Tag Archives: jesus christ

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.

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Strength and Peace

dr_bright

“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.

 

Joyce Meyer – God Loves Us Enough to Change Us

Joyce meyer

He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.

—Psalm 91:15

God uses His refining fire to change us and make us into the people He wants us to be. I realize that it isn’t easy to change. I have been studying God’s Word for more than thirty years, and I still have to work at many things and allow God to change me in certain ways. I’m still not where I need to be, but I thank God I’m not where I used to be.

If we become stubborn or unwilling to repent when God’s refining fire comes to reveal a behavior that needs to be changed in us, then love gets stubborn. Let me explain. We know that God is love, and He is a jealous God. He doesn’t want anything in us to occupy the place that belongs to Him. And love, God Himself, will be jealous enough and stubborn enough to stick with us until He gets His way. Love (God) will show us things we don’t want to see in order to help us be what we need to be.

Fire devours all impurities and leaves all that remains ablaze for God’s glory. A lot of the old Joyce Meyer has been burned up in God’s refining fire over the years. It definitely has not been easy, but it definitely has been worth it.

God’s refining fire may come to you in different ways. You may have a nudge in your heart to stop doing something and start doing something else; you may feel convicted as He speaks to you through His Word; or you may hear from His Spirit directly in your spirit. However it comes, God will bring His refining fire to your life. When it comes, don’t resist it, but trust God and let the fire work.

God’s word for you today: God is changing you daily and today you are better than you were yesterday.

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – He Does the Work

dr_bright

“And I am sure the God who began the good work within you will keep right on helping you grow in His grace until His task within you is finally finished on that day when Jesus Christ returns” (Philippians 1:6).

Howard was adamant in his conviction. “I would never lead anyone to Christ that I could not personally follow up to be sure he matures and grows and becomes all that God wants him to be.”

“Since when did you assume the responsibility of the Holy Spirit?” I asked.

Obviously, we are to do everything we can to help a new believer grow to maturity in Christ – by teaching him to trust God, study His word, pray, live a holy life, and share his faith with others. But no matter how much we do, it is the Holy Spirit who helps the new believer come to Christ, and who illumines his heart with the Word. The Holy Spirit teaches us how to pray and empowers us to witness. In fact, there would be no supernatural life apart from the Holy Spirit.

Paradoxically, you and I can be confident, yet humble, when we think of all that we are, and all that we have in Christ, and realize that we are not responsible for any of it, but it is something which God has given us according to His grace. My only boast is in God, His Son Jesus Christ and His indwelling Holy Spirit. How can I boast of my abilities and achievements, when it is the Giver alone who is worthy of all honor and praise? The apostle Paul had the strong conviction that the work God had begun in the believer would be permanent. All events that transpire in our lives, all influences, heartaches, testings and sorrows, as well as all of the blessings, are designed to conform us to the image of Christ.

Bible Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:4-9

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: God, who saved me, continues to work in my life, conforming me to the image of Christ. Therefore, I will continue to trust and obey Him, as I draw upon His supernatural resources

 

Our Daily Bread — Place Of Water

Our Daily Bread

Psalm 42:1-5

The water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. —John 4:14

East Africa is one of the driest places on earth, which is what makes “Nairobi” such a significant name for a city in that region. The name comes from a Masai phrase meaning “cold water,” and it literally means “the place of water.”

Throughout history, the presence of water has been both life-giving and strategic. Whether a person lives in a dry climate or a rainforest, water is a nonnegotiable necessity. In a dry and barren climate, knowing where to find the place of water can mean the difference between life and death.

Our spiritual life also has certain nonnegotiable elements. That is why Jesus, upon encountering a spiritually thirsty woman at a well, declared to her that He alone could provide living water. He told her, “Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14).

Like the deer mentioned in Psalm 42:1-2 who pants for water, our souls thirst for God and long for Him (63:1). We desperately need the sustenance that comes only from Jesus Christ. He is the source of living water that refreshes our hearts. —Bill Crowder

Rivers of living water,

Rivers of life so free,

Flowing from Thee, my Savior,

Send now the rivers through me. —Wood

Jesus is the fountain of living water.

Bible in a year: Ezekiel 30-32; 1 Peter 4

 

Greg Laurie – The Unpopular Truth

greglaurie

For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus. —1 Timothy 2:5

One of the most often-asked question regarding the Christian faith goes something like this: “What about the person who has never heard that Jesus is the only way to God? What about the person in the middle of the jungle who has never heard the gospel?” (They are always in a jungle for some unknown reason—or in the desert.)

The teaching that Jesus Christ is the only way to God has never been popular. But maybe it has never been more controversial than it is today. If you want to get someone’s blood boiling, then say that Jesus is the only way to God. The “coexist” bumper sticker on their car will catch fire.

The idea that you would have the audacity to say that Jesus is the only way is, in effect, saying that other religions are not true. That is the way it works itself out, and people don’t like it. It is acceptable if you say that Jesus is a way to God. But when you dare to say that He is the only way, then you can be certain that will have some pushback.

But here is what it comes down to. We have to say what the Bible says, whether it is popular or not. It is not for me to edit the message of the Bible; it is for me, as a Christian, to simply deliver it.

It would be like a doctor’s discovering a very serious problem with a patient’s health, but then being unwilling to say what that problem is, because it might make that patient uncomfortable.

We have to tell people the truth about their real condition, which happens to be sinful, and then seek to save them, which is to point them to Jesus Christ as the only solution.

 

Our Daily Bread — Living Letters

Our Daily Bread

2 Corinthians 3:1-11

Clearly you are an epistle of Christ . . . written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God. —2 Corinthians 3:3

In November 1963, the same day that President John F. Kennedy was shot, another leader died—Clive Staples Lewis. This Oxford scholar, who had converted from atheism to Christianity, was a prolific writer. Intellectual books, science fiction, children’s fantasies, and other works flowed from his pen with a strong Christian message. His books have been used by God in the conversion of many, including a politician and a Nobel Prize-winning scientist.

Some are called to tell others about Christ through their writing, but all believers are called to be “epistles,” or letters of Christ, in the way we live. The apostle Paul tells us, “Clearly you are an epistle of Christ . . . written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God” (2 Cor. 3:3).

Certainly Paul does not mean we are actually pieces of paper upon which God’s message has been written. But as living “letters” we can illustrate how Jesus Christ makes a difference in how we treat others and strive to live with integrity.

Few will have the influence that C. S. Lewis did, but we are all called to bring glory to the One who loves us and has redeemed us! —Dennis Fisher

Dear Lord, You have called me to be a witness for You

wherever You have placed me. Every day my life is on

display. Help me to live in such a way that others will

want to know You and the abundant life You offer.

We are Christ’s “letters of recommendation” to all who read our lives.

Bible in a year: Ezekiel 20-21; James 5

Greg Laurie – What Every Growing Christian Needs to Know

greglaurie

A father was talking with his daughter and her 5-year-old friend, Kristin, about birthdays. Kristin’s was March 30 and the father’s was March 27. The father said, “You know what Kristin? Our birthdays are three days apart!” She looked up at him and then said, “Yeah, but you grew much faster than I did!”

Why is it that some people grow faster spiritually than others? Why is it that some people make a commitment to follow Jesus Christ and then fall away, while others make a commitment that lasts a lifetime?

It all comes down to doing everything we can to grow spiritually. We need to understand that there is God’s part and there is our part.

The Bible tells us to “work out [our] own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12 NKJV). A more accurate translation of that verse would be, “Carry to the goal and fully complete.” What this means is we are “working out” what God has “worked in.”

But then that scripture goes on to say, “For it is God who works in you both to will and do of His good pleasure.” Clearly there are some things only God can do, and some things only you can do. For instance, only God can save a person. Only God can forgive and forget our sins. Only God can change the human heart.

But at the same time, only I can believe. Only I can repent. Only I can follow.

 

Alistair Begg – He Tends His Flock

Alistair Begg

Israel served for a wife, and for a wife he guarded sheep.

Hosea 12:12

In conversation with Laban, Jacob described what he had done: “These twenty years I have been with you. . . . What was torn by wild beasts I did not bring to you. I bore the loss of it myself. From my hand you required it, whether stolen by day or stolen by night. There I was: by day the heat consumed me, and the cold by night, and my sleep fled from my eyes.”1

Even more arduous than this was the life of our Savior here below. He watched over us until He was able to say, “Of those whom you gave me I have lost not one.”2 His hair was wet with dew, and His locks with the drops of the night. Sleep departed from His eyes, for all night He was in prayer wrestling for His people.

One night Peter must be pleaded for; suddenly another claims His tearful intercession. No shepherd sitting beneath the cold skies, looking up to the stars, could ever utter such complaints because of the hardness of his toil as Jesus Christ might have brought, if He had chosen to do so, because of the sternness of His service in order to procure His bride.

Cold mountains and the midnight air,

Witnessed the fervor of His prayer;

The desert His temptations knew,

His conflict and His victory too.

It is helpful to meditate upon the spiritual parallel of Laban having required all the sheep at Jacob’s hand. If they were torn by beasts, Jacob must make it good; if any of them died, he must guarantee their replacement.

Was not the toil of Jesus for His Church the toil of One who was under obligation to bring every believing one safe to the hand of Him who had committed them to His charge? Look upon toiling Jacob, and you see a representation of Him of whom we read, “He will tend His flock like a shepherd.”3

1 Genesis 31:38-40 2 John 18:9 3 Isaiah 40:11

 

 

Joyce Meyer – Be Careful What You Think

Joyce meyer

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 [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. With 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 1 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 God’s 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.”

Above, 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.

From the book Battlefield of the Mind Devotional by Joyce Meyer. Copyright © 2006 by Joyce Meyer. Published by FaithWords. All rights reserved.

 

 

Charles Stanley – The Promise of the Father

Charles Stanley

Acts 1:1-8

The Bible is a book of promises, each of which is guaranteed by the Lord’s unchanging nature (2 Cor. 1:20). One precious assurance is that those who trust Jesus as Savior will never be alone. Our Father has promised to send His Holy Spirit to take up residence within each believer. Scripture teaches that the Spirit is a member of the Trinity, along with God the Father and God the Son.

The triune nature of God is clear in a number of Bible passages. Genesis 1:1-2, for instance, identifies both the Father and the Spirit as active participants in creation. The New Testament later reveals that Jesus Christ was likewise present when the world was being made (Col. 1:16).

We find another example in John’s gospel. The night before His crucifixion, Jesus told the disciples that He was going away but would ask the Father to send “another Comforter” (14:16). The resurrected Christ later commissioned His followers to make disciples and baptize them in the name of all three members of the Trinity (Matt. 28:19).

On the basis of biblical truth, we can know for sure that the Spirit is fully God, just like the Father and the Son. Scripture teaches that we can intimately know the Father and Jesus, and the same holds true for the third person of the Trinity. Because of the Spirit’s importance, Jesus spent much time talking about Him with the disciples.

Do you know the Holy Spirit as well as you do the Father and Son? If not, spend time studying Scripture to gain understanding of His place in your life.

 

Charles Stanley – Guilty No More

Charles Stanley

Romans 5:8-9

How can we say that the Lord has declared us “not guilty” of our sin? The first thing we have to understand is that this act was completely God’s doing. We can do absolutely nothing to remove the stain of our own sin. It is for this reason that the Father sent His Son into the world.

The one satisfactory payment for sin is death (Rom. 6:23), and because God wanted to spare us that punishment, He provided the only way out. He gave the perfect sacrifice: His son, Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:8).

What did this loving act accomplish? It enabled us to approach almighty God as clean, pure, and holy men and women. Our purity is not related to anything we ourselves have done; it is due exclusively to the fact that we have been purified in Jesus’ blood. That’s why we can say we have been “washed in the blood,” which is the only way the stain of sin can be removed.

When we come into a saving relationship with Jesus, the first thing to happen is that we are justified—in other words, God declares us “not guilty.” This means that as believers, we can stand in the presence of a perfect, holy God, because He now sees us as His own children.

Am I saying we’ll never sin? No. However, when we place our faith in Jesus Christ as Savior, the penalty for all of our sin—past, present, and future—has been paid, and we will never face God’s condemnation (Rom. 8:1). Thank your heavenly Father today, not only for forgiving your sin, but also for freeing you from the burden of guilt.

 

Greg Laurie – What Makes a Christian?

greglaurie

And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not. —2 Corinthians 11:26

I once went to a children’s ministry event at our church dressed up as Noah. No one knew it was me, which made the whole experience a lot of fun. I was pretending to be someone I really was not. I was playing a little game, actually.

There are people today who do the same thing with the Christian faith. They pretend to be something they really are not.

So how do we know whether someone is a Christian? “It comes down to what they believe,” we might say. There is truth to that, but that is not all there is to it. You can believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that He is the only way to God, and that He is coming back again and still not necessarily be a Christian. Now, if you are a Christian, you will believe what I just stated. But just because you believe that in and of itself doesn’t necessarily make you a Christian.

We may say, “Well, a Christian is judged by the way he or she behaves.” But that is not necessarily true. You can pray, keep the Ten Commandments to the best of your ability, attend church regularly, and even be baptized and not necessarily be a Christian. Those things should be a part of your life if you are a Christian. But those things, in and of themselves, don’t make you a Christian.

It is not enough to be exposed to the truth. You also need to act on it. You need to make a choice. It means recognizing that you have sinned (see Romans 3:23), turning away from your sins, and trusting in and receiving Jesus Christ into your life as your Lord and Savior. That is what makes you a Christian.

Have you made this choice? If you are not sure, please click here

 

Presidential Prayer Team; H.L.M. – Grateful Heart

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D.L. Moody was not well-educated and often spoke with bad grammar. Yet Moody was always passionate about his relationship with God. Many times he was confronted by obstacles that seemed insurmountable. However, Moody knew nothing was too hard for the Lord, and that through prayer anything could be accomplished. A man once said to Moody, “The world has yet to see what God can do through a man wholly committed to Him.” Moody replied, “By the grace of God, I’ll be that man.” As a result, he preached to large crowds throughout America and Europe – and thousands of people invited Jesus Christ into their lives.

Many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.

II Corinthians 1:11

The Bible says, “pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) That doesn’t mean constantly repeating routine phrases in order to get something from God. It’s a continuous communication which comes from your heart so you can experience a deeper intimacy with the Creator of the Universe.

Thank your Heavenly Father every day for the gift and privilege of prayer. As you intercede for America’s leaders, pray they will experience the freedom and joy that comes only from a relationship with Him.

Recommended Reading: Ephesians 1:15-23

Our Daily Bread — The Rock

Our Daily Bread

Matthew 7:24-27; Ephesians 2:18-22

Jesus Christ Himself [is] the chief cornerstone. —Ephesians 2:20

On a trip to Massachusetts, my husband and I visited Plymouth Rock, an iconic symbol in the United States. It is traditionally thought to be the place where the Pilgrims, who traveled to America on the Mayflower in 1620, first set foot. While we enjoyed learning about its significance, we were surprised and disappointed that it is so small. We learned that due to erosion and people chipping off pieces, it is now just one-third its original size.

The Bible refers to Jesus as a Rock (1 Cor. 10:4), who never changes (Heb. 13:8). He is the solid Rock on which we can build our lives. The church (the body of believers) is built on a foundation with “Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone.” In Him all believers are joined together (Eph. 2:20-22).

Jesus is the solid Rock we can cling to when the storms of life blow and beat against us (Matt. 7:25). Writer Madeleine L’Engle said: “It’s a good thing to have all the props pulled out from under us occasionally. It gives us some sense of what is rock under our feet and what is sand.”

Plymouth Rock is an interesting mass of minerals with an intriguing historical significance. But Jesus is a precious cornerstone, and those who trust in Him will always have a solid Rock to depend upon. —Cindy Hess Kasper

O build on the Rock, forever sure,

The firm and true foundation,

Its hope is the hope which shall endure—

The hope of our salvation. —Belden

Christ, the Rock, is our sure hope.

Bible in a year: Jeremiah 46-47; Hebrews 6

 

Alistair Begg – The Practice of Walking

Alistair Begg

So walk in him.

Colossians 2:6

If we have received Christ Himself in our inmost hearts, our new life will display its intimate acquaintance with Him by a walk of faith in Him. Walking implies action. Our Christian life is not to be confined to our closet; our belief must be revealed in our practice. If a man walks in Christ, then he must act as Christ would act; since Christ is in him-his hope, his love, his joy, his life-he is the reflection of the image of Jesus; and men will say of that man, “He is like his Master; he lives like Jesus Christ.”

Walking signifies progress. “So walk in him.” Proceed from grace to grace; run forward until you reach the ultimate degree of knowledge that a man can attain concerning Christ. Walking implies continuance. There must be a continual abiding in Christ

Many Christians think that in the morning and evening they ought to come into the company of Jesus, but regard the rest of the day as their own: But this is poor living; we should always be with Him, treading in His steps and doing His will.

Walking also implies habit. When we speak of a man’s walk and conversation, we mean his habits, the constant theme of his life.

Now, if we sometimes enjoy Christ and then forget Him, sometimes call Him ours and then lose our hold, that is not a habit; we do not walk in Him. We must keep to Him, cling to Him, never let Him go, but live and have our being in Him.

“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him”; persevere in the same way in which you began, and, just as at the beginning Christ Jesus was the trust of your faith, the source of your life, the principle of your action, and the joy of your spirit, so let Him be the same until life’s end, the same when you walk through the valley of the shadow of death and enter into the joy and the rest that remain for the people of God. O Holy Spirit, enable us to obey this heavenly precept.

 

John MacArthur – Worshiping God His Way

John MacArthur

“By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain” (Heb 11:4)

At the heart of every false religion is the notion that man can come to God by any means he chooses–by meditating, doing good deeds, and so on. But Scripture says, “There is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). That name is Jesus Christ, and we come to Him by confessing and repenting of our sin, trusting in His atoning death on the cross, and affirming His bodily resurrection from the grave (cf. Rom. 10:9-10). There is no other way to God.

Centuries before Christ’s death, God provided a means of worship and sacrifice. Genesis 4:3-5 says, “It came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the Lord of the fruit of the ground. And Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and for his offering; but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard.”

Apparently God had designated a special time for sacrificing because “in the course of time” (v. 3) literally means, “at the end of days”–at the end of a certain period of time. Additionally, He initiated a particular pattern for worship and sacrifices. Otherwise Cain and Abel would have known nothing about how it was to be done.

God required a blood offering for sin. Abel came in faith, acknowledged his sin, and made the appropriate sacrifice. His offering was better than Cain’s because Cain neglected the prescribed sacrifice, thereby demonstrating his unwillingness to submit to God and deal with his sin.

There was nothing intrinsically wrong with Cain’s offering. Grain, fruit, or vegetable offerings were included in the Mosaic covenant. But the sin offering had to come first. Like so many today, Cain wrongly assumed he could approach God on his own terms. In doing so he became the father of all false religions, and his name became synonymous with rebellion and apostasy (cf. Jude 11).

Suggestions for Prayer:

Thank God for graciously providing salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.

Be careful never to approach Him irreverently or presumptuously.

For Further Study:

Read Jude 11. How did Jude describe the false teachers of his day?

 

 

Joyce Meyer – Little by Little

Joyce meyer

And the Lord your God will clear out those nations before you, little by little; you may not consume them quickly, lest the beasts of the field increase among you.—Deuteronomy 7:22

Recently I thought about my life from the time I seriously began to follow Jesus Christ to the present. Had I known then—at the beginning of the journey—all the things God would take me through, I would probably have been afraid to sign up for the trip.

As I look back, however, I realize that God held my hand and let me advance in small steps. I had times of great ¬discouragement—as we all do. I remember times of bitter tears over my personal failures. But God kept nudging me forward.

That’s the secret of living the victorious Christian life—we move ahead little by little. It’s an inching forward over months and years. Most of us can understand that. The same is true in the battle for the mind. We don’t roust Satan in one big blow and then live in victory forever after. We win one small battle, and then we’re ready to move on to the next one. We may have a few major victories that come suddenly, but not many of them. The fight to destroy Satan’s strongholds comes mostly by daily, doggedly, moving ahead.

The first time I thought of that fact, it was discouraging, until I realized the wisdom of God. After the Jews left Egypt and wandered in the wilderness, God spoke to them before they went into the Promised Land. It was a special land—fertile, beautiful, and promised to them. But in the more than 400 years since Jacob and his sons had left the land, others had moved in and occupied land that didn’t belong to them.

For the children of Israel, it wasn’t merely a matter of going in and settling down. They had to fight for every foot of ground—even though it was their inheritance. That’s how the spiritual principle works on every level. God has the blessings out there waiting for us, but it’s up to us to go in and take the land. Just as it was for the Jews of old, it is a battle.

In the verse at the beginning of this chapter, God spoke of the beasts of the field. There were many wild animals in the land, and it could have been dangerous. But what if we thought of the beasts as pride? What if God suddenly gave us full, complete victory, and we never struggled again; how would that affect us? Surely pride would creep in.

Our attitude then would be to look down on others who have not been as victorious as we have been. We may not express our condescension in words, but won’t those we disdain sense that we think we’re superior? And, truthfully, wouldn’t we feel superior. We’ve made it; those poor souls are still struggling.

God has a wonderful plan for each of us, but it never comes with just one major victory, so that we never struggle again. Instead, it’s an ongoing warfare, and we must remain vigilant and be aware of the attacks of the enemy.

Another aspect is that because we move ahead little by little, it makes us savor every victory. Each time we overcome or destroy one of Satan’s strongholds, we rejoice. We can remain in a constant state of thanksgiving. If we’ve had only one victory, and that was thirty years ago, how dull our lives would be. Or worse yet, how easy it would be for us to take God for granted. Isn’t it better to serve a God who takes us slowly forward, always showing us the way, always encouraging us? We always have new horizons to reach for, and that makes our journey with God exciting!

God, please forgive me for wanting all the victory right now. Help me realize that as I struggle and call on You, I see Your wonderful, loving, and caring hand taking me forward—little by little. For that, I’m so grateful. Amen.

Presidential Prayer Team; C.P. – People Presents

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November. Christmas plans begin. Visions of bicycles, electronic gizmos and longed-for jeans may be dancing in your head as you think about those perfect gifts you will purchase for friends and family.

I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world.

Romans 1:8

Ah, but first comes Thanksgiving. You put a lot of thought into Christmas gifts for people you care about…but do you realize the people in your life are God’s gift to you? In today’s verse, Paul thanks God for the Christians in Rome and for their world-renowned faith. He prayed that he would be able to visit them so they’d mutually encourage each other.

As thanksgiving approaches, think about all the people the Lord has put into your life – and pray for wisdom to be a blessing to them in some way. Remember to be grateful for your friends and family, your pastor and fellow church members, as well as associates in support groups and professional organizations, and all the people who serve you daily. Finally, thank God for the people who serve your country…whether in leadership, in the armed forces or at menial government jobs. Pray they will get to know God’s greatest “people gift,” Jesus.

Recommended Reading: John 3:16-21

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – He Welcomes You

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“Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30, KJV).

Several years ago I had the privilege of meeting with a world-famous theologian. This great scholar had denied the deity of Christ and had taught thousands of seminarians who had studied under him that Jesus was only a great man and a great teacher. He was not God incarnate, and surely could not forgive sin and provide rest to His followers. Yet, in a unique way God had created a hunger in his heart for truth and for two years he had done an in-depth study of the life of Jesus.

As we met together in his office, he asked, “What do you tell a student when he asks you how to become a Christian?”

When I realized he was sincere, I proceeded to explain why I believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God and why all men everywhere need Him as their Savior and Lord, and how anyone who wants to can receive Him.

“I am persuaded,” he said after a long while, “that no honest person who is willing to consider the overwhelming evidence for the deity of Christ can deny that He is the Son of God.”

This great scholar, who had denied the deity of Christ all his life and encouraged millions of others to think likewise, bowed in prayer and received Christ into his life as Savior and Lord.

Jesus Christ stands out clearly as the one supernaturally unique figure in all of history. He is incomparable. He invites all who will to experience His love and forgiveness. “Come unto Me.” He welcomes “all you that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest…My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Bible Reading: Matthew 11:23-27

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Through the enabling of the Holy Spirit, I will seek to make sure that every loved one, every friend, every contact I make today is fully aware of the fact that God loves him, that Jesus Christ died for him and will welcome him into His family through a simple act of faith. I will tell him that He offers peace and rest – from life’s burdens – to all who follow Him in faith and obedience