Tag Archives: Joy

Presidential Prayer Team; J.K. – An Everlasting Presence

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The Old Testament people of God could approach Him in the temple or the tabernacle. But the New Testament emphasis shifts from God dwelling with His people to His dwelling in them.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.

Colossians 3:16

Two Greek words are used to convey this thought. The first tells that God settles down in the hearts of His people. It is now the personality of the believer that is the residence filled with His living presence. The second word communicates the establishment of permanent residence. Not an occasional visit; God’s is an everlasting presence. This ideal condition involves letting the Word of Christ dwell in you…not just His sayings, but the entire book of Scripture. Studying it daily will provide a guide to wisdom and a life filled with abundant comfort and strength. God’s Word will help you fully know the wonderful Savior that abides in you. Your heart will be overflowing with thanksgiving for all Christ has done for you.

Allow the Lord to speak to you each day of the year through the words of the Bible. Then intercede for the people and leaders of this nation that they will not reject God’s Word, but will come to know its wisdom and truth.

Recommended Reading: Ephesians 3:14-21

Greg Laurie – Why the Cross?

greglaurie

The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. —1 Corinthians 1:18

A true story was reported about a couple visiting a jewelry store. As the jeweler showed them various crosses, the woman commented, “I like these, but do you have any without this little man on them?”

That is what so many people want today: a cross without Jesus. They want a cross without any offense — one that will look cool with their outfits. But if we could travel back in time and see the cross in its original context, we would realize that it was a bloody and vile symbol. It would have been the worst picture imaginable to see someone hanging on a cross.

The Romans chose crucifixion because it was meant to be a slow, torturous way to die. It was designed to humiliate a person. The crucifixions outside Roman cities served as warnings to anyone who would dare oppose the rule of Rome.

If there had been any other way, do you think that God would have allowed His Son to suffer like this? If there had been any other way we could have been forgiven, then God surely would have found it. If living a good moral life would get us to heaven, then Jesus never would have died for us. But He did — because there was and is no other way. He had to pay the price for our sin. At the cross, Jesus purchased the salvation of the world.

If you ever were tempted to doubt God’s love for you, even for a moment, then take a long, hard look at the cross. Nails did not hold Jesus to that cross; His love did.

Max Lucado – The Big News

Max Lucado

The big news of the Bible is not that you love God, but that God loves you; not that you can know God, but that God already knows you!

God tattooed your name on the palm of his hand. You never leave his mind, escape his sight, flee his thoughts. He sees the worst of  you and loves you still. Your sins of tomorrow and failings of the future will not surprise him, he sees them now. Every day and deed of your life has passed before his eyes and been calculated in his decision. He knows you better than you know you and reached his verdict: He loves you still!

No discovery will disillusion him, no rebellion will dissuade him. You need not win his love.  You already have it. And since you can’t win it, you can’t lose it! He loves you with an everlasting love!

From The Lucado Inspirational Reader

 

Charles Stanley – When Fear Grips Us

Charles Stanley

Isaiah 41:10

All throughout the Scriptures, the Lord encourages us not to be afraid or anxious. As His children, we have no basis for fear. Of course, there are reasons for us to be extremely cautious about what we do and where we go, but God’s people are not to live in a state of anxiety.

If you think about it, you can identify at least six anxieties that are basic to all mankind. They are the fear of criticism, illness, old age, death, poverty, and losing a loved one. Although these are universal worries, they are in reality symptoms of something deep inside that feeds our fears.

Some of the root causes are:

A basic sense of inadequacy. Because of distorted thinking, we frequently feel incompetent to tackle certain challenges or tasks that should be possible for us to accomplish.

The tendency to set unrealistic standards for ourselves. We can go through life trying to measure up to lofty expectations that are self-imposed rather than goals set by God.

An innate sense of unworthiness. It’s amazing how many people will not succeed in life because they just don’t feel they deserve it.

In the midst of our fears and anxieties, we need to remember God’s promise in today’s passage. He reassures us, “Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” It is important that we look up at Him and not around at our circumstances.

 

Our Daily Bread — Precious In God’s Eyes

Our Daily Bread

Psalm 116

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints. —Psalm 116:15

In response to the news that a mutual friend of ours had died, a wise brother who knew the Lord sent me these words, “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints” (Ps. 116:15). Our friend’s vibrant faith in Jesus Christ was the dominant characteristic of his life, and we knew he was home with God in heaven. His family had that assurance as well, but I had been focused only on their sorrow. And it’s appropriate to consider others during their grief and loss.

But the verse from Psalms turned my thoughts to how the Lord saw the passing of our friend. Something “precious” is something of great value. Yet, there is a larger meaning here. There is something in the death of a saint that transcends our grief over their absence.

“Precious (important and no light matter) in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints (His loving ones)” (The Amplified Bible). Another paraphrase says, “His loved ones are very precious to him and he does not lightly let them die” (The Living Bible). God is not flippant toward death. The marvel of His grace and power is that, as believers, our loss of life on earth also brings great gain.

Today we have only a glimpse. One day we’ll understand it in the fullness of His light. —David McCasland

So when my last breath

Shall rend the veil in twain

By death I shall escape from death

And life eternal gain. —Montgomery

Faith builds a bridge across the gulf of death.

Bible in a year: Exodus 23-24; Matthew 20:1-16

 

 

Alistair Begg – Our Inheritance Through Christ

Alistair Begg

Ephesians 1:11

When Jesus gave Himself for us, He gave us all the rights and privileges that went with Himself; so now, although as eternal God He has essential rights to which no creature may venture to pretend, yet as Jesus, the Mediator, the federal Head of the covenant of grace, He has no heritage apart from us. All the glorious consequences of His obedience unto death are the joint riches of all who are in Him, and on whose behalf He accomplished the divine will.

See, He enters into glory, but not for Himself alone, for it is written, “Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf.”1 Does He stand in the presence of God? Christ appears “in the presence of God on our behalf.”2 Consider this, believer: You have no right to heaven in yourself; your right lies in Christ.

If you are pardoned, it is through His blood; if you are justified, it is through His righteousness; if you are sanctified, it is because He is made of God unto you sanctification; if you shall be kept from falling, it will be because you are preserved in Christ Jesus; and if you are perfected at the last, it will be because you are complete in Him. Thus Jesus is magnified–for all is in Him and by Him; thus the inheritance is made certain to us–for it is obtained in Him; thus each blessing is the sweeter, and even heaven itself the brighter, because it is Jesus our Beloved in whom we have obtained all.

Where is the man who shall estimate our divine portion? Weigh the riches of Christ in scales and His treasure in balances, and then think to count the treasures that belong to the saints. Reach the bottom of Christ’s sea of joy, and then hope to understand the bliss that God has prepared for them that love Him. Overleap the boundaries of Christ’s possessions, and then dream of a limit to the fair inheritance of the elect. “All are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.”3

1 – Hebrews 6:20

2 – Hebrews 9:24

3 – 1 Corinthians 3:22-23

Charles Spurgeon – The shameful sufferer

CharlesSpurgeon

“Who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2

Suggested Further Reading: Luke 9:18-22, 51-53

You have an enemy who all his life long has been your enemy. His father was your enemy, and he is your enemy too. There is never a day passes but you try to win his friendship; but he spits upon your kindness, and curses your name. He does injury to your friends, and there is not a stone he leaves unturned to do you damage. As you are going home to-day, you see a house on fire; the flames are raging, and the smoke is ascending up in one black column to heaven. Crowds gather in the street, and you are told there is a man in the upper chamber who must be burnt to death. No one can save him. You say, “Why that is my enemy’s house;” and you see him at the window. It is your own enemy—the very man; he is about to be burnt. Full of lovingkindness, you say, “I will save that man if I can.” He sees you approach the house; he puts his head from the window and curses you. “An everlasting blast upon you!” he says; “I would rather perish than that you should save me.” Do you imagine yourself, then, dashing through the smoke, and climbing the blazing staircase to save him; and can you conceive that when you get near him he struggles with you, and tries to roll you in the flames? Can you conceive your love to be so potent, that you can perish in the flames rather than leave him to be burned? You say, “I could not do it; it is above flesh and blood to do it.” But Jesus did it. We hated him, we despised him, and, when he came to save us, we rejected him. When his Holy Spirit comes into our hearts to strive with us, we resist him; but he will save us; nay, he himself braved the fire that he might snatch us as brands from eternal burning.

For meditation: The wonderful determination of Christ and his insistence on carrying out his Father’s will despite all the attempts to distract him (Matthew 16:21-23; 26:51-54; Luke 13:31-33).

Sermon no. 236

30 January (1859)

 

 

John MacArthur – Serving the Supreme One

John MacArthur

God exalted Christ “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet” (Eph. 1:21-22).

Yesterday we saw that Christ has both an exalted name and an exalted, authoritative position. In verses 21-22 Paul elaborates on the extent of Christ’s authority, which is “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion.”

“Rule,” “authority,” “power,” and “dominion” are designations for angelic beings, whether good or evil (cf. Eph. 6:12; Col. 1:16). In His incarnation Christ was made lower in rank than the angels that He might suffer death on our behalf (Heb. 2:9). Now He has “become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they” (Heb. 1:4), and the Father commands all the angels to worship the Son (v. 6).

But Christ’s rule extends far beyond angelic beings. In Ephesians 1:21 the phrase “every name that is named” is a general reference to any form of authority–whether angelic or human, eternal or temporal. Now and forever Christ is the Supreme One! Ultimately every knee will bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord (Phil. 2:10-11).

The implications of that truth are staggering. For example Christ precedes the Great Commission of Matthew 28:19-20, the heart of Christian evangelism and discipleship, with this significant statement: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.”

Ultimately your evangelism and discipleship efforts will bear fruit because they are backed by the authority of Christ Himself. Does that encourage you to seize every opportunity to share Christ and His Word with others? It should!

Be faithful today, realizing that you represent the One in whom lies all authority. Nothing can thwart His purposes.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Ask the Holy Spirit to direct you to a lost soul or anyone else you can encourage from the Word. Be sensitive to His leading.

For Further Study:

Read Colossians 1:15-23

What was Christ’s role in creation (vv. 15-17)?

What is His role in the church (v. 18)? In salvation (v. 23)?

What place have you given Him in your life?

 

 

Joyce Meyer – Prepare to Love Others

Joyce meyer

The night is far gone and the day is almost here. Let us then drop (fling away) the works and deeds of darkness and put on the [ full] armor of light. —Romans 13:12

Before your feet touch the floor in the morning, put on the full armor of God with which you can quench all the fiery darts of the enemy (See Ephesians 6:13–17). Put on the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, and the readiness of the gospel of peace.

Don’t let the devil steal your peace in the morning. Start talking to God before you even get out of bed. Tell Him, “I love You, Lord, and I need Your help today. Please strengthen me to walk in the fruit of the Spirit. Help me walk in love all day long. Help me to keep my thoughts on You, Lord.”

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – He Knew His Future

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“Jesus answered and said unto them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up'” (John 2:19, KJV).

A missionary in Turkey sought to teach the truth of the resurrection of Christ to a group of people.

“I am traveling, and I have reached a place where the road branches off in two ways,” he said. “I look for a guide, and find two men – one dead, and the other alive. Which of the two must I ask for direction – the dead or the living?”

“Oh, the living!” cried the people.

“Then,” said the missionary, “why send me to Mohammed, who is dead, instead of to Christ, who is alive?”

Jesus is the only person who has ever accurately predicted his own resurrection. He said He would be raised from the dead on the third day after dying on the cross for our sins, and He was!

Further, He was seen on many different occasions after His resurrection – once by as many as 500 people. He still lives today in the hearts of all who have placed their faith in Him, demonstrating His life of love and forgiveness through them.

Whenever men meet the living Christ, they are changed. The whole course of history has been changed because of Him.

“The gospel not only converts the individual, but it also changes society,” historian Philip Schaff wrote. “Everywhere the gospel has been preached, dramatic change has resulted. It has established standards of hygiene and purity, promoted industry, elevated womanhood, restrained antisocial customs, abolished human sacrifices, organized famine relief, checked tribal wars and changed the social structure of society.

“Born in a manger and crucified as a malefactor, He now controls the destinies of the civilized world and rules a spiritual empire which embraces one-third of the inhabitants of the globe.”

Bible Reading: John 2:20-25

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will reflect often today on the fact that the risen Christ of history is the same loving Savior who now lives within me, offering me His love, His peace, His comfort, His wisdom, His strength. I will claim by faith His resurrection life to enable me to live supernaturally each moment of every day.

 

Presidential Prayer Team; J.R. – Authentic Living

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One veteran televangelist promises healing if you just place your hand on the television screen. Another says the Lord revealed a miracle involving the numbers two, seven and three…and therefore you must send him $273 in the next eight minutes to receive a financial windfall. Others guarantee your “seed” offering will produce double or triple favor from God. When you add it all up, it comes to $34 billion annually in religious financial fraud, according to research from the International Bulletin of Missionary Research. That’s more than is given to Christians to support global missions.

We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word.

II Corinthians 4:2

Sadly, the many slick-suited charlatans who “tamper” with God’s Word turn off many by falsely preaching that financial prosperity and boundless good health are always just a donation away. But if you want your loved ones, friends and co-workers to know Christ, you must be humble, guileless and an example of unimpeachable integrity.

God is looking for authenticity, and Americans are, too. And it’s not too late or too hopeless to pray for your nation’s leaders! May they fulfill the hope of President John Adams, who wrote: “May none but honest and wise men ever rule.”

Recommended Reading: Colossians 3:12-17

Greg Laurie – Promises . . . with a Prerequisite

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He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

—Psalm 91:1

Without question, Psalm 91 is a real gem among the psalms. Next to Psalm 23, it probably has brought more encouragement and comfort throughout the centuries than any other psalm.

But it’s worth noting that the blessings promised in Psalm 91 aren’t for just anyone. They are specifically given to believers — and not just to believers in general. These benefits are targeted toward believers who specifically meet the requirements found within the psalm. Psalm 91 is full of what we call conditional promises. In other words, God promises to do certain things for us, hinging on our doing certain things that are required.

There’s still time to sign up for the spring trip to Israel with Pastor Greg happening April 28–May 10. »

 

Verse 1 begins, “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High . . .” The word dwells could be translated as “quiet and resting, enduring and remaining with consistency.” It is very similar to the word abide, which we see often in the New Testament. Jesus said, “He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit” (John 15:5). That word abide means “to stay in a given place, to maintain unbroken fellowship and communion with another.”

Here’s what God is saying: If you want to experience the promises of Psalm 91 — My protection, My provision, and My blessing — you must dwell in the secret place of the Most High. You must remain in constant fellowship with Me.”

We have relationship with God because we have put our faith in Jesus Christ and have turned from our sin. But are we living in constant fellowship with God? Many believers aren’t.

God is interested in a relationship with you — not just on Sundays, but throughout the week. He wants you to dwell in the secret place of the Most High.

 

Max Lucado – His Idea, His Home

Max Lucado

Would that I could make everything new—but I can’t. But God can. “He restores my soul,” wrote the shepherd (Psalm 23:3). He doesn’t camouflage the old, he restores the new. The Master Builder will pull out the original plan and restore it. The vigor, the energy, the hope. He will restore the soul.

When you see how this world grows stooped and weary, and then read of a home where everything’s made new, doesn’t it make you want to go home? Would you really rather have a few possessions on earth than eternal possessions in heaven? Would you honestly give up all of your heavenly mansions for a second-rate sleazy motel on earth?

“Great,” Jesus said, “is your reward in heaven” (Matthew 5:12). He must have smiled when he said that. His eyes must have danced, and his hand must have pointed skyward. He should know. It was his idea. It was his home.

From The Applause of Heaven

Charles Stanley – Seeking the Lord

Charles Stanley

Hosea 10:12

We all spend some time seeking the Lord, but to be truly successful at it, we must learn to adjust our focus. The reason focus is important is that what we behold, we become. If we fix our attention on the sensual and materialistic, it won’t be long before we ourselves start leaning in that direction. I challenge you not to sit in front of the television, or partake of other forms of entertainment that allow unhealthy ideas into your mind night after night. While you might think it has no influence, it actually has a subtle but terrible gripping effect on you.

If, on the other hand, you focus your love and attention on Jesus, you will become like Him. As believers, we can focus on Him when we pray, when we study the Scriptures, and when we meditate on God’s truths. But we must go deeper, to the point that we are listening and sharing our hearts with Him. If we are open and transparent before Him, He will speak and pour Himself into us, like a spiritual version of osmosis.

When we learn to do this, we will find that our hunger and thirst for everything else begins to diminish. It’s not that our desires will disappear; they instead become redirected. You will discover you have a growing hunger for God and a longing to know Him in a deep, personal way. And you will notice your joy bubbling up and overflowing so that it cannot be stopped or stifled. Why? Because once you have begun to seek the Lord, you will recognize Him as your all in all.

 

Our Daily Bread — Great Expectations

Our Daily Bread

Philippians 1:12-21

According to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified. —Philippians 1:20

I once asked a counselor what the major issues were that brought people to him. Without hesitation he said, “The root of many problems is broken expectations; if not dealt with, they mature into anger and bitterness.”

In our best moments, it’s easy to expect that we will find ourselves in a good place surrounded by good people who like and affirm us. But life has a way of breaking those expectations. What then?

Stuck in jail and beset by fellow believers in Rome who didn’t like him (Phil. 1:15-16), Paul remained surprisingly upbeat. As he saw it, God had given him a new mission field. While under house arrest, he witnessed to the guards about Christ, which sent the gospel into Caesar’s house. And even though those opposing him were preaching the gospel from wrong motives, Christ was being preached, so Paul rejoiced (v.18).

Paul never expected to be in a great place or to be well liked. His only expectation was that “Christ will be magnified” through him (v.20). He wasn’t disappointed.

If our expectation is to make Christ visible to those around us regardless of where we are or who we are with, we will find those expectations met and even exceeded. Christ will be magnified. —Joe Stowell

Lord, forgive me for making my life all about what

I expect and not about glorifying You regardless

of my circumstances. May Your love, mercy,

and justice be magnified through me today.

Make it your only expectation to magnify Christ wherever you are and whoever you are with.

Bible in a year: Exodus 21-22; Matthew 19

 

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Gifts and Discoveries

Ravi Z

“My soul is too cramped for you to enter it,” lamented Augustine. Later he would find this cry itself something of an answer from God in the first place—for how could a soul articulate its longing for God if the Spirit had not first shown it what it longs for? Yet how familiar these initial attempts to approach God with a dreaded sense of failure seem to be. Is it God who first approaches? Or we who have to first clear the way? Might God approach even in our restless longing, even as our souls are cramped with baggage and the journey at times seems more a fight with self than a means of meeting the Other?

Author and former atheist Anne Lamott begins her story with borrowed words of W.S. Merwin: “We are saying thank you and waving, dark though it is.”(1) She describes darkness in a broken world and an unpredictable childhood, the dimming affects of self-loathing, addiction, fear, guilt, and grief. And yet she somehow describes the presence of one to thank regardless, one whose light gradually appeared through a world that slowly cracked into a thousand pieces—maybe even cracking mercifully?

Whether the journey of faith is a miracle or it is more like a gift that requires some assembly, I’m not sure. “Man is born broken,” quotes Lamott. “He lives by mending. The grace of God is glue.” How else would one come to know the Father of Light in the house of a father who despised Christianity. Lamott describes the family codes which solemnly held everyone to unbelief. “It was like we all signed some sort of loyalty oath early on,” she writes, “agreeing not to believe in God in deference to the pain of my father’s cold Christian childhood.” Mercifully or ironically, there was also a sense of moral obligation preached in her household, a clear (even disheartening) scale of good and bad, acceptable and insufficient. Thus, “I bowed my head in bed and prayed, because I believed—not in Jesus—but in someone listening, someone who heard.” Apparently, the cosmic umpire so many know and fear lurches even in atheist households.

Yet from the beginning, there were clues that this someone was relational—in the differences she saw in the social structures of her and her friends’ houses, in the Catholic family who offered images of God both compelling and odd, in her need to please the one who listened, like one might a foreign, unpredictable, unknown king. “This God could be loving and reassuring one minute, sure that you had potential, and then fiercely disappointed the next, noticing every little mistake and just in general what a fraud you really were.”

And yet maybe even broken images of God somehow matter, as God approaches to shatter and re-form even these. Lamott describes a life of encounters with God in places of desperation—in a drunken haze, in a broken vehicle, on the bathroom floor, in deaths and in birth and in dying, in her own vehement denials of an approaching God. When the English teacher she loved became a born-again Christian, she wept at the betrayal and challenged this teacher on everything—”every assertion, even when she was right.” She willed not to believe, even as her own rebellion held the sneaking suspicion that God might be near.

Perhaps faith is indeed more a gift than a discovery, as John Calvin once insisted. If so, I like Lamott’s image of this gift better than most: like a sloppily wrapped package that repulses with absurdity yet somehow compells you to claim it for its beauty nonetheless. Wholly unable and unwilling to see or to seek God, a reluctant Lamott would eventually claim the gift of faith nonetheless. “I knew beyond any doubt that it was Jesus,” she said at the one who came so near she eventually stopped denying it. “And I was appalled.”

Dark and difficult, holy and absurd though it is, Lamott is right: It’s funny where we look for salvation, and where we actually find it.

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

(1) As quoted in Anne Lamott’s, Traveling Mercies (New York: Random House, 1999).

 

Alistair Begg – Another Day of Mercy

Alistair Begg

The dove came back to him in the evening.

Genesis 8:11

Blessed be the Lord for another day of mercy, even though I am now weary with its toils. Unto the preserver of men lift I my song of gratitude. The dove found no rest out of the ark and therefore returned to it; and my soul has learned yet more fully than ever, this day, that there is no satisfaction to be found in earthly things–God alone can give rest to my spirit.

As to my business, my possessions, my family, my attainments, these are all well enough in their way, but they cannot fulfill the desires of my immortal nature. “Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.”1 It was at the still hour, when the gates of the day were closing, that with weary wing the dove came back to the master.

O Lord, enable me this evening thus to return to Jesus. She could not endure to spend a night hovering over the restless waste, not can I bear to be even for another hour away from Jesus, the rest of my heart, the home of my spirit. She did not merely alight upon the roof of the ark–she “came back to him.” Even so would my longing spirit look into the secret of the Lord, pierce to the interior of truth, enter into that which is within the veil, and reach to my Beloved in very deed.

To Jesus must I come: Short of the nearest and dearest communion with Him my panting spirit cannot stay. Blessed Lord Jesus, be with me, reveal Yourself, and abide with me all night, so that when I awake I may be still with You. I note that the dove brought in her mouth an olive branch plucked off, the memorial of the past day and a prophecy of the future. Have I no pleasing record to bring home? No pledge and earnest of loving-kindness yet to come? Yes, my Lord, I present You my grateful acknowledgments for tender mercies that have been new every morning and fresh every evening; and now, I pray, put forth Your hand and take Your dove into Your bosom.

1Psalm 116:7

 

 

Charles Spurgeon – A revival sermon

CharlesSpurgeon

“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt.” Amos 9:13

Suggested Further Reading: Psalm 44

Pharaoh’s dream has been enacted again in the last century. About a hundred years ago, if I may look back in my dream, I might have seen seven ears of corn upon one stalk, firm and strong; anon, the time of plenty went away, and I have seen, and you have seen, in your lifetime, the seven ears of corn thin and withered in the east wind. The seven ears of withered corn have eaten up and devoured the seven ears of fat corn, and there has been a sore famine in the land. Lo, I see in Whitefield’s time, seven bullocks coming up from the river, fat and well-favoured, and since then we have lived to see seven lean kine come up from the same river; and lo! the seven lean kine have eaten up the seven fat kine, yet have they been none the better for all that they have eaten. We read of such marvellous revivals a hundred years ago, that the music of their news has not ceased to ring in our ears; but we have seen alas, a season of lethargy, of soul-poverty among the saints, and of neglect among the ministers of God. The product of the seven years has been utterly consumed, and the Church has been none the better. Now, I take it, however, we are about to see the seven fat years again. God is about to send times of surprising fertility to his Church. When a sermon has been preached in these modern times, if one sinner has been converted by it, we have rejoiced with a suspicious joy; for we have thought it something amazing. But, brethren, where we have seen one converted, we may yet see hundreds; where the Word of God has been powerful in scores, it shall be blessed to thousands.

For meditation: The prayer of Habakkuk during a period of lean years (Habakkuk 3:2). Will you join him in prayer?

Sermon no. 296

29 January (1860)

John MacArthur – Exalting Christ

John MacArthur

“[God] seated [Christ] at His right hand in the heavenly places” (Eph.1:20).

To exalt someone is to elevate that person in status, dignity, power, and honor. As God, Jesus possesses all power and authority and is deserving of all honor and glory. But when He was on earth, most people refused to give Him the glory He deserved. Instead they mocked and eventually murdered Him.

Just prior to His death, Jesus prayed to the Father, “Glorify Thou Me together with Thyself, Father, with the glory which I ever had with Thee before the world was” (John 17:5). The Father answered that prayer by giving Him an exalted name and an exalted position.

Paul wrote, “God highly exalted [Christ], and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Farther” (Phil. 2:9-11).

Hebrews 1:3 adds that when Christ had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. Old Testament priests didn’t sit down while on duty because their work was never finished. Repeated sacrifices were necessary because of the priest’s own sins and the sins of the people. Christ, on the other hand, made one all-sufficient sacrifice, then sat down. His atoning work was completed.

The “right hand” of God is a metaphor for the highest place of power, prominence, authority, and honor. From that exalted position Christ reigns as the Sovereign Lord of the universe.

There’s one aspect of Christ’s exaltation that we as believers can participate in right now. David said, “O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together” (Ps. 34:3). Psalm 99:5 adds, “Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at His footstool.” Be generous in praising Him today, for He is worthy!

Suggestions for Prayer:

Read Psalm 34 and exalt the Lord for all the benefits He demonstrates on behalf of His people.

For Further Study:

Read Colossians 3:1-4

Describe your position in Christ (vv. 1, 3).

What should be the focus of your life (v. 2)?

When ultimately will God vindicate your faith in Christ (v. 4)?

What must you do to be exalted by God (see James 4:10; 1 Peter 5:6)?

 

Joyce Meyer – Trusting When We Don’t Understand

Joyce meyer

[ . . . though He slay me, yet will I wait for and trust Him . . . ] —Job 13:15

One of the great mysteries and facts about our walk with God is that we rarely understand everything He is doing in our lives. If we always understood, we would have no need to trust Him. As believers we often find ourselves in places of not knowing, and we catch ourselves questioning God: “What does my future hold?” “Will I ever get married?” “What will my children be when they grow up?” “Will I have the provision I need in my old age?”

We have to learn to trust God when we do not understand what is happening in our lives, and we need to become comfortable with unanswered questions. You and I may never have every answer we want when we want it, so we need to relax and get comfortable knowing and trusting God, the One Who does know. Without trust, it is impossible to enjoy today and be ready to face tomorrow with expectancy.

Job, who had many reasons to question God as he faced a staggering series of crises and losses, did not understand what was going on in his life, but he made the decision to trust God anyway. I believe that was the only way he could find peace in the midst of his terrible circumstances. Similarly, you and I will never have peace in our lives until we learn how to stop trying to figure everything out and how to start trusting God more.

If you are the kind of person who has to have everything figured out in order to settle down, let me encourage you today to accept the fact you are not likely to receive all the answers you want in this lifetime. Choose to stop demanding explanations and to begin practicing trust. Instead of asking God why, tell Him you trust Him. There have been many times in my life when I wanted with all my heart to know why something was or was not happening, but I knew God wanted my trust, not my questions.

Trust in Him: Is there something in your life you don’t understand, no matter how long and hard you think about it? Give it to God and put your trust in Him. Whether or not He ever explains it to you, you can trust Him to bless you and bring you through any crisis.