Tag Archives: daily devotion

Charles Spurgeon – The hope of future bliss

 

“As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.” Psalm 17:15

Suggested Further Reading: Revelation 7:13-17

He will be satisfied, the Psalmist says, when he wakes up in God’s likeness. Satisfaction! This is another joy for the Christian when he shall enter heaven. Here we are never thoroughly satisfied. True, the Christian is satisfied from himself; he has that within which is a well-spring of comfort, and he can enjoy solid satisfaction. But heaven is the home of true and real satisfaction. When the believer enters heaven I believe his imagination will be thoroughly satisfied. All he has ever thought of he will there see; every holy idea will be solidified; every mighty conception will become a reality; every glorious imagination will become a tangible thing that he can see. His imagination will not be able to think of anything better than heaven; and should he sit down through eternity, he would not be able to conceive of anything that should outshine the lustre of that glorious city. His imagination will be satisfied. Then his intellect will be satisfied.

“Then shall I see, and hear, and know, All I desired, or wished, below.”

Who is satisfied with his knowledge here? Are there not secrets we want to know—depths of the secrets of nature that we have not entered? But in that glorious state we shall know as much as we want to know. The memory will be satisfied. We shall look back upon the vista of past years, and we shall be content with whatever we endured, or did, or suffered on earth.

“There, on a green and flowery mount, My wearied soul shall sit,

And with transporting joys recount, The labours of my feet.”

Hope will be satisfied, if there be such a thing in heaven. We shall hope for a future eternity, and believe in it. But we shall be satisfied as to our hope continually.

For meditation: The difference between now and then is beyond our finest imaginations (1 Corinthians 13:12; 1 John 3:2).

Sermon no. 25

20 May (1855)

John MacArthur – Desiring Christ’s Presence

 

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

When you think of Thomas, you probably think of a doubter. But if you look beyond his doubt, you’ll see he was characterized by something that should mark every true believer: an intense desire to be with Christ.

John 10:39-40 tells us Jesus and His disciples left Jerusalem because of threats on Jesus’ life. While they were staying near the Jordan River, Jesus received word that His dear friend Lazarus was sick. He delayed going to Lazarus because He didn’t want merely to heal him, but to raise him from the dead.

Lazarus lived in Bethany–just two miles east of Jerusalem. So when Jesus decided to go there, His disciples were deeply concerned, thinking it would surely be a suicide mission (John 11:8). Despite the danger, Thomas said, “Let us also go, that we may die with Him” (v. 16). That’s a pessimistic attitude, but it shows his courage and desire to be with Christ, whether in life or death. An optimist would expect the best, making it easier to go. Thomas expected the worst, but was willing to go anyway.

I believe Thomas couldn’t bear the thought of living without Christ. He would rather die with Him than live without Him. That’s also evident in John 14, where Jesus told the disciples He was going away to prepare a place for them. Thomas responded by saying in effect, “Lord, we don’t know where you’re going or how to get there. Please don’t go somewhere we can’t go!” (v. 5). He didn’t understand what Jesus was going to do. All he knew was he didn’t want to be separated from His Lord.

Can you identify with Thomas? Is Christ such an integral part of your daily decisions and activities that life without Him is unthinkable? Do you love Him so much you long to see Him? That was Thomas’s passion. May it be yours as well.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Thank the Lord for His presence and power in your life.

Demonstrate your love for Him by communing with Him often.

For Further Study:

Read John 14:1-31.

What did Jesus say about His return?

Who would comfort and instruct the disciples in Christ’s absence?

Joyce Meyer – Press On

 

That night the Lord said to Gideon, Take your father’s bull, the second bull seven years old, and pull down the altar of Baal that your father has and cut down the Asherah [symbol of the goddess Asherah] that is beside it; and build an altar to the Lord your God on top of this stronghold with stones laid in proper order. —Judges 6:25–26

History is filled with people who accomplished great things even though they had to persevere past the criticism and judgment of others. Some of the world’s greatest inventors were persecuted by their family or friends, but they pressed on because they believed in what they were doing.

Benjamin Franklin longed to write for his older brother’s newspaper where he worked as a printing apprentice, but his brother refused to let him. Ben wrote stories anyway, under a pen name, Silence Dogood. Every letter was snuck under the printing shop’s door at night to avoid discovery, and “Silence Dogood” became wildly popular. When Ben finally admitted that he was the writer who was getting so much attention, his brother only grew angrier and more jealous. This resulted in Ben receiving beatings and finally running away.

Among the many inventions and improvements he created in his lifetime, Ben eventually started his own printing shop and took over a newspaper, the Pennsylvania Gazette, which under his supervision became the most successful in the colonies.

Lord, strengthen me in my inner being to be able to persevere against adversity. I can move forward confidently if I know it is Your way. Amen.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Preserved From the Enemy

 

“Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me” (Psalm 138:7, KJV).

Robert Bruce, the famous emancipator of Scotland, was fleeing from his enemies. He sought refuge in a cave.

Hot on his trail, his enemies reached his hideout where they saw that a spider had built a web over the mouth of the cave. His pursuers, concluding that he could not have entered without first destroying the web, turned around and went on their way.

“Oh God,” Bruce prayed, “I thank Thee that in the tiny bowels of a spider you can place for me a shelter, and then send the spider in time to place it for my protection.”

“God works in mysterious ways His wonders to perform,” and whatever is necessary to protect His children from their enemies will be done.

All of life’s journey is summed up in that one work “walk.” Constant action, movement onward, never stationary, always on the move. Life is not simply a walk; often it is a walk “in the midst of trouble.” Since sin came into the world, pleasure is mixed with pain. Trials and conflict often seem to mar the pathway.

To the trusting, confident believer in Christ, however, there is certain renewal and deliverance. Christ’s indwelling Holy Spirit, given full control, guarantees victory and joy and abundant life – supernatural life.

Bible Reading: Psalm 138:1-6

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will see God’s protecting hand in my walk with Him today and proclaim His faithfulness to others.

Presidential Prayer Team; H.M.R. – Spread the News

 

The message of the Good News of Jesus Christ began on a strip of land along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. From there it spread north around the sea and into the heart of the Roman world. It has since been gradually permeating all the nations, peoples, cultures and countries of the world.

This gospel…will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations. Matthew 24:14

Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20) According to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau, there are approximately 40 million foreign-born people in the United States. That’s 13 percent of the total population! Many of them don’t know Jesus as Savior. Nor do their families. Truly, the harvest is plenteous…and right before you. And you are His witness!

Pray for the people you encounter each day. Look for ways to show them kindness. Ask God to create opportunities for you to share how God has changed your life! Then pray the nation’s leaders will experience the love of Jesus through Christians they encounter.

Recommended Reading: Luke 24:44-53

Greg Laurie – Permission Required

 

Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. —Job 1:6

The devil can do nothing in the life of the Christian without God’s permission.

This may come as a surprise, but the devil does have some access to heaven. Periodically the devil is called into the presence of God. We have a behind-the-scenes look at this in the book of Job:

Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. And the LORD said to Satan, “From where do you come?”

So Satan answered the LORD and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.” (Job 1:6–7)

What a perfect description of Satan—just roaming about like a lion, checking everything out, looking for prey.

Then God said, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?” (verse 8).

Loosely paraphrased, the devil said, “Give me a break! Does Job fear You for nothing? He fears you because You have put a hedge of protection around him.”

The devil wanted to attack Job, but he recognized there was protection around God’s servant.

And there is protection around us as well. When the devil comes our way, he has to first get permission from God. He cannot just run through our lives willy-nilly. And know this: Whatever God allows in your life, He allows for a purpose.

Sometimes we wonder why the Lord allows tragedies in our lives. While we can’t answer that, what we do know is this: God will never give us more than we can handle. And when we are tempted, there is always a way out.

Max Lucado – His Perpetual Presence

 

When God led the children of Israel through the wilderness, he didn’t just appear once a day and then abandon them. The pillar of fire was present all night; the cloud was present all day. Our God never leaves us!

Matthew 28:20 holds the promise of Jesus, “I will be with you always.” Our faith takes a quantum leap when we understand the perpetual presence of the Father. Our Jehovah is the fire of our night and the cloud of our day. He never leaves us!

Heaven knows no difference between Sunday morning and Wednesday afternoon. God longs to speak as clearly in the workplace as he does in the sanctuary. He longs to be worshiped when we sit at the dinner table, not just when we come to his communion table.

You may go days without thinking of him, but there’s never a moment he’s not thinking of you!

Charles Stanley – Much Practice

 

No matter what you desire to do, some element of practice is required for the end result to be excellent. No one is born with any ability that is fully developed. Most skills are developed slowly and incrementally.

As you follow God and He prepares you to pursue His purpose for your life, you may be discouraged at how slowly you progress. But stick with it. True gifts, skills, and talents are worth developing to the point of mastery. When you have mastered something, you no longer have to struggle at it. You may work at it, but the sense of struggle is gone.

There’s an old saying: “If something is worth doing, it is worth doing well.” That’s the goal in the development of your God-given talents. The Creator did not give you gifts to have you squander them, ignore them, or dabble at them. He intends for you to develop them to the highest levels possible.

I strongly encourage you to make practicing your gifts and talents an act of praise to God. You may never have thought about it that way. But I have no doubt that you will gain much if you begin your practice times with prayer. Simply tell God, “I exalt You, Lord, and I thank You for the gift You have given to me. I know You are the Giver of my talent, and I give You this session of practice as my gift to You today.”

A young college-age musician was encouraged to think this way, and she later said, “I sat down to practice the clarinet, and I made a conscious decision to see that half hour as an offering of praise to God. I can only begin to tell you what happened. I played better in those 30 minutes than I ever had before. The more I saw myself as playing for God—like a private mini-concert just for Him—the more I found myself wanting to play with perfection and also with sensitivity. I thoroughly enjoyed my practice time and came away feeling absolutely great. I also felt inside me a greater excitement about playing the clarinet than I had ever felt before. It was an amazing time.”

What about practicing your skill? Something wonderful will happen in you when you make it an act of praise to God as well.

Takeaway

While “practice” is another way of saying “work,” the development of your gift can be a source of immense joy for you. Few things bring greater satisfaction than knowing that you have tackled a difficult skill and mastered it. Along the way, you will find these concepts coming into play as you develop your gifts:

Diligence. Practice must be regular and frequent. That takes diligence.

Discipline. Practice doesn’t happen by accident. You must plan for it and set apart time for it. You must motivate yourself to actually do it.

Perseverance. There will be days when you will be discouraged by your lack of progress. You must persevere.

Consistency. Practice is most effective when it is focused and scheduled as a regular part of your daily or weekly routine.

Our Daily Bread — To Be Continued

 

Acts 1:1-11

You shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. —Acts 1:8

The fifth book of the New Testament, the Acts of the Apostles, records the beginnings of the Christian church under the leadership of the people Jesus had appointed. Some scholars have suggested that this book could also be called the Acts of the Holy Spirit, because the Spirit’s power supplied courage for the apostles in the face of every hardship.

Just before Jesus was taken up into heaven, He told the ones He had chosen: “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). With those words, one chapter in the story of God’s work on earth ended, and a new one began. We are a part of that ongoing story.

The book of Acts describes the faithful witness of Peter, John, Barnabas, Paul, Dorcas, Lydia, and many others during the early days of the church. These ordinary people depended on God to give them strength as they spread His Word and demonstrated His love.

That story continues through us. As we trust God and obey His direction to make Jesus known, He writes through us new pages in His story of redemption. —David McCasland

Gracious Spirit, use my words to help and heal.

Use my actions, bold and meek, to speak for You.

May You be pleased to reveal

Your life to others through mine.

People know true faith stories when they see them.

Alistair Begg – Upstarts and the Truly Great

 

I have seen slaves on horses, and princes walking on the ground like slaves.  Ecclesiastes 10:7

 Upstarts frequently steal the highest places, while the truly great struggle in obscurity. This is a riddle in providence whose solution will one day gladden the hearts of the upright; but it is so common a fact that none of us should complain if we face the experience. When our Lord was on earth, although He is the Prince of the kings of the earth, yet He walked the footpath of weariness and service as the Servant of servants.

It should then be no surprise if His followers, who are princes in His line, should also be looked down upon as inferior and contemptible persons. The world is upside-down, and therefore the first are last and the last first. Consider how the servile sons of Satan lord it in the earth! What a high horse they ride! How they exalt themselves. David wanders on the mountains, while Saul reigns in state; Elijah is complaining in the cave, while Jezebel is boasting in the palace. Yet who would wish to take the places of the proud rebels? And who, on the other hand, might not envy the despised saints? When the wheel turns, those who are lowest rise, and the highest sink. Patience, then, believer, eternity will right the wrongs of time.

Let us not fall into the error of letting our passions and sinful appetites ride in triumph, while our nobler powers walk in the dust. Grace must reign as a prince and make the members of our bodies instruments of righteousness. The Holy Spirit loves order, and He therefore sets our powers and faculties in proper rank and place, giving the highest room to those spiritual faculties that link us with the great King; let us not disturb the divine arrangement but ask for grace to keep our body under control and bring it into subjection. We were not made new to allow our passions to rule over us, but in order that, as kings, we may reign in Christ Jesus over the triple kingdom of spirit, soul, and body, to the glory of God the Father.

Charles Spurgeon – Forgiveness

 

“I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” Isaiah 43:25

Suggested Further Reading: Acts 8:26-40

There are some passages of scripture which have been more abundantly blessed to the conversion of souls than others. They may be called salvation texts. We may not be able to discover how it is, or why it is, but certainly it is the fact, that some chosen verses have been more used of God to bring men to the cross of Christ than any others in his Word. Certainly they are not more inspired, but I suppose they are more noticeable from their position, from their peculiar phraseology more adapted to catch the eye of the reader, and more suitable to a prevailing spiritual condition. All the stars in the heavens shine very brightly, but only a few attract the eye of the mariner, and direct his course; the reason is this, that those few stars from their peculiar grouping are more readily distinguished, and the eye easily fixes upon them. So I suppose it is with those passages of God’s Word which especially attract attention, and direct the sinner to the cross of Christ. It so happens that this text is one of the chief of them. I have found it, in my experience, to be a most useful one; for out of the hundreds of persons who have come to me to narrate their conversion and experience, I have found a very large proportion who have traced the divine change which has been wrought in their hearts to the hearing of this precious declaration of sovereign mercy read, and the application of it with power to their souls: “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.”

For meditation: The texts often quoted by Spurgeon towards the end of his sermons—Mark 16:16; 1 Timothy 1:15. Has God used a particular text to bring you to himself?

Sermon no. 24

19 May (Preached 20 May 1855)

John MacArthur – Searching for Truth

 

The twelve apostles included “Bartholomew [Nathanael]” (Matt. 10:3).

Despite Nathanael’s prejudice, Jesus knew he was an honest, sincere, Jewish believer in whom there was no religious hypocrisy or deceit (John 1:47). He truly sought after God and looked forward to the Messiah’s coming.

Most of the Jewish people of Jesus’ day believed that every circumcised descendent of Abraham was a true Jew and a beneficiary of the Abrahamic covenant. But in Romans 2:28- 29 Paul explains that salvation is an issue of the heart, not of national origin: “He is not a Jew who is one outwardly; neither is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart.” Nathanael was such a man.

He was shocked when Jesus described him as “an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile” (John 1:47) because they had never met before. He was equally shocked when Jesus said He saw him under a fig tree because Jesus was nowhere near that tree. Nathanael immediately realized that Jesus was omniscient–He knew everything! That’s why he exclaimed, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel” (v. 49). He had found the Messiah for whom he had searched so long!

The Lord’s mention of the fig tree is significant. In that region, fig trees were commonly used as a source of shade and outdoor shelter. Many of the houses in Palestine had only one room, so fig trees became a place to be alone for prayer and meditation on the Scriptures. Quite possibly Nathanael was under the fig tree searching the Scriptures and communing with God when Jesus saw his open heart and his desire to find the Messiah. Jesus personally answered Nathanael’s prayer.

When Jesus looks into your heart, does He see a true believer in whom there is no hypocrisy? Nathanael wasn’t perfect, but he loved God and was a diligent student of the Word. The Lord did great things through him. I pray that is true of you as well.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Ask the Spirit to reveal and deal with any hypocrisy you might be harboring.

Ask God to increase your desire and capacity to know and love Him.

For Further Study:

Memorize Romans 12:1-2 as a defense against hypocrisy.

Joyce Meyer – Praise Your Way into God’s Presence

 

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and a thank offering and into His courts with praise! Be thankful and say so to Him, bless and affectionately praise His name! —Psalm 100:4

There are ways to make ourselves available to hear God’s voice and one of them is to enter into respectful, heartfelt praise and worship. God delights to manifest His presence and power to people who are truly praising and worshipping Him. And when His presence and power come, we hear His voice, we see miracles, people are healed, lives are changed, and transformation takes place from the inside out.

Isn’t that part of what you desire in your relationship with God? When you talk to Him and listen for His voice, aren’t you praying primarily because you want some kind of change or transformation in some area of your life?

If you are asking Him to provide a new job, that’s change. If you are praying for a loved one to come to know the Lord, that’s change. If you are asking God to reveal Himself more to you and to help you grow in spiritual maturity, that’s change. If you are praying for the teenager who lives down the street to stop using drugs, that’s change. If you are asking God to help you not lose your temper so easily, that’s change.

Whatever you are praying for, one of the best ways to start is with praise and worship. They will keep your heart right before God and make a way for you to hear His voice and for change to take place.

God’s word for you today: When you need to hear God’s voice, praise and worship Him.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Overflowing Blessings

 

“Lord, I am overflowing with Your blessings, just as You promised” (Psalm 119:65).

As the father of Dr. Harry Ironside, famous Christian leader, pastor and author, lay dying, he seemed to have a recurring view of the descending sheet which Peter saw in a vision.

“A great sheet and wild beasts,” he mumbled, over and over, and…and…and.”

The next words would not come, so he would start over again.

“John,” a friend whispered to him, “it says, ‘creeping things.'”

“Oh, yes,” the dying man said, “that’s how I got in – just a poor, good-for-nothing creeping thing. But I got in, saved by grace.”

And considering the fact that each one of us, in ourselves, outside the Lord Jesus Christ, is but a poor creeping thing saved by grace, we must marvel anew as we overflow with His blessings.

What an exalted place we can have Children of God, heirs of God, joint heirs with Christ, indwelt by His Holy Spirit, we are recipients of eternal life, given supernatural, abundant life as we yield ourselves to Him.

God has dealt well with each one of His children. He has given us work to do – to serve Him is to reign. He has given us provision. He has given us encouragement. He has given us many tokens of the pay we shall receive at the end of life’s journey. He has dealt with us according to His Word.

Even the testings and trials are for a divine purpose: to conform us to His image; to make us more Christlike. Truly, we are on the winning side; how important it is that we tell men and women, boys and girls, around us each day, that they too can be on the winning side.

Bible Reading: Psalm 119:66-72

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will make a special effort to count my blessings today, and in deep gratitude share the good news of the gospel with others.

Presidential Prayer Team; C.P. – Ears to Hear

 

Many today believe in God and want to go to Heaven, but in their own way. In the previous verses, Paul expressed great compassion for the Jews during his time and prayed they would be saved (Romans 10:1). He said they were zealous but tried to establish their own righteousness (Romans 10:2-4).

Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.  Romans 10:17

Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) God the Father Himself spoke concerning His Son, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” (Matthew 17:5)

When Jesus told parables or taught difficult spiritual truths, He said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Luke 8:8) In order to have ears to hear, meditate on scripture. Memorize verses having to do with salvation (Matthew 7:21 and 19:29, Mark 16:16, John 3:16 and 10:9, Acts 4:12, Romans 10:9, Ephesians 2:8-9, I Timothy 2:3-5) so you can be ready with an answer as Peter advises in I Peter 3:15. Pray for the nation and leaders that the Lord will give them ears to hear…that they will receive Christ by faith and be saved.

Recommended Reading: Luke 8:4-15

Charles Stanley – Benefits of Having the Holy Spirit

 

John 16:5-22

The disciples were blessed to be in Jesus’ inner circle—can you imagine the countless benefits they enjoyed from listening to His teaching and watching Him do supernatural wonders? Perhaps you’ve wished you, too, could have lived in those days and walked the dusty roads with Him. From our present perspective, we can’t conceive of anything greater than seeing Jesus in person.

Since that’s exactly how the disciples felt, we can understand why they were saddened when He announced that He was returning to His Father in heaven. But He promised to send them a Helper—and even said that it was to their advantage that He was leaving so the Spirit could come. Today, we live in the era of the indwelling Holy Spirit, but do we really understand the advantages we have because of His presence in our lives?

Although we can’t see Jesus face to face, we can have an even more intimate relationship with Him because we carry His Holy Spirit within our bodies. One of the Spirit’s tasks is to disclose the things of Jesus. If we need wisdom and insight, He’s ready to provide it whenever we read God’s Word. He’s also the one who unleashes power in our lives—the same divine power Christ used to accomplish His Father’s will.

Despite such wonderful advantages, many believers never sense the Spirit’s presence or access the insight and power available to them. Is God’s Holy Spirit your intimate companion, guide, and helper, or is He merely some vague Christian concept? Don’t neglect this treasure—understand that almighty God lives within you!

Our Daily Bread — True Hospitality

 

Revelation 22:16-21

Let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely. —Revelation 22:17

In 1987, our family moved to California to take up the pastorate of a church in the Long Beach area. The day we flew into town, my secretary picked us up at the airport to take us to our house. As we pulled into traffic, the very first thing I saw was a bumper sticker that read: “Welcome To California . . . Now Go Home!” It was not exactly a warm and cheery welcome to sunny southern California!

I wonder if there might be occasions in our lives when we send similar signals to people around us. Whether we are at church, in the neighborhood, or at social gatherings, are there times when we fail to make others feel welcome in our world?

In Romans 12:13, Paul instructed his readers to be “given to hospitality.” The book of Hebrews goes even further, saying, “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels” (13:2). By showing gracious kindness to those who come our way, we echo the Savior’s invitation for salvation, which declares, “Let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely” (Rev. 22:17).

To show someone loving hospitality just might be the first step in showing that person the way to heaven. —Bill Crowder

Give as ’twas given to you in your need;

Love as the Master loved you;

Be to the helpless a helper indeed;

Unto your mission be true. —Wilson

Live so that when people get to know you, they will want to get to know Christ.

Charles Spurgeon – God alone the salvation of His people

 

“He only is my rock and my salvation.” Psalm 62:2

Suggested Further Reading: Mark 9:1-8

If God alone is our rock, and we know it, are we not bound to put all our trust in God, to give all our love to God, to set all our hope upon God, to spend all our life for God, and to devote our whole being to God? If God be all I have, sure, all I have shall be God’s. If God alone is my hope, sure, I will put all my hope upon God; if the love of God is alone that which saves, sure, he shall have my love alone. Come, let me talk to thee, Christian, for a little while, I want to warn thee not to have two Gods, two Christs, two friends, two husbands, two great Fathers; not to have two fountains, two rivers, two suns, or two heavens, but to have only one. I want to bid thee now, as God hath put all salvation in himself, to bring all thyself unto God. Come, let me talk to thee! In the first place, Christian, never join anything with Christ. Wouldest thou stitch thy old rags into the new garment he giveth? Wouldest thou put new wine into old bottles? Wouldst thou put Christ and self together? Thou mightest as well yoke an elephant and an ant; they could never plough together. What! Wouldest thou put an archangel in the same harness with a worm, and hope that they would drag thee through the sky! How inconsistent! How foolish! What! Thyself and Christ? Sure, Christ would smile; nay, Christ would weep, to think of such a thing! Christ and man together? Christ and Co? No, it never shall be; he will have nothing of the sort; he must be all. Note how inconsistent it would be to put anything else with him.

For meditation: What candidates for an equal share of the devotion due only to the Triune God do you face? Give them the same answer as Jesus gave Satan (Matthew 4:10).

Sermon no. 80

18 May (1856)

John MacArthur – Avoiding Prejudice

 

The twelve apostles included “Bartholomew [Nathanael]” (Matt. 10:3).

Prejudice is an uncalled-for generalization based on feelings of superiority. It is an ugly sin that has fueled hatred and conflicts for centuries, dividing entire nations and bringing untold misery. But prejudice is most damning when it blinds people to God’s Word. The prophet Jonah was so prejudiced against the Assyrians, he refused to go to Nineveh to preach to them. Even after God convinced him to obey, he wanted to die because the people of Nineveh had repented and God had spared them.

Prejudice also reared its ugly head in Nathanael, whose last name was Bartholomew (meaning “son of Tolmai”). John 1:45-46 says, “Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” And Nathanael said to him, ‘Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?'” Nathanael was a student of the Word and was looking for the Messiah, but he couldn’t understand how Messiah could come from Nazareth.

Nazareth lay on the fringes of the Jewish world–the last stop before Gentile territory. Perhaps the people of Cana, Nathanael’s hometown, were more refined and educated than the people of Nazareth. Whatever the cause, Nathanael’s perspective seemed to be that nothing but trouble could come out of Nazareth.

Prejudice has blinded many people to the gospel. The Jewish religious leaders rejected Jesus because He didn’t fit their idea of a Messiah, wasn’t from Jerusalem, and wasn’t trained in their synagogues. Fortunately Nathanael’s desire for truth overpowered his prejudice and he came to Jesus.

Perhaps you have family or friends who are resisting the gospel because of prejudice. If so, don’t be discouraged and don’t give up! Jesus broke through Nathanael’s prejudice and redeemed him, and He has done the same for millions of others.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Pray for those you know who are blinded by prejudice, asking God to open their spiritual eyes to His truth.

Confess any prejudice you might have in your own heart.

For Further Study:

Practicing unity and humility is the best way to overcome prejudice within the Body of Christ. Read Ephesians 4:1-6 and Philippians 2:1-8.

What attitudes did Paul encourage? Discourage?

Who is the example we’re to follow of humble service on behalf of others?

Joyce Meyer – Our Confidence Is in Jesus

 

I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency]. —Philippians 4:13

Satan does not want you to fulfill God’s plan for your life because he knows that you are part of his ultimate defeat. If he can make you think and believe that you are incapable, then you will not even try to accomplish anything worthwhile.

Even if you do make an effort, your fear of failure will seal your defeat, which, because of your lack of confidence, you probably expected from the beginning. This is what is often referred to as the “failure syndrome.” The devil wants you and me to feel so bad about ourselves that we have no confidence in ourselves.

But here is the good news: We do not need confidence in ourselves—we need confidence In Jesus! I have confidence in myself only because I know that Christ is in me, ever present and ready to help me with everything that I attempt to do for Him.

A believer without confidence is like a jumbo jet parked on the runway with no fuel; it looks good on the outside but has no power on the inside. With Jesus inside us, we have the power to do what we could never do on our own.

Once you learn this truth, when the devil lies and says, “You can’t do anything right,” your response to him can be, “Perhaps not, but Jesus in me can; and He will, because I am relying on Him and not on myself. He will cause me to succeed in everything that I put my hand to” (See Joshua 1:7).

Or should the enemy say to you, “You’re not able to do this, so don’t even try, because you will only fail again, just as you have in the past,” your response can be, “It is true that without Jesus I am not able to do one single thing, but with Him and in Him I can do all that I need to do” (see Philippians 4:13).