Tag Archives: lord jesus christ

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Father of Mine

Ravi Z

Not far into John’s Gospel, Jesus seems to be gaining enemies at every turn. He uses a whip to drive men and livestock out of the temple. He chooses the wrong day to heal a man who cannot walk, angering religious leaders for his violation of the holy Sabbath. But it is because of his words that they seek all the more to kill him. At their anger, Jesus simply replies, “My Father is always at work to this very day, and I, too, am working.”(1)

To the person well-versed in biting comebacks and fatal rhetoric, these words don’t seem at all like fighting-words. But to Jews who knew a history of combating (and failing to combat) the polytheistic influences of surrounding nations, Jesus uttered what seemed the most blasphemous notion possible. He was calling God his own Father, describing their work as shared, making himself equal with God.

The notion of God as Father was not a new concept.  Even to the Jews who took offense at Jesus’s words that day, God was understood as Father in the sense that God is creator, that God is Lord, protector, redeemer, working for our good. Fourteen times in the Old Testament God is spoken of as Father, and each instance depicts a sacred glimpse of divine fatherhood.

But here, Jesus scandalously adds to the notion of Father a distinct element of intimacy and uniqueness with himself. Nowhere in Palestinian Judaism is God addressed by an individual as my father.(2) Jesus’s use of such an title—and elsewhere the intimate “abba” or daddy—reveals the very basis of his communion with God, a communion he then boldly offers his followers: “This, then, is how you should pray:

‘Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done

on earth as it is in heaven.’”(3)

For those familiar, the invitation to approach the mystery of Son and Father and Spirit may seem commonplace. “Heavenly Father” and “only Son” may not seem like phrases with which we need to wrestle. Yet this vast allowance is not a quality inherent in other religions; it is, in fact, an obstruction to some, an enigma to others. The startling Christian confidence that God can be approached as Father is the unique and pressing gift of the Son.

The work of a man in India reminded me once that this claim is both one of highest theology and of actual grace at the ground level. Reverend Deveraj works among the discarded lives of Mumbai, India. For nearly twenty years, the ministry he founded has fostered life-saving outreach to orphaned children, drug addicts, and victims of the sex trade. To each one he offers the same message as many times as necessary: “Whenever you are ready, your Father’s house is waiting.”  Often, he offers for years.

Such is the startling, radical, simple message of Christ. “In my Father’s house are many rooms, if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.“(4) What if there is indeed not a cosmic sadist or an indifferent force, but a Father who waits, who longs to gather his children together and take them into his arms? The gift is both highest theology and ordinary miracle: God offers us a place, held within the greater gift of adoption. This God is Father, whose name is hallowed and whose kingdom comes, whom we know through the Son and by the Spirit, whom we run toward as children. His name is Abba.

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

(1) John 5:17.

(2) See Joachim Jeremias, Jesus and the Message of the New Testament (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2002).

(3) Matthew 6:9-10.

(4) John 14:20.

Alistair Begg – Do We Recognize Him?

Alistair Begg 

John 14:16

God the Father revealed Himself to Old Testament believers before the coming of His Son and was known to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as God Almighty. Then Jesus came, and the ever-blessed Son in His own proper person was the delight of His people’s eyes. At the time of the Redeemer’s ascension, the Holy Spirit became the head of the present era, and His power was gloriously displayed in and after Pentecost. He remains at this hour the present Immanuel–God with us, dwelling in and with His people, quickening, guiding, and ruling in our lives.

Is His presence recognized as it ought to be? We cannot control His working; He is sovereign in all His operations, but are we sufficiently anxious to obtain His help or sufficiently watchful lest we grieve Him and He withdraws His help? Without Him we can do nothing, but by His almighty energy the most extraordinary results can be produced: Everything depends upon His revealing or concealing His power.

Do we always look up to Him for our inner life and our outward service with the respectful dependence that is appropriate? Do we not too often run before His call and act independently of His aid?

Let us humble ourselves this evening for past neglect, and now entreat the heavenly dew to rest upon us, the sacred oil to anoint us, the celestial flame to burn within us. The Holy Spirit is not a temporary gift–He remains with the church. When we seek Him as we should, we will find Him. He is jealous, but He is full of pity; if He leaves in anger, He returns in mercy. Condescending and tender, He does not grow tired of us but constantly displays His grace.

Sin has been hammering my heart

Unto a hardness, void of love.

Let supplying grace to cross his art

Drop from above.

Devotional material is taken from “Morning and Evening,” written by C.H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg. Copyright © 2003, Good News Publishers and used by Truth For Life with written permission.

The family reading plan for February 12, 2014 Job 11 | Romans 15

 

 

Charles Spurgeon – Sin immeasurable

CharlesSpurgeon

“Who can understand his errors?” Psalm 19:12

Suggested Further Reading: Matthew 5:21-30

With every commandment—the bare letter is nothing, compared with the whole stupendous meaning and severe strictness of the rule. The commandments, if I may so speak, are like the stars. When seen with the naked eye, they appear to be brilliant points; if we could draw near to them, we should see them to be infinite worlds, greater than even our sun, stupendous though it is. So is it with the law of God. It seems to be but a luminous point, because we see it at a distance, but when we come nearer where Christ stood, and estimate the law as he saw it, then we find it is vast, immeasurable. “Thy commandment is exceeding broad.” Think then for a moment of the spirituality of the law, its extent and strictness. The law of Moses condemns for offence, without hope of pardon, and sin, like a millstone, is bound around the sinner’s neck, and he is cast into the depths. Moreover, the law deals with sins of thought,—the imagination of evil is sin. The transit of sin across the heart, leaves the stain of impurity behind it. This law, too, extends to every act,—tracks us to our bed-chamber, goes with us to our house of prayer, and if it discovers so much as the least sign of wavering from the strict path of integrity, it condemns us. When we think of the law of God we may well be overwhelmed with horror, and sit down and say, “God be merciful to me, for to keep this law is utterly beyond power; even to know the fulness of its meaning is not within finite capacity. Therefore, great God, cleanse us from our secret faults—save us by thy grace, for by the law we never can be saved.”

For meditation: “All that the Lord has spoken we will do.” (Exodus 19:8)—we should admire the spirit of the Israelites, but not their self-confidence. Only one slip-up spells condemnation (Galatians 3:10; James 2:10). Praise God for his Son who came to fulfil the law perfectly (Matthew 5:17) and then to die in our place to save us from the curse of the law (Galatians 3:13).

Sermon no. 299

12 February (1860)

John MacArthur – The Joy of Participation

John MacArthur

“In view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now” (Phil. 1:5).

In recent years the Greek word koin[ma]onia has become familiar to many Christians as the New Testament word for fellowship. However, it is also translated “partnership” and “participation.” In Philippians 1:5, Paul uses it to emphasize the participation of the Philippians in common ministry goals.

Romans 12:13 gives one aspect of that partnership and participation: monetary contributions. That’s one aspect of fellowship that the Philippian church eagerly shared with Paul. As he says in Philippians 4:15-16, “At the first preaching of the gospel, after I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone; for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs.” They were partners in his ministry because their financial support made it possible for him to preach the gospel more effectively.

The Philippians knew that Paul carried a tremendous burden in his heart for all the churches. In listing many of the trials he endured as an apostle, then added, “Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure upon me of concern for all the churches” (2 Cor. 11:28). The Philippian church eased that burden somewhat by being committed to Paul, to his teaching, and to godly living. That brought great joy to him.

How about you? Do your leaders derive encouragement and joy from your participation in the gospel? Remember, you share in a sacred partnership with Christ and your fellow Christians in the advancement of the gospel, just as the Philippians shared a partnership with Paul. Rejoice in that privilege and make the most of it today.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Thank the Lord for the Christian fellowship you enjoy.

Ask for wisdom on how you might advance the gospel more effectively.

Always seek to ease the burden of your spiritual leaders by faithfully participating in the ministry of your church as God has gifted you.

For Further Study:

Read Ephesians 4:11-16.

What is the goal of Christian ministry?

What is the role of a pastor/teacher in achieving that goal?

What is your role (see also Rom. 12:6-8; 1 Cor. 12:4- 11; 1 Pet. 4:10-11)?

 

 

Joyce Meyer – God Speaks So He Can Help Us

Joyce meyer

The yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing.—Isaiah 10:27 KJV

When God speaks to you about an issue that needs to be dealt with in your life, you should not put it off. You can trust that the anointing, which is the power and ability of the Holy Spirit, is present to break its grip on you. If you put off confronting the problem until you want to deal with it, you may have to face trying to change without God’s power or anointing.

We often want to do things in our own timing, and we struggle and struggle because it is not anointed by God at the time we are trying to deal with it. For example, there are times when I feel like I want to confront an issue with an employee, but I know that it would be wiser for me to pray about it for a while and let God prepare that person’s heart. When I follow God’s timetable, I always have His anointing to get it done. I have learned to deal with issues when God wants to deal with them and leave them alone when He wants me to wait. I have also had the frustrating experience of trying over and over to change myself without waiting on God’s help and timing. God’s anointing must be present for anything to work right in our lives.

When God convicts us of something that needs to change in our lives that means He has prepared us to face it. We may not feel that we are ready, but we can trust that His timing is perfect and His anointing is present to break the yoke that is hindering our full freedom. I have learned to say, “Lord, I may not feel ready, but if You say the time is now then I trust that Your power is with me and I am willing to be obedient to You.” As you step out in faith to deal with issues you will find that the wisdom, grace, power, and ability that you need are present.

God’s word for you today: Don’t put off until another day what He wants you to deal with today.

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Set Upon a Rock

dr_bright

“For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion: in the secret of His tabernacle shall He hide me; He shall set me up upon a rock” (Psalm 27:5, KJV).

Doug and Judy stood at the graveside of their little Timothy – their only child – who had been run over by a drunken driver while riding his tricycle on the sidewalk. It was a senseless, one-in-a-million, freak kind of accident, but their little lad was gone forever from their loving embraces.

As they wept, I consoled them with the promises of God’s Word: “In the time of trouble, He shall hide us in His pavilion, in the secret of His tabernacle shall He hide us. He shall set us upon a rock.”

In the words of Jesus, I shared with them His promise, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28, KJV). “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27, KJV).

Man’s words are never adequate in a time like this. Only the holy, inspired Word of God, revealed through the indwelling Holy Spirit, can help us to comprehend and experience the reality of His promises.

What a joy to be able to tell people – burdened people, grieving people – that we serve God, who not only saves to the uttermost, but who also is the God of all comfort. As His Holy Spirit empowers us, let us share the good news of an all-loving, ever-wise Savior.

Bible Reading: Psalm 27:1-4

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Today I will ask God to help me to be sensitive to the hurts and heartaches of others, so that I can comfort them with the Word of God through the enabling of the Holy Spirit. And when I face grievous troubles, I too will look to the rock, Christ Jesus, and claim His wonderful promises for comfort and strength.

Presidential Prayer Team; P.G. – The Bottom Line

ppt_seal01

“God, I’m sorry, I wasn’t very loving today.” Well, some days are like that, aren’t they? You don’t accelerate soon enough when the traffic light turns green and a dozen horns honk. The coffee you picked up at the drive-thru was minus the flavored syrup you requested. You get home from the grocery, and the shredded cheese didn’t make it into your bag. And on it goes. You mutter, you complain, your irritations grow. And your evening devotional reminds you to do things in love. Not just some things. Everything!

Let all that you do be done in love.

I Corinthians 16:14

Like the other exhortations in I Corinthians 16, practice and patience come before the bottom-line payoff. When Jesus met with His disciples in the upper room, He reminded them, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15) That is your motivator. Then treat your neighbor as you’d treat yourself – rude motorists are forgiven, mistakes happen, and you have no idea what problem might be on the mind of the grocery bagger. A good start is in praying for each person you meet.

People in government have problems, too. It can be difficult when your viewpoints are so opposite from theirs, but pray for them in love. That’s God’s bottom line!

Recommended Reading: John 14:21-27

 

 

Greg Laurie – An Invitation to Rest

greglaurie

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” Let anyone who hears this say, “Come.” Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life. —Revelation 22:17

One December I was on my way to New York and had a connection through Chicago. It was very cold outside, and as I was walking through the airport terminal, I noticed a large advertisement. It featured a sunny, tropical beach with beautiful turquoise-blue water, white sand, and an empty beach chair. That picture was so alluring and so appealing because of where I was at that particular moment.

I think that photograph represented something all of us really want: rest, relaxation, and time off. Jesus has something to say to the person who is exhausted and worn out. He has something to say to people who have been chewed up and spit out by life — people who are frustrated, who are hurting. Here is His personal offer of rest to those who will respond: “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light” (Matthew 11:28-30, NLT).

This passage gives us the Christian life in a nutshell. Here we see what it is to come to, to know, and to walk with Jesus Christ. This invitation stands today, but it won’t stay that way forever. What is the invitation? Jesus says, “Come to Me.”

That’s it? Yes, that’s it.

It’s so simple, yet so profound. And we see this same invitation echoed throughout Scripture. It all begins with coming to God . . . approaching Him . . . seeking Him . . . opening our hearts to Him. Never doubt it. He will respond.

 

Max Lucado – Hucksters and Faith Peddlers

Max Lucado

When religion is used for profit and prestige, people are exploited and God is infuriated! When Jesus entered Jerusalem the first day of Passover week, Matthew 21:12-13 says, “He went into the temple and threw out all the people who were buying and selling there.  He turned over the tables of those who were exchanging different kinds of money, and he upset the benches of those who were selling doves. Jesus said to all the people there, ‘It is written in the Scriptures, My temple will be called a house for prayer. But you are changing it into a hideout for robbers!’”

Hucksters. Faith peddlers. People making a franchise out of the faith. This was not a temper tantrum. It was an intentional message from Jesus. Cash in on my people and you’ve got me to answer to. God will never hold guiltless those who exploit the privilege of worship.

From And the Angels Were Silent

 

Charles Stanley – When We Are Abused

Charles Stanley

Luke 6:26-28

Knowing basic suggestions for handling abuse is wise. The problem is so widespread that even if you are not personally affected, someone closer than you realize probably is. Had I received this counsel early enough, perhaps I could have responded better to my stepfather’s abuse.

Seek God’s guidance. There is no standard answer for how to handle abusive situations, because they are all different. They range from irritating classroom bullying to life-threatening domestic violence, and are motivated by different reasons and emotions. Solutions also vary; severe conditions may warrant leaving the situation. Don’t simply do what others say they would do. Instead, ask, “Lord, what would You have me do?” Always check with God’s Word. He will never encourage doing anything that violates Scripture.

Pray for the abuser. As difficult as it seems, we are called to pray, even for our enemies. Ask that God’s love will make a difference in your oppressor’s life—that he or she will see the evil of the abuse and be set free from such harmful behavior. Pray that the Lord gives you understanding about the abuser’s motivation, which can be helpful as you deal with the situation.

This advice isn’t easy to follow; praying for the abuser goes against both our human nature and the popular message of our culture. However, there are former victims of abuse who testify that the Lord didn’t “waste” their suffering—and that some positive outcomes resulted from their experience (Rom. 8:28).

 

Our Daily Bread — Where Our Fears Live

Our Daily Bread

1 Kings 17:17-24

Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. —Psalm 56:3

Twelve years into our marriage, my wife and I were discouraged by the emotional roller-coaster of hopes raised and dashed in attempting to have children. A friend tried to “explain” God’s thinking. “Maybe God knows you’d be a bad father,” he said. He knew that my mother had struggled with a terrible temper.

Then, Christmas 1988, we learned we were expecting our first child! But now I had this nagging fear of failure.

The following August, Kathryn joined our family. As nurses and doctors tended to my wife, Kathryn cried on the warming tray. I offered my hand to comfort her, and her tiny fingers wrapped around my finger. In that instant, the Holy Spirit swept through me, assuring me of what I had only recently doubted—that I would show love to this little one!

The widow of Zarephath also had doubts. Her son had been struck with a lethal illness. In her despair she cried out, “Have you come to me to bring my sin to remembrance, and to kill my son?” (1 Kings 17:18). But God had other plans!

We serve a God who is mightier than the struggles we inherit and who is full of the desire to forgive, love, and heal the brokenness that rises up between us and Him. God is present in the places where our fears live. —Randy Kilgore

Father, make Yourself known to us in our weakest

moments and in our greatest fears. Teach us to

receive Your love in a way that enables us to show

it to others, especially those closest to us.

Love swims against the current of life’s false fears.

Bible in a year: Leviticus 11-12; Matthew 26:1-25

 

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Toward Freedom

Ravi Z

A recent article in Christianity Today Magazine caught my attention. Excerpted from his forthcoming book, What Good is God?, author Philip Yancey discusses his speaking and listening tour throughout several countries in the Middle East in 2009 (1). Part of his listening included hearing how the “Christian” West was viewed by those living in predominantly Islamic countries. Time and again, he heard a familiar refrain: freedom in the West was equated with decadence. Yancey writes, “Much of the misgiving…for the West stems from our strong emphasis on freedom…where freedom so often leads to decadence.” (2)

Of course, Yancey would quickly acknowledge that the freedom we enjoy in the West is often taken for granted. In general, we are free to do and to be whatever we want. We move unhindered towards the achievement of our own personal freedoms and objectives, without worrying about impediment or coercive control from outside forces. Certainly, the freedom to move about countries and across state borders effortlessly is a gift enjoyed by many in the Western world. We have the freedom to worship, unhindered by government intervention. Many who have financial abundance are able to access freedoms that only money can buy. We are free to think as we want, speak what we want, and do what we want. In comparison with people in places where freedoms are curtailed, we have the freedom to…. fill in the blank with endless possibilities.

But taking an honest look at how freedom is exercised in the Western world means turning a careful ear to this critique from those looking in from the outside. The belief that individual freedom to do, be, or say whatever we want is often cut off and isolated any thoughtfulness towards community consequences or responsibility. Sadly, freedom is rarely viewed as an opportunity to serve others.

The apostle Paul raised this issue as he wrote to the early Christians at Corinth. In discussing matters of personal freedom he exhorted these early Christians that “all things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify. Let no one seek his or her own good, but that of his or her neighbor….whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (I Corinthians 10:23, 24, 31). In his letter to the Galatian Christians, Paul applies the gift of freedom to a sense of corporate responsibility: “You were called to freedom; only do not turn your freedom into and opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (Galatians 3:13-14).

Paul’s definition of freedom for love and service seems to fly in the face of understanding freedom as doing whatever one wants to do, individually. And while deploring the restriction or oppression of human freedom as evidenced in totalitarian regimes and systems, might it also be prudent to deplore the unchecked, unthinking, and often self-centered understanding of freedom that occupies many Western societies and systems. We are called to freedom, freedom for others–and not simply as the individualistic pursuit of self-interest. Rightly understood, freedom is grounded in love for the sake of one another.

Margaret Manning is a member of the speaking and writing team at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Seattle, Washington.

(1) Philip Yancey, “A Living Stream in the Desert” Christianity Today, November 2010, 30-34.

(2) Ibid., 32.

Alistair Begg – Return to Your First Love

Alistair Begg

Revelation 2:4

We will always remember that best and brightest of hours when we first saw the Lord, lost our burden, received the gift of grace, rejoiced in full salvation, and went on our way in peace. It was springtime in the soul; the winter was past; the mutterings of Sinai’s thunders were hushed; the flashings of its lightnings were no more perceived; God was beheld as reconciled; the law threatened no vengeance, and justice demanded no punishment.

Then the flowers appeared in our heart. Hope, love, peace, and patience sprang from the ground; the hyacinth of repentance, the snowdrop of pure holiness, the crocus of golden faith, the daffodil of early love–all decked the garden of the soul.

The time of the singing of birds had arrived, and we rejoiced with thanksgiving; we magnified the holy name of our forgiving God, and our resolve was, “Lord, I am Yours, Yours alone. All I am, and all I have, I devote to You. You have bought me with Your blood–let me spend myself and be spent in Your service. In life and in death let me be consecrated to You.”

How well have we kept this resolve? Our first love burned with a holy flame of devotion to Jesus–is it the same now? Is it possible that Jesus may say to us, “I have something against you, because you have left your first love”? Sadly we have done little for our Master’s glory. Our winter has lasted all too long. We are as cold as ice when we should feel a summer’s glow and bloom with sacred flowers. We give God pennies when He deserves much more, deserves our heart’s blood to be coined in the service of His church and of His truth. But shall we continue in this way? O Lord, after You have blessed us so richly, shall we be ungrateful and become indifferent to Your good cause and work? Quicken us that we may return to our first love and do our first works! Send us a joyful spring, O Sun of Righteousness.

The family reading plan for February 11, 2014 Job 10 | Romans 14

 

 

 

Charles Spurgeon – Christ crucified

CharlesSpurgeon

“But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:23,24

Suggested Further Reading: Galatians 1:1-9

I do not believe it is preaching Christ and him crucified, to give our people a batch of philosophy every Sunday morning and evening, and neglect the truth of this Holy Book. I do not believe it is preaching Christ and him crucified, to leave out the main cardinal doctrines of the Word of God, and preach a religion which is all a mist and a haze, without any definite truths whatever. I take it that a man does not preach Christ and him crucified, who can get through a sermon without mentioning Christ’s name once; nor does that man preach Christ and him crucified who leaves out the Holy Spirit’s work, who never says a word about the Holy Ghost, so that indeed the hearers might say, “We do not so much know whether there be a Holy Ghost.” And I have my own private opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and him crucified, unless you preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. I have my own ideas, and those I always state boldly. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else. I do not believe we can preach the gospel, if we do not preach justification by faith, without works; nor unless we preach the sovereignty of God in his dispensation of grace; nor unless we exalt the electing, unchangeable, eternal, immutable, conquering, love of Jehovah; nor do I think we can preach the gospel, unless we base it upon the peculiar redemption which Christ made for his elect and chosen people; nor can I comprehend a gospel which lets saints fall away after they are called, and suffers the children of God to be burned in the fires of damnation after having believed. Such a gospel I abhor. The gospel of the Bible is not such a gospel as that.

For meditation: To “know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2) may sound very limited. In fact it is a vast and glorious subject upon which everything else should be based and for which God should be given all the glory (1 Corinthians 1:30,31).

Sermon nos. 7/8

11 February (1855)

 

John MacArthur – The Joy of Intercession

John MacArthur

“Always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all” (Phil. 1:4).

There’s the story of a special nurse who knew the importance of intercessory prayer. Each day she used her hands as instruments of God’s love and mercy toward those in her care, so she found it natural to use her hand as a scheme of prayer. Each finger represented someone she wanted to pray for. Her thumb was nearest to her and reminded her to pray for those who were closest and dearest. The index finger was used for pointing, so it stood for her instructors. The third finger was the tallest and stood for those in leadership. The fourth finger was the weakest, representing those in distress and pain. The little finger, which was the smallest and least important, reminded the nurse to pray for her own needs.

Undoubtedly that nurse knew the joy of praying for others. Paul knew it too. Given the same circumstances, a lesser man would be consumed with his own well-being, but Paul modeled what he teaches in Philippians 2:4: “Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” Such an attitude is the heart of effective intercessory prayer.

Those who lack the joy of the Holy Spirit often harbor negative thoughts toward others, which debilitates compassion and hinders prayer. That’s tragic because intercessory prayer is a powerful tool in the hands of righteous people (James 5:16).

Analyze your own prayers. Are they generous with praise to God for His goodness to others? Do you pray for the needs of others? Practice doing so, and the joy of intercession will be yours.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Pray for specific people and specific needs.

Thank God for what you see Him doing in the lives of others.

For Further Study:

John 17 is Christ’s intercessory prayer for His disciples, including us (v. 20). After reading that chapter, complete the following statements:

Eternal life is . . .

Christ’s mission on earth was to . . .

The world’s reaction to Christ and His followers is . . .

The best way to convince the world that Christ was sent by the Father is to . . .

Joyce Meyer – Learn to Wait on God

Joyce meyer

Therefore return to your God! Holdfast to love and mercy, to righteousness and justice, and wait [expectantly] for your God continually! —Hosea 12:6

When Judas betrayed Jesus, He had insight to know what Judas was doing, but He just stood there and let him continue with his greeting, his embrace, and his kiss. Then in Matthew 26:50, Jesus said to him, Friend . . . (You ought to circle the word friend in your Bible.) Knowing that Judas was betraying Him, He still called him, Friend, for what are you here? Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and arrested Him. Peter, ready to defend Jesus drew his sword, struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. Whack! Old lion-like Peter was full of fleshly zeal. He whipped out that sword and chopped off his ear. You know what Peter was thinking? “Bless God, we don’t have to put up with this! Whack! You’re messing with God’s anointed!”

But Jesus said, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him (Luke 22:51 NIV). Peter was always talking when he didn’t need to be talking, doing things when he didn’t need to be doing them. Peter needed to learn how to wait on God and he needed to learn humility and meekness. God wanted to use Peter in a mighty way, but if Peter wanted to preach the Good News of the Gospel, he couldn’t do it by taking his sword out and chopping off ears when he felt angry.

Our abrasive words can cut off hearing, just as Peter’s sword cut off the servant’s ear. We just can’t come at people whenever we feel like justice is needed. We must be submissive to God; and if He says, “Say nothing,” we are to stand there and just let them think they are right even though we know they’re not. We have to say, “Yes, Lord,” and accept that He doesn’t even owe us an explanation. How many times do we prevent somebody’s spiritual growth or how many times do we prevent the blessings of God from coming on our own life simply because we don’t have control of the words that come out of our mouths?

None of us would have our names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life if Jesus hadn’t been submissive or if He had opened His mouth when He shouldn’t have. And He is our example. Jesus asks us to trust Him and wait on Him because He loves us.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Wait and He Will Help

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“Don’t be impatient. Wait for the Lord, and He will come and save you! Be brave, stouthearted and courageous. Yes, wait and He will help you” (Psalm 27:14).

Our surveys of hundreds of thousands of Christians throughout the world indicate that most Christians do not witness because of their fear. Even Timothy seems to have had the same problem.

His father in the faith, the apostle Paul, reminded him, as recorded in 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (KJV). That is the reason our Lord promised, in Acts 1:8, “Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost has come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses” (KJV).

The Holy Spirit is the only one who can enable us to overcome fear. So, as we claim the promises of God and appropriate the fullness and power of His Holy Spirit, we can know that courage.

A Japanese schoolboy once showed his courage in a way that puts many of us to shame.

“He belonged to a school in Nagasaki containing 150 boys, and he was the only Christian among them all. He brought his lunch to school, as he lived at a distance, and he dared to fold his hands and ask a blessing every day before he ate.

He had some enemies among the boys who went to the master of the school and accused him of ‘doing something in the way of magic’ The master thereupon called the lad before the school and asked him what he had been doing.

“The little fellow spoke up bravely, explaining that he was a Christian, and that he had been thanking God and asking Him to bless the food. At once the master burst into tears, putting his head down on the desk.

“‘My boy,’ he said, ‘I too am a Christian; but I was afraid to tell anyone. Now, with God’s help I will try to live as a Christian ought to live.’ ”

Bible Reading: Isaiah 40:27-31

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Today I shall, through the enabling of the Holy Spirit, be brave, stouthearted and courageous as I go forth to tell others about the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Presidential Prayer Team; C.P. – Do Right, Do Well

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There are two ways to think about discipline. The first is punishment when someone does something wrong, to motivate them to do right. The second is self-discipline, doing right despite temptations and distractions to do wrong.

He who loves him is diligent to discipline him.

Proverbs 13:24

Of course, the second is what you aim for. Theodore Roosevelt said, “With self-discipline most anything is possible.” Christian author and speaker Marie Chapian said, “Lack of discipline leads to frustration and self-loathing.” Motivational author and speaker Jim Rohn said, “We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.”

God disciplines who He loves (Hebrews 12:6). It is the aim for every Christian to someday hear from the Lord, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25:21). What is it that God wants you to focus on doing well this year? What will it take to have the discipline to carry it out? Let one of your most beloved habits be to pray for the nation. Determine a time and place each day to ask God to compassionately discipline this nation’s people and leaders to correct their behavior and draw them to His love.

Recommended Reading: Psalm 94:8-19

Greg Laurie – The Good in Guilt

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Everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. —Romans 3:23–24

When Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes stories, wanted to play a practical joke on twelve of his friends, he sent a note to each of them that simply read, “Flee at once. All is discovered.” Within twenty-four hours, all twelve friends had left the country. That’s what you call a guilty conscience.

If you ask me, I think we could use a little more guilt in our society. Guilt does serve a purpose. What good can possibly come from guilt? The same good that comes from that warning system in our bodies called pain. If you step on a piece of glass, your body sends a warning signal: “Stop! Don’t go any further!” In the same way, God has installed a warning system called guilt into our souls, and we experience it when we do something wrong. Just as pain tells us there is a physical problem that must be dealt with or the body will suffer, guilt tells us something is wrong spiritually and needs to be confronted and cleansed.

So you see, guilt isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The guilt feeling we experience is the symptom of the real problem, which is sin. All of the psychological counseling in the world can’t relieve a person of his or her guilt. We can pretend it is not there or try to find someone else to blame for our problems. But the only real and effective way to remove our guilt is to get to the root of the problem, which is sin.

 

Max Lucado – He Gave a Donkey

Max Lucado

I don’t know his name or what he looks like. I only know what he gave. He gave a donkey for Jesus to use on the Sunday he entered Jerusalem. An interesting bit of history is found in Matthew 21:3. It is the story of the man who gave the donkey to Jesus. The scripture says, “If anyone asks you why you are taking the donkeys, say that the Master needs them, and he will send them at once.”

Did the man have any idea his generosity would be used for such a noble purpose? Did it occur to him God was going to ride that donkey?

All of us have a donkey. Something that, if given to God, could move Jesus and His story further down the road. Maybe you sing or program a computer or speak Swahili or write a check. Whichever it may be…that’s your donkey. Do you give it?

The guy who gave Jesus the donkey is just one in a long line of folks who gave little things to a big God.

From And the Angels Were Silent