Tag Archives: god

Be a Hero – Greg Laurie

 

Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation —Hebrews 11:2

We throw the word “hero” around a lot today. If a basketball player is adept at sinking the ball in the basket, we say that he or she is a sports hero. A musician who is really good on a guitar is called a guitar hero. But do we actually know what a hero is anymore?

I think we are living in a time in which we are more obsessed with celebrities and have fewer heroes. In the age of Paris Hilton and the Kardashians, we have people who are famous for being famous.

Someone who compared celebrity with true heroism said that time makes heroes but dissolves celebrities. Well said.

Then there are the unsung heroes, those who often work behind the scenes but don’t get the credit. Sometimes we don’t even know that person is a hero until much later. Perhaps they made an unpopular stand or did something that was not politically correct or simply did the right thing. And with the passing of time, we realize they were right.

In the Bible, we find a lot of unsung heroes. We think of Moses and Joshua as heroes, but what about Caleb? Along with Joshua, he endured the ridicule of the Israelites when they told the people they should enter the Promised Land. But in the end, it was Caleb who said, “Give me the hill country that the Lord promised me” (Joshua 14:12), and then he took possession of his inheritance.

Andrew originally followed John the Baptist, who pointed him to Christ. And when Andrew found Jesus, the first thing he did was find his brother Peter and tell him. In fact, every time we read about Andrew in the Bible, he is bringing someone to Jesus.

You can stand as an example of what it is to be a true believer. You may never be famous, but you can be a hero to others as you faithfully walk with Christ.

Created to Love – Charles Stanley

 

Have you ever wondered if your life has a purpose? The Word of God says it does—one that is both noble and desirable: Every believer was created by God to love and be loved.

God loves you personally and individually, without limit or qualification. He desires to shower you with His affection and kindness. Let me assure you of several things:

God’s love is the most important thing we can know about Him.

The very essence of God’s being—in other words, His personality and nature—is love (1 John 4:8). It is the reason Jesus came to earth, lived a victorious life, and then died to restore man’s relationship with the Father (John 3:16). The most important decision we can ever make is to receive this gift of God.

The Lord’s affection is absolute, unwavering, and sacrificial. Moreover, God’s love is not subject to favoritism. He cares for the sinner as much as He does for the saint. In our human pride or our desire to be “somebody special,” we may find that fact difficult to swallow. But God grants love to each person.

The Bible tells us that the rain falls on the just and the unjust, and the sun shines on the righteous and the wicked (Matt. 5:45). This means that with or without faith in God, everyone experiences certain benefits and blessings from Him. But the person who receives Jesus as Savior is in a position to reap the blessings that accompany an outpouring of love into his or her life.

The Lord’s love is not based upon what we do, what we have, or what we achieve. He freely gives it to us simply because we are His creation. You cannot win or earn more of God’s favor—it has nothing to do with performance. Accept and delight in that truth.

The most important response we can make is to reciprocate God’s love.

John said it simply and eloquently: “We love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19, NKJV). And Jesus said the first and foremost commandment was this: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matt. 22:37). The only acceptable response to God’s great outpouring of love toward you is to love Him back.

We can choose to rebel. And while this doesn’t affect God’s nature, it will change us. Those who refuse to acknowledge and receive divine love cut themselves off from great blessing. Not only that, but such individuals typically yield to anger, hatred, and bitterness. To harden one’s heart toward God is the supreme act of rebellion—in doing so, a person hurts himself far more than he hurts others. Humbly receiving God, on the other hand, brings good into one’s life.

Satan constantly tries to convince us that if we follow Jesus, we will have to give up personal freedom, identity, and pleasure. But those who live apart from God’s love inevitably discover their rebellion did not make them any freer. They may not go to jail, but they end up in emotional or psychological prisons—caught in addiction or trapped by feelings of resentment. The longer they live separated from the Lord’s love and mercy, the less pleasure they find in life. In that situation, it is easy to become cynical, jaded, critical, and in the end, apathetic to nearly everything.

But those who embrace and reciprocate God’s love enjoy inner freedom they never imagined. They develop as individuals, discovering hidden talents and abilities. They experience true delight in God’s creation and know the joy of perpetual discovery.

When we choose to love and obey God, we can be sure He will guide us toward doing what will bring about the greatest fulfillment in life.

God’s love is our ultimate reason to hope.

If we know with certainty that God loves us and desires good for our lives, what is there to fear? Hope in Christ is for everyone. It compels us not to remain in a state of dread, doubt, or worry but to seek transformation by the Holy Spirit’s power. Trust encourages us to anticipate God’s best and look for the dawning of a new day.

Our heavenly Father is generous—even extravagant—in His love. Open your heart and let the Lord shower more of His good gifts upon you. You won’t regret yielding your life to Him.

Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening

 

Morning  “Jehoshaphat made ships of Tharshish to go to Ophir for gold: but they went

not; for the ships were broken at Ezion-geber” / 1 Kings 22:48

Solomon’s ships had returned in safety, but Jehoshaphat’s vessels never

reached the land of gold. Providence prospers one, and frustrates the desires

of another, in the same business and at the same spot, yet the Great Ruler is

as good and wise at one time as another. May we have grace today, in the

remembrance of this text, to bless the Lord for ships broken at Ezion-geber,

as well as for vessels freighted with temporal blessings; let us not envy the

more successful, nor murmur at our losses as though we were singularly and

specially tried. Like Jehoshaphat, we may be precious in the Lord’s sight,

although our schemes end in disappointment.

The secret cause of Jehoshaphat’s loss is well worthy of notice, for it is the

root of very much of the suffering of the Lord’s people; it was his alliance

with a sinful family, his fellowship with sinners. In 2 Ch. 20:37, we are told

that the Lord sent a prophet to declare, “Because thou hast joined thyself

with Ahaziah, the Lord hath broken thy works.” This was a fatherly

chastisement, which appears to have been blest to him; for in the verse which

succeeds our morning’s text we find him refusing to allow his servants to sail

in the same vessels with those of the wicked king. Would to God that

Jehoshaphat’s experience might be a warning to the rest of the Lord’s people,

to avoid being unequally yoked together with unbelievers! A life of misery is

usually the lot of those who are united in marriage, or in any other way of

their own choosing, with the men of the world. O for such love to Jesus that,

like him, we may be holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners; for

if it be not so with us, we may expect to hear it often said, “The Lord hath

broken thy works.”

 

Evening   “The iron did swim.” / 2 Kings 6:6

The axe-head seemed hopelessly lost, and as it was borrowed, the honour of the

prophetic band was likely to be imperilled, and so the name of their God to be

compromised. Contrary to all expectation, the iron was made to mount from the

depth of the stream and to swim; for things impossible with man are possible

with God. I knew a man in Christ but a few years ago who was called to

undertake a work far exceeding his strength. It appeared so difficult as to

involve absurdity in the bare idea of attempting it. Yet he was called

thereto, and his faith rose with the occasion; God honoured his faith,

unlooked-for aid was sent, and the iron did swim. Another of the Lord’s family

was in grievous financial straits, he was able to meet all claims, and much

more if he could have realized a certain portion of his estate, but he was

overtaken with a sudden pressure; he sought for friends in vain, but faith led

him to the unfailing Helper, and lo, the trouble was averted, his footsteps

were enlarged, and the iron did swim. A third had a sorrowful case of

depravity to deal with. He had taught, reproved, warned, invited, and

interceded, but all in vain. Old Adam was too strong for young Melancthon, the

stubborn spirit would not relent. Then came an agony of prayer, and before

long a blessed answer was sent from heaven. The hard heart was broken, the

iron did swim.

Beloved reader, what is thy desperate case? What heavy matter hast thou in

hand this evening? Bring it hither. The God of the prophets lives, and lives

to help his saints. He will not suffer thee to lack any good thing. Believe

thou in the Lord of hosts! Approach him pleading the name of Jesus, and the

iron shall swim; thou too shalt see the finger of God working marvels for his

people. According to thy faith be it unto thee, and yet again the iron shall

swim.

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Enjoying God’s Forgiveness – John MacArthur

 

In Christ we have “the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of [God’s] grace, which He lavished upon us” (Eph. 1:7-8).

On Israel’s Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) the high priest selected two goats. One was sacrificed; the other set free. Before releasing the second goat, the high priest symbolically placed the sins of the people on it by laying his hands on its head. This “scapegoat” was then taken a great distance from camp and released–never to return again (Lev. 16:7-10).

The Greek word translated “forgiveness” in Ephesians 1:7 means “to send away.” It speaks of cancelling a debt or granting a pardon. Like the scapegoat, Christ carried away our sins on the cross.

In Christ, God cancelled your debt and pardoned your transgressions, and He did so “according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon [you]” (v. 8). That means you have infinite forgiveness because God’s grace is infinite. You cannot sin beyond God’s grace because where sin abounds, grace super-abounds (Rom. 5:20).

God delights in lavishing His grace upon you. Such grace is overflowing and cannot be contained. You are forgiven for every sin–past, present, and future. You will never be condemned by God or separated from Him (Rom. 8:1-2, 31-39). Even when you fail, God doesn’t hold your sins against you. Christ bore them all so that you might know the joy and peace that freedom from sin and guilt brings.

Let the reality of God’s grace fill your heart with joy and assurance. Let the responsibility of glorifying Him fill you with awe and reverence. Let this day be a sacrifice of praise and service to Him.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Thank God for His infinite grace and forgiveness.

Look for opportunities to extend forgiveness to others.

 

For Further Study: Read Matthew 18:21-35

What characteristic marked the wicked slave?

What was the king’s response to the wicked slave’s actions?

What point was Jesus making? How does it apply to you?

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A reminder about America – Bro Bo in Hawaii

– a small history lesson
Talk about the United States today and bring up Christianity and the first thing that pops up is The Separation of Church and State. Do you believe this is truly what was intended by the people that wrote the Constitution?  Maybe, only for the Fact that they did not want a powerful “Church of England” in charge of the New Country.  Their plan was to leave the idea of churches for the people, with the people. The people of each State would decide what church is best for them. The federal government would have no control in this area.

That was the plan, but plans can change and The State Governments today all dance from the money strings attached to the Federal Government rules. It is not for me to call out or say what is right or wrong in the Government today. I am just one person, all I can do is ask you to think for yourself and trust God, not government.

You can make up your own mind as to what the Government is doing and not doing, how much control they have over your life. Then think about how much, if any; is God part of what the Government is doing. You can decide to follow what God teaches you in the Bible and grow and learn to be the Person God hopes you will be.

Take the time to ask questions and seek answers. Start with…Who do you trust with your Life?

Proverbs 1:7 KJ21 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Psalm 127:1 KJ21 Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.

Proverbs 8:10 KJ21 Receive my instruction and not silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold;

2 Corinthians 4:6 KJ21 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Philippians 3:7 KJ21 But what things were gain to me, those I counted as loss for Christ. 8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things and count them but dung, that I may win Christ

Remember to be Wise men who know the times and to know where the Wisdom comes from…God.

Peace be to you all from Bro Bo in Hawaii

– Life is a long journey but we all end up before the same God in Heaven, What will He say to you?

Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening

 

Morning  “Ye are Christ’s.” / 1 Corinthians 3:23

“Ye are Christ’s.” You are his by donation, for the Father gave you to the

Son; his by his bloody purchase, for he counted down the price for your

redemption; his by dedication, for you have consecrated yourself to him; his

by relation, for you are named by his name, and made one of his brethren and

joint-heirs. Labour practically to show the world that you are the servant,

the friend, the bride of Jesus. When tempted to sin, reply, “I cannot do this

great wickedness, for I am Christ’s.” Immortal principles forbid the friend of

Christ to sin. When wealth is before you to be won by sin, say that you are

Christ’s, and touch it not. Are you exposed to difficulties and dangers? Stand

fast in the evil day, remembering that you are Christ’s. Are you placed where

others are sitting down idly, doing nothing? Rise to the work with all your

powers; and when the sweat stands upon your brow, and you are tempted to

loiter, cry, “No, I cannot stop, for I am Christ’s. If I were not purchased by

blood, I might be like Issachar, crouching between two burdens; but I am

Christ’s, and cannot loiter.” When the siren song of pleasure would tempt you

from the path of right, reply, “Thy music cannot charm me; I am Christ’s.”

When the cause of God invites thee, give thy goods and thyself away, for thou

art Christ’s. Never belie thy profession. Be thou ever one of those whose

manners are Christian, whose speech is like the Nazarene, whose conduct and

conversation are so redolent of heaven, that all who see you may know that you

are the Saviour’s, recognizing in you his features of love and his countenance

of holiness. “I am a Roman!” was of old a reason for integrity; far more,

then, let it be your argument for holiness, “I am Christ’s!”

 

Evening “I have yet to speak on God’s behalf.” / Job 36:2

We ought not to court publicity for our virtue, or notoriety for our zeal;

but, at the same time, it is a sin to be always seeking to hide that which God

has bestowed upon us for the good of others. A Christian is not to be a

village in a valley, but “a city set upon a hill;” he is not to be a candle

under a bushel, but a candle in a candlestick, giving light to all. Retirement

may be lovely in its season, and to hide one’s self is doubtless modest, but

the hiding of Christ in us can never be justified, and the keeping back of

truth which is precious to ourselves is a sin against others and an offence

against God. If you are of a nervous temperament and of retiring disposition,

take care that you do not too much indulge this trembling propensity, lest you

should be useless to the church. Seek in the name of him who was not ashamed

of you to do some little violence to your feelings, and tell to others what

Christ has told to you. If thou canst not speak with trumpet tongue, use the

still small voice. If the pulpit must not be thy tribune, if the press may not

carry on its wings thy words, yet say with Peter and John, “Silver and gold

have I none; but such as I have give I thee.” By Sychar’s well talk to the

Samaritan woman, if thou canst not on the mountain preach a sermon; utter the

praises of Jesus in the house, if not in the temple; in the field, if not upon

the exchange; in the midst of thine own household, if thou canst not in the

midst of the great family of man. From the hidden springs within let sweetly

flowing rivulets of testimony flow forth, giving drink to every passer-by.

Hide not thy talent; trade with it; and thou shalt bring in good interest to

thy Lord and Master. To speak for God will be refreshing to ourselves,

cheering to saints, useful to sinners, and honouring to the Saviour. Dumb

children are an affliction to their parents. Lord, unloose all thy children’s

tongue.

The High Cost of Free Grace – John MacArthur

 

“In [Christ] we have redemption through His blood” (Eph. 1:7, emphasis added).

Sin is not a serious issue to most people. Our culture flaunts and peddles it in countless forms. Even Christians who would never think of committing certain sins will often allow themselves to be entertained by them through television, movies, music, and other media.

We might flirt with sin but God hates it. The price He paid to redeem us from it speaks of the seriousness with which He views it. After all, we “were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold . . . but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ” (1 Pet. 1:18-19). In Scripture the shedding of blood refers to violent physical death–whether of a sacrificial animal or of Christ Himself. Sin is so serious that without bloodshed, there is no forgiveness of sin in God’s sight (Heb. 9:22).

The sacrificial animals in the Old Testament pictured Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. That’s why John the Baptist called Jesus “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). The Old Testament sacrifices were necessary but incomplete. Christ’s sacrifice was perfect, complete, and once for all (Heb. 10:10). No further sacrifices are needed other than the “sacrifice of praise to God” for what He has done (Heb. 13:15) and our very lives in service to Him as “a living and holy sacrifice” (Rom. 12:1). By His sacrifice Christ demonstrated not only God’s hatred for sin, but also His great love for sinners. You could never redeem yourself, but Christ willingly paid the price with His own precious blood. He “gave Himself up for [you], an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma” (Eph. 5:2). His sacrifice was acceptable to the Father, so your redemption was paid in full. What magnanimous love and incredible grace!

Suggestions for Prayer:

Worship God for His wonderful plan of salvation.

Worship Christ for the enormous sacrifice He made on your behalf.

Worship the Holy Spirit for applying Christ’s sacrifice to your life and drawing you to Christ in saving faith.

Ask God to help you guard your heart from flirting with sin.

For Further Study: Read 2 Samuel 11

What circumstances led to David’s sin with Bathsheba?

How did David attempt to cover his sin?

How did David finally deal with his sin (see Ps. 51)?

Big Dreams? Be Faithful – Greg Laurie

 

Do you have big dreams to accomplish something great for God?

I have some advice for you: Be faithful in the little things and God will give you more to do.

When David was called by God to be king, he was out watching sheep, just being faithful. The day David killed Goliath, he didn’t wake up that morning and hear God say, “David, today you are going to the valley of Elah. There will be a giant Philistine named Goliath, and you will kill him with a stone.” No, at his dad’s request, David was taking some cheese sandwiches to his brothers out on the front line. . .just being faithful on an errand for his dad.

What was Gideon doing when God called him? He was hiding from his enemies. He was terrified. But God saw his potential, and the next thing Gideon knew, he was leading troops into battle.

And what was Elisha doing when Elijah called him to carry on the work? He was out plowing in the field. Moses was watching a bunch of sheep in the desert when God called him to deliver the Israelites. Then there was Daniel, who was so faithful to the Lord that his enemies couldn’t find one thing wrong with him. They had to make up lies about him so that he would be sentenced to death. And how about that teenage girl named Mary living in Nazareth who had a visit from one of God’s most powerful angels, with a message about a Child, who would be called the Son of the Most High?

My point is this: They were faithfully doing what God had set before them. They weren’t running around, looking for big, important things to accomplish. They didn’t have public relations consultants or agents. They were simply doing the little things, waiting on God.

Sometimes, we have great ideas of what God will do. But we have to wait on Him. What are your dreams right now? Maybe you want to do something for God, but you think it will never happen. Then again. . .maybe it will. Maybe it even will surpass your wildest dreams. Just be faithful to do what God has set before you right now.

Your future is safe in His hands.

Whom is the Wisest – Bro Bo in Hawaii

Psalm 19:1 (KJ21) The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth His handiwork.

Romans 11:33 (KJ21) O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!

Just as God is the all knowing, the creator of everything. We, ones who were created by the creator know nothing, in comparison.

It is hard to admit, our pride is such that we feel we are the smartest, but when you stop to really think about it; you know the scriptures are right.

All the best minds Mankind has produced has just left us falling way short of God’s level. The Fredrich Nietzches and Michel Foucaults of the world have no real answers. Nietzsche ended his life in a mental ward and Foucault ended his life in misery and disgrace. Before dying of AIDS, he knowingly gave all his partners the disease so they too could experience his answer to life.  Which I will quote here – “ Every trace of ourselves that is shaped by others must be destroyed: our political, cultural, and sexual identities, our notion of right and wrong, sanity and madness, even what is true and false, all must vanish.” 1

When highly educated men can provide  no satisfactory answers to life’s fundamental questions, those that learn from them are severely handicapped in trying to be educated.
Because when you have a populace educated on a diet of Secularism they are not prepared for life and certainly not ready to teach their children. Still to this day some of the bestsellers at bookstores at major campuses across the country are by Nietzches and Foucaults.
Paul addressed the great Greek thinkers of His day;
1st Cor 1:20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save those who believe.

Our challenge is to seek out God’s Wisdom that is in this world and learn from it. Use the tools of the times; The Internet with our Blogs and WEBsites. Identify the truth and question everything; test what you read with the fiery furnace of the Bible. We must also be aware of the worldly wisdom that is in opposition to us today, to combat it and stand against it.

Remember to be Wise men who know the times  (Jan 10 Dev.) and to know where the Wisdom comes from…God.

Peace be to you all from Bro Bo in Hawaii

– Life is a long journey but we all end up before the same God in Heaven, What will He say to you?

1.) Arthur Herman, The Idea of Decline in western history New York – Free Press 1997

Walking Away from God – Charles Stanley

 

Luke 15:20-32

Like the father of the prodigal son, our heavenly Father will not force us to remain with Him. If we ignore His guiding Holy Spirit and insist on following an ungodly path, He’ll let us go our own way. Examining the parable, we learn what happens if we move outside of God’s plan.

• Our fellowship with the Father is significantly affected. The wayward son was no longer in close contact with his dad; their relationship was not as important to him as it had been. If we wander and make ourselves higher priority than the Lord, we will also experience a disconnect with our heavenly Father. As Christians, we cannot move off God’s chosen path without first closing our mind and heart to His truth and His call on our lives.

• Our resources—time, talent, and treasure—are wasted. The son squandered his money on frivolous things and ended up worse off than the laborers at his father’s house. God has bestowed spiritual gifts and material resources to build His kingdom, and He’s also provided His Spirit to offer guidance. Pursuing our own plan wastes what He has given us.

• Our deepest needs go unmet. Chasing after dreams that are outside of the Lord’s purposes will lead to discontent. Only in Christ can we find true fulfillment.

A great weariness will overtake us if we live apart from God. Poor choices can result in lifelong regrets, but they don’t have to dictate our future. The heavenly Father will welcome us with great joy and love when we repent and turn back to Him. Have you wandered away? He’s waiting for you.

The Best Intentions – Ravi Zacharias Ministries

 

How far can we get on good intentions? According to one survey conducted among a diverse group of men and women, thirty percent of those who make New Year’s resolutions admit not keeping them into February. Just one in five continues his or her resolution for six months or more. Apparently, we don’t get very far.

We meet life with intentions to succeed, intentions to be a good person, intentions to live life to the fullest. Yet however many ways we might interpret success, goodness, or full-living, our good intentions have certain aspects in common: the hope to improve, the idea of becoming something more than what we are at the moment, the expectation that one should reach his or her potential. It is as if there is an image implanted in our minds that upholds the idea of something we could be or might be—some even use the language of even being meant to be. But there is all too often a tragic side to best intentions. When they are not fully realized, there is usually a sense that it is we who have gotten in the way.

Great minds from Augustine to G.K. Chesterton saw clearly that the most verifiable truth of the Christian worldview is certainly the depravity of humanity. It can be observed across countries and languages, at any time and within every decade, from barbaric accounts of depravity in far away places to more accepted forms of depravity close at home. We close our eyes to reality where we refuse to see the same story repeating itself again and again. We might euphemize the thought of sin into neurotic myth, outdated opinion, or church propaganda, but it has not been euthanized. Observe for a short time at any playground and you will note quickly amongst even the youngest that something is amiss. If we were to truly observe our hearts, motives, and wills, we would hardly find them good and consistent leaders to follow.

The Christian worldview recognizes the recurring story of a disappointed and disappointing humanity. Not only do we miss our own intentions, we miss the intention of one we faintly recognize within us; we sense in our createdness the greater mark and glory of the creator disappointingly out of reach. The one who spoke to the dejected Eve in the Garden of Eden and to the defiant David through the prophet Nathan is the present one beside whom we, too, stand in contrast. We can step no closer to that standard by our own intentions than a foolish king can order the stars to bow before him. To look at the Son is to find that even our best intentions are made of straw.

Yet looking at Christ, we not only see our humanity beside a perfect human, we find this perfect human moving toward us in mercy, giving us a bigger picture of the good and the fullest, and ushering us into the possibility of holding more than we ever imagined. Where we are honest about our limits and shortfalls, we can truly grasp the beauty of Jesus and the unimaginable depth of a Father’s love. It is in Christ where we find that God moves the blur of sin to give us the picture of all God intended. And here, we find the Christian worldview not only coherently offers the diagnosis, but also the cure.

The late Christian songwriter Rich Mullins alluded to the bigger pictures of God when he observed of his own life: “What I’d have settled for/ You’ve blown so far away/ What You brought me to/ I thought I could not reach.” In the intentions of God, we find that where we would have settled, where we would have been content with success or goodness, the Father moves us far beyond. Where we would have fallen beyond reach, the Son took our place. “God who is mighty,” proclaims the psalmist, “has done great things for me.” In the coming of this New Year, might we recognize a similar story in our own lives.

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

Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening

 

Morning  “These have no root.” / Luke 8:13

My soul, examine thyself this morning by the light of this text. Thou hast

received the word with joy; thy feelings have been stirred and a lively

impression has been made; but, remember, that to receive the word in the ear

is one thing, and to receive Jesus into thy very soul is quite another;

superficial feeling is often joined to inward hardness of heart, and a lively

impression of the word is not always a lasting one. In the parable, the seed

in one case fell upon ground having a rocky bottom, covered over with a thin

layer of earth; when the seed began to take root, its downward growth was

hindered by the hard stone and therefore it spent its strength in pushing its

green shoot aloft as high as it could, but having no inward moisture derived

from root nourishment, it withered away. Is this my case? Have I been making a

fair show in the flesh without having a corresponding inner life? Good growth

takes place upwards and downwards at the same time. Am I rooted in sincere

fidelity and love to Jesus? If my heart remains unsoftened and unfertilized by

grace, the good seed may germinate for a season, but it must ultimately

wither, for it cannot flourish on a rocky, unbroken, unsanctified heart. Let

me dread a godliness as rapid in growth and as wanting in endurance as Jonah’s

gourd; let me count the cost of being a follower of Jesus, above all let me

feel the energy of his Holy Spirit, and then I shall possess an abiding and

enduring seed in my soul. If my mind remains as obdurate as it was by nature,

the sun of trial will scorch, and my hard heart will help to cast the heat the

more terribly upon the ill-covered seed, and my religion will soon die, and my

despair will be terrible; therefore, O heavenly Sower, plough me first, and

then cast the truth into me, and let me yield thee a bounteous harvest.

 

Evening  “I have prayed for thee.” / Luke 22:32

How encouraging is the thought of the Redeemer’s never- ceasing intercession

for us. When we pray, he pleads for us; and when we are not praying, he is

advocating our cause, and by his supplications shielding us from unseen

dangers. Notice the word of comfort addressed to Peter–“Simon, Simon, Satan

hath desired to have you that he may sift you as wheat; but”–what? “But go

and pray for yourself.” That would be good advice, but it is not so written.

Neither does he say, “But I will keep you watchful, and so you shall be

preserved.” That were a great blessing. No, it is, “But I have prayed for

thee, that thy faith fail not.” We little know what we owe to our Saviour’s

prayers. When we reach the hill-tops of heaven, and look back upon all the way

whereby the Lord our God hath led us, how we shall praise him who, before the

eternal throne, undid the mischief which Satan was doing upon earth. How shall

we thank him because he never held his peace, but day and night pointed to the

wounds upon his hands, and carried our names upon his breastplate! Even before

Satan had begun to tempt, Jesus had forestalled him and entered a plea in

heaven. Mercy outruns malice. Mark, he does not say, “Satan hath desired to

have you.” He checks Satan even in his very desire, and nips it in the bud. He

does not say, “But I have desired to pray for you.” No, but “I have prayed for

you: I have done it already; I have gone to court and entered a counterplea

even before an accusation is made.” O Jesus, what a comfort it is that thou

hast pleaded our cause against our unseen enemies; countermined their mines,

and unmasked their ambushes. Here is a matter for joy, gratitude, hope, and

confidence.

 

The Slavery That Frees – John MacArthur

 

God exalted Christ “and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fulness of Him who fills all in all” (Eph. 1:22-23).

Here Paul uses a graphic analogy to illustrate the relationship of Christ to the church: He is the head; believers are His body. Paul elaborates that we’re to hold “fast to the head [Christ], from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God” (Col. 2:19; cf. Eph. 4:15-16).

Just as the head controls the human body, so Christ governs His Body, the church (cf. 1 Cor. 12:12-31). By His Spirit and His Word He supplies all the resources the church needs to function to His glory. In that way He guarantees that His purposes will be fulfilled.

The church is in fact “the fulness of Him who fills all in all” (Eph. 1:23). The implication is that the incomprehensible, all-sufficient, all-powerful, and utterly supreme Christ is in a sense incomplete–not in His nature, but in the degree to which His glory is seen in the world.

A synonym for “fulness” is “complement.” The church was designed to complement Christ. He is the One who fills all in all”–the fullness of deity in bodily form (Col. 2:9) and the giver of truth and grace (John 1:16). Yet He chooses to reveal His glory in and through the church. Therefore, until the church is fully glorified, Christ will not be fully complemented.

Does your life complement Christ? Do you “adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect” (Titus 2:10)? Do you “let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16)? You have every spiritual resource to do so, so don’t let anything hold you back (Heb. 12:1-2)!

Suggestions for Prayer: Read Psalm 139:23-24 and pray with David that God will search your heart and reveal any sin that might hinder you from complementing Christ today.

For Further Study: Read 1 Corinthians 12:1-30

What spiritual gifts are mentioned in this passage?

How does Paul deal with the misconception that some gifts are more important than others (see vv. 14-30)?

As a member of Christ’s Body, you are gifted by the Spirit to minister to others. Are you doing so?

Don’t Waste Your Pain – Greg Laurie

 

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.—2 Corinthians 1:3–4

Personal adversity and suffering give us a new compassion for others who are in pain. Someone who has suffered can minister with great compassion to another person who is experiencing the same kind of adversity.

I believe the most effective person to minister to someone who has been diagnosed with cancer is a cancer survivor, because he or she can say, “I know what you are going through. I know what it is like to hear that news. Let me tell you what I did. Let me tell you how I have gotten through this.”

A person with a disability can minister more effectively to another person with a disability than someone who doesn’t have one at all. They can say, “I, too, struggle. I, too, have to deal with this. But let me share with you how God has helped me.”

A person who has lost a loved one often can minister more effectively to someone else who has lost a loved one. They know what it is like.

The apostle Paul wrote that God “comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ” (2 Corinthians 1:4–5).

Don’t waste your pain. If you have gone through hardship, if you have gone through adversity or are going through difficulty, God can use you to help someone else. God can open up your heart and give you opportunities to minister to people in ways you never have had before.

This is one of the things that suffering can bring about in a person’s life. And nothing ever happens accidentally to a child of God.

Wise men who knew the times – Bro Bo in Hawaii

 

1 Chronicles 12:32 (KJ21)  And of the children of Issachar, who were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do, the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their command.

Esther 1:13 (KJ21) Then the king said to the wise men who knew the times (for so was the king’s manner toward all who knew law and judgment;

These Scriptures give notice to the fact that the people being talked about knew what was going on around them. They were not deceived by popular current news stories or mislead by gossip and rumor that is present at all times in history.

Wouldn’t you like to be known as one of these? Trusted men who understand their times.

What this really means is that we need to know what is going on around us, just like in King David’s time or with Esther, there will be confusing and misleading news and information. There will always be bad news, false reports and people’s opinions. So the question becomes can you tell the difference between the truth and the lies?

This will be what sets you apart to become one of the Trusted Men, One who can cut through all the crap and give good answers and advice. More than ever there are so many lost and desperate people in this world looking for answers. Family, friends and neighbors all around you need to hear the truth.

Whatever method works best for you, use it. Look at where you get your news and information from and always question the sources. Challenge what you see and hear and compare everything to the Word of God and use the Bible to establish the cornerstones of your faith.

Find reliable sources of Biblical based information on the Internet and visit the sites daily.

Pray and ask for Wisdom and use what you learn every day to grow into the person God wants you to be.

Peace be to you all from Bro Bo in Hawaii

– Life is a long journey but we all end up before the same God in Heaven, What will He say to you?

Our Riches in Christ – Charles Stanley

 

Philippians 4:19-20

As believers, we are truly wealthy because of the riches and grace that are ours in Christ. We have been chosen, redeemed, justified, united with God, and made citizens of heaven. But there is even more to include on our list.

Jesus told the disciples that His departure was necessary: it would actually benefit His followers, as He could then send the third member of the Trinity to indwell each believer (John 16:7). Upon salvation, we are given the Holy Spirit, who seals us as God’s children, comforts us in our pain, and teaches us how to live righteously.

Through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, we become more and more like Jesus, which is another blessing from the Lord. His Spirit transforms us from the inside out and produces godly fruit in our life (Gal. 5:22-23). He also empowers us to choose righteous living and break unholy habits.

Another amazing blessing for Christians is access to the throne of grace. At any time, we can enter into God’s presence through prayer and worship. And resurrection and glorification are also treasures for the child of God. Just as the Savior’s body was resurrected, our bodies will likewise be raised; in heaven, they will be made perfect, and we will be free from sin’s presence forever.

Our wealth in Christ surpasses anything this world offers. Don’t let yourself be seduced by earthly thinking, which values comfort and pleasure above all else. Instead, treasure who you are in Christ and what you have been given. When you do, peace and contentment will become yours.

Resolution and Mission – Ravi Zacharias Ministries

 

“Make a New Year’s resolution to give up an old habit,” proclaims a billboard put up by a fledgling newspaper trying to woo away readers from a more established paper. This is the time of the year when the very word “resolution” catches our attention, and the advertisement was cashing in on the sentiment.

Resolutions clearly vary in depth of meaning. You can have a new resolution every new year if you would like. Most resolutions are short-term and can therefore be more easily evaluated than overarching values or life purposes. But even if one is successful every year in keeping a resolution, does that mean that one can, towards the twilight years of one’s life, say one has lived successfully? I’m not sure we would go as far as to say this.

In the early chapters of the Gospel of Mark, Jesus shows far more than resolution to live a particular life. Overwhelmed with the pressures of popularity to the extent that “the whole city gathered at the door,” Jesus did two things (Mark 1:33). In response to the people before him, he first met all of their needs. He healed their diseases and cast out their demons. But then, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place to pray.

Immediately upon finding him, his disciples gave him what seems like an exaggerated report: “Everyone is looking for you!” they exclaimed (1:37). Gently and confidently, Jesus set the course, telling them his plans on fulfilling his mission. “Let us go somewhere else to the towns nearby, so that I may preach there also; for that is what I came for” (1:38). Popularity did not distract him. The demands of the crowds did not prevent him from focusing on what he needed to do. Jesus knew his mission in life, and every action worked toward this end.

Everyone in this world has some form of a mission statement, though often it is not formally stated. Many have implicit mission statements to make money or to become powerful or to be successful or to optimize pleasure. Though many of our goals or resolutions are not necessarily wrong in and of themselves, they become empty when elevated beyond what the accomplishment itself can provide. Success in the stock market does not make for a successful life. There is a vast difference between a resolution and a mission statement. We were meant for far more than any accomplishment of our own can provide.

If you look in the mirror of God’s Word, you will find that God not only has a plan for life itself, but a plan for your life. John reports, “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life’” (John 8:12). Jesus gives us the only mission statement that extends beyond this life and into the next.

A clearly expressed mission statement may go against the grain of our natural inclinations and thinking. But having a clear purpose in mind helps to expose our unvoiced, inadequate mission statements and verbalize the larger existential purpose of life and the direction God has set before us. We may sometimes struggle to remain on track, but we walk not alone. As someone has said, “There is joy in the journey.” And I might add, for the follower of Christ, there is also a sense of fulfillment at the journey’s end.

Why not take the time this year to articulate a mission statement for your life? This could well be the resolution that leads to the one who revolutionizes all of life.

Cyril Georgeson is a member of the speaking team at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Delhi, India.

Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening

 

Morning “There is laid up for me a crown of righteousness.” / 2 Timothy 4:8

Doubting one! thou hast often said, “I fear I shall never enter heaven.” Fear

not! all the people of God shall enter there. I love the quaint saying of a

dying man, who exclaimed, “I have no fear of going home; I have sent all

before me; God’s finger is on the latch of my door, and I am ready for him to

enter.” “But,” said one, “are you not afraid lest you should miss your

inheritance?” “Nay,” said he, “nay; there is one crown in heaven which the

angel Gabriel could not wear, it will fit no head but mine. There is one

throne in heaven which Paul the apostle could not fill; it was made for me,

and I shall have it.” O Christian, what a joyous thought! thy portion is

secure; “there remaineth a rest.” “But cannot I forfeit it?” No, it is

entailed. If I be a child of God I shall not lose it. It is mine as securely

as if I were there. Come with me, believer, and let us sit upon the top of

Nebo, and view the goodly land, even Canaan. Seest thou that little river of

death glistening in the sunlight, and across it dost thou see the pinnacles of

the eternal city? Dost thou mark the pleasant country, and all its joyous

inhabitants? Know, then, that if thou couldst fly across thou wouldst see

written upon one of its many mansions, “This remaineth for such a one;

preserved for him only. He shall be caught up to dwell forever with God.” Poor

doubting one, see the fair inheritance; it is thine. If thou believest in the

Lord Jesus, if thou hast repented of sin, if thou hast been renewed in heart,

thou art one of the Lord’s people, and there is a place reserved for thee, a

crown laid up for thee, a harp specially provided for thee. No one else shall

have thy portion, it is reserved in heaven for thee, and thou shalt have it

ere long, for there shall be no vacant thrones in glory when all the chosen

are gathered in.

 

Evening “In my flesh shall I see God.” / Job 19:26

Mark the subject of Job’s devout anticipation “I shall see God.” He does not

say, “I shall see the saints”–though doubtless that will be untold

felicity–but, “I shall see God.” It is not–“I shall see the pearly gates, I

shall behold the walls of jasper, I shall gaze upon the crowns of gold,” but

“I shall see God.” This is the sum and substance of heaven, this is the joyful

hope of all believers. It is their delight to see him now in the ordinances by

faith. They love to behold him in communion and in prayer; but there in heaven

they shall have an open and unclouded vision, and thus seeing “him as he is,”

shall be made completely like him. Likeness to God–what can we wish for more?

And a sight of God–what can we desire better? Some read the passage, “Yet, I

shall see God in my flesh,” and find here an allusion to Christ, as the “Word

made flesh,” and that glorious beholding of him which shall be the splendour

of the latter days. Whether so or not it is certain that Christ shall be the

object of our eternal vision; nor shall we ever want any joy beyond that of

seeing him. Think not that this will be a narrow sphere for the mind to dwell

in. It is but one source of delight, but that source is infinite. All his

attributes shall be subjects for contemplation, and as he is infinite under

each aspect, there is no fear of exhaustion. His works, his gifts, his love to

us, and his glory in all his purposes, and in all his actions, these shall

make a theme which will be ever new. The patriarch looked forward to this

sight of God as a personal enjoyment. “Whom mine eye shall behold, and not

another.” Take realizing views of heaven’s bliss; think what it will be to

you. “Thine eyes shall see the King in his beauty.” All earthly brightness

fades and darkens as we gaze upon it, but here is a brightness which can never

dim, a glory which can never fade–“I shall see God.”

Living to the Glory of God – John MacArthur

 

God chose us “to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in [His beloved Son]” (Eph. 1:6).

Englishman Henry Martyn served as a missionary in India and Persia in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Upon his arrival in Calcutta, he cried out “Let me burn out for God.” As he watched the people prostrating themselves before their pagan idols and heard blasphemy uttered against Christ, he wrote, “This excited more horror in me than I can well express. . . . I could not endure existence if Jesus was not glorified; it would be hell to me, if He were to be always thus dishonored” (John Stott, Our Guilty Silence [InterVarsity, 1967], pp. 21-22).

Martyn had a passion for God’s glory–and he was in good company. Angels glorify God (Luke 2:14), as do the heavens (Ps. 19:1) and even animals (Isa. 43:20). But as a believer, you glorify God in a unique way because you are a testimony to His redeeming grace.

You were created for the purpose of glorifying God–even in the most mundane activities of life, such as eating and drinking (1 Cor. 10:31). You are to flee immorality so you can glorify God in your body (1 Cor. 6:19- 20). You are to walk worthy of your calling “that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified” (2 Thess. 1:12).

Glorifying God is an enormous privilege and an awesome responsibility. When others see His character on display in your life, it reminds them of His power, goodness, and grace. But when they don’t, it dishonors God and calls His character into question.

Aim your life at God’s glory and make it the standard by which you evaluate everything you do.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Thank the Lord for the privilege of glorifying Him.

Ask Him to show you any areas of your life that do not honor Him.

Find a trusted Christian friend who will pray with you and hold you accountable for the areas you know need to change.

For Further Study: Read Exodus 33:12-34:8

What did Moses request?

What was God’s response and what does it teach us about His glory?

A Means for Growth – Greg Laurie

 

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow—James 1:2–3

When we experience suffering in our lives, we naturally want the pain to go away. But sometimes God can do things through our pain that cannot be accomplished in any other way. Alan Redpath said, “When God wants to do an impossible task, he takes an impossible individual and crushes him.”

James wrote, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing” (James 1:2–4).

Sometimes the Lord will turn a disability into an ability. Sometimes He will take a weakness and turn it into a strength.

If you are trying to get stronger physically, you need to use your muscles. When you work out, you are essentially breaking your muscles down to build them back up again.

In the same way, God may allow hardship into our lives to make us stronger in our faith.

Here is what the apostle Paul said when he asked God to take away his thorn in the flesh, but God said no: “Each time He said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9–10)

We always want things to go reasonably well. We don’t want to suffer. We don’t want hardship. But that hardship may be the best thing for us.