Tag Archives: jesus christ

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Sure Road to Faith

 

dr_bright“So then, faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17, KJV).

Martin Luther said he studied his Bible in the same way he gathered apples. First, he shook the whole tree, that the ripest might fall; then he shook each limb, and when he had shaken each limb, he shook each branch, and after each branch, every twig; and then he looked under every leaf. He admonishes us:

“Search the Bible as a whole, shaking the whole tree. Read it rapidly, as you would any book. Then shake every limb – study book after book.

“Then shake every branch, giving attention to the chapters when they do not break the sense. Then shake each twig, by careful study of the paragraphs and sentences. And you will be rewarded if you will look under each leaf, by searching the meaning of the words.”

Seek to know the Lord with all your heart. While you may have no difficulty in worshiping the omnipotent God, you cannot really know God unless you study His Word. The one who spoke and caused the worlds to be framed is waiting to reveal Himself to you personally.

Faith is not given to those who are either undisciplined or disobedient. Faith is a gift of God which is given to those who trust and obey Him. As we master His Word and obey His commands, our faith continues to grow.

It is my strong conviction that it is impossible to ask God for too much if our hearts and motives are pure and if we pray according to the Word and will of God.

Every time you and I open and read God’s Word carefully, we are building up our storehouse of faith. When we memorize the Word, our faith is being increased. When we study or teach a Sunday school lesson, or hear a sermon faithfully expounding the Word, we are growing in faith.

Bible Reading: Hebrews 11:1-6

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will read, study, memorize and meditate upon God’s Word daily, knowing that in the process my faith will grow, for “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”

 

Presidential Prayer Team; G.C. – Start With Gusto!

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What if you were as enthusiastic about something, anything, as Julia Child was about French cooking? Fifty years after she wrote her first cookbook, the world still feels the impact. While many disagree with how Julia used her influence, it’s indisputable that her unbridled passion for the art of cooking captured a global audience.

His delight is in the law of the Lord.

Psalm 1:2

The Bible talks about delighting in the law of the Lord. This might seem to be an unlikely pairing: delight and law. What the writer of Psalms is alluding to is the very thing Julia possessed – enthusiasm. She didn’t try to be cool and ironic. No…she was so thrilled to tell you how to cook, she’d inadvertently sling a raw chicken leg across the cabinet in excitement.

How passionate are you about God’s Word and the work He is doing today? Do you still believe His law is love and His passion is peace for all who believe in Him? Start this year off with gusto. Don’t get lost in the lies of unbelief. Delight yourself in the law of the Lord, and put His passion into practice. Then pray for more of your nation’s leaders to discover God and become enthusiastic about Him!

Recommended Reading: Psalm 84:1-7  Click to Read or Listen

 

 

Greg Laurie – Thankful in Everything

greglaurie

Powered by His Spirit

In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. — 1 Thessalonians 5:18

In her remarkable book The Hiding Place, Corrie ten Boom relates an amazing story about the importance of being thankful. Corrie and her sister Betsie were held in a concentration camp known as Ravensbück, where they lived in barracks that were plagued with fleas. Fleas were everywhere — in their hair and on their bodies. One day Betsie told Corrie they needed to give thanks for the fleas.

Corrie thought Betsie had gone too far. She couldn’t imagine thanking God for fleas. But Betsie insisted, reminding her sister that the Bible said, “In everything give thanks.” Still, Corrie didn’t want to thank God for the fleas. But as it turned out, Corrie and Betsie

were trying to reach the other women in their barracks with the message of the gospel, and they had been holding Bible studies. They found out later that because of the fleas, the guards would not go into those barracks, and therefore, the women were able to have their Bible studies. As a result, they had the freedom to minister to numerous women. So God can even use fleas.

If the Bible said, “In some things give thanks,” I would say, “No problem there!”

But it says, “In everything give thanks.” And that is not an easy thing to do.

This verse doesn’t say we should give thanks for everything as much it says in everything. There are some things that happen, and I am not glad they happened. But I am glad that, in spite of the tragedies, God is still on the throne, and He is still in control of all circumstances that surround my life.

 

 

Max Lucado – Blessed are the Merciful

Max Lucado

Could someone actually be forgiven a debt of millions and be unable to forgive a debt of hundreds? Could a person be set free and then imprison another? You don’t have to be a theologian to answer those questions; just look in the mirror.

Who among us hasn’t begged God for mercy on Sunday and then demanded justice on Monday? Is there anyone who doesn’t, at one time or another, show contempt for the riches of God’s kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?

Look into the face of the One who forgave you.  Who wept when you pleaded for mercy.  Look into the face of the Father who gave you grace when no one else gave you a chance. “Blessed are the merciful,” Jesus said (Matthew 5:7). Why? “Because they will be shown mercy.”

You see, forgiving others allows us to see how God has forgiven us!

From The Applause of Heaven

Charles Stanley – Idols in the Life of the Believer

Charles Stanley

Mark 11:24-25

Have you noticed that in recent history, the word “idol” has been completely disassociated from the word “idolatry”? In church circles, we recoil at the mention of idolatry, as it brings to mind images of golden calves and other things once worshiped by heathens. We know these things are wrong, because our worship should be directed to God alone. But do we feel the same about “idols”?

Today’s culture enjoys its own idols. We have music stars, beauty queens, pop-culture icons, and sports heroes all fighting for our interest. And, in return for their hard work, we give them just what they want: our focus and attention.

We sit for hours in front of the TV, follow fashion trends of top celebrities, and read, watch, or listen to anything that features our favorite public figures. The 1950s gave our society a term that has since characterized our culture-driven mindset: the “teen idol.”

We must be reminded what an idol is. It’s not simply some image of a false god to whom we bow down in worship. Instead, an idol is anything that we value more than the Lord. This could be movie stars, prized possessions, or even our loved ones.

The nature of idolatry is distraction. When something pulls our eyes away from God, we begin to spiral out of control. Bring your distractions to the Lord, asking forgiveness for the times you’ve allowed other people or things to take precedence in your life. Pray for the wisdom to enjoy His blessings without being blinded by temptations that pull you from communion with Him.

 

Our Daily Bread — True Greatness

Our Daily Bread

Mark 10:35-45

Whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. —Mark 10:43

Some people feel like a small pebble lost in the immensity of a canyon. But no matter how insignificant we judge ourselves to be, we can be greatly used by God.

In a sermon early in 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. quoted Jesus’ words from Mark 10 about servanthood. Then he said, “Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don’t have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. . . . You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.”

When Jesus’ disciples quarreled about who would get the places of honor in heaven, He told them: “Whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:43-45).

I wonder about us. Is that our understanding of greatness? Are we gladly serving, doing tasks that may be unnoticed? Is the purpose of our serving to please our Lord rather than to gain applause? If we are willing to be a servant, our lives will point to the One who is truly great. —Vernon Grounds

No service in itself is small,

None great, though earth it fill;

But that is small that seeks its own,

And great that does God’s will. —Anon.

Little things done in Christ’s name are great things.

Bible in a year: Genesis 49-50; Matthew 13:31-58

 

 

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Present Hope

Ravi Z

If there is one thing Martin Luther King Jr. would have the U.S. remember on the day that marks his memory, perhaps it would be that remembering the past must never come at the expense of remaining alert today. “We stand in the fierce urgency of now,” said Dr. King in one of his final sermons. It is far too easy to locate these words into a specific moment that we deem past, a time King and many others fought to see changed, through a movement we now remember within stories of history, speeches long memorialized, and events that seem both tragic and far removed. But this I think is to misread King as much as it is to misread history. “The past is never dead,” said William Faulkner. ”It’s not even past.”(1)

Just as ignoring history is itself a type of amnesia, so an awareness of history as something that is only history invites a posture of self-deception. If the world only remembers King’s fight as one fit for the American Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, we are neither seeing the American Civil Rights Movement for all it was, nor the moment before the world today. Sunday is still very much the most segregated hour of the week. It is still very possible to order our worlds in such a way that we never have to see the poor among us. Racial inequality, social injustice, and blind allegiance to materialism are all still present and active, its victims crying out for a better kingdom, a better story, a better hope. The message of Martin Luther King Jr. and the history American’s remember on the anniversary of his birth is not a static bundle of dates and details past. The history we recall when we tell stories of the American Civil Rights Movement is the vital form in which we must both take account of our past and fathom the present before us.

There is a parable Jesus tells in the book of Luke that is perhaps as easy to overlook as any injustice we want not to see. I have misread the story for years. In it, Jesus speaks of a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. “And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table” (Luke 16:20). When the poor man died he was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. Then Jesus notes, “In Hades, where the rich man was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. He called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us’” (16:24-25).

It is far from a mere commentary on wealth. In this parable, Jesus describes a man who chooses to live with a great chasm between his success and a poor man’s fate. At his own gate, he daily passes the beggar, choosing neither to see him nor his agony. He allows the rules of social hierarchy to keep the man at his feet nameless and invisible. Even from Hades, the rich man chooses to address Lazarus as a mere servant, asking Abraham to send him to soothe his own discomfort. But the chasms he allowed in life have now grown fixed in death.

If we will hear this parable with our ears open to the story, attune to our discomfort and possible biases, approaching with a sensitivity to the lessons of history within the fierce urgency of now, there is a glimpse of an amazing God and the welcoming table to which we are invited. For Christ’s is a theology that is far from assuming God’s only concern for humanity is that we make it to eternity. As Nicholas Wolterstorff writes, “God’s love of justice is grounded in God’s longing for the complete shalom of God’s creatures and in God’s sorrow over its absence.”(2) And so, the present kingdom we discover in the proclamations of Jesus is one that turns social norms, status, and hierarchies upside down, one that insists that the beggar Lazarus has a name, a place, and a value beyond the one we may have given him. The words and actions of Christ bid the world to take seriously the present in front of us, because in fact, they matter deeply.

In truth, the final sermons of Dr. King can largely be read as laments, for he could hear the God of history saying to a world that was not listening, “That was not enough! I was hungry and ye fed me not. I was naked and ye clothed me not…And consequently, you can not enter the kingdom of greatness.”(3) King was increasingly aware that the only hope for the present existed in our ability to see the fierce urgency of now and to hear the voice crying through the vista of time for all things to be made new. His dream was that we would remain awake to both.

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

(1) William Faulkner, “Requiem for a Nun” in William Faulkner: Novels 1942-1954 (New York: Library of America, 1994), 535.

(2) Nicolas Wolterstorff, Until Justice and Peace Embrace (Spring Arbor: Spring Arbor Distributors, 1999), 113.

(3) James Washington, Ed., A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King Jr. (New York: HarperCollins, 1986), 269.

 

Alistair Begg – “Give Me Life”

Alistair Begg

Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.

Psalms 119:37

There are various kinds of vanity. The cap and bells of the fool, the merriment of the world, the dance, and the cup of the dissolute–all these men know to be vanities; they wear upon their chest their proper name and title. Far more treacherous are those equally vain things–the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches. A man may follow vanity as truly in a portfolio as in a theater.

If he is spending his life in amassing wealth, he passes his days in a vain show. Unless we follow Christ and make our God the great object of life, we only differ in appearance from the most frivolous. It is clear that there is much need of the prayer of our text: “Give me life in your ways.” The psalmist confesses that he is dull, heavy, all but dead.

Perhaps, dear reader, you feel the same. We are so sluggish that the best motives cannot quicken us, apart from the Lord Himself. What! Will not hell quicken me? Shall I think of sinners perishing, and yet not be awakened? Will not heaven quicken me? Can I think of the reward that awaits the righteous and yet be cold? Will not death quicken me? Can I think of dying and standing before my God, and yet be slothful in my Master’s service? Will not Christ’s love constrain me? Can I think of His dear wounds, can I sit at the foot of His cross, and not be stirred with fervency and zeal? It seems so!

No mere consideration can quicken us to zeal, but God Himself must do it; hence the cry, “Give me life in your ways.” The psalmist breathes out his whole soul in vehement pleadings; his body and his soul unite in prayer. “Turn my eyes,” says the body. “Give me life,” cries the soul. This is a fit prayer for every day. O Lord, hear it in my case this night.

 

 

John MacArthur – Rejoicing in Assurance

John MacArthur

“You were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance” (Eph. 1:13-14).

The Holy Spirit’s ministry in your life is multifaceted and profound. Among other things He brings salvation, conviction, guidance, and strength. He indwells and equips you for spiritual service and gives assurance of your salvation. He is your Helper and Advocate. He is the Spirit of promise, who seals you until the day when your redemption is fully realized (Eph. 4:30).

Sealing speaks of security, authenticity, ownership, and authority. Ancient kings, princes, and nobles placed their official seal on documents or other items to guarantee their inviolability. To break the seal was to incur the wrath of the sovereign whom it represented (cf. Dan. 6:17; Matt. 27:62-66).

A seal on a letter authenticated it as from the hand of the one whose seal it bore. Legal documents such as property deeds and wills were often finalized with an official seal. Those who possessed the sealed decree of a king had the king’s delegated authority to act on that decree.

Each of those aspects of sealing is a picture of the Spirit’s ministry. He is God’s guarantee that your salvation is inviolable and that you are an authentic member of His kingdom and family. You are His possession–having been purchased with His Son’s precious blood (1 Cor. 6:20). You are His ambassador with delegated authority to proclaim His message to a lost world (2 Cor. 5:20).

The Spirit is the pledge of your eternal inheritance (Eph. 1:14). The Greek word translated “pledge” in that verse (arrab[ma]on) was used of down payment or earnest money given to secure a purchase. Rejoice in the assurance that God, who cannot lie (Titus 1:2), has given you His Spirit as a guarantee that He will keep His promises.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Praise God for the security of your eternal inheritance.

Praise the Spirit for His many ministries in your life. Be sensitive to His leading today so that your ministry to others will be powerful and consistent with His will.

For Further Study:

Read Esther chapters 3, 8. What role did the king’s signet ring play in the decree of Haman (chapter 3)? The decree of Ahasuerus and Mordecai (chapter 8)?

 

 

Joyce Meyer – Let Joy into Your Life

Joyce meyer

Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. —Psalm 30:5

Part of disciplining ourselves to celebrate life is refusing to live in mourning. There is a time to mourn, but we dare not let it become a way of life. The Bible says that weeping (mourning) endures for a night, but joy comes in the morning. There are things that happen in life that rightfully need to be mourned over, but joy always returns to balance things out. We must let the joy back into our lives after times of sadness and not feel guilty about enjoying life after disappointment or even tragedy has struck. There is a time to mourn and a time to rejoice, but we must not live in the state of mourning.

Part of life is dealing properly with sadness and disappointment. We cannot avoid them—and we should not deny the emotions that go with loss of any kind—but we can recover! I was saddened when I learned that a trusted employee had been stealing from our ministry, but I rejoiced that God brought the wrongdoing to light and it was discovered. I have a time of mourning when people I love die, but I can also rejoice that they knew Jesus and are spending eternity with Him.

I am sad when I realize I have let an area of my life get out of balance through lack of discipline, but I can rejoice that I now see the truth and am back on track. For all mourning there is an offsetting reason to celebrate. And although mourning is proper and is even part of our healing, it cannot last forever.

We cannot live in a state of mourning over things that have happened that we cannot change. In Christ there is always a place of new beginnings, and that is good news worth celebrating.

Trust in Him: If you are in a time of mourning, allow yourself to feel those feelings. But don’t get stuck there. Trust that God has a plan for you and wants you to have joy in the morning.

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – He Will Tell You

dr_bright

“I advise you to obey only the Holy Spirit’s instructions. He will tell you where to go and what to do, and then you won’t always be doing the wrong things your evil nature wants you to” (Galatians 5:16).

Major conflicts in life are resolved when, by an act of the will, one surrenders to the control of the Holy Spirit and faces temptation in His power.

It should be explained that there is a difference between temptation and sin.

Temptation is the initial impression to do something contrary to God’s will. Such impressions come to all people, even as they did to the Lord, and they are not sin in themselves.

Temptation becomes sin when we meditate on the impression and develop a strong desire, which is often followed by the actual act of disobedience.

For practical daily living, we simply recognize our weakness whenever we are tempted and obey the Holy Spirit’s instructions. When we do not yield to temptation, we breathe spiritually and resume our walk with God.

“At what point does one who practices spiritual breathing become carnal again?” Whenever one ceases to believe God’s promise that He will enable us to be victorious over all temptations. The fact is, one need never be carnal again. So long as a believer keeps breathing spiritually, there is no need to live a life of defeat.

The moment you realize that you have done that which grieves or quenches the Spirit, you simply exhale spiritually by confessing immediately, and then inhale as by faith you claim God’s forgiveness and the fullness of the Holy Spirit, and you keep walking in the light as God is in the light.

Bible Reading: Galatians 5:17-26

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will consciously seek to obey the Holy Spirit’s instructions revealed to me in His holy, inspired Word.

 

 

 

Presidential Prayer Team; C.H. – Time Management

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Each year in November, a new stall shows up in the mall selling calendars and daily planners. Flocks of people purchase them in hopes of getting organized for the New Year. Others use a more technical version in the form of a smartphone app. Paper and digital users alike fill the cells with dates and deadlines, grocery lists and meetings in an attempt to make the best use of their minutes and hours.

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching.

Acts 2:42

How do you organize your time each day? How many hours are spent at a job, cleaning, doing laundry, cooking, eating and personal grooming? Now consider how much time is given to God. This includes reading the Bible, prayer, and service or ministry work. The author of today’s verse speaks of Christians who did not just pencil in a little time to listen and learn about the Lord – they devoted themselves to it.

If someone looked at your calendar today, where would it show you’ve invested your time? Ask God to help you become a better time manager. Then pray for your nation’s leaders to have a desire to devote their time, and hearts, to the Lord.

Recommended Reading: Luke 12:35-48  Click to Read or Listen

 

Greg Laurie – Powered by His Spirit

  greglaurie    

Don’t act thoughtlessly, but try to understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit. —Ephesians 5:17–18

When we think of being filled with the Spirit, we often relate it to an emotional experience or a feeling of euphoria. But in reality, the word filled could be translated “controlled by.” It is a word that speaks of what happens when the wind fills the sails of a boat and guides it along. So God is saying that we are to let His Spirit fill us and control our lives.

Another interesting thing about this word is that in the original language, it’s in a tense that speaks of something that should be done continually. So you could translate this sentence, “Be constantly filled with the Spirit.” This isn’t a one-time event. Instead, it is something that takes place again and again, just as we repeatedly fill the gas tanks in our cars to keep them running. God wants to refill us with His Spirit. It is a great thing to say each day, “Lord, fill me with Your Spirit. . . . Lord, fill me once again.” You may have an emotional experience, or you may not. But that has very little to do with the reality of being filled with and controlled by the Spirit.

One other thing about this phrase from Ephesians 5:18 is that it’s a command, not a suggestion. The Scripture isn’t saying, “If it works with your schedule, if you don’t mind, would you please consider maybe letting the Holy Spirit fill and control you?” No, in Ephesians

5:18 God commands us — orders us — to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

He knows very well that an intimate relationship with Himself will bring us the greatest fulfillment and happiness in our lives that we could ever know. 

 

Max Lucado – Childish Resistance

Max Lucado

Jesus’ promise is comprehensive. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled” (Matthew 5:6 ).

We usually get what we hunger and thirst for. The problem is, the treasures of earth don’t satisfy. The promise is, the treasures of heaven do. Blessed are those, then, who hold their earthly possessions in open palms. Blessed are those who are totally dependent on Jesus for their joy.

Our resistance to our Father is childish.  God, for our own good, tries to loosen our grip from something that will cause us to fall.  But we won’t let go.  We say, “No, I won’t give up my weekend rendezvous for eternal joy.” “Trade my drugs and alcohol for a life of peace and a promise of heaven?  Are you kidding?”  There we are, desperately clutching the very things that cause us grief.

It’s a wonder the Father doesn’t give up!

From The Applause of Heaven

Charles Stanley – From Rejection to Rejoicing

Charles Stanley

It all begins with understanding where we find true worth: in God, not other people

Rejection came my way early in life. Socially, I was a failure in elementary school. Day after day in the cafeteria, no one talked to me. When I finished my lunch, I would plug my ears and close my eyes to shut out the children who ignored me. And at recess, kids mocked my mismatched clothes, unkempt hair, and my “really religious” family. My poor interpersonal skills only made matters worse. By the time we returned to our classroom, my face was usually blotchy from crying. I felt terribly alone. Surely no one else knew such confusion, isolation and loneliness!

The years since have taught me differently. Most people have felt excluded at one time or another. Like me, some are written off for being unusual. Others are overlooked because they lack certain abilities, physical attractiveness or social skills. And believers are persecuted for trying to live out their faith in a hostile world.

How does God expect us to handle rejection? Is it possible to experience that pain and yet maintain our confidence and peace? I believe the answer is found in examining the life of Christ.

Even nonbelievers typically recognize the important role Jesus played in history. Yet to many of His contemporaries, He was just a carpenter’s son from the country town of Galilee. Like all young men from good Jewish families, Jesus had been schooled in the faith as a boy. However, He hadn’t been groomed to be a rabbi, so in human terms, He didn’t have the most prestigious religious education. Although some saw His miracles and declared Him a prophet, others dismissed Christ’s teachings as uneducated or heretical. Who was he—a man—to claim to be God?  they thought.

That didn’t stop Jesus from challenging the religious leaders and their man-made traditions. He cleverly disarmed their arguments against His teaching. Jesus attacked the profitable animal-selling business they had set up in the temple. He stood silently and peacefully while He was accused and sentenced to crucifixion.

Why was our Savior able to display such confidence and inner strength? I believe it’s because He never forgot who He was—God Himself. Jesus never forgot where He was headed—back to heaven. Our Lord never forgot whom He was aiming to please—His heavenly Father, not people here on earth.

But Jesus is more than a man; He’s one in essence with God Himself. Is it reasonable for us, as mere humans, to find our security in the Creator’s opinion of us as Christ did? Yes, although we will do so imperfectly. Our Helper, the Holy Spirit, can give us the power to look past the disapproval of man and see the affirmation of our heavenly Father. He teaches us to find our identity as children of God when others leave us feeling small and insignificant. The Spirit reminds us that in light of eternity, we are here for only a short time.

In the grand design of eternity, it won’t matter if people excluded us from their clique, disapproved of us, or mocked us for believing in an invisible God. What will matter is whether or not we lived obediently. When rejection feels more tangible than the affirmation of our loving, powerful God, we must choose to focus on what our Creator says about our worth.

The truth is, if you have accepted Christ’s death as payment for your sin and yielded your life to His leadership, you are fully accepted by God. You are 100 percent pleasing to Him. Even if people don’t seek your friendship, the Lord Himself awaits one-on-one time with you. Even if you remain single or your marriage grows stagnant, you are beloved by God. Even if no one else sees you as significant, He calls you part of “a royal priesthood. ” (See Rom. 10:9-10; Col. 1:22; 2 Thess. 2:13; Heb. 13:5; 1 Peter 2:9.)

In the years since elementary school, I’ve come a long way in knowing how to relate to people. Yet, I still get left out or overlooked occasionally. Even now, rejection can reduce me to tears, prompt me to question my self-worth and abilities, and hinder me from pursuing certain friendships.

But it also causes me to seek the face of the Lord with more fervor. Sooner or later, I remind myself that I am God’s precious daughter. When I draw near to Him, even in the midst of a busy day, I sense His comforting presence. Others may belittle or ignore me, but nothing that I do for the Lord goes unnoticed in heaven. No matter how unloved I may feel, my Savior never abandons me.

You, too, hold a special place in God’s heart. So don’t let rejection dictate how you feel about yourself. The Maker of the universe delights in you, His beloved child.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Daily Bread — Two Men

Our Daily Bread

John 11:30-37

He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. . . . Jesus wept. —John 11:33,35

Two men were killed in our city on the same day. The first, a police officer, was shot down while trying to help a family. The other was a homeless man who was shot while drinking with friends early that day.

The whole city grieved for the police officer. He was a fine young man who cared for others and was loved by the neighborhood he served. A few homeless people grieved for the friend they loved and lost.

I think the Lord grieved with them all.

When Jesus saw Mary and Martha and their friends weeping over the death of Lazarus, “He groaned in the spirit and was troubled” (John 11:33). He loved Lazarus and his sisters. Even though He knew that He would soon be raising Lazarus from the dead, He wept with them (v.35). Some Bible scholars think that part of Jesus’ weeping also may have been over death itself and the pain and sadness it causes in people’s hearts.

Loss is a part of life. But because Jesus is “the resurrection and the life” (v.25), those who believe in Him will one day experience an end of all death and sorrow. In the meantime, He weeps with us over our losses and asks us to “weep with those who weep” (Rom. 12:15). —Anne Cetas

Give me a heart sympathetic and tender;

Jesus, like Thine, Jesus, like Thine,

Touched by the needs that are surging around me,

And filled with compassion divine. —Anon.

Compassion helps to heal the hurts of others.

Bible in a year: Genesis 46-48; Matthew 13:1-30

Alistair Begg – Learn at the Feet of Jesus

Alistair Begg

Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.

Luke 24:45

He whom we viewed last evening as opening Scripture, we here perceive opening the understanding. In the first work He has many fellow-laborers, but in the second He stands alone; many can bring the Scriptures to the mind, but the Lord alone can prepare the mind to receive the Scriptures. Our Lord Jesus differs from all other teachers.

They reach the ear, but He instructs the heart; they deal with the outward letter, but He imparts an inward taste for the truth, by which we perceive its savor and spirit. The most unlearned of men become ripe scholars in the school of grace when the Lord Jesus by His Holy Spirit unfolds the mysteries of the kingdom to them and grants the divine anointing by which they are enabled to behold the invisible.

Happy are we if we have had our understandings cleared and strengthened by the Master! How many men of profound learning are ignorant of eternal things! They know the killing letter of revelation, but its killing spirit they cannot discern; they have a veil upon their hearts that the eyes of carnal reason cannot penetrate.

Such was our case a little time ago. We who now see were once utterly blind; truth was to us as beauty in the dark, a thing unnoticed and neglected. Had it not been for the love of Jesus we should have remained to this moment in utter ignorance, for without His gracious opening of our understanding, we could no more have attained to spiritual knowledge than an infant can climb the Pyramids or an ostrich fly up to the stars.

Jesus’ College is the only one in which God’s truth can be really learned; other schools may teach us what is to be believed, but Christ’s alone can show us how to believe it. Let us sit at the feet of Jesus and by earnest prayer call upon His blessed help, that our dull wits may grow brighter, and our feeble understandings may receive heavenly things.

 

 

 

Charles Spurgeon – The beatific vision

CharlesSpurgeon

“We shall see him as he is.” 1 John 3:2

Suggested Further Reading: 1 Peter 1:3-9

Not think about him, and dream about him; but we shall positively “see him as he is.” How different that sight of him will be from that which we have here. For here we see him by reflection. Now, I have told you before, we see Christ “through a glass darkly;” then we shall see him face to face. Good Doctor John Owen, in one of his books, explains this passage, “Here we see through a glass darkly;” and he says that means, “Here we look through a telescope, and we see Christ only darkly through it.” But the good man had forgotten that telescopes were not invented till hundreds of years after Paul wrote; so that Paul could not have intended telescopes. Others have tried to give other meanings to the word. The fact is, glass was never used to see through at that time. They used glass to see by, but not to see through. The only glass they had for seeing was a glass mirror. They had some glass which was no brighter than our black common bottle-glass. “Here we see through a glass darkly.” That means, by means of a mirror. As I have told you, Jesus is represented in the Bible; there is his portrait; we look on the Bible, and we see it. We see him “through a glass darkly.” Just as sometimes, when you are looking in your looking glass, you see somebody going along in the street. You do not see the person; you only see him reflected. Now, we see Christ reflected; but then we shall not see him in the looking-glass; we shall positively see his person. Not the reflected Christ, not Christ in the sanctuary, not the mere Christ shining out of the Bible, not Christ reflected from the sacred pulpit; but “we shall see him as he is.”

For meditation: The sight of Jesus will distress many (Revelation 1:7); are you positively looking forward to seeing him (John 12:21)?

Sermon nos. 61-62

19 January (Preached 20 January 1856)

 

John MacArthur – Embracing the Truth

John MacArthur

“In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation–having also believed” (Eph. 1:13).

After stating salvation from God’s perspective in verse 12, Paul here states it from man’s perspective. Faith in Christ is your response to God’s elective purpose in your life. Those two truths–God’s initiative and man’s response–co-exist throughout Scripture.

Paul rightly called the gospel “the message of truth” because truth is its predominant characteristic. Salvation was conceived by the God of truth (Ps. 31:5); purchased by the Son, who is the truth (John 14:6); and is applied by the Spirit of truth (John 16:13). To know it is to know the truth that sets men free (John 8:32). Believers are people of the truth (John 18:37), who worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24), and who obey the Word of truth (John 17:17).

Yet as profound and powerful as God’s truth is, people have rejected, neglected, redefined, and opposed it for centuries. Some, like Pilate, cynically deny that truth even exists or that it can be known by men (John 18:38). Others foolishly think that denying truth will somehow make it go away.

Perhaps you’ve heard someone say, “Jesus may be true for you but that doesn’t mean He has to be true for me.” That view assumes that belief somehow determines truth. But just the opposite is the case. Truth determines the validity of one’s belief. Believing a lie doesn’t make it true. Conversely, failing to believe the truth doesn’t make it a lie.

The gospel is true because Jesus is true, not simply because Christians believe in Him. His resurrection proved the truth of His claims and constitutes the objective basis of our faith (Rom. 1:4; 1 Pet. 1:3).

You enter this day armed with the message of truth and empowered by the Spirit of truth. Truth is your protection and strength (Eph. 6:14). Lost souls desperately need to hear that truth. Represent it well and proclaim it with boldness.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Thank the Lord that by His Spirit He has enabled you to understand His truth (1 Cor. 2:14-16).

Ask for wisdom and boldness to speak His truth in love (Eph. 4:15).

For Further Study:

Read 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 and Acts 17:30-31.

What key elements of the gospel does Paul list?

What is the relationship between Christ’s resurrection and God’s judgment on sinners?

 

 

Joyce Meyer – It’s Your Future

Joyce meyer

Therefore I always exercise and discipline myself [mortifying my body, deadening my carnal affections, bodily appetites, and worldly desires, endeavoring in all respects] to have a clear (unshaken, blameless) conscience, void of offense toward God and toward men. —Acts 24:16

The Roman poet Horace wrote: “Rule your mind or it will rule you.” The enemy wants your mind; he wants to control or influence as much of your thinking as possible, but you do not have to let him. The key to overcoming him is learning to discipline your thinking, and disciplining yourself to believe you are disciplined is the beginning. As my son once said, “Discipline is a discipline!”

Most people don’t get excited when the subject of discipline comes up. However, if you learn to understand the power, the liberty, the joy, and the victory discipline brings to your life, you will embrace it eagerly.