Tag Archives: faith

Charles Stanley – Facing Adversity

 

Hebrews 12:1-2

When a child hurts, our focus is to restore comfort quickly. We remove obstacles so that a toddler will have a clear path to walk. And many parents seek to minimize frustration for school-age children by helping with homework—sometimes offering more assistance than necessary. While wanting to ease children’s discomfort is understandable, we may inadvertently convey a subtle message that obstacles and pain are to be eliminated at all costs. This viewpoint can get carried into adulthood, and unfortunately, it is a harmful one.

Difficulties are a part of life, and if we expect otherwise, we will be consistently disappointed. Then disappointment, if allowed to remain, can turn us away from the Lord. A lot of time can be wasted trying to avoid trials when we could be trusting God for the future. We also expend energy and prayer power seeking to get out of our tough situations instead of asking the Lord how He wants us to respond. Most importantly, God does not view adversity as the tragedy we interpret it to be. As a result, our thinking is in opposition to His.

God sees redemptive value in our trials. Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross prove the mighty spiritual work God can accomplish through adversity. He uses difficulties to advance our spiritual life and to achieve His great purposes for us. Rather than “set-backs” in our lives, our struggles are actually opportunities for spiritual advancement.

None of us enjoy trouble, but in this sin-sick world, sorrow and hardships are guaranteed. Let us surrender our thinking and ask to have the mind of Christ, who trusted the Father’s ways even unto death on the cross.

Charles Spurgeon – Characteristics of faith

 

“Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.” John 4:48

Suggested Further Reading: Matthew 12:38-42

Trust in the Lord; wait patiently for him; cast all thy confidence where he put all thy sins, namely, upon Christ Jesus alone, and thou shalt be saved, with or without any of these signs and wonders. I am afraid some Christians in London have fallen into the same error of wanting to see signs and wonders. They have been meeting together in special prayer-meetings to seek for a revival; and because people have not dropped down in a fainting fit, and have not screamed and made a noise, perhaps they have thought the revival has not come. Oh that we had eyes to see God’s gifts in the way God chooses to give them! Where the Spirit works in the soul, we are always glad to see true conversion, and if he chooses to work in the church in London, we shall be glad to see it. If men’s hearts are renewed, what matter it though they do not scream out. If their consciences are quickened, what matters it though they do not fall into a fit; if they do but find Christ, who is to regret that they do not lie for five or six weeks motionless and senseless. Take it without the signs and wonders. For my part I have no craving for them. Let me see God’s work done in God’s own way—a true and thorough revival, but the signs and wonders we can readily dispense with, for they are certainly not demanded by the faithful, and they will only be the laughing-stock of the faithless.

For meditation: A demand for signs and wonders regularly meets with the same response in the New Testament—Matthew 12:38-40; 16:1-4; John 2:18-22; 1 Corinthians 1:22-24.

Sermon no. 317

28 May (Preached 27 May 1860)

Charles Stanley – The Cost of Uncontrolled Anger

James 1:19-20

Anger is an extremely powerful emotion. It can destroy lives, tear relationships apart, and ruin a believer’s witness.

The apostle Paul understood the negative potential of resentment, and he offered this advice on how to deal with it: “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:31-32).

When we’re right in the middle of tense situations, Paul’s recommendations may seem unrealistic and impractical. But unless we apply his advice, we could easily face the devastating consequences of uncontrolled rage. For example, our anger can shut down communication with others. It can also lead to a silent but very damaging type of resentment—the “passive-aggressive” person takes out his bitterness on others in subtle ways. One of the most harmful consequences of uncontrolled anger is depression. Over time, inner turmoil and unresolved conflicts will take their toll on a person’s mental health.

But we have a choice. We can let our anger control us—which means we opt to suffer the consequences. Or we can release this debilitating emotion by forgiving those we feel have stirred our bitterness.

Try to identify causes of anger in your life, and bring them before the Lord. Trust that He will empower you to overcome these sources of strife. Read Ephesians 4:31-3 once more, and let the truth of God’s Word strengthen you.

Alistair Begg – If…

 

…If indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.   1 Peter 2:3

“If.” Then this is not a matter to be taken for granted concerning every one of the human race. “If”–then there is a possibility and a probability that some may not have tasted that the Lord is gracious. “If”–then this is not a general but a special mercy; and it is necessary to ask whether we know the grace of God by inward experience. There is no spiritual favor that may not be a matter for heart-searching.

But while this should be a matter of earnest and prayerful inquiry, no one ought to be content while there is any such thing as an “if” about his having tasted that the Lord is good. A jealous and holy distrust of self may give rise to the question even in the believer’s heart, but the continuance of such a doubt would be an evil indeed. We must not rest without a desperate struggle to clasp the Savior in the arms of faith and say, “I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.”1

Do not rest, believer, until you have a full assurance of your interest in Jesus. Let nothing satisfy you until, by the infallible witness of the Holy Spirit bearing witness with your spirit, you are identified as a child of God. Do trifle with this. Do not be satisfied with “perhaps” or “if” or “maybe.” Build on eternal truths; really build upon them. Let your anchor be cast into that which is within the veil, and see to it that your soul is linked to the anchor by a cable that will not break. Get beyond these dreary “ifs”; stay no longer in the wilderness of doubts and fears; cross the Jordan of distrust, and enter the promised land of peace, where the land ceases not to flow with milk and honey.

1 – 2 Timothy 1:12

Charles Spurgeon – A sense of pardoned sin

 

“Thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back.” Isaiah 38:17

Suggested Further Reading: Psalm 32

We are saved by faith, and not by feeling. “We walk by faith and not by sight.” Yet there is as much connection between faith and hallowed feeling, as there is between the root and the flower. Faith is permanent, just as the root is ever in the ground; feeling is casual, and has its seasons. Just as the bulb does not always shoot up the green stem; far less is it always crowned with the many, many-coloured flower. Faith is the tree, the essential tree; our feelings are like the appearance of that tree during the different seasons of the year. Sometimes our soul is full of bloom and blossom, and the bees hum pleasantly, and gather honey within our hearts. It is then that our feelings bear witness to the life of our faith, just as the buds of spring bear witness to the life of the tree. Presently, our feelings gather still greater vigour, and we come to the summer of our delights. Again, perhaps, we begin to wither into the dry and yellow leaf of autumn; nay, sometimes the winter of our despondency and despair will strip away every leaf from the tree, and our poor faith stands like a blasted stem without a sign of greenness. And yet, my brethren, so long as the tree of faith is there we are saved. Whether faith blossom or not, whether it bring forth joyous fruit in our experience or not, so long as it be there in all its permanence we are saved. Yet we should have the gravest reason to distrust the life of our faith, if it did not sometimes blossom with joy, and often bring forth fruit unto holiness.

For meditation: True joy cannot exist without saving faith (1 Peter 1:8-9), but sometimes our salvation needs to have its joy restored (Psalm 51:12).

Sermon no. 316

21 May (Preached 20 May 1860)

Our Daily Bread — God’s Strong Arm

 

Exodus 6:1-8

I will redeem you with an outstretched arm. —Exodus 6:6

My friend Joann had a strong desire to become a concert pianist and to travel and perform as either a soloist or as a piano accompanist. While majoring in piano performance in college, she developed tendinitis in her right arm, and it became too weak to perform the solo recital that was required. She graduated with a degree in music history and literature instead.

She knew Jesus as her Savior, but she had been rebelling against Him for several years. Then through further difficult circumstances, she sensed the Lord reaching out to her, and she turned back to Him. Eventually her arm grew stronger, and her dream of traveling and performing came about. She says, “Now I could play to God’s glory instead of my own. His outstretched arm restored my spiritual life and the strength in my arm to enable me to serve Him with the gift He gave me.”

The Lord promised Moses that His outstretched arm would rescue the Israelites from bondage in Egypt (Ex. 6:6). He kept that promise even though His often-rebellious people doubted (14:30-31). God’s mighty arm is outstretched for us as well. No matter the outcome of our situation, He can be trusted to bring about His will for each of His children. We can depend on God’s strong arm. —Anne Cetas

What a fellowship, what a joy divine,

Leaning on the everlasting arms;

O how bright the path grows from day to day,

Leaning on the everlasting arms. —Hoffman

With God’s strength behind you and His arms beneath you, you can face whatever lies ahead of you.

Charles Spurgeon – Christ—the power and wisdom of God

 

“Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:24

Suggested Further Reading: Acts 10:34-43

Christ is the power of God, for he is the Creator of all things, and by Him all things exist. But when he came to earth, took upon himself the fashion of a man, tabernacled in the inn, and slept in the manger, he still gave proof that he was the Son of God; not so much so when, as an infant of a span long, the immortal was the mortal, and the infinite became a babe; not so much so in his youth, but afterwards when he began his public ministry, he gave abundant proofs of his power and godhead. The winds hushed by his finger uplifted, the waves calmed by his voice, so that they became solid as marble beneath his tread; the tempest, cowering at his feet, as before a conqueror whom it knew and obeyed; these things, these stormy elements, the wind, the tempest, and the water, gave full proof of his abundant power. The lame man leaping, the deaf man hearing, the dumb man singing, the dead rising, these, again, were proofs that he was the “power of God.” When the voice of Jesus startled the shades of Hades, and rent the bonds of death, with “Lazarus come forth!” and when the carcase rotten in the tomb woke up to life, there was proof of his divine power and godhead. A thousand other proofs he afforded; but we need not stay to mention them to you who have Bibles in your houses, and who can read them every day. At last he yielded up his life, and was buried in the tomb. Not long, however, did he sleep; for he gave another proof of his divine power and godhead, when starting from his slumber, he affrighted the guards with the majesty of his grandeur, not being held by the bonds of death, they being like green twigs before our conquering Samson, who had meanwhile pulled up the gates of hell, and carried them on his shoulders far away.

For meditation: This very same power of God is mighty to save believers through the gospel (Romans 1:16), is at work within them (Ephesians 1:19) and can enable them to fight the good fight of the faith against all evil powers (Ephesians 6:10-13).

Sermon no. 132

17 May (1857)

Greg Laurie – A Different Kind of Battle

 

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. — Ephesians 6:12

Captain Scotty Smiley has served his country with great courage, but he also has had to face great adversity. A U.S. Army Ranger and a combat diver-qualified infantryman, Captain Smiley is also the Army’s first active-duty blind officer and its first blind company commander. In April, 2006, Captain Smiley lost both of his eyes when a suicide bomber blew himself up 30 meters away from his vehicle.

He has faced this adversity with great faith and courage, an example to anyone dealing with a disability. Since losing his eyesight, he has climbed Mount Rainier, completed a triathlon, skied, skydived, and earned an M.B.A. He was named Soldier of the Year in 2007 and has written his story in a book called Hope Unseen. Captain Smiley is a fantastic model of bravery and courage on the battlefield.

As Christians, we, too, are in a battle, but it’s a battle of a different kind. It is not a physical battle, but a spiritual one—and it is just as real. The Bible tells us that we are “fighting against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). It would blow our minds if God were to pull back the curtain and enable us to see into the spiritual world—the world of God and Satan, the world of angels and demons, the world of heaven and hell.

As I have often said, the Christian life is not a playground; it is a battleground. So here is our choice: Either we are going to win or lose in this battle. Either we are going to gain ground or lose ground. Either we are going to advance or retreat.

Which will it be? It’s a decision we all need to make.

Max Lucado – A Clear Vision

 

The apostle Paul dedicates a paragraph to listing troubles, problems, sufferings, hunger, danger—the very difficulties we hope to escape.  Paul, however, states their value in Romans 8:35-37.  “In all these things we have full victory through God.”

We’d prefer another preposition. We’d opt for “apart from all these things,” or “away from all these things,” or even “without all these things. But Paul says, “in” all these things.

The solution is not to avoid trouble but to change the way we see our troubles. God can correct your vision. He asks, “Who gives a person sight?” then answers, It is I, the Lord.” (Exodus 4:11)  More than one have made the request of the blind man, “Teacher I want to see.” (Mark 10:51)  And more than one have walked away with clear vision.

Who is to say God won’t do the same for you?

Our Daily Bread — Waiting To Cheer

Our Daily Bread

Ephesians 3:14-21

. . . to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. —Ephesians 3:19

In his very first Little League baseball game, a young player on the team I was coaching got hit in the face with a ball. He was not hurt but was understandably shaken. For the rest of the season, he was afraid of the ball. Game after game, he bravely tried, but he just couldn’t seem to hit the ball.

In our final game, we were hopelessly behind, with nothing to cheer about. Then that young man stepped up to take his turn. Thwack! To everyone’s surprise, he hit the ball sharply! His teammates went wild; his parents and his teammates’ parents cheered loudly. Even though we were still losing the game, I was jumping up and down! We all loved this kid and cheered him on.

I imagine that the Lord cheers us on in our lives as well. He loves us deeply and desires that we “may be able to comprehend . . . what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge” (Eph. 3:18-19).

Some think of the Lord as unloving and waiting for us to slip up so He can punish us. So we have the privilege of telling them of His deep love for them. Imagine their joy when they hear about the God who loves them so much that He sent His only Son to die on the cross for their sin and who wants to cheer them on! —Randy Kilgore

Help us, heavenly Father, to see the many

ways You love and encourage us; then help

us to love and encourage those around

us so that they can see You in us.

The nail-pierced hands of Jesus reveal the love-filled heart of God.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Christ Lives in Me

 

“I have been crucified with Christ: and I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. And the real life I now have within this body is a result of my trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me (Galatians 2:20).

After many years of working with thousands of Christians, I am convinced that a person cannot enjoy the supernatural life – which is a believer’s heritage in Christ – apart from the proper balance between Bible study, prayer and sharing Christ with others out of the overflow of an obedient, Spirit-filled life.

We need to be able not only to experience this great adventure with Christ ourselves, but also to share this good news with others.

A word of caution and reminder is in order at this point. We become spiritual and experience power from God and become fruitful in our witness as a result of faithand faith alone.

The Bible clearly teaches that “the just shall live by faith” Romans 1:17. However, it is equally important to know that good works are the result of faith – “trusting in the Son of God” – and unless there are “good works” there is not faith, for “faith without works is dead” (James 2:17).

Many Christians are confused on this point. They think of works (Bible study, prayer and other spiritual disciplines) as the meansto, rather than the resultsof, the life of faith. They spend much time in these activities, seeking God’s favor and blessing.

They may even attempt to witness for Christ and to obey the various commands of God, thinking that by these means they will achieve supernatural living. But they remain defeated, frustrated, powerless and fruitless.

As you are filled with the Holy Spirit – “Christ living in me” – and walk in His power by faith, the Bible becomes alive, prayer becomes vital, your witness becomes effective and obedience becomes a joy.

Bible Reading: Galatians 2:15-19

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will seek to remember that Christ lives in me, in the person of His indwelling Holy Spirit, and thus I have all I need for supernatural living, for victory and joy and peace.

Joyce Meyer – Are You Really Trusting God?

 

My beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. —1 Corinthians 15:58 NKJV

The ability to be steadfast indicates trust in the Lord. Think about it: if I were to say, “I am trusting God,” but then I stay anxious and upset, then I am not really trusting God. If I were to say, “I’m trusting God,” but I sink into depression and despair, then I am not really trusting God. If I say I trust God and worry or lose my joy, then I am not really trusting God.

When we truly trust God, we are able to enter into His rest and allow our hearts to settle into a place of unshakable confidence in Him. The enemy will not completely go away, but he will become more of a nuisance than a major problem to us.

As long as we are on Earth, doing our best to love and serve God, the enemy will be on the prowl around us. Part of God’s design for our spiritual growth includes developing spiritual muscles as we learn to resist the enemy.

The apostle Paul understood this well, so he did not pray that people would never have trouble; he prayed that they would have perseverance, that they would be steadfast and immovable, really trusting the Lord. God wants you to enter His rest and He will work on your behalf.

God’s word for you today: Really trust the Lord.

Charles Stanley – The Alternatives to Patience

Galatians 6:7-9

Have you ever felt the Lord calling you to something really big—maybe some task that seemed impossible or a goal that would no doubt take years to achieve? Most likely, some aspiration or God-given promise just came to mind. As you think about it, let’s consider three common courses of action.

First, we can take a shortcut. After all, if the Lord makes a promise or gives us a goal, wouldn’t He want us to attain it as quickly as possible? The answer is, Not necessarily. God often gives a pledge years before He brings it to pass. When we try to manipulate circumstances and “help” the Lord fulfill His promise, we’ll surely get in the way of the good things He has in mind for us. We should remember that part of the blessing will be the trust and wisdom that we gain while we are waiting.

Second, we can simply quit. We might tell ourselves, Who wants to wait ten years for anything? That is simply too long. I’d rather move on to something else. So we just walk away, forget that the opportunity ever came up, and try not to think about it anymore. But what a tragedy it is to say no to a promise of God and to miss out on the blessing He has planned for us.

Third, we can wait patiently and trust the Lord to bless us. This is clearly the best option, but sadly the one too many of us tend to avoid.

If someone were to say to you, “Ten years from today, I’m going to give you ten million dollars,” what would you say? Most likely, you would not respond, “No, thanks. I want it now or not at all.” Why then, do so many Christians say that to God? He has tremendous blessings in store for you—if you’re willing to wait.

Our Daily Bread — Songs Born Out Of Struggle

Psalm 31:9-20

Have mercy on me, O LORD . . . ; my eye wastes away with grief, yes, my soul and my body! —Psalm 31:9

In a documentary film about three legendary guitarists, Jack White described the first essential for writing a song: “If you don’t have a struggle already inside of you or around you, you have to make one up.”

The songs that mean the most to us give expression to our deepest feelings. Many of the Psalms, often called “the Bible’s songbook,” were born out of struggle. They capture our disappointments and fears, yet they always point us toward the faithful love of God.

In Psalm 31, David wrote: “Have mercy on me, O LORD, for I am in trouble; my eye wastes away with grief, yes, my soul and my body!” (v.9). He speaks of a trap set for him (v.4), his own sin (v.10), abandonment by friends (vv.11-12), and plots against his life (v.13).

Yet, David’s hope was not in his own strength, but in God. “I trust in You, O LORD; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in Your hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies, and from those who persecute me” (vv.14-15).

The Psalms invite us to pour out our hearts to God, because He has stored up His goodness for those who trust in Him (v.19). —David McCasland

God gives to His servants this promise:

You’ll not have to face life alone;

For when you grow weak in your struggle,

His strength will prevail—not your own. —Hess

When in your deepest need, find God’s comfort in the Psalms.

Alistair Begg – Tempted by Idols?

Can man make for himself gods? Such are not gods!  Jeremiah 16:20

One great besetting sin of ancient Israel was idolatry, and the church is vexed with a tendency to the same folly. The ancient gods of man’s invention have mostly disappeared, but the shrines of pride are not forsaken, and the golden calf still stands. Self makes an empty display, and the flesh sets up its altars wherever it can find space for them. Favorite children are often the cause of much sin in believers; the Lord is grieved when He sees us doting upon them beyond measure; they will live to be as great a curse to us as Absalom was to David, or they will be taken from us to leave our homes desolate. If Christians desire to grow thorns with which to stuff their sleepless pillows, let them dote on their children.

It is accurate to say that “such are not gods,” for the objects of our foolish love are very doubtful blessings, the solace that they yield us now is dangerous, and the help that they can give us in the hour of trouble is small indeed. Why, then, are we so bewitched with vanities? We pity the poor heathen who worships a god of stone, and yet we worship a god of gold. Where is the vast superiority between a god of flesh and one of wood? The principle, the sin, the folly is the same in either case; the only difference is that our crime is more aggravated because we have more light, and sin in the face of it. The heathen bows to a false deity, but the true God he has never known; we commit two evils, inasmuch as we forsake the living God and turn to idols. May the Lord purge us all from this grievous iniquity!

The dearest idol I have known,

Whate’er that idol be;

Help me to tear it from Thy throne,

And worship only Thee.

Charles Spurgeon – Divine sovereignty

“Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own?” Matthew 20:15

Suggested Further Reading: Luke 19:11-27

There is no attribute of God more comforting to his children than the doctrine of divine sovereignty. Under the most adverse circumstances, in the most severe troubles, they believe that sovereignty has ordained their afflictions, that sovereignty overrules them, and that sovereignty will sanctify them all. There is nothing for which the children of God should more earnestly contend than the dominion of their Master over all creation—the Kingship of God over all the works of his own hands—the throne of God, and his right to sit upon that throne. On the other hand, there is no doctrine more hated by unbelievers, no truth which they have kicked about so much, as the great, stupendous, but yet most certain doctrine of the sovereignty of the infinite Jehovah. Men will allow God to be everywhere except on his throne. They will allow him to be in his workshop to fashion worlds and to make stars. They will allow him to be in his treasury to dispense his alms and bestow his bounties. They will allow him to sustain the earth and bear up its pillars, or light the lamps of heaven, or rule the waves of the ever-moving ocean; but when God ascends his throne, his creatures then gnash their teeth; and when we proclaim an enthroned God, and his right to do as he wills with his own, to dispose of his creatures as he thinks well, without consulting them in the matter, then it is that we are ridiculed, and then it is that men turn a deaf ear to us, for God on his throne is not the God they love. They love him anywhere better than they do when he sits with his sceptre in his hand and his crown upon his head.

For meditation: Do you have to think twice before addressing Jesus as Lord? Judas Iscariot could never bring himself to do it—the other disciples could say “Lord” (Matthew 26:22); Judas could only say “Rabbi/Master/Teacher” (Matthew 26:25,49).

Sermon no. 77

4 May (1856)

John MacArthur – Chosen to be Sent

“Having summoned His twelve disciples, [Jesus] gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. Now the names of the twelve apostles were these” (Matt. 10:1-2).

Have you ever met someone who constantly absorbs what the church has to offer, yet never seems to plug into a ministry where he can give to others? I’ve met many people like that. Some have attended church for many years, and have even taken evangelism and other special training classes. But they never quite feel qualified to minister to others or even to share their testimony. Eventually that has a crippling effect on their spiritual lives and on the life of the church in general.

When Jesus called the disciples to Himself, He did so to train them for ministry. We see that in Matthew 10:1-2. The Greek word translated “disciples” means “learners.” “Apostles” translates a Greek word meaning “to dispatch away from” or “send.” In classical Greek it refers to a naval expedition dispatched to serve a foreign city or country. Disciples are learners; apostles are emissaries. Jesus called untrained disciples, but dispatched trained apostles. That’s the normal training process.

In Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus says, “Go . . . and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you.” Paul said to Timothy, “The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2).

As wonderful and important as it is to learn of Christ, you must never be content to be a disciple only. You must also be a discipler!

Suggestions for Prayer:

Memorize Matthew 28:18-20. If you aren’t currently discipling someone, ask the Lord for an opportunity to do so.

For Further Study:

An important part of discipleship is spending time with Christ. One way to do that is to read through the gospels on a regular basis. You might want to obtain a harmony of the gospels to help in your study. Tell a friend of your plan so he or she can encourage you and hold you accountable.

Joyce Meyer – Love Aggressively

This is My commandment: that you love one another [just] as I have loved you. No one has greater love [no one has shown stronger affection] than to lay down (give up) his own life for his friends. —John 15:12-13

As the children of God, we must love others as God loves us. And that means aggressively—and sacrificially.

Love is an effort. We will never love anybody if we are not willing to pay the price. One time I gave a woman a nice pair of earrings. My flesh wanted to keep them for myself, but my spirit said to be obedient to the Lord and give them away.

Later that woman stood up in a meeting and told how she had been given the earrings she was wearing as “a free gift.”

The Lord spoke to me and said, “Yes, it was a free gift to her, but it cost you, just as salvation is a free gift to you but it cost Jesus His life.”

Love is the greatest gift of all. When you show forth the love of God, do it freely, sacrificially—and aggressively!

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Ways That Are Right and Best

“He will teach the ways that are right and best to those who humbly turn to Him” (Psalm 25:9).

A guide, taking some tourists through Mammoth Cave, reached a place called “The Cathedral.”

Mounting a rock called “The Pulpit,” he said he wanted to preach a sermon, and it would be short.

“Keep close to your guide,” he said.

The tourists soon found it was a good sermon. If they did not keep close to the guide, they would be lost in the midst of pits, precipices and caverns.

It is hard to find one’s way through Mammoth Cave without a guide. It is harder to find one’s way through the world without the lamp of God’s Word.

“Keep your eye on the Light of the World (Jesus) and use the Lamp of God’s Word” is a good motto for the Christian to follow.

Humbly turning to God is one of the most meaningful exercises a person can take. We come in touch with divine sovereignty, and we become instant candidates to discern God’s will for our lives.

Humbling ourselves is clearly in line with God’s formula for revival:

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14, KJV).

Bible Reading: Psalm 25:1-8

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: With the enabling of the Holy Spirit, I will fix my heart and mind on Jesus first and others second, which is true humility.

Greg Laurie –Not All There Is

God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. —James 1:12

Not long ago, I had a conversation with two people after church.

One was in a wheelchair with a severe disability, and the other was speaking at length. I listened to her for a while, and then I turned to the woman in the wheelchair and said, “Well, how are you doing?”

“I am doing fine,” she told me.

But then her friend said that she actually had just had two brain surgeries to remove cancer, and they were successful.

I looked at this young woman with her disability, someone who had just come through such a difficult time, and I thought, “And where is she now?” She is at church.

I think of all of the excuses people come up with as to why they can’t make it to church. They have a cold, or it takes too long to get into the parking lot, and so forth. Yet here was this young woman who, despite her severe disability and recent surgeries, was at church, praising God and saying she is doing fine. I was touched by her example.

So I said to her, “You know, the Bible promises a special blessing and crown to those who have suffered in this life. I admire your faith. You are an inspiration to me.”

James 1:12 says, “God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him” (NLT). It all will be made up to us in the life to come. Have you lost something to follow Jesus? Whatever losses you may have incurred for following Christ will be more than made up to you.

Make no mistake about it: Our life on earth isn’t all there is. There will be rewards for our faithfulness to God.