Tag Archives: Joy

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Awakenings

Ravi Z

Few of us would be able to recollect from our childhoods the moment when self-consciousness first came into being and the process of waking to self began. For most of us, awareness broke through in pieces. We found ourselves then as we continue to find ourselves now: at times stirringly wakeful to what it means to be human, aware of self and lifetime, and startled by the abruptness of its end.  Essayist Annie Dillard articulates the progression of consciousness with stirring lucidity:

“I woke in bits, like all children, piecemeal over the years. I discovered myself and the world, and forgot them, and discovered them again. I woke at intervals until, by that September when Father went down the river, the intervals of waking tipped the scales, and I was more often awake than not. I noticed this process of waking, and predicted with terrifying logic that one of these years not far away I would be awake continuously and never slip back, and never be free of myself again.”(1)

Dillard describes the rousing of self as strangely recognizable—”like people brought back from cardiac arrest or drowning.” There is a familiarity in the midst of the foreignness. We wake to mystery, but so somehow we wake to something known.

We find ourselves jarred awake in a different way to the idea of death, this unsettling notion of forever falling asleep to the life we have known. But even here there is a curious sense of vigilance we carry with us into death. Spanish philosopher Miguel de Unamuno once observed that human beings are distinguished from other creatures in that we have the unique practice of burying our dead. In our funeral preparations, we make the dead ready for another stage; we make ourselves ready to continue on, our eyes further open to the weight of life. We stand ceremoniously present; we speak words over the dead body. Professor James Loder points out the rebellion inherent in these preparations: “We will not let death have the last word. This is a mark of the human spirit that something in us knows we can overcome this thing.”(2)

Into this mysterious world of life and death, the Christian voice calls the world to the wakeful awareness of this spirit, to the story reaching beyond self, beyond our lifetimes and our deaths, speaking words where death stings and tears flow: “The sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken… They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call… when you see all these things, you know that itis near, right at the door” (Matthew 24:29-33).

When Jesus appeared on the scene of a people who had lived with God’s silence for hundreds of years, there were some who were ready and alert and others who had fallen asleep to the possibility of a God who speaks. The story of Christ’s coming, the Incarnation of hope and light, is a reminder that wakefulness is a worthy posture. The one who invites us to “come and see” has come near enough to show us for himself. Like children waking to consciousness, what if something in us knows that Christ is near, right at the door, longing to show us even now. It is worth being found awake, ready for something new and something we have known all along. For the Christian, this mystery is our consciousness. Christ has come. Christ has risen. Christ will come again.

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

(1) Annie Dillard, An American Childhood (New York: HarperCollins, 1988), 11.

(2) James E. Loder, The Logic of the Spirit (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1998), 4.

 

 

Alistair Begg – Our Union with Christ

Alistair Begg

As is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven.

1 Corinthians 15:48

The head and members are of one nature, and not like that monstrous image that Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dream. The head was of fine gold, but the belly and thighs were of brass, the legs of iron, and the feet partly of iron and partly of clay. Christ’s mystical body is no absurd combination of opposites. The members were mortal, and therefore Jesus died; the glorified head is immortal, and therefore the body is immortal too, as the record states: “Because I live, you also will live.”1

As is our loving Head, so is His body, and every member in particular. A chosen Head, therefore chosen members; an accepted Head, therefore accepted members; a living Head, therefore living members. If the head is pure gold, all the parts of the body are pure gold also. There is a double union of nature as a basis for the closest communion.

Pause here, devout reader, and see if you can contemplate the infinite condescension of the Son of God in exalting your wretchedness into blessed union with His glory without being overwhelmed by the wonder of it. You are so feeble and poor that in remembering your mortality, you may say to decay, “You are my father,” and to the worm, “You are my sister”; and yet in Christ you are so honored that you can say to the Almighty, “Abba, Father” and to the Incarnate God, “You are my Brother and my Husband.”

Surely if relationships to ancient and noble families make men think highly of themselves, we have more cause to glory than all of them. Let the poorest and most despised believer take hold upon this privilege; do not let an unthinking laziness prevent him from tracing his pedigree, and do not let him focus so much on the here and now that he fails to think profitably of this glorious, heavenly honor of union with Christ.

1 John 14:19

Charles Spurgeon – The Destroyer destroyed

CharlesSpurgeon

“That through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.” Hebrews 2:14

Suggested Further Reading: Genesis 3:1-15

At last the day arrived; it was telegraphed to the court of hell that at last Christ would die. They rung their bells with hellish mirth and joy. “He will die now,” said he; “Judas has taken the thirty pieces of silver. Let those scribes and Pharisees get him, they will no more let him go than the spider will a poor unfortunate fly. He is safe now.” And the devil laughed for very glee, when he saw the Saviour stand before Pilate’s bar. And when it was said, “Let him be crucified,” then his joy knew no bounds, except that bound which his own misery must ever set to it. As far as he could, he revelled in what was to him a delightful thought, that the Lord of glory was about to die. In death, as Christ was seen of angels, he was seen of devils too; and that dreary march from Pilate’s palace to the cross was one which devils saw with extraordinary interest. And when they saw him on the cross, there stood the exulting fiend, smiling to himself. “Ah! I have the King of Glory now in my dominions; I have the power of death, and I have the power over the Lord Jesus.” He exerted that power, till the Lord Jesus had to cry out in bitter anguish, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” But, how short-lived was hellish victory! How brief was the Satanic triumph! He died; and “It is finished!” shook the gates of hell. Down from the cross the conqueror leaped, pursued the fiend with thunder-bolts of wrath; swift to the shades of hell the fiend did fly, and swift descending went the conqueror after him.

For meditation: The powers of darkness enjoyed only an hour of apparent victory over the Lord Jesus Christ (Luke 22:53), but it resulted in his victory procession with them on public display as his captives (Colossians 2:15).

Sermon no. 166

6 December (1857)

John MacArthur – The Heir of All Things

John MacArthur

“In these last days [God] has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things” (Heb. 1:2).

When Christ first came to earth He became poor for our sakes, that we, through His poverty, might be made rich (2 Cor. 8:9). He had nothing for Himself–He had “nowhere to lay His head” (Luke 9:58). Even His clothes were taken from Him when He died, and He was buried in a tomb that belonged to someone else.

It is beyond our understanding to imagine that the Galilean carpenter who was crucified like a common criminal, naked and bleeding on a cross outside the city of Jerusalem, is the King of kings and Lord of lords. But He is!

As the Son of God, Jesus is the heir of all that God possesses. The apostle Paul explains that all things not only were created by Christ but also for Him (Col. 1:16). Everything that exists will find its true meaning only when it comes under the final control of Christ.

The psalms predicted that Christ would one day be the heir to all that God possesses. The Father, speaking to the Son, says, “Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Thine inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Thy possession'” (Ps. 2:8). God also declared, “I also shall make Him My first-born, the highest of the kings of the earth” (Ps. 89:27; cf. Col. 1:15). “First-born” refers to legal rights–especially those of inheritance and authority.

When Christ comes to earth again, He will completely and eternally inherit all things (Rev. 11:15). And because we have trusted in Him, we are to be “fellow heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:16-17). When we enter into His eternal kingdom, we will jointly possess all that He possesses. We will not be joint Christs or joint Lords, but will be joint heirs. His marvelous inheritance will be ours as well.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Thank God for making you a joint heir with Christ. Thank your Lord for allowing that to happen through His death on the cross.

For Further Study:

Read Revelation 5:1-14 and 11:15-18, noting how the inhabitants of heaven respond to Christ.

 

 

 

Joyce Meyer – Positive Belief

Joyce meyer

[For Abraham, human reason for] hope being gone, hoped in faith that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been promised, so [numberless] shall your descendants be. He did not weaken in faith when he considered the [utter] impotence of his own body, which was as good as dead because he was about a hundred years old, or [when he considered] the barrenness of Sarah’s [deadened] womb. No unbelief or distrust made him waver (doubtingly question) concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong and was empowered by faith as he gave praise and glory to God, fully satisfied and assured that God was able and mighty to keep His word and to do what He had promised.

—Romans 4:18–21

The story of Abraham amazes me no matter how many times I read it. It’s not just the birth of a son when he was a hundred years old. That’s a miracle. But just as amazing is the information that he waited twenty-five years for the fulfillment of the promise. He was seventy-five when God promised him a son.

I wonder how many of us would believe God and live in expectation for twenty-five years. Most of us probably would have said, “I didn’t really hear from God.” “Oh, I guess maybe God didn’t really mean that.” Or, “I need to go somewhere else to get a fresh word from the Lord.”

Sarah and Abraham did have problems holding on to that promise. As a means of attempting to get what they wanted, they had Sarah’s handmaiden, Hagar, bear him a son, but God let him know that wasn’t the way it was going to be. I believe their actions delayed the arrival of God’s promised child.

In our impatience, we often take matters into our own hands. I say we get “bright ideas”—plans of our own, which we hope God will bless. These plans open the door for confusion and chaos. Then their results must be dealt with, which often delays our miracle.

When Moses came down from Sinai after having received the Ten Commandments from God, He saw the wickedness of the Israelites who had become impatient in waiting. In anger, he broke the tablets on which God had written the commands. Although we can understand Moses’ anger, we must remember that it was not initiated by God. Therefore, Moses had to ascend Mount Sinai again and once more go through the process of obtaining the Ten Commandments. Moses may have enjoyed a momentary emotional release, but it cost him a lot of extra work. This is a good lesson for all of us. We must pray first and agree with God’s plan, not plan and pray that our plan will work.

It’s often difficult to believe God and hold on year after year after year.

Sometimes after my meetings, people come to me and tell me many sad stories. I encourage them to become positive and upbeat. Some people will listen to every word I say, nod, maybe even smile, and then they say the most negative word of all: “But . . .” With that single word, they are negating everything I’ve said. That’s not the spirit of Abraham.

The Bible gives us promises, hope, and encouragement. God promises good to those of us who serve Him. Despite the adversity of our circumstances—and some people have absolutely terrible situations—God still promises good. Our sense of goodness, however, may not be the same as God’s. Getting what we want immediately may not be best for us. Sometimes waiting is the best thing because it helps develop the character of God in us.

The Lord chooses to do good to us and to make us happy; the devil chooses to do wrong and to make us miserable. We can remain patient and keep believing God’s promises, or we can allow the evil one’s whisper to fill our ears and lead us astray. Too many of us have ignored the fact that God is the originator of miracles. He specializes in doing the impossible: He provided a son to barren Sarah; He opened the Red Sea for the Israelites to walk across on dry land; He destroyed Goliath with a single stone from a slingshot. Those are miracles. That’s the Holy Spirit at work, defying the laws of nature (He made the laws, so He can break them).

Hebrews 11 is a chapter about faith and the people of God who dared to believe the promises. “But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out]” (v. 6).

As I consider that verse, I can see how the devil creeps in. He says to us, “Yes, that’s true. Those were special people. You are nobody. God won’t do anything special for you. Why should He?”

That is a satanic lie—and one that too many easily accept. God loves each of us, and the Bible says He’s our Father. Any good father loves to do good things for his children. God wants to do good things for you and for me.

Expect a miracle in your life. Expect many miracles.

Positive belief in God’s promises yields good results because the Good One sends them to us. Refuse to give up, and you will see the result of your positive belief.

Dear Father in heaven, forgive my lack of belief. Forgive me for allowing Satan to deceive me or make me think I’m worthless or unworthy of Your miracles. I am worthy because You made me worthy. You are the God of the impossible, and I ask You to help me wait on You and never give up. In the name of Jesus Christ my Lord, I pray. Amen.

 

Presidential Prayer Team; C.H. – Perfect Present

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As Christmas nears, people spend hours online and in stores searching for the perfect gift. Would Sue like a picture frame or turquoise earrings? Should you buy Papa John a pair of leather gloves or frame a picture of the grandkids? Everyone wants to give a gift that lasts – something to be cherished for years to come. Inevitably, though, many of those items will be the wrong size or color and others may break in days. “They just don’t make things like they used to,” you think. “Nothing lasts forever.”

The word of the Lord remains forever.

I Peter 1:25

Or does it? As you shop and open gifts to celebrate the birth of your Savior, remember today’s verse. God’s word “remains forever.” It will not break. It won’t shrink. It always fits. It doesn’t even need batteries.

The Bible is a love letter from God to you. As you shop, cook and attend holiday festivities, take time each day to savor the perfect present from your Heavenly Father. Reflect on His words. Read the story of Christ’s birth with your family. Ask God to speak as you read the Bible, and then pray He’ll help President Obama find wisdom and peace from His enduring, eternal words.

Recommended Reading: Psalm 119:89-96 

 

Greg Laurie – Not Presents, but His Presence

greglaurie

And so the Lord says, “These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” —Isaiah 29:13

I heard the story of a mother who was out Christmas shopping, frantically trying to get everything done. She had her small child with her, but for a moment, she lost sight of him. In sheer panic, she started retracing her steps and found him with his nose pressed against the glass of a store display, looking at a manger scene.

The boy said, “Mommy, Mommy! Look! It is Jesus in the hay!”

“Let’s go,” she said, as she took him by the hand and led him away. “We don’t have time for that.”

Exactly. That is the whole problem with this time of year that we call Christmas. We can be so busy celebrating Christmas that we forget all about Christ. In a sense, we can actually lose God in the midst of it all. We can very easily lose God in the so-called celebration of Jesus.

For many, the Christmas story is the one about Scrooge being visited by the Ghost of Christmas Past, or maybe Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, or Frosty the Snowman or Santa Claus.

But technically, can we lose God? No, we really can’t. You can’t lose someone if you know where they are. If you know where they are, then they are not lost. But you can lose sight of someone. And some have lost sight of the Lord in their lives, especially at this time of the year.

Maybe you’ve had the experience of talking with someone who was checking their texts or updating their social media as you’re trying to tell them something important.

God never does that. God is never disinterested. God is never distracted. And even if we forget about Him, He never forgets about us. Christmas is not about buying presents; it is about His presence in our lives.

 

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.

 

 

 

Our Daily Bread — Get Your “Wanter” Fixed

Our Daily Bread

Philippians 4:4-13

I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content. —Philippians 4:11

When my wife was a young girl in Austin, Texas, Carlyle Marney was her family’s neighbor, pastor, and friend. One of his off-hand remarks about being content became one of her family’s enduring expressions: “Dr. Marney says, ‘We just need to get our wanter fixed.’”

It’s so easy to want more than we need and to become more focused on getting than on giving. Soon, our desires dictate our choices.

When the apostle Paul wrote to the followers of Jesus in the city of Philippi, he told them, “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content . . . . I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need” (Phil. 4:11-12). Paul was saying, in effect, “I’ve had my ‘wanter’ fixed.” It’s important to note that Paul was not born with contentment. He learned it in the difficult circumstances of everyday life.

During this season of the year, when shopping and buying often take center stage in so many countries and cultures, why don’t we decide to focus on being satisfied in our present circumstances? It may sound difficult, but Paul, when talking about learning to be content said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (v.13). —David McCasland

Help us, Lord, to learn contentment when life is

rough. Protect us from believing the lie that

having more will bring us happiness. May we be

content with what You have given.

Contentment begins with having fewer wants.

Bible in a year: Daniel 1-2; 1 John 4

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Evidence

Ravi Z

A charge that some people make is that religion in general and Christianity in particular are irrational. It’s ridiculous to believe in God, they say; there’s no evidence that God even exists! Richard Dawkins, in his best selling book The God Delusion, makes this very claim, saying that faith in God is just like belief in Santa Claus!

But of course, there’s a major problem with comparing faith in God to belief in Santa Claus. I don’t know anybody who came to believe in Santa Claus in adulthood. Yet I know many Christians—often former atheists—who discovered God as adults. This alone should tell you that God and Santa are utterly different. (If they weren’t, one wonders why Richard Dawkins didn’t write “The Santa Delusion.”) Furthermore, thousands upon thousands of great thinkers— now, and throughout history, have believed in God. That alone suggests that belief in God is hardly “irrational.”

But what about the other claim: “You can’t prove God exists!” What might a believing person say to skeptics? Well, I might start by gently pointing out that there are many good arguments that, whilst not proving God exists, certainly suggest God’s existence is extremely likely. There are philosophical arguments, such as the cosmological argument: (i) everything that begins to exist had a cause; (ii) the universe began to exist; (iii) therefore the universe had a cause. Most philosophers would say that’s a powerful argument.

There are also arguments from design. The universe and the laws of nature look, as one physicist once put it, suspiciously like a put up job. Or we might talk about the purpose that seems to be inherent in life. Most of us intuitively know that life has meaning and purpose. Indeed, a question one might fire back at our atheist friends concerns this very point: how does the atheist avoid nihilism, the view that life is meaningless, pointless, and nothing really matters. The question for the nihilist becomes “Why not suicide”?

The Christian would also want to point out that the deepest things that matter to us as humans all lie beyond the physical and the material: morality and meaning, love and friendship, beauty and truth. All of these don’t fit happily with atheism: “Darwinian mistakes,” Richard Dawkins once called them. That to me is tragic.

But perhaps the most powerful evidence for God is the one the Bible uses most consistently. The Bible doesn’t offer an argument for God, rather it points to God’s involvement in the world. Most significantly, that would be how, in the person of Jesus Christ, the God who created the world took on flesh and stepped into our world to rescue and save it. This is not a distant, remote, theoretical God, but a God who is very much alive. That’s a quite different proposition—and if that God exists, that changes everything. C. S. Lewis put it this way: “I believe in Christianity in the same way as I believe that the sun has risen. Not because I see it, but that by it, I see everything else.”

Andy Bannister is a member of the speaking team at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Toronto, Canada.

 

 

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.

 

Charles Spurgeon – Compel them to come in

CharlesSpurgeon

“Compel them to come in.” Luke 14:23

Suggested Further Reading: John 3:31-36

I beseech you by him that liveth and was dead, and is alive for evermore, consider my master’s message which he instructs me now to address you. But do you spurn it? Do you still refuse it? Then I must change my tone a minute. I will not merely tell you the message, and invite you as I do with all earnestness, and sincere affection—I will go further. Sinner, in God’s name, I command you to repent and believe. Do you ask me my authority? I am an ambassador of heaven. My credentials, some of them secret, and in my own heart; and others of them open before you this day in the seals of my ministry, sitting and standing in this hall, where God has given me many souls for my hire. As God the everlasting one has given me a commission to preach his gospel, I command you to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ; not on my own authority, but on the authority of him who said, “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature;” and then he annexed this solemn sanction, “He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned.” Reject my message, and remember “He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God.” An ambassador is not to stand below the man with whom he deals, for we stand higher. If the minister chooses to take his proper rank, girded with the omnipotence of God, and anointed with his holy unction, he is to command men, and speak with all authority compelling them to come in: “command, exhort, rebuke with all longsuffering.”

For meditation: Do we regard the Gospel as a take-it or leave-it option? The opposite of trusting in Christ is disobedience (Romans 1:5 and 16:26).

Sermon no. 227

5 December (1858)

 

John MacArthur – God’s Final Revelation

John MacArthur

God’s Final Revelation

“God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son” (Heb. 1:1-2).

A Samaritan woman declared, “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us” (John 4:25). The expectation of that day, even among the Samaritans, was that Messiah would unfold the full and final revelation of God. The Holy Spirit, through the writer of Hebrews, affirms that to be true: “God . . . in these last days has spoken to us in His Son” (Heb. 1:1-2).

The Old Testament had given divine revelation in bits and pieces. Every piece was true, yet incomplete. But When Jesus came, the whole picture became clear, and though rejected by His own people, He was, in fact, the fulfillment of the messianic hope they had cherished for so many centuries.

The Old Testament age of promise ended when Jesus arrived. He is God’s final word: “As many as may be the promises of God, in Him they are yes; wherefore also by Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us” (2 Cor. 1:20).

God fully expressed Himself in His Son. That’s why John said, “The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. . . . No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him” (John 1:14, 18). Paul added that in Christ “all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form” (Col. 2:9).

The practical implications of that truth are staggering. Since Christ is the fullness of divine revelation, you need nothing more. In Him you have been made complete (Col. 2:10), and have been granted everything pertaining to life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3). His Word is sufficient, needing no additions or amendments.

Suggestion for Prayer:

Ask God to teach you how to rely more fully on your resources in Christ.

For Further Study:

Read John 1:1-18 as a reminder of the fullness of God’s revelation in His Son.

 

 

 

Joyce Meyer – His Words

Joyce meyer

But the Lord said to me, Say not, I am only a youth; for you shall go to all to whom I shall send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Be not afraid of them [their faces], for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord. Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said to me, Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.

—Jeremiah 1:7-9

God called Jeremiah as “a prophet to the nations,” and He had to straighten out Jeremiah’s mouth before He could use him.

It is no different with you. You must understand that when God calls you to do something, you should not say you cannot do it. If God says you can, then you can! So often we speak out of our insecurities, or we verbalize what others have said about us, or what the devil has told us. Make a decision tonight that from now on you will say about yourself what God says about you.

 

 

Presidential Prayer Team; H.L.M. – Greatest Gift

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A Charlie Brown Christmas television special almost didn’t air 48 years ago. During the making of the animated classic, Peanuts comic strip creator Charles Schulz met with the show’s producer and lead animator. The two men disagreed with Schulz’s insistence to include a New Testament reading of the Christmas story. The passage from Luke was to be spoken by Peanuts character Linus Van Pelt in response to Charlie Brown’s lament, “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?”

So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily.

Acts 19:20

The men insisted, “It’s very dangerous for us to start talking about religion now.” Schulz responded, “If we don’t, who will?” The scripture reading was retained and the half-hour special was the second-most watched show of the week when it debuted on December 9, 1965. It also won an Emmy and a Peabody award.

Romans 10:15 says, “And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’” Give the greatest gift to your family, friends and neighbors. Share the Good News of Jesus Christ! Pray also for opportunities for America’s local and national leaders to experience a personal relationship with God.

Recommended Reading: Romans 1:8-17

 

Greg Laurie – A Son Was Given

greglaurie

“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

—Isaiah 9:6

In a broad sense God is omnipresent, which means that everywhere we go, He is there. But if we really want God with us, and more specifically, if we want Christ living in our hearts, then we must turn from our sin and believe in Him.

The beautiful baby in the manger came with an express purpose, and that was to die for the sins of the world. The birth of Jesus was so there would be the death of Jesus and, ultimately, the resurrection of Jesus. He was born to die so that we might live.

I personally know the pain of losing a child. And I think, for a parent, there is no greater pain than this. God knows all about that. He knows what it is like to lose a child. We talk about the sacrifice of Jesus, and justly so, as He came to this earth, laid aside His privileges of deity, and voluntarily went to a cross and died for the sins of the world. But let’s not forget the sacrifice of the Father who watched His Son enter this world.

Isaiah 9:6 sums it up perfectly: “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

That gives us the perspective of both heaven and earth. From earth’s perspective, unto us a child was born. That is what we celebrate at Christmas. But from heaven’s perspective, unto us a Son is given. The Father sent the Son. He did this because He loves all of us, because He wants us to have the ultimate gift: the gift of eternal life. It’s the only gift that keeps on giving.

 

 

Max Lucado – God is!

Max Lucado

Look around you! Rather than shocking the globe with an occasional demonstration of deity, God has opted to display his power daily. Proverbially. Pounding waves.  Prism-cast colors. Birth, death, life.  We’re surrounded by miracles. God is throwing testimonies at us like fireworks, each one exploding, “God is!  God is!”

The Psalmist marveled at such holy handiwork. “Where can I go from your Spirit?” he questioned with delight. “Where can I go from your presence? (Psalm 139:7).

We wonder, with so many miraculous testimonies around us, how we could escape God.  But somehow we do. We live in an art gallery of divine creativity, and yet are content to gaze only at the carpet.

The next time you hear a baby laugh, take note as His Majesty whispers ever so gently, “I’m here!”

From God Came Near/page 84/85

Charles Stanley – The Pathway to Spiritual Growth

Charles Stanley

2 Peter 3:18

Not many people can say that on the day they accepted Christ, someone explained how to grow spiritually. Sadly, some believers aren’t ever taught. God wants His children to bear the image of Christ, but we do not grow in our faith unless we take action.

First, we are responsible for renewing our mind (Rom. 12:2). Though God saves us and gives us a new spirit, He does not give us a new brain. Our minds have many trenches that have been dug or worn by rebellion, self-focus, or habit. That is why it’s important to meditate on the Bible, which expresses the thoughts of God. Meditation is more than reading—it involves thinking about what the words mean and then applying truth. There’s no way to grow spiritually without absorbing Scripture into our thinking.

A second step toward Christian maturity is being ready to admit and assume responsibility for failure. When we deny our sins, we delay spiritual growth, but as we learn to confess wrongdoing, the opposite happens—growth is inevitable.

The third step naturally follows the second: after confession should come repentance. This is more than a mere acknowledgement of wrongdoing or a promise to try harder. Repentance means that we commit to make an about-face and head in the opposite direction from our sin.

Our Father’s goal is for all believers to continually make progress toward Christlikeness. With these steps, you’ll develop in that direction. And the most important consequence is that your relationship with God will deepen.

 

Our Daily Bread — Eureka Stone

Our Daily Bread

Matthew 13:44-50

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. —Matthew 13:44

In 1867 on a farm in South Africa, 15-year-old Erasmus Jacobs saw a stone glistening in the sun. The shining rock was eventually reported to a neighbor, who wanted to buy it from the family. Not knowing its value, Erasmus’ mother told the neighbor, “You can keep the stone, if you want it.”

Eventually, a mineralogist determined the stone to be a 21.25 carat diamond and worth a great sum. It became known as the “Eureka Diamond.” (The Greek word eureka means “I found it!”) Soon the fields near the Jacobs’ farm soared in value. Underneath the land was one of the richest diamond deposits ever discovered.

Jesus said that the value of being part of God’s kingdom is like treasure: “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field” (Matt. 13:44).

When we put our faith in Christ, a spiritual “eureka moment” arrives. God gives us forgiveness in His Son. It is the greatest treasure that could ever be found. Now all of life can begin to center on the value of becoming a joyous member of His eternal kingdom. It’s our joy to share that valuable discovery with others. —Dennis Fisher

How we need a keen awareness

Of the joys God wants to share!

Priceless treasures found in Jesus—

We are rich beyond compare! —D. DeHaan

God’s kingdom is a treasure meant to be shared.

Bible in a year: Ezekiel 47-48; 1 John 3