Tag Archives: god

Max Lucado – Your Share of Sighing

Max Lucado

No doubt you’ve done your share of sighing. If you have teenagers, you’ve sighed. If you’ve had your motives questioned or your best acts of love rejected, you’ve been forced to take a deep breath and let escape a painful sigh!

I realize there’s a sigh of relief, a sigh of expectancy, even a sigh of joy.  The apostle Paul spoke of this sighing. He said that Christians will sigh as long as we’re on earth and long for heaven. All these sighs come from the same anxiety; a recognition of pain never intended, or of hope deferred. Man was not created to be separated from his creator; hence he sighs, longing for home.

And God sighs, he groans for his people. He groans for the day when all sighs will cease, when what was intended to be—will be!

From God Came Near

Charles Stanley – When God’s Spirit Is in Charge

Charles Stanley

James 1:2-4

A Spirit-filled life does not mean one that is problem-free. Christians who are under the control of the Holy Spirit will still make mistakes, have difficulties, and fall into sin. But there are two definite characteristics that distinguish Spirit-filled followers of Christ from other Christians and from unbelievers.

First, they are not controlled by their circumstances, and second, they refocus quickly after having sinned.

When the Holy Spirit is in charge, our attitude will not be determined by what’s going on around us. In other words, life doesn’t have to be stress-free in order for us to know peace—our spiritual joy won’t diminish even if we should meet with disappointment.

Anyone can be loving, kind, and self-controlled in seasons of blessing. But what happens to our attitude in trying times? The real test of who we are occurs not when things are going our way but when misfortune shows up. If the Spirit is in charge, we will learn to do four things: to love when we want to hate; to practice kindness when we are accused; to respond gently when others are harsh; and to have self-control when temptation strikes hard.

None of us will do all of this perfectly because there is still “self” within us. But when we sin, we will respond quickly to the Spirit’s prompting. He won’t have to work hard to get our attention, because we are under His authority. We will recognize our wrong action, confess it, and refocus on God’s ways.

If you are a Christ-follower, who is in control of your life?

 

 

Our Daily Bread — Integrity League

Our Daily Bread

Psalm 26

He who walks with integrity walks securely. —Proverbs 10:9

We call it the Integrity League, but it’s really just a bunch of guys who get together at lunchtime to play basketball. We call fouls on ourselves, attempt to avoid angry outbursts, and simply try to keep everything fair and enjoyable. We are competitive and we don’t like to lose—but we all agree that integrity and honesty should control the atmosphere.

Integrity. Scripture clearly indicates the importance of this trait. And we honor the God of our lives when we practice it.

Through His Word, God has given us clear reasons to “walk in . . . integrity” (Ps. 26:11). A person who has integrity has the security of a quiet life unknown to the one who “perverts his ways” (Prov. 10:9). The follower of God who lives with integrity is preserved by his confidence in God, for that person waits for God’s intervention in his life instead of running ahead of Him (Ps. 25:21). And the one who practices integrity will be given guidance and clear direction (Prov. 11:3).

Why should we care about life’s “Integrity League”? Because obeying God this way shows that we trust Him with our lives and that we want to shine His great love on others. —Dave Branon

Dear Father, help my word be true. Help my

actions be honest. Help my life to

reflect Your holiness and shine God’s light

for all to see. Help me to live with integrity.

Integrity is Christlike character in workclothes.

Bible in a year: Ezekiel 42-44; 1 John 1

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Enough

Ravi Z

Black Friday is the name Americans have given the day after Thanksgiving, though the concept is catching on in Canada and Europe. It is called “black” because store-keepers know it as the time of year when sales move further into the black and farther into profit margins. Cyber Monday is a clever addition to the frenzied consumer holiday, luring black Friday shoppers and their less adventurous counterparts to continue their purchasing online. Evoking both buyer and seller competition, steep sales and loud advertisements make for frenzied scenes and the need for stamina. Those who watch as bystanders still sense the fervor that begins on Black Friday and continues in a hectic race until Christmas. When everyone around you seems to be running, standing still is easier said than done.

Each year the commencement of the Christmas shopping season overshadows the commencement of a far quieter season. The season of Advent signals the coming of Christmas for Christians, though not in the way that Black Friday signals the coming of the same. “Advent is about the spirituality of emptiness,” writes Joan Chittister, “of enough-ness, of stripped-down fullness of soul.” It is a far cry from the hustle of the holidays that is a race for storing things up. Speed-hoarding through the days of Christmas preparation, Christmas itself even becomes somewhat anticlimactic. “Long before December 25th everyone is worn out,” said C.S. Lewis more than 50 years ago, “—physically worn out by weeks of daily struggle in overcrowded shops, mentally worn out by the effort to remember all the right recipients and to think out suitable gifts for them. They are in no trim for merry-making… They look far more as if there had been a long illness in the house.”(1) Quite the opposite, Advent is a season meant to slow us down, to open windows of awareness and health, to trigger consciousness. It is about finding the kind of quiet mystery and the sort of expectant emptiness that can offer a place for the fullness of God as an infant among us.

Of course, for even the quietest of hearts, this God who becomes human, the incarnate Christ, is still a mystery. But mystery, like beauty and truth, is well worth stillness, wonder, and contemplation. And this mystery—the gift of a God who steps into the world he created—is rich enough to make the most distracted souls bow. “Let anyone with ears listen!” said Jesus repeatedly throughout his life on earth. “But to what will I compare this generation?” he added. “It is like children sitting in the market-places and calling to one another, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn’” (Matthew 11:15-17). You and I can open our minds to hear the great and unsearchable things we do not know, things like the Incarnation that we may never fully understand but are always invited to know further. Or we can simply look and act for all of Christmas to correspond with societal whims and unconscious distractions—fighting to be heard in the cultural debates about what we call or don’t call the season, arguing about public billboards and private mangers.

Christ will come regardless. The hope of Advent is that it is always possible to make room for him. I’m reminded of Etty Hillesum, a young Jewish woman who composed a remarkable series of journals in the darkest years of Nazi occupation before being sent to Auschwitz, where she died in 1943. In one of her entries, Etty wrote, “[S]ometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths, or the turning inwards in prayer for five short minutes.”(2) Advent can be this simple; the invitation of Christ is this simple. Let anyone with ears open them. Contemplating Christmas need not mean defensive words, Christmas wars, lists and budgets, endless labor, and fretful commotion.

Advent, after all, is about the riches of being empty-handed and that is an abruptly countercultural posture; empty-handed, so that we can fully hold the mystery before us and nothing less; empty-handed, like the God who came down from heaven without riches or power, but meek and small—full, expectant, and enough.

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

(1) Etty Hillesum, An Interrupted Life: The Diaries 1941-1943 (New York: Henry Holt & Company, 1983), 93.

(2) C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2001), 305.

 

Alistair Begg – A Beautiful Bride

Alistair Begg

You are altogether beautiful, my love.

Song of Songs 4:7

The Lord’s admiration for His Church is very wonderful, and His description of her beauty is very glowing. She is not merely beautiful, but “altogether beautiful.” He views her in Himself, washed in His sin-atoning blood and clothed in His meritorious righteousness, and He considers her to be full of attraction and beauty. No wonder that this is the case, since it is simply His own perfect excellency that He admires; for the holiness, glory, and perfection of His Church are His own glorious garments worn by His well-beloved spouse.

She is not simply pure or well-proportioned; she is positively lovely and fair! She has actual merit! Her deformities of sin are removed; but more, she has through her Lord obtained a meritorious righteousness by which an actual beauty is conferred upon her.

Believers have a positive righteousness given to them when “he chose us in him” (Eph. 1:4). Nor is the church barely lovely-she is superlatively so. Her Lord styles her “most beautiful among women.”1 She has a real worth and excellence that cannot be rivaled by all the nobility and royalty of the world.

If Jesus could exchange His elect bride for all the queens and empresses of earth, or even for the angels in heaven, He would not, for He puts her first and foremost! Like the moon she far outshines the stars. Nor is this an opinion that He is ashamed of, for He invites all men to hear it. He sets a “behold” before it, a special note of exclamation, inviting and arresting attention. “Behold, you are beautiful, my love, behold, you are beautiful!” (Song of Sol. 4:1). He publishes His opinion widely even now, and one day from the throne of His glory He will declare the truth of it before the assembled universe. “Come, you who are blessed by my Father” (Matt. 25:34) will be His solemn affirmation of the loveliness of His elect.

1 Song of Solomon 1:8

 

Charles Spurgeon – Christ our passover

CharlesSpurgeon

“For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us.” 1 Corinthians 5:7

Suggested Further Reading: John 6:25-35

Some of you, my friends, who are true Christians, live too much on your changing feelings, on your experiences and evidences. Now, that is all wrong. That is just as if a worshipper had gone to the tabernacle and begun eating one of the coats that were worn by the priest. When a man lives on Christ’s righteousness, it is the same as eating Christ’s dress. When a man lives on his feelings, that is as much as if the child of God should live on some tokens that he received in the sanctuary that were never meant for food, but only to comfort him a little. What the Christian lives on is not Christ’s righteousness, but Christ; he does not live on Christ’s pardon, but on Christ; and on Christ he lives daily, on nearness to Christ. Oh! I do love Christ-preaching. It is not the doctrine of justification that does my heart good, it is Christ, the justifier; it is not pardon that so much makes the Christian’s heart rejoice, it is Christ the pardoner; it is not election that I love half so much as my being chosen in Christ before the worlds began; it is not final perseverance that I love so much as the thought that in Christ my life is hid, and that since he gives unto his sheep eternal life, they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of his hand. Take care, Christian, to eat the Paschal Lamb and nothing else. I tell thee man, if thou eatest that alone, it will be like bread to thee—thy soul’s best food. If thou livest on anything else but the Saviour, thou art like one who seeks to live on some weed that grows in the desert, instead of eating the manna that comes down from heaven. Jesus is the manna.

For meditation: This communion sermon reminds us that if we sideline Christ in our Christianity, we are left with little more than an inanity—the best of what remains, even the Lord’s Supper or the doctrines of grace, will be empty if in them we fail to “remember Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 2:8).

Sermon no. 54

2 December (1855)

 

John MacArthur – Jesus: Our Great High Priest

John MacArthur

“The point in what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens” (Heb. 8:1).

Access to God was always a problem for the Jewish people. Exodus 33:20 declares that no man can see God and live. Once each year, on the great Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), the Jewish high priest entered into the Holy of Holies, where God’s presence dwelt in a unique sense, to approach God on behalf of the people.

God’s covenant with Israel was the basis for their communion with Him. And the sacrificial system that accompanied the Old Covenant gave the people an outward act to represent their inner repentance. But their sacrifices were incessant because their sin was incessant. They needed a perfect priest and sacrifice to provide access to God permanently. That’s exactly what Jesus was and did.

Hebrews 10 says that Jesus offered His body as a sacrifice for mankind’s sins once for all, then sat down at the right hand of the Father (vv. 10, 12). That was a revolutionary concept to Jewish thinking. A priest on duty could never sit down because his work was never done. But Jesus introduced a new and wonderful element into the sacrificial system: one sacrifice, offered once, sufficient for all time. That was the basis of the New Covenant.

Our Lord’s priesthood is permanent and perpetual: “Because He abides forever, [He] holds His priesthood permanently. Hence, also, He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7:24-25). That’s the central message of the book of Hebrews.

It wasn’t easy for the Jewish people to accept the need for a new covenant. Most rejected Christ outright. Similarly, many people today reject His priesthood, supposing they can gain access to God on their own terms. But they’re tragically mistaken. Jesus Himself said, “No one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6).

Suggestion for Prayer:

Praise God for receiving you into His presence through His Son, Jesus Christ.

For Further Study:

Read Hebrews 10:19-25, noting how God wants you to respond to Christ’s priesthood.

 

 

Joyce Meyer – Use Your Words to Heal

Joyce meyer

There are those who speak rashly, like the piercing of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

—Proverbs 12:18

Words have a tremendous impact on all of our lives. I know people who have lived lives of crippling insecurity because their parents spoke words of judgement, criticism and failure to them on a regular basis. These people can be healed only by receiving God’s unconditional love. They have been wounded in their souls (their inner selves, their mind, will and emotions), a place to which only God has total access. Isaiah 61:1 says that Jesus came to bind up and heal the brokenhearted. He is the lover of our souls and through Him we can be secure and successful.

However, once people are wounded by the words of others, it takes time to overcome the wrong image they have of themselves. That is why it is important that we learn to use our words for blessing, healing and building up and not for cursing, wounding and tearing down. Ephesians 4:29 says: “Let no foul or polluting language; nor evil word not unwholesome or worthless talk [ever] come out of your mouth, but only such [speech] as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it many be a blessing and give grace (God’s favor) to those who hear it.”

Generally speaking, if we believe in people, they will make a huge effort to live up to our confidence in them. We learned this through dealing with employees in our ministry. We found that if we promoted someone we believed had potential, they would begin to act differently as soon as they were informed of their promotion. They work harder to become what we have told them we believe they can be.

Multitudes of people need someone to believe in them. They have been wounded by wrong words, but the right words can bring healing into their lives. You can change someone’s life today by encouraging them to be all they can be.

Love Others Today: Lord, show me someone who needs Your healing love and allow me to share it with them through my words.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – He Gives Richly

dr_bright

“Tell those who are rich not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which will soon be gone, but their pride and trust should be in the living God who always richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment” (1 Timothy 6:17).

Arthur S. DeMoss was a gifted and godly businessman. He had built one of the most successful businesses of its kind in America and in the process had amassed a huge fortune of an estimated half a billion dollars. Then suddenly an economic recession began and stock in his company plummeted. He lost $360 million in a period of only four months – an average of $3 million a day – more than anybody had ever lost in such a short time. One would have thought he would have been devastated. Instead, in order to avoid decreasing his Christian giving, he (personally) borrowed funds, at an incredibly high rate of interest, to enable him to increase his giving. As we talked together during that period, he was rejoicing in the Lord.

“The Lord gave me everything I have,” he said. “It all belongs to Him and if He wants to take it away that’s His business. I don’t lose any sleep. I still have a wonderful family and my life-style remains unchanged. I am prepared to do anything that God wants me to do. If He takes away everything I own and wants me to go to the mission field, I’m ready to do it. All He needs to do is tell me.”

Art had his trust completely in the Lord and not in his vast fortune. God honored his faith and obedience and ultimately restored all that he had lost and much more. Art has gone to be with the Lord, but his fortune is still being used for the glory of God.

Paul’s answer to the believers of his day is just as appropriate to the believers of our time. No person should be unduly impressed with his wealth and look down with pride and arrogance on those whom he considers to be inferior. Riches are uncertain because they can be taken away from us. In the personal emergencies of life one cannot depend upon material possessions for strength and comfort. In times of tragedy – the loss of a loved one, a financial reversal, or some other disappointment – material possessions do not insure peace. Our trust must be in the living God who is able to supply all of our needs and do for us what riches cannot do.

Bible Reading: 1 Timothy 6:6-16

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:> I will not take the blessing of God for granted and will not place my trust in any earthy possession. My confidence will be in Him who is the source of the supernatural life.

 

Presidential Prayer Team; J.R. – The Chosen One

ppt_seal01

For a decade, the NBC television show Unsolved Mysteries was a popular weekly broadcast, often featuring stories of adopted children in search of their birth parents or lost siblings. It was a common theme because, until relatively recently, most adoptions were “closed.” In other words, the circumstances surrounding the child’s birth and the identity of the birth family were concealed. Adoptive parents often were counseled by well-meaning professionals not to even disclose to children that they were adopted. It’s now recognized this is bad and harmful advice.

Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth.

James 1:18

You are adopted by Christ when you receive Him as your Savior—that’s what today’s verse means when it says “he brought us forth,” and it’s certainly nothing to hide! What a wonderful privilege to have been chosen by God. “Before I formed you in the womb,” He says, “I knew you.” (Jeremiah 1:5)

As you celebrate Christ this month, take some time to remember what you were before – and what you might have been now – had He not “brought you forth” of His own will. And be thankful for your many blessings…family, friends and this wonderful land of America…as you pray for the nation and its leaders today.

Recommended Reading: Deuteronomy 8:1-10

 

 

Greg Laurie – Christmas Is a Promise

greglaurie

“The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned.” —Matthew 4:16

For those who have lost a loved one, as my family has, Christmas can be really difficult, especially because it is so filled with memories. So many of those memories are triggered. And when you see other people having fun, it can actually bring a lot of sadness to you. It can even bring you to the point where you would just like to skip Christmas altogether. Have you ever wanted to cancel Christmas? I have.

I am not saying that we should cancel the celebration of the birth of Christ, of course. I am not saying that we should unstring our lights and put away our presents. But let’s cancel the version of Christmas that has no place for God. Let’s cancel the version of Christmas that says, “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” Let’s cancel the version of Christmas that consists of endless hype and activities without any thought of Jesus.

Let’s get back to what Christmas truly is: a celebration of the birth of Jesus. I like Christmas, actually. I think that at its very best, Christmas is a promise. At its best, Christmas is spending time with family and friends, enjoying holiday meals, laughing together, exchanging gifts, and worshiping together. I think all of these are a glimpse of things to come—because Christmas is really a promise of heaven, a promise of something better.

You might look around and say, “I wish my loved one who is with the Lord could see this.” You are looking at twinkling lights, but don’t you think what they are seeing is better than what you are seeing? You may be experiencing temporary joys, but your loved one is in the presence of God, seeing the Lord in all of His glory. Now that is a Christmas worth celebrating.

 

 

 

Max Lucado – God Revealed

Max Lucado

When God chose to reveal himself to mankind, what did He use?  A book?  A church?  A moral code?  No. To limit God’s revelation to a cold list of do’s and don’t’s is as tragic as looking at a Colorado roadmap and saying you’d seen the Rockies!

When God chose to reveal himself, he did so through a human body. The hand that touched the leper had dirt under its nails. And his tears—oh, don’t miss the tears—they came from a heart as broken as your or mine ever has been. People came to him.  Touched him.  Followed him. He refused to be a statue in a cathedral or a priest in an elevated pulpit.  He chose instead to be Jesus.

Remember that the next time you find yourself amazed at your own failures. It’s man who creates the distance. It’s Jesus who builds the bridge!

From God Came Near

 

Charles Stanley – Good News!

Charles Stanley

 In Mark 16:15, Jesus commanded His disciples to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” But what exactly is the gospel? Even believers can’t always give a clear definition for this word. Let’s take a closer look at what this biblical term means.

1. The gospel is good news.

The word for “gospel” in Greek originally meant “reward for doing good.” Eventually it came to mean “good news.”

  • How would you define the gospel in your own words?
  • Briefly summarize the gospel, according to 1 Corinthians 15:1-4.

2. The gospel also has some bad news.

In order for the gospel to be good news, each person must first realize that there was bad news. The problem is that without Christ, each of us is hopelessly headed for eternal separation from God.

  • The prophet Isaiah wrote that “all of us like sheep have gone astray” (Is. 53:6). What characteristics of sheep do you think Isaiah had in mind?
  • The price of sin is high. Romans 6:23 says that “the wages of sin is death.”  What do you think the apostle Paul meant by that phrase?
  • In what ways do people reap the “wages of sin”?

3. The gospel expresses God’s grace.

  • Thankfully Romans 6:23 doesn’t end with our wrongdoings. What does the rest of this verse say about eternal life?
  • Why is it important that salvation is by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8-9)?
  • What reasons do non-believers give to justify their acceptance into heaven?
  • Why aren’t these reasons sufficient (Rom. 3:21-28)?

4. The gospel is for everyone.

God desires that all people accept the free gift of eternal life (John 3:16; 1 Tim. 2:3-4).
How do people learn of God’s offer for eternal life? The Lord uses believers to share the gospel with others through relationships, local outreaches to the poor, missions support, or service abroad. Opportunities to spread the good news are limitless.

  • In what ways do you currently share the gospel?
  • Ask God what He would have you do to take the good news to others this week.

5. The gospel is unique.

In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” A popular idea today is that every road leads to God. By this, people mean all religions are equally valid paths to heaven. But Jesus boldly proclaimed that He is the only way to the Father.

  • Why do you think people prefer to believe there are more than one path to God, when the way of the cross is so simple?

Closing: The Father, in His infinite wisdom, has only one requirement for salvation—that we place faith in His Son. In terms of eternal life, it makes no difference how virtuous or sinful a person has been. Humanity’s helpless, hopeless condition has only one answer: trusting in Jesus Christ and His atoning death on the cross.

Prayer: Father, thank You for sending Your Son to die so that I could be forgiven of all my sins. Please empower me to share this good news with my family, neighbors, and friends, both near and far. I surrender my will to be used by You, and I look forward to the work You will accomplish through me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Adapted from The Power of the Gospel, by Charles Stanley. 2003.

 

Related Resources

Related Video

The Reason For Our Boldness

Once we become Christians, we have a responsibility to share the truth of salvation with others. But oftentimes, we are not bold in sharing our faith because we have questions and doubts about exactly what the gospel is. (Watch The Reason For Our Boldness.)

 

 

Our Daily Bread — God Waiting

Our Daily Bread

John 14:1-6

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, . . . but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. —2 Peter 3:9

During the Christmas season we wait. We wait in traffic. We wait in checkout lines to purchase gifts. We wait for family to arrive. We wait to gather around a table filled with our favorite foods. We wait to open presents lovingly chosen.

All of this waiting can be a reminder to Christians that Christmas is a celebration of waiting for something much more important than holiday traditions. Like the ancient Israelites, we too are waiting for Jesus. Although He already came as the long-awaited Messiah, He has not yet come as ruler over all the earth. So today we wait for Christ’s second coming.

Christmas reminds us that God also waits . . . He waits for people to see His glory, to admit that they are lost without Him, to say yes to His love, to receive His forgiveness, to turn away from sin. While we wait for His second coming, He waits for repentance. What seems to us like God’s slowness in coming is instead His patience in waiting (2 Peter 3:9).

The Lord is waiting to have a relationship with those He loves. He made the first move when He came as baby Jesus and the sacrificial Lamb. Now He waits for us to welcome Him into our lives as Savior and Lord. —Julie Ackerman Link

God is waiting in the silence

As the world goes rushing by;

Will not someone stop and listen,

Answer quickly, “Here am I”?

—Oswald Smith © 1939 The Rodeheaver Company

God patiently keeps His promises.

Bible in a year: Ezekiel 40-41; 2 Peter 3

 

Alistair Begg – Winter in the Soul

Alistair Begg

You have made summer and winter.

Psalms 74:17

My soul, begin this wintry month with God. The cold snows and the piercing winds all remind you that He keeps His covenant with day and night and serve to assure you that He will also keep that glorious covenant that He has made with you in the person of Christ Jesus. He who is true to His Word in the revolutions of the seasons of this poor sin-polluted world will not prove unfaithful in His dealings with His own well-beloved Son.

Winter in the soul is by no means a comfortable season, and if it is upon you just now, it will be very painful to you: But there is this comfort, namely, that the Lord makes it. He sends the sharp blasts of adversity to nip the buds of expectation. He scatters the frozen dew like ashes over the once fresh green meadows of our joy. He dispenses His icy morsels, freezing the streams of our delight.

He does it all; He is the great Winter King and rules in the realms of frost, and therefore you cannot murmur. Losses, crosses, heaviness, sickness, poverty, and a thousand other ills are of the Lord’s sending and come to us with wise design. Frosts kill harmful insects and restrain raging diseases; they break up the clods and sweeten the soul. O that such good results would always follow our winters of affliction!

How we prize the fire just now! How pleasant is its cheerful glow! Let us in the same manner prize our Lord, who is the constant source of warmth and comfort in every time of trouble. Let us draw near to Him, and in Him find joy and peace in believing. Let us wrap ourselves in the warm garments of His promises, and keep working, unlike the lazy man who refuses to plow because it is too cold; in the summer he will have nothing and will be forced to beg for bread.

 

Charles Spurgeon – Free-will—a slave

CharlesSpurgeon

“And ye will not come unto me, that ye might have life.” John 5:40

Suggested Further Reading: John 6:60-65

It is certain that men will not come unto Christ, that they might have life. We might prove this from many texts of Scripture, but we will take one parable. You remember the parable where a certain king had a feast for his son, and invited a great number to come; the oxen and fatlings were killed, and he sent his messengers inviting many to the supper. Did they go to the feast? No; but they all, with one accord, began to make excuse. One said he had married a wife, and therefore he could not come, whereas he might have brought her with him. Another had bought a yoke of oxen, and went to prove them; but the feast was in the night-time and he could not prove his oxen in the dark. Another had bought a piece of land, and wanted to see it; but I should not think he went to see it with a lantern. So they all made excuses and would not come. Well the king was determined to have the feast; so he said, “Go into the highways and hedges,” and invite them—stop! Not invite—“compel them to come in;” for even the ragged fellows in the hedges would never have come unless they were compelled. Take another parable; a certain man had a vineyard; at the appointed season he sent one of his servants for his rent. What did they do to him? They beat that servant. He sent another; and they stoned him. He sent another and they killed him. And, at last, he said “I will send them my son, they will reverence him.” But what did they do? They said, “This is the heir, let us kill him, and cast him out of the vineyard.” So they did. It is the same with all men by nature. The Son of God came, yet men rejected him.

For meditation: When you thank God for your salvation, do you give him all the credit for your conversion as well (John 15:16)?

Sermon no. 52

1 December (Preached 2 December 1855)

 

 

 

John MacArthur – Christ is superior to everyone and everything.

John MacArthur

“God . . . has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Heb. 1:1-3).

The book of Hebrews was addressed to an audience composed of Jewish Christians, Jewish non-Christians who were intellectually convinced about Jesus but hadn’t yet committed themselves to Him, and Jewish non-Christians who didn’t believe the gospel at all.

The author’s goal was to demonstrate Christ’s superiority over everyone and everything that had preceded Him, whether Old Testament persons, institutions, rituals, or sacrifices. He specifically contrasted Christ with angels, Moses, Joshua, Aaron and his priesthood, the Old Covenant, and the sacrificial system.

The Jewish believers needed this focus on Christ’s superiority because most of them were suffering some form of persecution because of their Christian testimony. Some were in danger of confusing the gospel with Jewish ceremonies and legalism, and drifting back into their former practices.

Those who were intellectually convinced but spiritually uncommitted needed to be warned not to stop at that point, but to go all the way to saving faith. They were in danger of committing the greatest sin any person can commit: rejecting Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

Those who didn’t believe in Christ as all needed to see that Jesus was in fact who He claimed to be. To such people the author explains the unique priesthood of Christ, and the urgency of turning to Him in faith.

Within your circle of friends and associates, you probably have Christians who are weak of faith and need your encouragement and instruction. Be available to minister to them whenever possible.

 

Undoubtedly you also know people who are intellectually convinced that Jesus is who He claimed to be, but aren’t willing to embrace Him as their Lord. Don’t be shy about urging them to move on to salvation.

To those who reject Christ outright, boldly proclaim the gospel and trust the Holy Spirit to convict their hearts.

Suggestion for Prayer:

Praise Christ for His preeminence and surpassing grace.

For Further Study:

Read Hebrews 1-2. To whom does the writer compare Christ? Be specific.

 

Joyce Meyer – Exercising Authority

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For it is disgraceful for a woman to talk in church [for her to usurp and exercise authority over men in the church].

—1 Corinthians 14:35

Part of the problem in Corinth was that women may have been usurping authority over men, which is a wrong attitude that some women who teach or preach can develop. They may think their position allows them to exercise authority over people. I cannot be responsible for what other women do, but as for me, I can honestly say that when I teach God’s Word, I don’t see myself exercising authority over men or women.

I use the gift of communication that God has given me to fulfill the call on my life to teach. I want to help people understand God’s Word so they can easily apply it to their daily lives. When I hold a public meeting, I believe I have authority over that meeting and that I am responsible to keep order, but I have never felt that I was taking authority over people. It is difficult to know exactly what was going on when Paul wrote this letter, but we cannot take this verse to mean that women were forever forbidden to speak in church. We must look at all of the other Scriptures that clearly indicate that God regularly used women.

Lord, I am not interested in having authority over any other person, but I do want the confidence that comes from having the authority of Your Word working in and through my life. Amen.

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Strength and Peace

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“He will give His people strength. He will bless them with peace” (Psalm 29:11).

Scott, a professing atheist with the morals of an alley cat, insisted that he had peace in his heart. Though rare, it is possible for people to harden their hearts so much that God ceases to draw them to Himself, and they experience a counterfeit peace.

The psalmist, of course, is talking about a different kind of peace. Ocean voyagers in the storm are at peace because they know the ship is sound and the pilot is skillful. In the same way, we as believers are at peace because we serve God who gives His people strength and blesses them with peace.

“His people,” of course, refers to those who have placed their trust and faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, as Lord and Savior. None other may claim such a wonderful promise.

Significantly, “strength” comes before “peace.” This is God’s strength: “Who would certainly fail without it. Then this very same strength results in peace, God’s peace “that passes all understanding.”

God’s strength enables us to contend with the powers of darkness, within the world and within our own natural depravity.

Peace, the great blessing of the gospel is two-fold:

Peace with God through Christ, and

Peace of mind.

Strength and peace to live the abundant, supernatural life is available to all His people. You may claim your share today by faith.

Bible Reading: Psalm 71:9-16

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:> Those two great blessings, strength and peace, will be mine today in direct proportion to my faith and trust in Him, who is my peace.

 

Presidential Prayer Team; P.G. – Beyond Measure

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Setting her giant bowl before her, Grandma reached into the flour sack and took out handfuls of whiteness. She then added a couple scoops of sugar, salt poured from the hollow of her palm, and numerous shakes from the cinnamon can – ingredients never measured, but combined in just the right amounts. When her snickerdoodles emerged fresh, soft and thick from the oven, they seldom had the chance to cool before being snagged by eager hands.

And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.

John 1:16

The Bible says God measures out His grace: “But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.” (Ephesians 4:7) Romans 12:3 reads, “For by the grace given…each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.” Does the Lord dole out His grace to you by holy handfuls? Or does He carefully measure: this for you, that for another? He’s likely more like Grandma….reaching into His own immeasurable fullness and lavishing you with grace and more grace. Favor. Blessings. Goodness. Love.

In this season of cookie baking and gift giving, remember the greatest of all gifts – the grace given to you by God’s only Son Jesus. Reflect on America’s need to again accept that immeasurable grace, one person at a time…starting with the nation’s leaders.

Recommended Reading: Romans 8:28-39