grandchildren, travel, careers, friends. At the same time, the Bible challenges us to focus on “things above” (Col. 3:1-2). Things above may include the unseen benefits of heaven: God’s enduring presence (Rev. 22:3-5), unending rest (Heb. 4:9), and an everlasting inheritance (1 Peter 1:4).

Recently I read, “Believers desire the heavenly inheritance; and the stronger the faith is, the more fervent [the desire].” Several Old Testament believers mentioned in Hebrews 11 had strong faith in God that enabled them to embrace His promises before receiving them (v.13). One such promise was heaven. If we too put our faith in God, He will give us a desire for that “heavenly country” (v.16) and will loosen our grip on this world. —Jennifer Benson Schuldt

When we all get to heaven,

What a day of rejoicing that will be!

When we all see Jesus,

We’ll sing and shout the victory. —Hewitt

For the Christian, heaven is spelled H-O-M-E.

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Language of Remembrance

 

In Ayapan, Tabasco, a village in southern Mexico, a tragedy is on the horizon. As in any other city on any given day, two men have stopped talking to each other; they say they have drifted apart and no longer wish to speak. But unlike other cities and other feuding men, the elderly men of Ayapan are the last two remaining speakers of the local Zoque language. Without their attempts to keep the language alive, many fear the language will soon become extinct.  While the hope is that others will learn Ayapan Zoque or that the men will choose to pass down the knowledge to their families, those who study indigenous languages are all too aware of the statistics. Across the world, the United Nations calculates, one language disappears every two weeks.

Language specialists remind us that the loss of any language, however few once spoke it, is no small loss.  “Language death is symptomatic of cultural death: a way of life disappears with the death of a language,” note authors Daniel Nettle and Suzanne Romaine. “The fortunes of languages are bound up with those of its speakers.”(1) When the critical insight contained within a language is forgotten, an irreplaceable resource has vanished from the world and its future generations, leaving in its place a certain void. The cry to remember is often voiced by those who foresee the darkened glimpse of a world that has forgotten. Such a description is reminiscent of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth at the onset on the story. “The world is changed,” says Galadriel. “I feel it in the water.  I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air. Much that once was is lost, for none now live who remember it.”

Since the biblical story is uttered simultaneously with a cry to remember, it is not surprising that we should find the same quality in the prayers of its characters. When Jehoshaphat stood up in the temple to pray in front of the entire assembly, he was speaking a language that sought desperately to remember the character of God. “O LORD, God of our fathers, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you. O our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend?” His prayer was perhaps even a cry for God too to remember, to bear in mind the Lord they had come to know, the relationship God had sought with them, the history that existed between them. Speaking this common language and story, bringing the acts of God in history to the forefronts of their minds, Jehoshaphat then cried to God to act among them in the present. “O our God, will you not judge…the vast army that is attacking us?  We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you” (2 Chronicles 20:6-12).  Prayer is a language of remembrance.  It is taught by those who have gone before us, those who have witnessed the power of God in history, those who were commanded to remember and now call us to do the same.

Speaking this language, teaching our children the fortunes bound within it, Christlans remember the person of God, and the people we are before the throne of heaven.  Standing before a religious crowd, Jesus offered a parable about prayer. “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner’” (Luke 18:10-13). To the shock of the crowd, Jesus then revealed the one who spoke the language of heaven: “I tell you that this tax collector, rather than the other, went home justified before God” (14).

Prayer is a language whose fortunes keep before us the person and character of God, even as it keeps before us our own need for the kingdom and its mercies. So too, it is a language that helps us remember the whole story.

On the night before he was placed in the hands of those who would lead him to death, Jesus prayed that God would take away the task that stood before him. In prayer, Jesus pled with God to spare him; in prayer he sought the Father’s intervention; yet in prayer he remembered the entire story, such that even on the Cross he was able to pray for those who had no idea what they were doing. On his knees in Gethsemane, Jesus remembered our desperate need for his sacrifice. He concluded his prayer to the Father, “Yet not what I will, but what you will” (Mark 14:36). At these words, Christ forever bound within the biblical language a fortune we ought never to forget.

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

(1) Daniel Nettle and Suzanne Romaine, Vanishing Voices (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 7.

 

Alistair Begg – Your Cold Prayers

 

Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer.  Psalm 66:20

In looking back upon the character of our prayers, if we do it honestly, we shall be filled with wonder that God has ever answered them. There may be some who think their prayers worthy of acceptance–as the Pharisee did; but the true Christian, who sees things clearly, must surely weep over his prayers, and if he could retrace his steps he would desire to pray more earnestly.

Remember, Christian, how cold your prayers have been. When in your closet you should have wrestled as Jacob did; but instead your petitions have been faint and few–far removed from that humble, believing, persevering faith that cries, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” Yet, how wonderful to know that God has heard these cold prayers of yours, and not only heard, but answered them.

Reflect also how infrequent have been your prayers unless you have been in trouble, and then you have gone often to the mercy-seat: But when deliverance has come, what happened to your constant supplication? Yet, even though you have stopped praying as you once did, God has not stopped blessing. When you have neglected the mercy-seat, God has not deserted it, but the bright light of His glory has remained visible between the wings of the cherubim. How marvelous that the Lord should pay attention to our intermittent spasms of prayerfulness that ebb and flow with our needs. What a God He is to hear the prayers of those who come to Him when they have pressing concerns but neglect Him when they have received a mercy; who approach Him when they are forced to come but who almost forget to address Him when benefits are plentiful and sorrows are few.

Let His gracious kindness in hearing such prayers touch our hearts, so that from now on we may be found “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.”1

1 – Ephesians 6:18

Charles Spurgeon – Heavenly rest

 

“There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.” Hebrews 4:9

Suggested Further Reading: Revelation 14:12-16

From Monday morning till Saturday night, many of you will not be able to lay aside your needle and your thread, except when, tired and weary, you fall back on your chair, and are lulled to sleep by your thoughts of labour! Oh! how seasonable will heaven’s rest be to you! Oh! how glad will you be, when you get there, to find that there are no Monday mornings, no more toil for you, but rest, eternal rest! Others of you have had manual labour to perform; you have reason to thank God that you are strong enough to do it, and you are not ashamed of your work; for labour is an honour to a man. But still there are times when you say, “I wish I were not so dragged to death by the business of London life.” We have but little rest in this huge city; our day is longer, and our work is harder than our friends in the country. You have sometimes sighed to go into the green fields for a breath of fresh air; you have longed to hear the song of the sweet birds that used to wake you when you were young; you have regretted the bright blue sky, the beauteous flowers, and the thousand charms of a country life. And, perhaps, you will never get beyond this smoky city; but remember, when you get up there, “sweet fields arrayed in living green,” and “rivers of delight” shall be the place where you shall rest, you shall have all the joys you can conceive of in that home of happiness.

For meditation: The Christian’s rest in heaven will be enriched by the worth of his work for Christ on earth (1 Corinthians 3:13-15). Spurgeon says:- “There, up in heaven, Luther has no more to face a thundering Vatican; Paul has no more to run from city to city, and continent to continent; there Baxter has no more to toil in his pulpit, to preach with a broken heart to hard hearted sinners; there no longer has Knox to “cry aloud and spare not” against the immoralities of the false church.” What will you be missing?

Sermon no. 133

24 May (1857)

John MacArthur – Saluting an Unknown Soldier

 

The twelve apostles included “James the son of Alphaeus” (Matt. 10:3).

Lesson: Like most Christians, James the son of Alphaeus is an unknown and unsung soldier of the cross. His distinguishing characteristic is obscurity. Nothing he did or said is recorded in Scripture–only his name.

In Mark 15:40 he is called “James the Less,” which literally means “Little James.” That could refer to his stature (he might have been short), his age (he might have been younger than James the son of Zebedee), or his influence (he might have had relatively little influence among the disciples).

In Mark 2:14 Matthew (Levi) is called the son of Alphaeus. Alphaeus was a common name, but it’s possible that James and Matthew were brothers, since their fathers had the same first name. Also, James’s mother is mentioned in Mark 15:40 as being present at Christ’s crucifixion, along with other women. She is referred to as the wife of Clopas in John 19:25. Since Clopas was a form of Alphaeus, that further supports the possibility that James and Matthew were related.

From those references we might conclude that James was a small young man whose personality was not particularly powerful. If he was Matthew’s brother, perhaps he was as humble as Matthew, willing to serve the Lord without any applause or notice. Whichever the case, be encouraged that God uses obscure people like James, and rewards them accordingly. Someday James will sit on a throne in Christ’s millennial kingdom, judging the twelve tribes of Israel– just like the other more prominent disciples (Luke 22:30).

No matter how obscure or prominent you are from a human perspective, God can use you and will reward you with a glorious eternal inheritance.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Thank the Lord for all those people unknown to you whom He has used to shape your life for His glory.

Seek to be more like James, serving Christ faithfully without applause or glory.

For Further Study:

Read Luke 9:23-25. What did Jesus say is necessary to be His disciple?

Read Luke 9:57-62. What were those men unwilling to give up to follow Christ?

Joyce Meyer – A Wandering, Wondering Mind

 

Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. —1 Peter 1:13 KJV

In the days when Peter wrote these words, men wore long flowing robes that hindered fast progress or strenuous action. They wore broad belts (or girdles) about their waists, and when they wanted to move into action, they “girded up their loins”—that is, they shortened their robes by pulling them up inside their belts.

That term is similar to what we mean when we say, “Roll up your sleeves.” Peter’s words here are a serious call to action—a reminder that when we lose our focus, it is time for us to do some serious thinking.

I’ve already talked about how staying too busy can result in an abnormal mind as opposed to a normal mind. Now I want to point out that another way the devil attacks your normal mind is by causing your thoughts to wander. It’s a mental attack. If you do not discipline your mind to remain focused on what is important, the devil will cause it to wander aimlessly to other things.

When this inability to concentrate goes on for a while, you may begin to wonder if there is something wrong with your mind. What you often fail to realize is that when you’ve allowed your mind to wander for so long, you’re hardly aware that it’s taking place.

In some cases, there may be physical causes for not being able to concentrate, such as anemia or certain B-vitamin deficiencies. You may not be eating properly. Or you may have become excessively fatigued. It’s a good idea to consider all the potential causes as you search for a solution. I’ve learned that when I’m excessively tired, Satan tries to attack my mind because he knows it’s more difficult for me to resist him during those times.

Sometimes a lack of concentration creates a lack of comprehension. Perhaps as you are reading the Bible, you find yourself hurrying to get through so you can do something else. Out of a sense of duty, you are determined to finish reading a chapter—and you do. But when you are finished, you can’t recall anything you have read. Your eyes scanned the pages, but your mind was engaged somewhere else.

Perhaps you have even experienced this battle for your mind in church. You attend regularly—and the devil can’t always stop that—but he can cause your mind to start wandering during the sermon. Have you ever been fully engrossed in listening to a sermon, and then you suddenly realize that your mind has wandered and you have no idea what was said?

If the devil can rob you of the benefits of reading the Bible and hearing God’s Word at church, he has won some major skirmishes in the battle for your mind. This is why Peter tells us to “gird up the loins of our minds.” You must take action by confronting your wandering mind and disciplining it to focus on what’s important.

In conversation, I used to fake it when I realized my mind had wandered. Now I deal with it honestly by asking, “Would you please back up and repeat that? I let my mind wander off, and I didn’t hear a thing you said.” This kind of behavior not only interrupts the plan of the enemy but also brings victory over the problem.

It’s not easy to discipline your mind when it has been allowed to wander aimlessly, but you can do it. When you discover that your thoughts have wandered, you must exercise discipline and make the necessary corrections. The devil would like to convince you that you can’t help yourself, but when you consistently come against his bid for your mind, he is defeated, and you have won another battle.

Holy Spirit, I realize how quickly Satan distracts me and then capitalizes on my wandering mind. Forgive me for allowing him to lead me astray. I thank You for giving me a good, clear mind, and in the name of Jesus, I ask You to help me overcome every temptation to lose my focus. Amen.

Presidential Prayer Team; J.K. – The Dark Enemy

 

Bible commentator Warren Wiersbe says this: “Every form of life has its enemies. Insects have to watch out for hungry birds, and birds must keep an eye on hungry cats and dogs. Even human beings have to dodge automobiles and fight off germs. The life that is real also has an enemy…sin.”

He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. I John 2:2

Sin is the darkness in life. It is outward disobedience and inner rebellion – refusal to submit to the law of God. You can’t whitewash it; neither can you cover it up without committing more sin. And that leaves you out of fellowship with God…the Light of life (I John 1:5).

He cannot close His eyes to sin and yet because He is God, He is love and wants to save sinners (1 John 4:8). At the cross, Jesus was the propitiation for your sins, suffering the punishment fully deserved by the sinner.

Darkness vs. light is unbelief vs. belief. Set yourself right before God by confessing your sin and turning from it. Then declare this saving grace to those around you. The people of this nation need to hear the truth of the gospel.

Recommended Reading: Ephesians 5:6-17

Max Lucado – At Once, Man and God

 

Christ—at once, man and God.  Colossians 2:9 says, “For in Christ there is all of God in a human body.” Jesus was not a godlike man, nor a manlike God.  He was God-man. What do we do with such a person? One thing is certain, we can’t ignore Him.  He is the single most significant person who ever lived. Forget MVP; He is the entire league. The head of the parade?  Hardly.  No one else shares the street.

Dismiss Him?  We can’t.  Resist Him?  Equally difficult.

Don’t we need a God-man Savior? A just-God Jesus could make us but not understand us.  A just-man Jesus could love us but never save us. But a God-man Jesus? Near enough to touch.  Strong enough to trust.  A Savior found by millions to be irresistible.

As the Apostle Paul says in Philippians 3:8, nothing compares to “the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.”