Tag Archives: god

Joyce Meyer – Thank God

 

I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works. —Psalm 9:1 NKJV

Throughout the Bible we see people celebrating progress and victory in a variety of ways. One way was to specifically take the time to give an offering to God and to thank Him.

Noah had been in the ark one year and ten days when God told him it was time to go forth and begin a new life. I cannot even imagine how happy he and his family were to see dry ground. The first thing Noah did was to build an altar to the Lord and sacrifice various animals to Him. In Noah’s day this was the acceptable method of giving to God and showing appreciation for what He had done. God was pleased, and He pronounced a blessing on Noah and his sons (see Gen. 9:1).

Abram (later renamed Abraham) regularly built altars to God and sacrificed, giving praise and thanks to God for his progress as he journeyed through the land.

We would quickly add a lot of celebration to our lives if we would take time to give thanks and perhaps some other type of offering when God does amazing things for us. An attitude of gratitude shows a lot about the character of a person. We should never have an attitude of entitlement, but we should have one that says, “I know I don’t deserve God’s goodness, but I am sure grateful for it.”

Love God Today: “God, I never want to take your goodness for granted, so please help me celebrate all You have done, are doing, and will do in my life.”

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Truly Rich

 

“Do you want to be truly rich? You already are if you are happy and good. After all, we didn’t bring any money with us when we came into the world, and we can’t carry away a single penny when we die” (1 Timothy 6:6,7).

If you had the choice of choosing between great wealth and good health and a happy, joyful relationship with our Lord, which would you choose? Though many would choose wealth, I am sure that if you are a Christian, you would gladly choose to live modestly the rest of your life if necessary in order to experience daily the joy of your salvation.

During all of my career, I, an agnostic, had worked hard to successfully develop my business interests. Then, in the providence of God, I was brought face to face with Christ and His Word. “What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?”

It was as though God touched my mind to enable me to understand that I could eat only one meal at a time, wear one suit of clothes at a time and take nothing with me when I die. I understood for the first time that being truly rich does not involve the accumulation of vast wealth, but it involves knowing and doing the will of God – in walking in intimate, vital, personal fellowship with Him daily as a way of life.

Fanny Crosby, the hymnwriter, gave us more than eight thousand gospel songs. Although blinded at the age of six weeks, she never held any bitterness in her heart because of it.

“I think it is a great pity that the Master did not give you sight when He showered so many other gifts upon you,” a friend once said to her.

“Do you know,” she responded quickly, “that if at birth I had been able to make one petition, it would have been that I should be born blind.”

“Why?” asked the astounded clergyman.

“Because,” she replied, “when I get to heaven, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior.”

Bible Reading: Luke 12:25-31

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  As I figuratively sit at God’s banquet table today, I will feast upon His spiritual bounties and not be satisfied with the crumbs of materialism.

Presidential Prayer Team – Know It All – C.H

 

The average intelligence quotient is between 70 and 130, accounting for about 95 percent of the population. An IQ of 140 or higher is considered a true genius, but describes less than one percent of people. Albert Einstein was thought to have an IQ between 160 and 180. Even still, he didn’t know everything.

Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.John 21:17

Only God, creator of all things, knows all things. He knows the past, present and future (Revelation 22:13). He knew all of your days before they came to be (Psalm 139:16). His knowledge surpasses that of theoretical physicist Steven Hawking or brilliant inventor Thomas Edison. But your Heavenly Father isn’t a “know-it-all,” someone who just claims to know everything. God actually does know it all.

Peter told Jesus in today’s verse, “Lord…you know that I love you.” But does God know that you do? Do you show Him with your words and deeds? Take time today to marvel at the God who knows all things, and ask Him to help you live in a way that shows reverence for His omniscience. Then pray for the sovereignty of God to be revealed to your nation’s leaders in a way that’ll personally impact their lives and decisions.

Recommended Reading: John 21:15-19

Greg Laurie – Always Urgent

 

In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes—Judges 17:6

The Old Testament Book of Judges speaks of a time in history when everyone did what was right in their own eyes. And the Book of Isaiah offers this warning: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (5:20).

That is exactly where our culture is today. We mock that which is good, and we exalt that which is bad. We laugh at people who try to live moral lives. And a family with one man and one woman raising their children is becoming a novel thought.

In our postmodern culture, moral relativism is the rule of the day. Everything is upside down. And it will take an upside-down church to turn it right side up. In Acts 17:6, we find a backhanded compliment of the early church: “These who have turned the world upside down have come here too.” The church of the first century turned the world upside down. And we need to do the same in our culture today.

But how do we reach people who don’t believe in moral absolutes? Is it possible to engage them with Scripture? We need to reach our postmodern culture, and I believe that we have opportunities to do so.

Billy Graham said, “The evangelistic harvest is always urgent. The destiny of men and of nations is always being decided. Every generation is strategic. We are not responsible for the past generation, and we do not bear full responsibility for the next one; but we do have our generation.”

I take this seriously. I want to do everything that I can with the life that God has given me to bring the gospel to my generation. We are all called to engage our culture.

 

 

Max Lucado – How Quickly We Forget

 

Oh how quickly we forget. So much happens through the years. So many changes within.  So many alterations without.  And somewhere, back there, we leave Him. We don’t turn away from Him—we just don’t take Him with us. Assignments come.  Promotions come.  Budgets are made. Kids are born, and Christ—the Christ Jesus is forgotten.

Has it been a while since you stared at the heavens in speechless amazement? Has it been a while since you realized God’s divinity and your carnality? He is still there.  He has not left. Do yourself a favor. Stand before Him again. Or better, allow Him to stand before you.

A man is never the same after he simultaneously sees his despair and Jesus’ grace. To see the despair without the grace is destructive. To see the grace without the despair is futility. But to see them both is conversion!

Charles Stanley – Playing with Fire

 

Proverbs 6:20-35

Respect for authority is not always automatic. The story about a new football coach illustrates what I mean.

One day, before practice, the coach posted a sign that read, “Do not walk on the grass.” About half of the team followed the instruction, but the rest of the players ignored it—the sign didn’t make sense to them since practice was always held on that field. Later the coach explained that he was testing the players to see who would be likely to follow his game plan and who might buck the new system. He learned quite a lot in those few minutes.

The Lord has specifically instructed us not to yield to the lusts of the flesh. While the Bible indicates that pleasure is associated with sexual intimacy, it also clearly warns us about the dangers of operating beyond the boundaries of God’s protective will. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus expanded on Old Testament teachings by explaining that it’s not just our actions but even heart attitude that can overstep God’s limits (Matt. 5:28).

Periodically doing a “heart checkup” will reveal where you stand and help to keep you safe. Ask, What’s my reaction to God’s boundaries? and then remind yourself that they are meant for your good.

Do you test the Lord’s limits to see how strong they are or to find weak points? Are you one who has to understand His rules before accepting them? Submitting to God’s plan brings safety and blessing (Deut. 11:27). Confess any resistance, and pray for the strength to submit.

 

Our Daily Bread — Riches Of The Soul

 

Proverbs 30:1-9

Give me neither poverty nor riches—feed me with the food allotted to me. —Proverbs 30:8

With the hope of winning a record jackpot of $640 million, Americans spent an estimated $1.5 billion on tickets in a multistate lottery in early 2012. The odds of winning were a staggering 1 in 176 million, but people stood in lines at grocery stores, gas stations, and cafes to buy a chance to become rich. Something inside us makes us think more money will solve our problems and improve our lives.

A man identified in the Bible as Agur had a different perspective on riches when he asked God to grant him two requests before he died.

First, he said, “Remove falsehood and lies far from me” (Prov. 30:8). Integrity is a key to living without anxiety. When we have nothing to hide, we have nothing to fear. Deceit enslaves; honesty liberates. Second, he said, “Give me neither poverty nor riches—feed me with the food allotted to me” (v.8). Contentment springs from trusting God as our supplier and gratefully accepting what He provides. Agur said of the Creator that He “established all the ends of the earth. . . . He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him” (vv.4-5).

Integrity and contentment are riches of the soul that are available to all. Our Lord is pleased to give these treasures to everyone who asks. —David McCasland

Contentment does not come from wealth—

It’s not something you can buy;

Contentment comes to give you peace

When you depend on God’s supply. —Branon

 

Discontentment makes us poor while contentment makes us rich!

 

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Deus Absconditus

 

The Olympic Mountains in Washington State form the “backbone” of the Olympic peninsula. Jagged peaks blanketed with snow for much of the year, they are a delight to behold. Living within walking distance of an overlook that affords a panoramic view of these majestic peaks often sounds a siren call beckoning me to come and to gaze at their beauty. I am not the only one who hears this call.  On sunny days, the overlook is filled with individuals coming to gaze at, or to photograph those mountains as the sun cascades down their spiny backs.

There are other times, however, when the Olympics are shrouded in a thick blanket of cloud. Grey and foreboding, this blanketing cloud-blockade obscures any hope of viewing their grandeur. Hidden from view, one can only see an impenetrable wall of cloud.

Our human experience of God can appear very much like the Olympic Mountains. There are many days when God’s grandeur and glory are on full display. And we are assured, like the ancient Hebrew poet that as we “lift up our eyes to the mountains” our “help comes from the Lord” (Psalm 131:1-2). At other times, God seems obscured by clouds—clouds of doubt, suffering, disappointment, or pervasive evil. Sometimes it seems that there are far more cloudy days, than clear ones.   The experience of God can seem like that of the biblical Job going “forward but he is not there, and backward, but I cannot perceive him” (Job 23:8-9).

Deus absconditus is the Latin phrase that describes this phenomenon—the hidden God. The hiddenness of God is a particularly painful experience for those who affirm faith in God. It is equally difficult for people who do not affirm any faith: Where is this hidden God believers want us to follow? Why doesn’t God show up? It is an apologetic conundrum experienced by many throughout history. Blaise Pascal, one of the greatest Christian apologists, described his own experience with deus absconditus as a pitiable mystery: “This is what I see and what troubles me. I look on all sides, and I see only darkness everywhere. Nature presents to me nothing which is not a matter of doubt and concern. If I saw nothing there which revealed Divinity, I would come to a negative conclusion, if I saw everywhere the signs of a Creator, I would remain peacefully in faith. But, seeing too much to deny and too little to be sure, I am in a state to be pitied.”(1) Pascal speaks poignantly of the pitiable state when the clouds of our human experience hide God away and leave us with an utterly obstructed view.

Surely this was the same experience of Jesus as he wept in the Garden of Gethsemane. Under so much duress, his sweat mingled with drops of blood, the likely result of broken capillaries under his skin. And from the cross, his recitation of Psalm 22 became his cry of abandonment: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34). Here, the cry of deus absconditus from his only, beloved son. These are the last words uttered by Jesus in Matthew and Mark’s Gospels. John doesn’t include them at all. Of the three synoptic gospels, only Luke ends his crucifixion narrative with Jesus quoting from another of Israel’s songs: “Into Thy hands, I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46; Psalm 31:5). Jesus affirms in a whisper of trust that seen or unseen, his life is in God’s hands.

Perhaps, like Jesus, there are times when the best we can do is to yield ourselves to the God who seems hidden behind the clouds—and perhaps to acknowledge that the journey of faith is not always the warm assurance of perpetually clear skies that we thought it might be. For those outside of faith, such admissions may well be a needed authenticity.

In this sense, as author Flannery O’Connor wrote, faith is not the guarantee for security or comfort. “I think there is no suffering greater than what is caused by the doubts of those who want to believe. I know what torment this is, but I can only see it, in myself anyway, as the process by which faith is deepened… What people don’t realize is how much religion costs. They think faith is a big electric blanket, when of course it is a cross… You arrive at enough certainty to be able to make your way, but it is making it in darkness. Don’t expect faith to clear things up for you. It is trust, not certainty.”(2)

 

In the experience of deus absconditus, God seems hidden from view just like my majestic Olympic Mountains. Yet even here, faith, not securing or comforting, but seeking and searching, still points towards the God who is there behind the clouds.

Margaret Manning is a member of the speaking and writing team at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Seattle, Washington.

(1)Blaise Pascal, Pensees, as cited in Kelly James Clark, When Faith is Not Enough (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997), 38.

(2)Flannery O’Connor, The Habit of Being (New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 1979), 354.

 

Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening

 

Morning  “Thou shalt love thy neighbour.” / Matthew 5:43

“Love thy neighbour.” Perhaps he rolls in riches, and thou art poor, and living in thy little cot side-by-side with his lordly mansion; thou seest every day his estates, his fine linen, and his sumptuous banquets; God has given him these gifts, covet not his wealth, and think no hard thoughts concerning him. Be content with thine own lot, if thou canst not better it, but do not look upon thy neighbour, and wish that he were as thyself. Love him, and then thou wilt not envy him.

Perhaps, on the other hand, thou art rich, and near thee reside the poor. Do not scorn to call them neighbour. Own that thou art bound to love them. The world calls them thy inferiors. In what are they inferior? They are far more thine equals than thine inferiors, for “God hath made of one blood all people that dwell upon the face of the earth.” It is thy coat which is better than theirs, but thou art by no means better than they. They are men, and what art thou more than that? Take heed that thou love thy neighbour even though he be in rags, or sunken in the depths of poverty.

But, perhaps, you say, “I cannot love my neighbours, because for all I do they return ingratitude and contempt.” So much the more room for the heroism of love. Wouldst thou be a feather-bed warrior, instead of bearing the rough fight of love? He who dares the most, shall win the most; and if rough be thy path of love, tread it boldly, still loving thy neighbours through thick and thin. Heap coals of fire on their heads, and if they be hard to please, seek not to please them, but to please thy Master; and remember if they spurn thy love, thy Master hath not spurned it, and thy deed is as acceptable to him as if it had been acceptable to them. Love thy neighbour, for in so doing thou art following the footsteps of Christ.

 

Evening  “To whom belongest thou?” / 1 Samuel 30:13

No neutralities can exist in religion. We are either ranked under the banner of Prince Immanuel, to serve and fight his battles, or we are vassals of the black prince, Satan. “To whom belongest thou?”

Reader, let me assist you in your response. Have you been “born again”? If you have, you belong to Christ, but without the new birth you cannot be his. In whom do you trust? For those who believe in Jesus are the sons of God. Whose work are you doing? You are sure to serve your master, for he whom you serve is thereby owned to be your lord. What company do you keep? If you belong to Jesus, you will fraternize with those who wear the livery of the cross. “Birds of a feather flock together.” What is your conversation? Is it heavenly or is it earthly? What have you learned of your Master?–for servants learn much from their masters to whom they are apprenticed. If you have served your time with Jesus, it will be said of you, as it was of Peter and John, “They took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.”

We press the question, “To whom belongest thou?” Answer honestly before you give sleep to your eyes. If you are not Christ’s you are in a hard service–Run away from your cruel master! Enter into the service of the Lord of Love, and you shall enjoy a life of blessedness. If you are Christ’s let me advise you to do four things. You belong to Jesus–obey him; let his word be your law; let his wish be your will. You belong to the Beloved, then love him; let your heart embrace him; let your whole soul be filled with him. You belong to the Son of God, then trust him; rest nowhere but on him. You belong to the King of kings, then be decided for him. Thus, without your being branded upon the brow, all will know to whom you belong.

John MacArthur – Praying As Jesus Prayed

 

“Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen'” (Matt. 6:9-15).

Many people have memorized the Disciples’ Prayer so they can recite it often, but as beautiful as it is, it wasn’t given for that purpose. In fact, after Jesus gave it, no one in the New Testament recited it–not even Jesus Himself (cf. John 17)!

The disciples didn’t ask Jesus to teach them a prayer, but to teach them how to pray (Luke 11:1). There is a significant difference. Jesus preceded His prayer by saying, “Pray, then, in this way” (v. 9), which literally means, “Pray along these lines.” His prayer was a general pattern for all prayer, and although it wasn’t recited, its principles are evident in all New Testament prayers.

Christ’s model prayer teaches us to ask God for six things: (1) that His name be honored, (2) that He brings His kingdom to earth, (3) that He does His will, (4) that He provides our daily needs, (5) that He pardons our sins, and (6) that He protects us from temptation. Each one contributes to the ultimate goal of all prayer, which is to bring glory to God. The last three are the means by which the first three are achieved. As God provides our daily bread, pardons our sins, and protects us when we are tempted, He is exalted in His name, kingdom, and will.

If you understand and follow Christ’s pattern for prayer, you can be assured that you are praying as He instructed, and that whatever you ask in His name, He will do, “that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:13).

Suggestions for Prayer: Do your prayers reflect the six elements outlined in the Disciples’ Prayer? If not, work on making them a regular part of your prayers.

For Further Study: Read Matthew 6:1-8, where Jesus discusses some of the practices of the Jewish religious leaders.

What practices and motives did He mention?

How did He feel about their spiritual leadership?

Joyce Meyer – Find Your Perfect Fit

 

[Urged on] by faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and went forth to a place which he was destined to receive as an inheritance; and he went, although he did not know or trouble his mind about where he was to go. —Hebrews 11:8

If you are doing nothing with your life because you are not sure what to do, then I recommend that you pray and begin trying some things. It won’t take long before you will feel comfortable with something. It will be a perfect fit for you. Think of it this way: When you go out to buy a new outfit, you probably try on several things until you find what fits right, is comfortable, and looks good on you.

Why not try the same thing with discovering your destiny? Obviously there are some things you cannot just “try”—such as being an astronaut or the president of the United States—but one thing is for sure: You cannot drive a parked car. Get your life out of “park,” and get moving in some direction. I don’t suggest going deep in debt to find out if you should own a business, but you could begin in some small way, and, if it works, take it to the next level. As we take steps of faith, our destinies unfold. A confident woman is not afraid to make mistakes, and if she does, she recovers and presses on.

Lord, I want to be moving in the right direction with my life. I trust You to guide my steps as You did Abraham. Amen.

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Nothing Against You

 

“This includes you who were once so far away from God. You were his enemies and hated him and were separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions, yet now He has brought you back as His friends. He has done this through the death on the cross of His own human body, and now as a result Christ has brought you into the very presence of God, and you are standing there before Him with nothing left against you – nothing left that He could ever chide you for” (Colossians 1:21,22).

Have you ever claimed your right to holiness, not by virtue of anything you have done, but on the basis of what Christ has done and is doing for you?

This passage of Scripture explains how holiness is available to every believer. By acknowledging and receiving His gift of eternal life through Christ, we have been brought into the very presence of God. Now we are candidates for the supernatural filling of the Holy Spirit.

After we have claimed our right to holiness, we must confess all our known sins and appropriate, by faith, the fullness of the Holy Spirit, asking Him to give us spiritual insight into the true meaning of God’s Word.

“And so, dear brothers, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living sacrifice, holy – the kind He can accept. When you think of what He has done for you, is this too much to ask? Don’t copy the fashions and customs of this world, but be a new and different person with a fresh newness in all you do and think. Then you will see from your own experience how His ways will really satisfy you” (Romans 12:1,2).

Bible Reading: II Corinthians5:17-21

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  By faith I will claim my right to holiness and, on the basis of Christ’s finished work on the cross in our behalf, I will encourage others to do the same.

The Greatest Knowledge – Presidential Prayer Team – H.R.

 

Many people consider Albert Einstein to be one of the smartest people in history. The beginnings of Einstein’s theory of relativity came from an essay he wrote at age 16. By 26, Einstein had published five major research papers in a German journal and received a doctorate for one. Because of his counsel, the U.S. government established the Manhattan Project, which developed the first two atomic bombs. Overall, Einstein’s contributions have had both a positive and negative impact on America today.

Even though the world does not know you, I know you. John 17:25

From the world’s perspective, a person’s great knowledge often can lead to wealth, fame and power. However, that doesn’t begin to compare to the Creator of the universe! God not only knows everything, but is the source of all knowledge. In today’s verse, Jesus’ prayer for His followers confirms that while the world doesn’t know the Father, the Son does. And because you know the Son, access to His vast knowledge is yours as well.

God knows your past, present and future. You can trust Him because He wants the best for you. Spend time talking to God and reading His Word. Ask Him to reveal His plans for you each day. Pray also that America and its leaders truly seek God’s knowledge for their daily decisions.

Recommended Reading: Psalm 33:12-22

Greg Laurie – Saved!

 

Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.

—Romans 5:9

The Philippian jailer asked Paul and Silas, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

The answer Paul and Silas gave him is very important: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved . . .” (Acts 16:31).

What does that mean? The word “believe” does not merely mean intellectual assent, acknowledging there is a God, or even that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. To believe, in a biblical sense, is much more than that, because the Bible says that “even the demons believe—and tremble!” (James 2:19). Demons acknowledge the existence of God, but they don’t trust in Him.

To believe means to hold on to, to cling to. It also means to let go of. So in the Bible, belief speaks of both letting go of one thing and taking hold of another. We let go of our sin and take hold of Christ, and Christ alone, to save us. It is not Christ—plus good works that we do—that saves us. Rather, it is just Christ.

I read an article about the pastor of a megachurch who said that he doesn’t believe pastors should use the word “saved” anymore in their preaching because people don’t understand it. But I think “saved” is a great word, and I will keep using it because it is in the Bible.

I also think “saved” is a fairly self-explanatory term. When someone gets caught in a riptide and a lifeguard pulls him out, we say the lifeguard saved him. And “saved” is the perfect word to use when we talk about conversion, because before we put our trust in Christ, we were headed to eternal judgment.

So when we say that we are saved, that is the perfect word.

Foundation Problems? – Bryant Wright

 

“The heart of the prudent gets knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.” – Proverbs 18:15 KJV

We live in a world of information overload and, as a result, we must look to God’s Word to find the true values by which we must live. Otherwise, our relationship and other problems will surely overwhelm us.

What we seem to lack is the basic knowledge that is so essential to the well-being of our world. “We are drowning in information, but starved for knowledge,” observes trend-spotter John Naisbitt.* The more information we acquire, the less essential knowledge we seem to absorb—often with dire long-term consequences.

So, what’s the answer?

When the foundations are shaking and you wish you could hide, remember that God is still in control. His power is not diminished by any turn of events. Nothing happens without His knowledge and permission. When you feel like running away– run to God. He will restore justice and goodness on the earth in His good time.

*Megatrends, John Naisbitt

Charles Stanley – Handling Conflict and Criticism

 

Philippians 1:12-18

During his confinement in a Roman jail, the apostle Paul wrote one of his most upbeat and encouraging letters. In this epistle to the church at Philippi, he used his less-than-ideal circumstances as an opportunity to model the right way to handle conflict and criticism.

It is clear from today’s passage and other scriptures that Paul had to deal with significant conflict, even among members of the church in Rome. Some people were upset that he preached to the Gentiles rather than exclusively to Jews. They also didn’t like that he taught salvation by grace and not law. Paul’s words reveal that some people were teaching the message with a very different motivation from his own.

Notice that he responded with a positive attitude. The tenor of his letter is one of encouragement and resolve. He did not lash out at his critics. Nor did he defend himself personally. He defended his message, the true gospel, but he did so in love and without harshness.

Paul stressed the bright side. He rejoiced because, whether the motive was sincerity or envy, Jesus Christ was being proclaimed, and the true gospel message was spreading. He was so concerned for the souls of others that he responded out of selflessness rather than selfishness.

Ask God to help you stay the course the way Paul did—even when your situation may involve controversy and criticism. The prison guards learned about the gospel from the jailed apostle. Your words and behavior can likewise reflect Christ to unbelievers you encounter.

Winning the War with Temptation, CD Series

Our Daily Bread — Thankful In All Things

 

1 Thessalonians 5:12-22

In everything give thanks. —1 Thessalonians 5:18

My daughter is allergic to peanuts. Her sensitivity is so acute that eating even the tiniest fragment of a peanut threatens her life. As a result, we scrutinize food package labels. We carry a pre-filled syringe of medicine (to treat allergic reactions) wherever we go. And, when we eat out, we call ahead and quiz the wait staff about the restaurant’s menu items.

Despite these precautions, I still feel concerned—both for her current safety and for her future safety. This situation is not something I would naturally be thankful about. Yet, God’s Word challenges: “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thess. 5:18). There’s no getting around it. God wants us to pray with thanksgiving when the future is uncertain, when heartbreak hits, and when shortfalls come.

It’s hard to be grateful in difficulties, but it’s not impossible. Daniel “prayed and gave thanks” (Dan. 6:10), knowing that his life was in danger. Jonah called out “with the voice of thanksgiving” (Jonah 2:9) while inside a fish! These examples, coupled with God’s promise that He will work all things together for our good and His glory (Rom. 8:28), can inspire us to be thankful in all things. —Jennifer Benson Schuldt

Thanks for roses by the wayside,

Thanks for thorns their stems contain.

Thanks for homes and thanks for fireside

Thanks for hope, that sweet refrain! —Hultman

 

In all circumstances, we can give thanks that God has not left us on our own.

Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening

 

Morning “Sin … exceeding sinful.” / Romans 7:13

Beware of light thoughts of sin. At the time of conversion, the conscience is so tender, that we are afraid of the slightest sin. Young converts have a holy timidity, a godly fear lest they should offend against God. But alas! very soon the fine bloom upon these first ripe fruits is removed by the rough handling of the surrounding world: the sensitive plant of young piety turns into a willow in after life, too pliant, too easily yielding. It is sadly true, that even a Christian may grow by degrees so callous, that the sin which once startled him does not alarm him in the least. By degrees men get familiar with sin. The ear in which the cannon has been booming will not notice slight sounds. At first a little sin startles us; but soon we say, “Is it not a little one?” Then there comes another, larger, and then another, until by degrees we begin to regard sin as but a little ill; and then follows an unholy presumption: “We have not fallen into open sin. True, we tripped a little, but we stood upright in the main. We may have uttered one unholy word, but as for the most of our conversation, it has been consistent.” So we palliate sin; we throw a cloak over it; we call it by dainty names. Christian, beware how thou thinkest lightly of sin. Take heed lest thou fall by little and little. Sin, a little thing? Is it not a poison? Who knows its deadliness? Sin, a little thing? Do not the little foxes spoil the grapes? Doth not the tiny coral insect build a rock which wrecks a navy? Do not little strokes fell lofty oaks? Will not continual droppings wear away stones? Sin, a little thing? It girded the Redeemer’s head with thorns, and pierced his heart! It made him suffer anguish, bitterness, and woe. Could you weigh the least sin in the scales of eternity, you would fly from it as from a serpent, and abhor the least appearance of evil. Look upon all sin as that which crucified the Saviour, and you will see it to be “exceeding sinful.”

 

Evening “Thou shalt be called, Sought out.” / Isaiah 62:12

The surpassing grace of God is seen very clearly in that we were not only sought, but sought out. Men seek for a thing which is lost upon the floor of the house, but in such a case there is only seeking, not seeking out. The loss is more perplexing and the search more persevering when a thing is sought out. We were mingled with the mire: we were as when some precious piece of gold falls into the sewer, and men gather out and carefully inspect a mass of abominable filth, and continue to stir and rake, and search among the heap until the treasure is found. Or, to use another figure, we were lost in a labyrinth; we wandered hither and thither, and when mercy came after us with the gospel, it did not find us at the first coming, it had to search for us and seek us out; for we as lost sheep were so desperately lost, and had wandered into such a strange country, that it did not seem possible that even the Good Shepherd should track our devious roamings. Glory be to unconquerable grace, we were sought out! No gloom could hide us, no filthiness could conceal us, we were found and brought home. Glory be to infinite love, God the Holy Spirit restored us!

The lives of some of God’s people, if they could be written would fill us with holy astonishment. Strange and marvellous are the ways which God used in their case to find his own. Blessed be his name, he never relinquishes the search until the chosen are sought out effectually. They are not a people sought today and cast away to-morrow. Almightiness and wisdom combined will make no failures, they shall be called, “Sought out!” That any should be sought out is matchless grace, but that we should be sought out is grace beyond degree! We can find no reason for it but God’s own sovereign love, and can only lift up our heart in wonder, and praise the Lord that this night we wear the name of “Sought out.”

John MacArthur – Praying for God’s Glory

 

“O Lord, in accordance with all Thy righteous acts, let now Thine anger and Thy wrath turn away from Thy city Jerusalem, Thy holy mountain; for because of our sins and the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and Thy people have become a reproach to all those around us. So now, our God, listen to the prayer of Thy servant and to his supplications, and for Thy sake, O Lord, let Thy face shine on Thy desolate sanctuary.

“O my God, incline Thine ear and hear! Open Thine eyes and see our desolations and the city which is called by Thy name; for we are not presenting our supplications before Thee on account of any merits of our own but on account of Thy great compassion. O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and take action! For Thine own sake, O my God, do not delay, because Thy city and Thy people are called by Thy name” (Dan. 9:16-19).

Someone once said, “Show me your redeemed life and I might believe in your Redeemer.” That’s a fair request! As Christians, we are Christ’s ambassadors to a dying world. With His Spirit in our hearts and His Word in our hands, we are to speak His truth in love and live a life that lends credibility to what we say.

When we fail to do that, we dishonor God and provide ammunition for those who seek to discredit His work. That was certainly true of Israel. They were God’s chosen people yet His name was blasphemed among the Gentiles because of their unbelief and disobedience (Rom. 2:24).

Daniel knew Israel didn’t deserve mercy, but he asked God to forgive and restore them to their homeland for His own name’s sake. Therein would He be glorified.

When you pray according to God’s will, fervently confessing your sins and interceding for others, you’re following in the godly tradition of Daniel and every other saint who sought God’s glory above all else. May it be so today!

Suggestions for Prayer: Pray for the nation of Israel, that God might redeem many Jewish people for His name’s sake (cf. Rom. 10:1).

For Further Study: Read Ezekiel 36:16-38.

Why did God scatter Israel? Why will He regather her?

How will the Gentile nations react to her regathering?

Joyce Meyer – Sometimes God Whispers

 

A great and strong wind rent the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire [a sound of gentle stillness and] a still, small voice. —1 Kings 19:11–12

I was fascinated when I learned several years ago that some horses have what their trainers call a “reining ear.” While most horses need to be led by a strap fastened to the bit in their mouth, some horses keep one ear tuned to their master’s voice. One ear is open for natural warnings; the other is sensitive to the trusted trainer.

The prophet Elijah had a reining ear. When natural circumstances gave him every reason to be frightened and he desperately needed to hear from God, he was able to do so, even with the noise and confusion around him. You see, he had just defeated 450 false prophets in a duel of power between their silent Baal and the one true God. Now the wicked Queen Jezebel threatened to kill him within a day. He needed to know what to do!

He stood on a mountain before God. A strong wind tore through the mountains; a terrible earthquake took place; and fire broke out all around him. After the fire came “a still, small voice.” God’s voice to Elijah wasn’t in the power of the wind, the earthquake, or the fire, but in the whisper. Elijah had a reining ear, one that was trained and sensitive toward his Master, so he did what God said to do, which saved his life.

God still speaks softly and in whispers deep in our hearts today. Ask Him to give you a hearing ear so you can hear His still, small voice.

God’s word for you today: Listen for God with a “reining” ear.