Tag Archives: jesus christ

Greg Laurie – Have You Lost Sight of Jesus?

greglaurie

After the celebration was over, they started home to Nazareth, but Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents didn’t miss him at first.

—Luke 2:43

On one occasion when Jesus was twelve years old, He went missing. Mary and Joseph lost sight of Him, and it took three days of searching to find Him again. They had been in Jerusalem for the Passover, and as they were returning home, He was nowhere to be found. But here is the interesting thing: they traveled an entire day before they missed Him. It isn’t that they lost their love for Him or their faith. They just lost Him.

Can this happen to us? The answer is yes. It is possible to go through an hour, a day, or even a week without a passing thought of Jesus. (That is, until a crisis hits.) This is the easiest thing to do at Christmas. We are so busy celebrating the birth of Christ that we can forget about Christ. This is the time of year when we have all kinds of responsibilities. And God’s only begotten Son can become God’s only forgotten Son.

One way we lose Jesus is when nonessentials displace essentials. When we are busy, often our spiritual lives are the first things to go. We don’t have time to read God’s Word. We don’t have time to pray, even for a moment. We can’t afford to give anything to God because we have so many things to buy. We allow nonessentials to take the place of essentials.

Whenever I lose something, I retrace my steps. Where did I have it last? I go back to that place, and often I will find it there.

If you’ve found that you’ve lost Jesus in the busyness of life, then you need to go back to where you were before. And the good news is that even if we lose sight of Jesus, He never loses sight of us.

 

 

Max Lucado – An Eternal Instant

Max Lucado

An eternal instant. An instant in time that had no time. A picture froze in mid-frame, demanding to be savored! A moment that reminds you of the treasures surrounding you. Your home.  Your peace of mind.  Your health. A moment that tenderly rebukes you for spending so much time on temporal preoccupations.  A moment that can bring a mist to the manliest of eyes and perspective to the darkest life.

It was such a moment when the Creator smiled and said, “It is good.”  It was such a moment in the “fullness of time” when a carpenter, some smelly shepherds, and an exhausted young mother stood in silent awe at the sight of the infant in the manger.

Eternal instants.  You’ve had them.  We all have them. But may you have more of them. You are, in a very special way, on holy ground.

From God Came Near

John MacArthur – The Sustaining Power of Christ

John MacArthur

“[Christ] upholds all things by the word of His power” (Heb. 1:3).

We base our entire lives on the constancy of physical laws. When something like an earthquake disrupts the normal condition or operation of things even a little, the consequences are often disastrous. Can you imagine what would happen if Jesus Christ relinquished His sustaining power over the laws of the universe for it is He in whom “all things hold together” (Col. 1:17)? We would go out of existence, our atoms scattering throughout the galaxy.

If He suspended the laws of gravity only for a brief moment, we would lose all points of reference. If any of the physical laws varied slightly, we could not exist. Our food could turn to poison; we ourselves could drift out into space or get flooded by the ocean tides. Countless other horrible things could happen.

But the universe remains in balance because Jesus Christ sustains and monitors all its movements and interworkings. He is the principle of cohesion. He is not the deist’s “watchmaker” creator, who made the world, set it in motion, and has not bothered with it since. The reason the universe is a cosmos instead of chaos–an ordered and reliable system instead of an erratic and unpredictable muddle–is the upholding power of Jesus Christ.

The entire universe hangs on the arm of Jesus. His unsearchable wisdom and boundless power are manifested in governing the universe. And He upholds it all by the word of His power. The key to the Genesis creation is in two words: “God said.” God spoke and it happened.

When I contemplate Christ’s power to uphold the universe, I’m drawn to the wonderful promise of Philippians 1:6: “I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” When Christ begins a work in your heart, He doesn’t end there. He continually sustains it until the day He will take you into God’s very presence. A life, just as a universe, that is not sustained by Christ is chaos.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Ask God to remind you of Christ’s sustaining power when you endure your next trial.

For Further Study:

Read Job 38-39 for a greater appreciation of what Christ does to uphold the universe.

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Another Comforter

dr_bright

“If ye love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever” (John 14:15,16, KJV).

Some time ago, a young businessman came to see me. He was very eager to be a man of God. He wanted to know the fullness of the Holy Spirit in his life, but he said that every time he got on his knees to pray, all he could see was the merchandise he had stolen from his employer.

“God doesn’t hear my prayers,” he lamented. “I feel miserable and don’t know what to do.”

I suggested he confess his sin to his employer and make restitution.

“I don’t have the money to pay for the merchandise I have stolen,” he said. “What should I do? I’m afraid to tell my employer what I have done. I’m sure he will fire me, and he could send me to jail.”

“The Holy Spirit is convicting you,” I told him. “You can never experience the fullness of God’s Spirit and you’ll never be a man of God or have your prayers answered until you deal with this sin. You must trust the Lord to help you make restitution.”

So the next day he went to his employer, confessed he had stolen the merchandise and offered to make restitution. The employer received him warmly and understanding. He suggested that my friend pay a certain amount each month out of his salary until the debt was paid, which he was more than happy to do. He came immediately to tell me what had happened.

“Now God is hearing my prayers,” he said. “Now I know I am filled with the Holy Spirit. My heart is filled with joy and praise to God.”

Bible Reading: John 14:22-26

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will remain sensitive and alert for any unconfessed sin that might grieve or quench the indwelling Holy Spirit and hinder His working in and through me, robbing me of the supernatural life which God has commanded and enabled me to live, if only I will trust and obey Him.

 

 

Greg Laurie – Why the Virgin Birth of Jesus?

greglaurie

“That is why I said that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I AM who I claim to be, you will die in your sins.” —John 8:24

Larry King once said that if he could choose one person to interview from the course of human history, he would choose to interview Jesus Christ. King said that he would like to ask Jesus “if He was indeed virgin-born.” He added, “The answer to that question would define history for me.” Larry King understands that the Virgin Birth is a big deal.

If you are a Bible-believing Christian, then you can’t dismiss what the Scriptures teach on this topic. I would even take it further and say that if you don’t believe that Jesus was supernaturally conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary, then you can’t really be a Christian.

This is an essential part of Christian doctrine. If Christ was not conceived in the womb of Mary by the Holy Spirit, if His biological father was indeed Joseph, then He was a sinner. And if He was a sinner, then His death on the cross did not atone for my sins or yours.

The fact is that because Jesus was supernaturally conceived in Mary’s womb, He was fully God, yet He was also fully man. Jesus said, “Unless you believe that I AM who I claim to be, you will die in your sins” (John 8:24). In other words, “If you don’t believe that I am God, then you are not really a believer.”

I AM is God’s own statement about Himself. When Moses wanted to know what to say when people asked who had sent him, God told him, “I AM WHO I AM. Say this to the people of Israel: I AM has sent me to you” (Exodus 3:14).

That is why the Virgin Birth is such an essential teaching. Christ was not God because He was virgin-born; He was virgin-born because He was God.

 

 

Max Lucado – A Lack of Vision

Max Lucado

“We were hoping the doctor would release him.”

“I thought the job was in the bag.”

Words painted gray with disappointment. What we wanted did not come.  What came, we didn’t want. The result?  Shattered hope.  What kind of God would let me down like this? The foundation of our world trembles.

So tear-filled are our eyes and so limited is our perspective. It’s not a lack of faith, but a lack of vision. Our petitions are limited to what we can imagine—an earthly kingdom. We roll in the mud of self-pity in the very shadow of the cross. If we would just remember the heavenly body that awaits us, we’d stop complaining that he hasn’t healed this earthly one. Hope is not what you expect—it’s what you would never dream!

From God Came Near

John MacArthur – Christ’s Radiance and Representation

John MacArthur

“He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature” (Heb. 1:3).

Just as the rays of the sun give light, warmth, life, and growth to the earth, so Jesus Christ is the glorious light of God shining into the hearts of men and women. As “the radiance of God’s glory,” Jesus expresses God to us. No one can see God in HIs full glory; no one ever will. The radiance of that glory that reaches us from God appears in the Person of Jesus Christ.

Just as the sun was never without and can never be separated from its brightness, so God was never without and cannot be separated from the glory of Christ. Never was God without Him or He without God, and never in any way can He be separated from God. Yet the brightness of the sun is not the sun, and neither is Jesus exactly the same as God in that sense. He is fully and absolutely God, yet as a distinct Person within the triune Godhead.

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12). As the radiance of God’s glory, Christ can transmit that light into your life and mine so that we can radiate the glory of God to a dark world.

In using the term “exact representation” to describe Christ’s relationship to God’s nature, the writer employs terminology usually associated with an impression reproduced on a seal by a die or stamp. Jesus Christ is the reproduction of God–the perfect, personal imprint of God in time and space.

How wonderful to realize that Jesus Christ, who is both the full expression of God and exact reproduction of God’s nature in human history, can come into our lives and give us light to see and to know God! His light is the source of our spiritual life. And His light gives us purpose, meaning, happiness, peace, joy, fellowship, everything–for all eternity.

Suggestion for Prayer:

Thank God that He determined to become a man so we could know what He is like.

For Further Study:

Read 2 Corinthians 4:3-6 and note who allows people to see or not see spiritually.

 

Greg Laurie – The Man Who Tried to Stop Christmas

greglaurie

A real war has been raging over Christmas. Many retailers have instructed their employees to no longer say, “Merry Christmas,” but to say, “Seasons Greetings” or “Happy Holidays” instead. We see this trend being carried through to the public schools and other places. Some school districts in Florida and New Jersey have prohibited the singing of Christmas carols altogether. And in Texas of all places, a school confiscated one child’s gifts for classmates, which were pencils with the inscription, “Jesus is the reason for the season.” A Wisconsin elementary school actually changed the lyrics for “Silent Night” to a secularized version, “Cold in the Night.”

Attempts to create a politically correct version of Christmas are not only happening in the US, but abroad as well. Cardiff Cathedral, an Anglican Church in Wales, has made the hymn, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” more gender-friendly by renaming it, “God Rest You Merry Persons.” (That just doesn’t have the same sound.) Some are even suggesting they take it a step further by substituting the words “higher power” for God in the lyrics. Now we are losing the whole point of the song.

Efforts to stop Christmas have been going on for a very long time. In fact, someone tried to stop the first Christmas, and he wasn’t a fictional character like the Grinch or Ebenezer Scrooge. He is known as Herod the Great. Herod was born into a politically well-connected family, and at the age of 25, he was named the governor of Galilee—a very high-ranking position for such a young man. The Romans were hoping that Herod would somehow be able to control the Jews who lived in that area. And in 40 B.C., the Roman Senate gave Herod the title of “king of the Jews.” This was a title the Jews especially hated, because Herod was not a religious man. He was not a devout man. He had no regard for the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, or for the Jewish people. But he loved that title because it spoke of power.

And that was Herod’s problem. He was addicted to power. Power has been described as the ultimate human obsession, and that certainly was the case with King Herod. His craftiness knew no barriers, because he had a morbid distrust of anyone who would try to take his reign. He had his spies fan out and constantly look for any potential threats to his throne. Over the years, he killed many people whom he perceived as a threat, including his brother-in-law, mother-in-law, two of his own sons and even his wife. The ancient historian Josephus described Herod as barbaric. Another writer described him as the malevolent maniac.

By the time Jesus was born, Herod’s life was coming to an end. The so-called king of the Jews was slowly dying of a disease, and he was rapidly losing his mind. He had successfully fought off all attempts to take his power away when mysterious visitors from the east suddenly came blowing into town. They were strange men with strange questions. And right off the bat, they pushed Herod’s button when they said they were looking for the one who was born the king of the Jews. That was Herod’s title, but he certainly wasn’t born the king of the Jews. Yet that is who the wise men were looking for.

So Herod called in the members of the local clergy to assist him, scribes who had spent their lives in the study of Scripture. Immediately they pointed to the prophecy of Micah that predicted the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. But Herod wasn’t thinking about prophetic significance; he was thinking about the threat to his throne. He secretly called in the wise men and asked them to tell him exactly when the star appeared. Then he told them to search for the child and when they had found him, to report back so that he could go and worship also. But the Bible tells us that after the wise men found Jesus and worshipped him, God warned them in a dream not to return to Herod. So the wise men took a different way home. Herod was so angry these wise men had not reported back to him that he freaked out. All the worst instincts of a lifetime of cruelty came to the surface, and he ordered the cold-blooded murder of all males in Bethlehem and its districts under the age of two.

We find an interesting contrast of kings in this story. Both possessed immense power, but how they chose to use it revealed the hearts of two radically different men. Herod was a tyrant; Jesus was a servant. One was consumed with self-interest; the other was focused on pleasing God and serving others. One manipulated, slandered, deceived and coerced, while the other healed, touched, taught and loved. Herod tried to stop Christmas, and more to the point, he tried to stop Christ. But even with all of his wealth and power and influence, he came to ruin.

Like Herod, there are people today who oppose Christmas. They don’t want us to say, “Merry Christmas.” They don’t want us to say that Jesus is the reason for the season. They don’t want us to sing our Christmas carols. They don’t want us to post the Ten Commandments in our classrooms or have prayers in public places. They don’t want any freedom of expression in our culture. They want to impose their values—or lack of values—on us. There are people today who oppose everything about God or about Jesus Christ. And that is what Herod did. He was a man who fought against God and ended up destroying himself.

Of course, we can complain about people who are leaving Christ out of Christmas, but let’s not do that ourselves. We can forget to keep Christ in Christmas with all of our busyness at this time of year. The wise men had it right. They wanted to worship Jesus. And that is quite dramatic when you consider these men were like royalty themselves, yet willing to bow before the baby king. Their gifts were an expression of worship from the overflow of adoring and grateful hearts. And right worship is always—and must be—the only basis for right giving and right service. Christmas is all about Christ. It is not about Christmas presents; it is about His Christmas presence in our lives. Don’t forget Jesus at Christmas.

 

Charles Stanley – A Gift from the Father

Charles Stanley

John 3:16

Think about all the presents you’ve received in your life. Some may have seemed heavenly, but Jesus Christ is the only gift any of us will ever receive that came straight from heaven. Without a maker, without a beginning or end, He is unlike any other gift in human experience. And although He arrived as a tiny infant, He is precisely what all mankind desperately needs.

When you placed your faith in Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you could not have been given a gift that was more practical or necessary. Sin had so wrecked humanity that we were all under the wrath of God and in desperate need of forgiveness and deliverance from our guilt, shame, and fleshly behaviors. We had emotional needs, material needs, and all manner of brokenness.

So God the Father sent His only begotten Son into our lives. He knew that no other gift could ever provide for our needs or fulfill our longings as completely as Christ Jesus.

He came in human flesh. That’s what the incarnation is all about. God came into this world with a body like ours so that we could see Him, touch Him, and understand Him. And yet the tragedy is that most people never “unwrap” this gift. They keep Him a baby in the manger scene or categorize Him as just a teacher or preacher. But this will never do. If you do not unwrap the gift, you will never know what is inside. To open the present, open the Bible. The more you get to know Jesus, the better you will understand how perfect the gift is for you.

 

Our Daily Bread — Christmas Lights

Our Daily Bread

Matthew 5:13-16

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

In December each year, a neighborhood of 13 families near where we live sets up a dazzling display of 300,000 Christmas lights. People drive for miles and wait in line for hours to see the flashing, colorful lights and hear the music that is programmed to go with it. The sound-and-light display is so elaborate that it requires a network of 64 computers to keep everything synchronized.

When I think about these holiday lights, I am reminded of the Light that makes Christmas a holiday for many—a single Light so bright that it illuminates the whole world with truth, justice, and love. This Light—Jesus—is everything that the world is longing and looking for (Isa. 9:2,6-7). And He has told His followers to display His light so that others will see and glorify God (Matt. 5:16).

Imagine if Christians worked as hard at shining and synchronizing the light of God’s love as the families of that neighborhood work when they illuminate their street with Christmas lights. Perhaps then the people still living in darkness would make an effort to see this great Light. When Christians work together to display God’s love, the gospel will shine more brightly and attract more people to Jesus—the Light of the world. —Julie Ackerman Link

O to be filled with His life divine;

O to be clothed with His power and might;

O to reflect my dear Savior sublime—

Always to shine as the saints in light! —Anon.

Our witness for Christ is a light in a dark world.

Bible in a year: Daniel 5-7; 2 John

Alistair Begg – The Worst Made the Best

Alistair Begg

God chose what is low and despised in the world.

1 Corinthians 1:28

Walk the streets by moonlight, if you dare, and you will see sinners then. Watch when the night is dark, and the wind is howling, and the thief is hiding in the door, and you will see sinners then. Go to the jail, and walk through the wards, and notice the men with heavy overhanging brows, men whom you would not like to meet at night, and there are sinners there. Go to the reformatories, and note those who have betrayed a rampant juvenile depravity, and you will see sinners there.

Go where you will, you need not ransack the earth to find sinners, for they are common enough; you may find them in every lane and street of every city and town and village and hamlet. It is for such that Jesus died.

If you will select for me the grossest specimen of humanity, if he be but born of woman, I will still have hope for him, because Jesus Christ came to seek and to save sinners. Electing love has selected some of the worst to be made the best.

Pebbles from the brook are turned by grace into jewels for the royal crown. Worthless dross He transforms into pure gold. Redeeming love has set apart many of the worst of mankind to be the reward of the Savior’s passion.

Effectual grace calls deep-dyed sinners to sit at the table of mercy, and therefore none of us should despair.

Reader, by that love looking out of Jesus’ tearful eyes, by that love streaming from those bleeding wounds, by that faithful love, that strong love, that pure, disinterested, and abiding love, by the heart and by the tender compassion of the Savior, we urge you not to turn away as though it was nothing to you.

Rather, believe on Him and you will be saved. Trust your soul with Him, and He will bring you to His Father’s right hand in everlasting glory.

 

John MacArthur – The Creator of the World

John MacArthur

“In these last days [God] has spoken to us in His Son . . . through whom also He made the world” (Heb. 1:2).

John 1:3 testifies, “All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.” Jesus has the ability to create something out of nothing (cf. Rom. 4:17), and that sets Him apart from mere creatures. Only God can create like that; we can’t. If you could create, you’d live in a different house, drive a different car, and probably have a different job–if you had any job at all. You could just sit in your backyard and make money. Fortunately, God didn’t give depraved men and women the right to be creators.

The ability to create ex nihilo belongs to God alone and the fact that Jesus creates like that indicates He is God and establishes His absolute superiority over everything. He created everything material and spiritual. Though man has stained His work with sin, Christ originally made it good, and the very creation itself longs to be restored to what it was in the beginning (Rom. 8:22).

The common Greek word for “world” is kosmos, but that’s not the one used in Hebrews 1:2. The word here is aionas, which does not refer to the material world but to “the ages,” as it is often translated. Jesus Christ is responsible for creating not only the physical earth, but also time, space, energy, and matter. The writer of Hebrews does not restrict Christ’s creation to this earth; he shows us that Christ is the Creator of the entire universe and of existence itself. And He made it all without effort.

What about you? If you don’t recognize God as the Creator, you’ll have difficulty explaining how this universe came into being. Where did it all come from? Who conceived it? Who made it? It cannot be an accident. Someone made it, and the Bible tells us who He is: Jesus Christ.

Suggestion for Prayer:

Praise God for the wonder of His creation, which we can so easily take for granted.

For Further Study:

Read Colossians 1:16-23 to discover the relationship between the creation and your salvation.

 

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – He Will Preserve Me

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“And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto His heavenly kingdom; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen” (2 Timothy 4:18, KJV).

Do you and I have that same kind of confidence in God?

Note that the apostle Paul did not mention the word deathhere, for earlier verses in this chapter reveal that he expected to die – and he was ready. But he was assured that God would keep Paul from apostasy, and from displaying an improper spirit at the time of his death.

In the same way, we can ask the Lord today, in faith believing, for that inner peace we need to face up to all that He allows to happen in our lives. His perfect peace is sufficient for every testing and trial and trouble and temptation.

By keeping us from every evil work, He likewise enables us to reach His heavenly kingdom.

An appropriate time for praise to God is when a person knows he is about to be brought to heaven, and Paul introduces such a doxology here: “to whom be glory for ever and ever.”

The truth is clear: we are protected on every side, and even at death we can sing the doxology, for we are about to meet the altogether lovely One in His heavenly home. To remain in constant fellowship with our heavenly Father will maintain a spirit of joy, love and peace in our lives that nothing can shake.

Bible Reading: Psalm 3:1-6

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Like the apostle Paul, I will confidently expect God to protect me from every evil work and enable me to live the supernatural life for His glory.

 

Presidential Prayer Team; G.C. – By Name

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In most cultures, naming a new baby is serious business. Native American traditions use up to six classes of names to refer to one person over a lifetime. As an example, Chief Sitting Bull was called “Jumping Badger” as a boy, but nicknamed “Slow Man” by his friends because he took extra time to do things.

The name by which he is called is The Word of God.

Revelation 19:13

In the Bible, Jesus is named in a similar fashion. In Genesis 3:15 He is introduced as the Seed of Woman. In relationship to His Father, He is called the Beloved Son (Matthew 12:18). And in Job 19:25, His position in Heaven is identified as Redeemer. While He was doing his work on Earth, Jesus referred to Himself as the Bread of Life (John 6:32), and at His crucifixion He was called the King of the Jews (Matthew 2:22). After His resurrection He took the position of your Great High Priest in Hebrews 4:14. Finally, Scripture nears its conclusion with today’s verse, where Christ is simply called The Word of God.

During this season of gift giving, America’s greatest gift has all those names, though the name you will use most is Lord. Exalt Him today – then give Him to someone who needs to know Him by name.

Recommended Reading: Philippians 2:5-11 

 

Charles Stanley – Strengthening God’s Church

Charles Stanley

1 Corinthians 16:13-14

We all want the church to be strong, but false doctrine, apathy, and a lack of discipline work together to diminish the local congregation’s influence in the community and beyond. Paul reveals three ways to strengthen the church.

• Be alert to false doctrine. Nothing will water down a church’s effectiveness more than wrong spiritual beliefs. The world largely approves of immorality and iniquity, and we are bombarded by philosophies that mix truth with a bit of falsehood. Unless firmly planted in God’s Word, believers are susceptible to those lies. Standing firm requires that undiluted Scripture be preached from the pulpit and studied by the flock.

• Appreciate God’s servants. Too often church members criticize their leaders more than encourage them. Pastors and others in authority can certainly make mistakes or fall into sin—they’re human. But they have devoted themselves to helping people hear and understand the Word. The congregation is responsible to show support and love. Those who know God most deeply will appreciate His chosen servant. Likewise, caring for the pastor opens a believer to experience the Lord more and thereby know Him better.

• Accept one another. As a fellowship of believers, we’re to develop a spirit of acceptance and oneness. This principle has nothing to do with performance; rather, it’s based on the fact that God has given each of His children a unique role.

Every local body has great potential because of the believers and gifts God has put together. What step can you take now to start strengthening your church?

 

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – The Way to Wisdom

dr_bright

“For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of His mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler for them that walk uprightly” (Proverbs 2:6,7, KJV).

One of my brothers and a sister and I recently stood at the bedside of our 93-year-old mother. The doctor and nurses had just left the room after informing her that she needed a pacemaker for her heart.

After the doctor left, she called us around her. “Now I want you to join with me in prayer,” she said. She began to pray, her countenance radiant from the joyful assurance that God was listening and would answer:

“Father in heaven, I need Your help. I do not know if I need a pacemaker, but You do. Tell me what to do, because You know what is best for me.”

“Mother,” I asked, when she had finished praying, “how will you know when God answers you?”

She replied, “God will tell me what to do as He always does.” Later in the day she informed the doctor that she would not need a pacemaker. The doctor was disappointed, and he encouraged her to reconsider.

After he left, I inquired, “Mother, how do you know that you’re not to have a pacemaker?”

“Well,” she replied, “before I prayed I had an impression that this was the right thing to do because the doctor and nurses felt so strongly, but as I prayed God seemed to take away the desire.” Months later we all agreed that she had made the right decision as her health was greatly improved.

For more than 75 years this beloved saint has known the faithfulness of this promise for wisdom. “He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous. He is a buckler for them that walk uprightly.”

Is Christ real? Does He give answers to practical problems of life? Inquire of one who has walked with Him for more than three-quarters of a century and you will have no doubts. To achieve this wisdom, you must seek it with all your heart. The world’s wisdom, great as it may be cannot begin to measure up to the divine wisdom available to one who faithfully reads, studies, and meditates upon God’s Word and who has a close intimate relationship with Him in prayer.

Bible Reading: Proverbs 2:1-5

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will seek God’s supernatural wisdom by diligently studying God’s Word, through prayer and through fellowship with others who walk with God.

 

 

Max Lucado – Unpredictable Dependence

Max Lucado

You have to wonder—if God’s most merciful act is His refusal to answer some of our prayers! We piously ask for His will and then pout if everything doesn’t go our way.

The problem is not that God doesn’t give us what we hope for. It’s that we do not know the right thing for which to hope. Hope isn’t what you expect—it’s what you would never dream. It’s a wild, improbable tale with a pinch-me-I’m-dreaming ending. It’s Abraham adjusting his bifocals so he can see, not his grandson, but his son. It’s Moses standing at the promised land, not with Aaron or Miriam at his side, but with Elijah and the crucified Christ.

Hope is not a granted wish or a favor performed. It’s far greater than that.  It’s a zany, unpredictable dependence on a God who loves to surprise us out of our socks!

From God Came Near

Charles Stanley – The Next Steps to Growth

Charles Stanley

Ephesians 4:14-16

Yesterday’s devotion covered three steps to Christian growth: renewing our minds through Bible reading, confessing sin, and repenting of that sin. Today we will look at three more factors that will build us spiritually.

Any believer—whether mature or new to the faith—would be wise to receive godly counsel. I have seen some great men and women take a terrible plunge away from God because they were too proud to admit weakness. The Lord sees us as we truly are; we lack the ability to view ourselves objectively, which is why it’s important to have a friend who will be completely honest about our faults and mistakes. A godly counselor won’t be critical or condemning but rather will prove to be loving and kind.

We also grow spiritually when we serve God by serving others. At times this may mean ministering to someone who tends to bring out our worst qualities. Getting involved in his or her life, though, can help us learn patience, acceptance, and love.

One additional step is to respond properly to pain and difficulty. We all wish our greatest growth came during the calm times of our life. But the truth is, we make the most spiritual progress when we face adversity. Focusing on the Lord instead of on the source of our heartache is the appropriate response.

So the question is, Do you really want to move ahead in your Christian walk? To do so requires time, attention, and commitment. But if you choose to journey down God’s pathway to growth, you can expect to become more like Christ every day.

 

 

 

Alistair Begg – Hospital of the Cross

Alistair Begg

Ask, and it will be given to you.

Matthew 7:7

There was a place in England that no longer exists, where a loaf of bread was served to every passerby who chose to ask for it. Whoever the traveler was, he had only to knock at the door of St. Cross Hospital, and the loaf of bread was his to enjoy. Jesus Christ loves sinners so much that He has built a St. Cross Hospital, so that whenever a sinner is hungry, he has only to knock and have his needs supplied.

He has actually done better: This Hospital of the Cross has a bath; and whenever a soul is marred and filthy, it may go to this effective fountain and be cleansed. No sinner ever went into it and found that it could not wash away his stains. Sins that were scarlet and crimson have all disappeared, and the sinner was made whiter than snow.

As if this were not enough, there is attached to this Hospital of the Cross a dressing room, and a sinner making application simply as a sinner may be clothed from head to foot; and if he wishes to be a soldier, he will be provided not just with street clothes, but with armor that will cover him from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. If he asks for a sword, that will be given to him, and a shield too. He will be denied nothing that is good for him. He will have spending money as long as he lives, and he will have an eternal heritage of glorious treasure when he enters into the joy of his Lord.

If all these things are available by simply knocking at mercy’s door, then, my soul, knock hard this morning, and make large requests of your generous Lord. Do not leave the throne of grace until all your wants have been spread before the Lord and until by faith you are confident that they will all be supplied.

You need not be shy about taking Jesus up on His invitation. No unbelief should hinder when Jesus promises. No coldheartedness should restrain when such blessings are to be obtained.