Tag Archives: God’s Word

Our Daily Bread — God’s Compass

 

Read: Psalm 119:105-112

Bible in a Year: Proverbs 22-24; 2 Corinthians 8

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. —Psalm 119:105

During World War II, small compasses saved the lives of 27 sailors 300 miles off the coast of North Carolina. Waldemar Semenov, a retired merchant seaman, was serving as a junior engineer aboard the SS Alcoa Guide when a German submarine surfaced and opened fire on the ship. The ship was hit, caught fire, and began to sink. Semenov and his crew lowered compass-equipped lifeboats into the water and used the compasses to guide them toward the shipping lanes closer to shore. After three days, the men were rescued.

The psalmist reminded God’s people that His Word was a trustworthy “compass.” He likened it to a lamp. In that day, the flickering light cast by an olive oil lamp was only bright enough to show a traveler his next step. To the psalmist, God’s Word was such a lamp, providing enough light to illuminate the path for those pursuing God (Ps. 119:105). When the psalmist was wandering in the dark on a chaotic path of life, he believed that God, through the guidance of His Word, would provide direction.

When we lose our bearings in life, we can trust our God who gives His trustworthy Word as our compass, using it to lead us into deeper fellowship with Him. —Marvin Williams

Heavenly Father, it is difficult to navigate life. I drift sometimes, but I will trust in You. Lead me and guide me by the faithfulness and reliability of Your Word.

God has given us His Word to help us know and follow Him.

INSIGHT: Many times we view rules and laws as restrictions on what we can and cannot do. It is tempting to see laws as impinging on our freedom. However, the psalmist clearly has a positive view of God’s law. Instead of seeing it as limiting, the psalmist celebrates the law as something that gives him life (119:107,111). Since we live in a broken world, we need the guidance of God’s Word to show us how to truly live. J.R. Hudberg

Streams in the Desert for Kids – I Know You

 

Psalm 119:42

Have you ever met someone who you are sure you’ve met before, but you can’t remember when or where? Then all of a sudden, it comes to you and you say, “I know you!” You recognize the person. You remember where you met. That’s a little bit like it is with God. You go along living your life day after day, then something happens that seems familiar. All at once you know. This is God at work. God has come to help.

What do you know about God? Where have you learned what you know? God’s Word is the best place to learn about God. When we know God’s Word, we get to know him too. We learn he is a good, kind, loving God who expects certain things from us. His Word also builds our faith and strength in him. It’s not hard to trust and believe in him when we know him. So get acquainted with God in the pages of his Book today.

Dear Lord, I want to know more about you. I want to recognize you when you speak to me. I want my faith in you to grow stronger. I want to love you more. Amen.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Praying in His Will

 

“This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have requests which we have asked from Him” (1 John 5:14,15 NAS). 

A very dedicated church member, who came to me for counsel concerning her prayer life, said, “I pray all the time, but I don’t seem to get any answers. I have become discouraged and I wonder if God really answers prayer.”

I showed her this wonderful promise and asked, “First of all, do you pray according to the will of God?” This was a new thought to her.

“What do you mean?” she inquired. I explained by reminding her what God’s Word says. How do our requests relate to the Word of God and to the desires which He places in our hearts? As we read in Psalm 37:4, if we delight ourselves in the Lord, He gives us the desires of our hearts, and in Phillipians 2:13 Paul states that it is God who works in us both to will and to do His good pleasure. For example, we can always know that we are praying according to the will of God and the Word of God when we pray for the salvation of souls, for God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. We can pray for the maturing of believers because God wants all of us to be conformed to the image of Christ. We can also pray for all the needs of our brothers and sisters materially, emotionally, and most of all, spiritually – because God’s Word promises that He will supply all of our needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

One can know that selfish prayers for “me, myself and only my interests” are not likely to be heard because we are to seek first God’s kingdom.

If we want to receive blessings from God for ourselves, we must forget ourselves and help others find their fulfillment. In the process, God will meet our needs. This does not suggest that we should not give attention to our own needs and to the needs of our loved ones, but rather we are not to seek only that which is for our personal best.

No prayer life can be effective without a thorough knowledge and understanding of God’s Word, the basis from which we can know the will of God and thus pray with assurance that our prayers will be answered.

Bible Reading: I John 3:22-24

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will saturate my mind with the Word of God and seek to know and do His will so that when I pray, my prayers will have ready answers.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Inspiration of God

 

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16, KJV).

Recently, it was my privilege to be chairman of a national congress on the Bible, which was held in San Diego, California. Thousands of Christian leaders came from across the nation and from other countries. More than fifty leading scholars addressed the various plenary and seminar sessions.

We were there to affirm our confidence that the Word of God is holy, inspired and without error. God’s Word is unlike any other book ever written. It is full of power and transforms the lives of all who read and obey its commandments. Many scholars read it without understanding, while others with little or no formal education comprehend its truths and are transformed in the process because they walk with God in humility and in the fullness and control of the Holy Spirit.

The story is told of a famous actor who attended a party one evening. A minister, who was also present, asked him if he would be kind enough to recite the 23rd Psalm. The actor, a famous and eloquent star of stage and screen, agreed on one condition – that the minister, a man in his eighties who had served God faithfully and humbly for half a century, would also recite the psalm.

The minister agreed, and the actor began. The words came like beautiful music, and everyone was enthralled at his beautiful presentation of the 23rd Psalm. A standing ovation greeted him at the finish.

Then the minister stood. He was not polished or eloquent. But as he began to recite the 23rd Psalm, a holy hush fell over his listeners and tears began to fill their eyes. When he finished, there was no applause – only silence. The actor stood to his feet. “I have reached your eyes and your ears and your emotions,” he said. “But this man of God has reached the very depths of your being.”

Bible Reading: II Peter 1:19-21

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will seek to become familiar with God’s Word, and obedient to its precepts, that my life will reflect its teachings. I will encourage others to join me in this great adventure of getting to know God and His holy, inspired Word.

Alistair Begg – Getting on the Scales

 

You have been weighed in the balances and found wanting. Daniel 5:27

It is good to regularly weigh ourselves on the scale of God’s Word. You will find it a holy exercise to read some Psalm of David and, as you meditate upon each verse, to ask yourself, “Can I say this? Have I felt as David felt? Has my heart ever been broken on account of sin, as his was when he penned his penitential psalms? Has my soul been full of true confidence in the hour of difficulty as his was when he sang of God’s mercies in the cave of Adullam or in the holds of Engedi? Do I take the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord?”

Then turn to the life of Christ, and as you read, ask yourself how far you are conformed to His likeness. Endeavor to discover whether you have the meekness, the humility, the lovely spirit that He constantly urged and displayed. Then take the epistles, and see whether you can go with the apostle in what he said of his experience. Have you ever cried out as he did, “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death”? Have you ever felt his self-abasement? Have you seemed to yourself the chief of sinners, and less than the least of all the saints? Have you known anything of his devotion? Could you join with him and say, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain”?

If in this way we read God’s Word as a test of our spiritual condition, we will often have good reason to pause and say, “Lord, I feel I have never yet been here. O bring me here! Give me the true penitence about which I am reading. Give me real faith; give me warmer zeal; inflame me with more fervent love; grant me the grace of meekness; make me more like Jesus. Do not allow me to be ‘found wanting’ when weighed in the balances of the Bible, in case I be found wanting in the scales of judgment.” “Judge not, that you be not judged.”

Devotional material is taken from “Morning and Evening,” written by C.H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg.

Joyce Meyer – Be Careful What You Think

 

But his delight and desire are in the law of the Lord, and on His law (the precepts, the instructions, the teachings of God) he habitually meditates (ponders and studies) by day and by night. And he shall be like a tree firmly planted [and tended] by the streams of water, ready to bring forth its fruit in its season; its leaf also shall not fade or wither; and everything he does shall prosper I and come to maturity]. Psalm 1:2-3

Your word have I laid up in my heart, that I might not sin against You…I will meditate on Your precepts and have respect to Your ways [the paths of life marked out by Your law]. Psalm 119:11, 15

In the early days of computers, they used to say, “Garbage in, garbage out.” That was a way of explaining that the computer only worked with the data put into the machine. If we wanted different results, we needed to put in different information.

When it comes to computers, most people have no trouble grasping that concept, but when it comes to their minds, they don’t seem to get it. Or perhaps they don’t want to get it. So many things demand their attention and beg for their focus. They’re not just sinful things. The apostle Paul said that although everything was lawful for him, not everything was helpful (see l Corinthians 6:12).

If you are going to win the battle of the mind and defeat your enemy, where you focus your attention is crucial. The more you meditate on God’s Word, the stronger you’ll become and the more easily you’ll win the victories.

Too many Christians don’t realize the difference between meditating on the Bible and reading the Bible. They like to think that whenever they read God’s Word, they’re absorbing the deep things of God. Too often people will read a chapter of the Bible, and when they get to the last verse, they have little idea of what they’ve read. Those who meditate on Gods Word are those who think and think seriously about what they’re reading.

They may not put it in these words, but they are saying, “God, speak to me. Teach me. As I ponder Your Word, reveal its depth to me.”

In today’s scripture, I quoted from Psalm 1. This psalm begins by defining the person who is blessed, and then points out the right actions of that person. The psalmist wrote that those who meditate and do it day and night are like productive trees…and everything they do shall prosper.

The psalmist made it quite clear that meditating on and thinking about God’s Word brings results. As you ponder who God is and what He’s saying to you, you’ll grow. It’s really that simple. Another way to put it is to say that whatever you focus on, you become. If you read about and allow your mind to focus on God’s love and power, that’s what operates in you.

The apostle Paul says it beautifully in Philippians 4:8: …”Whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them].”

It’s sad, but most Christians don’t put much effort into their study of the Word_ They go to hear others teach and preach, and they may listen to sermon tapes and read the Bible occasionally, but they’re not dedicated to making God’s Word a major part of their lives.

Be careful what you think about. The more you think about good things, the better your life will seem. The more you think about Jesus Christ and the principles He taught, the more you become like Jesus and the stronger you grow And as you grow, you win the battle for your mind.

Lord God, help me think about the things that honor You. Fill my life with a hunger for more of You and Your Word so that in everything I may prosper. I ask this through Jesus Christ. Amen.

John MacArthur – Receiving the Word in Purity

 

“Putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness . . . receive the word” (James 1:21).

You cannot receive God’s Word and harbor sin at the same time.

When the psalmist said, “I have restrained my feet from every evil way, that I may keep Thy word” (Ps. 119:101), he was acknowledging a key principle of spiritual growth: you must set aside sin if you expect to benefit from God’s Word. Peter was expressing the same thought when he said, “Putting aside all malice and all guile and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the word, that by it you may grow in respect to salvation” (1 Pet. 2:1-2). Likewise, James admonished us to put off sin and receive the Word (James 1:21).

Neither James nor Peter were addressing unbelievers, because without Christ, people have no capacity to set sin aside or receive God’s Word. But we as Christians are characterized by our ability to do both, and must continually purify our lives through confession of sin, repentance, and right choices. That’s why Paul said, “Just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification” (Rom. 6:19).

The Greek word translated “putting aside” in James 1:21 originally meant taking off dirty, soiled clothes. “Filthiness” translates a Greek word that was used of moral vice as well as dirty clothes. Its root word was sometimes used of ear wax, which impedes a person’s hearing. Similarly, sin impedes reception of the Word. “Wickedness” speaks of any evil intent or desire. Together they stress the importance of setting aside all evil actions and intentions.

Simply stated, you should never presume on God’s grace by approaching His Word with unconfessed sin. David prayed, “Keep back Thy servant from presumptuous [deliberate] sins; let them not rule over me; then I shall be blameless” (Ps. 19:13). He wanted to be pure before the Lord. I pray that you share his desire and will always receive the Word in purity.

Suggestions for Prayer

Memorize Psalm 19:14. Make it your prayer as you study God’s Word.

For Further Study

Read Colossians 3:5-17.

  • What does Paul admonish you to put off? Put on?
  • Why is it important to heed his admonitions?

 

John MacArthur – Be Quick to Hear

 

“This you know, my beloved brethren. But let everyone be quick to hear” (James 1:19).

Being quick to hear involves a proper attitude toward God’s Word.

It has been well said that either God’s Word will keep you from sin or sin will keep you from God’s Word. Apparently some of James’s readers were allowing sin to keep them from receiving the Word as they should. God was allowing them to experience various trials so their joy and spiritual endurance would increase, but they lacked wisdom and fell into temptation and sin. James called them back to the Word and to a godly perspective on their circumstances.

James 1:19 begins with the phrase “This you know,” which refers back to verse 18. They had experienced the power of the Word in salvation, now James wants them to allow it to sanctify them. For that to occur, they must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath (v. 19).

Being quick to hear means you don’t disregard or fight against God’s Word. Instead, when trials or difficult decisions come your way, you ask God for wisdom and receive the counsel of His Word with a willingness to obey it. You’re not like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, whom Jesus described as “foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken” (Luke 24:25).

You should be quick to hear the Word because it provides nourishment for your spiritual life and is your weapon against all spiritual adversaries. It is the means by which you are strengthened and equipped for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16-17). It delivers you from trials and temptations and engages you in communion with the living God. The Word should be your most welcome friend!

Be quick to hear, pursuing every opportunity to learn God’s truth. Let the testimony of the psalmist be yours: “O how I love Thy law! It is my meditation all the day. . . . I have restrained my feet from every evil way, that I may keep Thy word. . . . How sweet are Thy words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Ps. 119:97, 101, 103).

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God for His precious Word and for the marvelous transforming work it accomplishes in you.

For Further Study

Read Psalm 19:1-14.

  • What terms did the psalmist use to describe God’s Word?
  • What benefits does the Word bring?

 

John MacArthur –Receiving the Word

 

“This you know, my beloved brethren. But let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. Therefore putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:19-21).

True believers receive God’s Word.

The key word in today’s passage is “receive” (James 1:21). Believers are to receive God’s Word. That’s what distinguishes them from unbelievers. Jesus said to a group of religious unbelievers, “Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. . . . He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God” (John 8:43, 47).

“Hear” in those verses doesn’t refer to hearing with the ear only. Jesus’ audience heard in that sense—even to the point of wanting to kill Him for what He said (v. 59)—but they didn’t receive and obey His words. By rejecting the truth, they proved themselves to be children of the devil, who is the father of lies (v. 44).

Peter called God’s Word the imperishable, living, and abiding seed that brings salvation (1 Peter 1:21). But receiving God’s Word isn’t limited to salvation alone. As a Christian, you have the Word implanted within you. Now you must nurture it by removing the weeds of filthiness and wickedness so it can produce the fruit of righteousness. That isn’t a one-time effort, but a lifestyle of confession, looking into God’s Word, desiring His message, and longing to obey it. That doesn’t mean you’ll be sinlessly perfect, but your life will be marked by ever-increasing spiritual maturity and obedience to the Word. When you are disobedient, you should feel an enormous tension in your spirit until you repent and make things right.

Are you hearing and receiving God’s Word in that way? Do those who know you best see you as a person whose life is governed by biblical principles? Jesus said, “If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine” (John 8:31). Receive His truth and abide in it continually!

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask the Lord to keep you sensitive to His Word in every situation you face today.

For Further Study

Read 1 Thessalonians 2:13-14, noting the Thessalonians’ response to God’s Word.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – How to Stay Pure

 

“How can a young man stay pure? By reading Your Word and following its rules” (Psalm 119:9).

I can live a pure life if I follow God’s Word. That seems to be the clear import of the psalmist’s message in this verse. And if that is true – and I have no doubt it is – then certain things surely should follow.

I will begin today by determining to know His Word and to obey it. Simple logic would dictate that I cannot and will not obey His Word if I am not familiar with it.

In a day when immorality is rampant and divorce is becoming commonplace even among Christians, how important it is that I seek to keep my life pure. Surely I cannot expect to be used of God in a supernatural way to help fulfill the Great Commission unless I am pure. And there seems to be no better way to accomplish that desired end than by reading, studying – even memorizing – His Word, and then, through the enabling of the Holy Spirit, by claiming God’s promises and obeying His commandments.

Earlier (Day 18) we mentioned the importance of hiding God’s Word in our hearts, that we might not sin against Him (Psalm 119:11). Again I would emphasize the value of committing to memory many verses – and even chapters – from the Word of God. In that way, we will have them stored in our minds so that God can bring them to our minds in time of special need and can use them to enable us to live supernaturally.

Basic to living the supernatural life is this matter of spending time in God’s Word, which is quick and powerful.

Bible Reading: Psalm 119:10-16

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Today I will spend quality time in the Word of God and begin to memorize favorite passages, especially Psalm 119.

Our Daily Bread — The Book Behind The Story

 

Read: Psalm 119:105-112
Bible in a Year: 2 Samuel 23-24; Luke 19:1-27

Your testimonies I have taken as a heritage forever, for they are the rejoicing of my heart. —Psalm 119:111

Millions of people around the world have seen Gone with the Wind, which premiered in the United States on December 15, 1939. It won 10 Academy Awards and remains one of Hollywood’s most commercially successful films. It was based on Margaret Mitchell’s 1936 novel, which sold one million copies within 6 months, received a Pulitzer Prize, and has been translated into more than 40 languages. An epic movie often has its source in a powerful and timeless book.

The book that’s the basis for the Christian faith is the Bible. From Genesis to Revelation, it is infused with God’s plan for His creation, including us. Psalm 119 celebrates the power and necessity of God’s Word in our lives. It lights our path (v.105), revives our souls (v.107), and guards our steps (v.110). Through the Scriptures we find wisdom, guidance, life, and joy. “Your testimonies I have taken as a heritage forever, for they are the rejoicing of my heart” (v.111).

Jesus our Lord calls us to base our lives on His Word and share the joy of knowing Him with people who are longing to find life. “I have inclined my heart to perform Your statutes forever, to the very end” (v.112).

What a book! What a Savior! —David McCasland

Dear Lord, Your Word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path. Your laws are my treasure; they are my heart’s delight. I am determined to keep Your decrees to the very end.

The Bible, God’s eternal truth, can be trusted today.

INSIGHT: Psalm 119 is the psalmist’s response to God’s Word. Although he was scorned for trusting it (vv. 23-24), the psalmist vowed to remain committed to knowing and obeying God’s Word (vv. 106-110). In the midst of life’s troubles and difficulties (v. 107), he affirmed that God’s law is indeed a lamp that illuminates his ways and a light that provides guidance in responding to life (vv. 105,130). The psalmist believed that God’s Word would renew him and keep him strong (v. 107). It was his heritage and his joy (v. 111).

Charles Stanley – How to Listen to God’s Word

Nehemiah 8

How is it that two people can sit in the same pew, hear the same sermon about the same portion of Scripture, and walk away with two different reactions? One is joyful and the other is unaffected. I think the reason is that some people do not know how to listen to the Word of God.

Nehemiah 8 is an amazing scene of God’s people coming together to hear His Word. Remember that they didn’t have individual copies of Scripture to read. For generations, the events of Genesis through Deuteronomy were passed down from parent to child. Moreover, the people had been in captivity for many years. This was the first time most of them heard the Word read. Imagine their excitement as they listened attentively for the Lord to speak to them.

The Israelites were hungry for God’s Word. Are you? Do you listen eagerly and with an expectant mind and heart? The length of a person’s attention span is directly related to the intensity of his hunger for something. If you crave to know more of God, then your mind is going to be fastened on what He’s saying through your pastor or your personal reading. And the reality is that nothing in the world matters as much as what the Lord has to say.

So many things clamor for our focus but few truly deserve it. The Lord is worthy of nothing less than our undivided attention. He has something to say to every person. So whoever listens to God’s Word with an open heart and alert mind will receive from Him.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – The Holy Spirit Enlightens

 

“But the man who isn’t a Christian can’t understand and can’t accept these thoughts from God, which the Holy Spirit teaches us. They sound foolish to him, because only those who have the Holy Spirit within them can understand what the Holy Spirit means. Others just can’t take it in” (1 Corinthians 2:14).

Though I have been a Christian for more than 35 years, I still have much to learn. I am far from perfect. And I do not ever expect to be – in this lifetime. Only our Lord Jesus Christ was without sin.

However, I know from experience that the more time I spend with God through reading, studying, memorizing and meditating on His Word, with the help of the Holy Spirit to interpret God’s truth to me, the more I become like our Lord Jesus Christ, God’s Son.

When you spend time daily in Bible reading and study, your life will change. After reading God’s Word consistently for several months, you will be amazed by the things God has done in your life.

How can we understand the Bible? How can we experience its life-changing influence in our lives?

The non-believer and the disobedient, carnal Christian have difficulty in understanding the Bible because they must rely on their human faculties in their attempt to understand things that are of a spiritual nature in God’s Word.

As Paul writes to the church at Corinth,” …the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (KJV).

Bible Reading: I Corinthians 2:9-13

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  Since the Holy Spirit inspired holy men of old to record God’s Word, the Bible, I will ask Him to interpret God’s message to my own life, and today I will encourage someone, or several others, to depend upon the Holy Spirit and to join me in living a supernatural life for the glory of God.

Charles Stanley – WHEN TEMPTATION KNOCKS

 

What makes a person successful at resisting temptation? I believe the best way to discover how to overcome temptation is to look to the One who dealt with every temptation successfully and consistently. The writer of Hebrews wrote of Christ: “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15).

Since Jesus successfully overcame temptation, we would do well to study His strategy for dealing with it. Unfortunately, we have only one clear passage of Scripture describing Christ’s encounter with temptation. We know from the passage in Hebrews cited above that He was tempted more often than this, but the Holy Spirit chose not to include these in the gospels.

Strangely enough, Jesus’ approach is so straightforward and simple that many believers tend to overlook it entirely. Others, after hearing it, make the most ridiculous excuses as to why they can’t follow His example.

What was His strategy? After 40 days of fasting in the desert, Jesus used Scripture—and only Scripture—to resist Satan’s temptation (Matt. 4:1-11). This is hard for me to comprehend. The Son of God—the One who knows all things and has the power to do all things, the One whose words we study, memorize, and meditate on—never made an original comment during the entire interaction.

He never drew on His own wit. He never relied on His own power. He simply responded with the truth of God’s Word. That’s all it took. Nothing fancy. Just the plain truth directed at the deception behind each of Satan’s requests. Jesus verbally confronted Satan with the truth, and eventually Satan gave up and left.

To effectively combat the onslaughts of the enemy, you need an arsenal of verses on the tip of your tongue—verses so familiar, they come to mind without any conscious effort on your part.

There are four primary reasons why a well-chosen passage or verse of Scripture is so effective against temptation.

First of all, God’s Word exposes the sinfulness of what you are being tempted to do. One of Satan’s subtle snares is to convince you that sin is really not so bad after all. God’s Word allows you to see things for what they really are.

A second reason the Word of God is so effective against temptation is that you gain God’s viewpoint through it. Since many temptations carry a strong emotional punch, you tend to get caught up in your feelings. Once you identify with the feelings temptation evokes, it becomes increasingly difficult to respond correctly. The truth of Scripture allows you to separate yourself just far enough mentally to deal with it successfully.

Another reason for turning to God’s Word in times of temptation is what one pastor calls “the principle of displacement“.1 This principle is based on the premise that it is impossible not to think about a seductive topic unless you turn your attention elsewhere. When you turn your thoughts to the Word of God during temptation, you do just that (Phil. 4:8).

If you don’t shift your attention away from the temptation, you may begin some form of mental dialogue: I really shouldn’t. But I haven’t done this in a long time. I am really going to hate myself later. Why not? I’ve already blown it. I’ll do it just this once, and tomorrow I’ll start over. When you allow these little discussions to begin, you’re sunk. The longer you talk, the more time the temptation has to settle into your emotions and will.

The fourth reason the Word of God is so effective against temptation is that you are expressing faith when you turn your attention to His Word. You are saying, “I believe God is able to get me through this; I believe He is mightier than the power of sin, my flesh, and Satan himself.” Nothing moves God like the active faith of His people.

To effectively combat the onslaughts of the enemy, you need an arsenal of verses on the tip of your tongue—verses so familiar, they come to mind without any conscious effort on your part. If you have to dig them up from the caverns of your memory, they will do you no good. There isn’t time for that in the midst of temptation.

Begin memorizing Scriptures that address the area that troubles you the most. Quote them audibly when you are tempted. When you speak the truth out loud, it’s as if you have taken a stand with God against the enemy. When I do this, I often feel a sense of courage and conviction sweeping over me. Remember, if the perfect, sinless, sovereign Son of God relied on Scripture to pull Him through, what hope do you have without it?

Adapted from “Winning the War Within: Facing Trials, Temptations and Inner Struggles by Charles F. Stanley, 1988.

 

  1. Bud Palmberg, “Private Sins of Public Ministry,” Leadership magazine (Winter 1988)

 

John MacArthur – Praying According to God’s Word

 

“I, Daniel, observed in the books the number of the years which was revealed as the word of the Lord to Jeremiah the prophet for the completion of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years. So I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications” (Dan. 9:2-3).

God’s sovereignty doesn’t eliminate the need for prayer.

Have you ever wondered if it’s biblical to pray for things that God has already promised in His Word to do? Is it proper to pray, say, for the salvation of sinners, knowing that God will redeem all the elect anyway, or for Christ’s return, knowing that it is a sure thing? Daniel gives us a clear answer.

God prophesied through Jeremiah that the Babylonian Captivity would last seventy years (Jer. 25:11-12). When Daniel read that prophecy, he realized that the time was near for his people to return to their homeland. That inspired him to pray fervently.

In Daniel 9:19 he cries out, “O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and take action! For Thine own sake, O my God, do not delay.” He was in tune with God’s Word and understood that somehow his prayers were part of God’s plan.

The exact relationship between God’s sovereignty and our prayers is a mystery, but it is clear that somehow God’s Word and our prayers are co-laborers in achieving God’s will.

Like Daniel, you and I live in a time when many of God’s promises seem near to fulfillment. Never before have world events pointed so dramatically to the nearness of the return of our Lord. Consequently, this is not the time for complacency or over-enthusiastic speculation. It is the time for careful Bible study and fervent prayer.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Thank God for His faithfulness and the sure promises of His Word.
  • Ask Him for spiritual wisdom and insight to discern His will and then live accordingly.

For Further Study

Jeremiah 24:1—25:13 gives some background to Judah’s captivity in Babylon. After reading those verses, answer these questions:

  • To what kind of fruit did God liken Judah?
  • What did God say would happen to King Zedekiah?
  • What warning did the prophets give to Judah?
  • What was Judah’s response?
  • How would God deal with Babylon?

 

Our Daily Bread – Mirror, Mirror

 

 

 

He who . . . is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. —James 1:25

 

Read: James 1:19-27
Bible in a Year: Leviticus 23-24; Mark 1:1-22

How often do you see your reflection in a mirror? Some studies say that the average person looks in a mirror 8 to 10 times a day. Other surveys say it could be as many as 60 to 70 times a day, if glancing at our reflection in store windows and smart phone screens is included.

Why do we look so often? Most experts agree that it’s to check our appearance, especially before meetings or social gatherings. If something is amiss, we want to fix it. Why look if we don’t plan to change what’s wrong?

The apostle James said that reading or hearing God’s Word without acting on it is like looking in a mirror and forgetting what we’ve seen (1:22-24). But the better alternative is to look closely and act on what we see. James said, “He who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does” (v.25).

If we hear God’s Word without taking action, we fool only ourselves (v.22). But when we examine ourselves in light of God’s Word and obey His instructions, God liberates us from all that keeps us from looking more and more like Him each day.—David C. McCasland

Thank You, Lord, for the Bible, Your Word to us. Give us wisdom and guidance as we read its pages. Make us sensitive to Your voice and give us hearts to obey.

The Bible is a mirror that lets us see ourselves as God sees us.

INSIGHT: Various metaphors are used in Scripture to describe God’s Word: a mirror (James 1:23); fire and a hammer (Jer. 23:29), a lamp (Ps. 119:105), water (Eph. 5:26), a two-edged sword (Heb. 4:12), a seed (1 Peter 1:23), food (Job 23:12), and milk (1 Peter 2:2). The Word of God reveals, consumes, breaks, illuminates, purifies, convicts, regenerates, satisfies, and nourishes the believer. It is not enough to know God’s Word; we need to obey it (James 1:22-25).

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – God’s Word Gives Joy and Light

 

“God’s laws are perfect. They protect us, make us wise, and give us joy and light” (Psalm 19:7,8).

Professor William Lyon Phelps, one of Yale University’s most famous scholars, said, “A knowledge of the Bible without a college education is more valuable than a college education without the Bible.”

Why would he say this? Our verse gives us the answer. The Word of God (1) protects us, (2) makes us wise, (3) gives us joy, and (4) gives us light.

There are many other benefits that come from reading the Word of God. With dividends like these, we are indeed robbing ourselves of untold blessings when we neglect His holy, inspired Word for any reason whatever.

It is my privilege to counsel many thousands of people with just about every kind of problem conceivable – need for salvation, poor self-image, marital problems, financial problems, health problems, loss of loved ones, insecurity, fear, and on and on. One could think of every kind of personal need and problem that man faces, and inevitably there is an answer in the Word of God.

I do not know of any individual who has ever received Christ without some understanding of the Word of God. It is for this reason that I included in The Four Spiritual Laws booklet, which I wrote in the 1950’s, the parenthetical statement on page 2: “References contained in this booklet should be read in context from the Bible wherever possible.”

By 1983, it was estimated that more than a billion copies of The Four Spiritual Laws, which contains the distilled essence of the gospel, had been printed (including translations into every major language) and distributed throughout the world, resulting in many millions of people responding to Christ. Still, it cannot compare with God’s Word, nor can any other piece of Christian or secular literature. There is something unique and powerful about holding the Bible in your hand and reading it with your own eyes, for it speaks with authority and power possessed by no other book ever written.

Bible Reading: 2 Timothy 3:14-17

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: God’s Word is the most important book ever written, and the most important book that I could possibly read. Today I will read it for at least 15 minutes with renewed devotion, dedication and sensitivity to its mighty revolutionary power to transform lives and enable children of God to live supernaturally.

Max Lucado – Don’t Count Sheep

 

Fretting over tomorrow’s problems siphons the strength you need for today, leaving you anemic and weak. So, when you can’t sleep—don’t count sheep. Read Scripture.

Worry takes a look at catastrophes and groans, “It’s all coming unraveled.” But God says in Romans 8:28 that “every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.”

Worry claims, “The world has gone crazy.” God’s Word disagrees. Mark 7:37 says, “He has done it all and done it well.”

Worry wonders if anyone is in control. Yet God’s Word calls Him “the blessed controller of all things.” (1 Tim. 6:14-15 Phillips)

Worry whispers this lie: “God doesn’t know what I need.” But God’s Word declares in Philippians 4:19, “God will take care of everything you need.”

Worry never sleeps. But God’s children do!

From Max on Life

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – To Keep You From Sin

 

“How can a young man stay pure? By reading Your Word and following its rules. I have tried my best to find You – don’t let me wander off from Your instructions. I have thought much about Your words, and stored them in my heart so that they would hold me back from sin” (Psalm 119:9-11).

Carl, a Christian leader who had made a mess of his life, wept as he shared his defeat. “As a young Christian, “he said, “I was warned that God’s Word would keep me from sin, or sin would keep me from God’s Word.

“For many years,” he continued, “I studied and obeyed God’s Word faithfully. A few years ago I became very busy and took less and less time for God’s Word. So when temptation came, I had no strength to resist. Now my life and marriage have disintegrated and I am thinking of committing suicide.”

If you do not already have a daily practice of spending time alone with God – studying, reading, memorizing and meditating on His Word, and spending time with Him in prayer – I encourage you to do so, beginning today. The spiritual food of God’s Word is absolutely essential for victorious, supernatural living. Great benefit can be found in listening to recordings of the Old and New Testaments, sermons and Christian music on your cassette player, in your home and in your car as you travel.

Scientists and health nutritionists confirm that our physical well-being is largely determined by the food we eat. For example, many people cannot tolerate high quantities of refined foods, such as sugar, white flour and chocolate. When they eat such foods, they become seriously ill physically, mentally and emotionally. Some have even been known to develop criminal tendencies because of what is often diagnosed as hypoglycemia, caused by poor nutrition.

In like manner, our spiritual bodies are influenced by what we absorb from God’s Word and other scripturally based writings. It is impossible to be happy, healthy, strong, virile and fruitful for God without a regular intake from the Word of God.

Bible Reading: Philippians 4:8,9

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will determine, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to set aside time each day to read the Bible and pray and wait upon God for His leading and maturing in my life.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Perfect in His Sight Promise

 

“But Christ gave Himself to God for our sins as one sacrifice for all time, and then sat down at the place of highest honor at God’s right hand, waiting for His enemies to be laid under His feet. For by that one offering He made forever perfect in the sight of God all those whom He is making Holy” (Hebrews 10:12-14).

All the sins you and I have ever committed or ever shall commit – past, present and future – are forgiven the moment we receive Christ, according to God’s Word. Think of it and rejoice!

Then you may rightly ask, “If all of my sins – past, present and future – are forgiven, why do I need to confess my sins?”

According to God’s Word, confession is an act of obedience and an expression or demonstration of faith that makes real in our experience what is already true concerning us from God’s point of view.

Through the sacrifice of Christ, He sees us as righteous and perfect. The rest of our lives on earth are spent maturing and becoming in our experience what we already are in God’s sight.

This maturing process is accelerated through the faithful study of God’s Word, prayer, witnessing for Christ, and spiritual breathing – exhaling through confessing our sins and inhaling by appropriating the fullness of God’s Holy Spirit by faith.

If you retake the throne, the control center, of your life through sin (a deliberate act of disobedience) breath spiritually. First, exhale by confession. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9, KJV).

Next, inhale by appropriating the fullness of God’s Spirit by faith. Trust Him now to control and empower you by faith according to His command to “be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18).

Bible Reading: Hebrews 10:19-25

Today’s Action Point: Today I will study God’s Word, pray and invite the Holy Spirit to lead me to someone whose heart He has prepared to receive Christ. Also, I will practice spiritual breathing whenever any attitude, action, motive or desire that is contrary to God’s will short-circuits God’s power in my life. I will confess it and by faith inhale by appropriating the fullness and power of God’s Holy Spirit.