Tag Archives: lord jesus christ

Our Daily Bread — The Night No One Came

Our Daily Bread

Matthew 6:1-7

Do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. —Matthew 6:1

One winter night composer Johann Sebastian Bach was scheduled to debut a new composition. He arrived at the church expecting it to be full. Instead, he learned that no one had come. Without missing a beat, Bach told his musicians that they would still perform as planned. They took their places, Bach raised his baton, and soon the empty church was filled with magnificent music.

This story made me do some soul-searching. Would I write if God were my only audience? How would my writing be different?

New writers are often advised to visualize one person they are writing to as a way of staying focused. I do this when I write devotionals; I try to keep readers in mind because I want to say something they will want to read and that will help them on their spiritual journey.

I doubt that the “devotional writer” David, whose psalms we turn to for comfort and encouragement, had “readers” in mind. The only audience he had in mind was God.

Whether our “deeds,” mentioned in Matthew 6, are works of art or acts of service, we should keep in mind that they’re really between us and God. Whether or not anyone else sees does not matter. He is our audience. —Julie Ackerman Link

That my ways might show forth Your glory,

That You, dear Lord, greatly deserve!

With Your precious blood You’ve redeemed me—

In all my days, You I would serve! —Somerville

Serve for an audience of one.

Bible in a year: Genesis 16-17; Matthew 5:27-48

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Waiting for Light

Ravi Z

In ancient cities, sentinels kept vigil on the city walls throughout the night. Long, difficult hours of waiting and watching characterized the sentinel’s evenings. The watcher’s role was well understood as vital for the protection of the city and the welfare of its citizens. Morning, nonetheless, meant great relief, both for the watchmen who kept vigil throughout the darkness and for the city within the walls.

Making use of this laden imagery, biblical writers often juxtaposed the role of watchman waiting for morning and the work of the prophet. Through long, dark hours of slavery and exile, stubbornness and despair, the prophets kept watch, calling out injustices, calling forth awareness, peace, and repentance. Jeremiah cried out, “This is what the LORD says: Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ I appointed watchmen over you and said, ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’ But you said, ‘We will not listen.’” Isaiah expanded the imagery of the sentinel’s watch even further, suggesting watchful eyes throughout the kingdom of God, servants who hold vigil day and night, watching for light even when presently surrounded by darkness. “Listen! Your sentinels lift up their voices, together they sing for joy; for in plain sight they see the return of the Lord to Zion.”(1)

An old man in Jerusalem named Simeon was one such sentinel. All that is known of him is that he was righteous and devout, and looked forward to the consolation of his broken land. Led by the Spirit one day, he went to the temple to offer the customary sacrifice, when he noticed an infant in the arms of a young, peasant woman. Taking the baby in his arms, he began to sing:

“Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace,

according to your word;

for my eyes have seen your salvation,

which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,

a light for revelation to the Gentiles

and for glory to your people Israel.”(2)

A watchman who had kept vigil through long years of darkness, Simeon sees the infant Jesus in plain sight and uses the language of a slave who has been freed. There is a sense of immediacy and relief, as if the light of morning has finally arrived after years of shadow and night, and he is at last free to leave his post.

Today is Epiphany, the historical Christian feast day that celebrates the arrival of the magi to the birthplace of Jesus, and it tells a similar story. Matthew describes a vigilant scene not unlike that of Simeon at the temple or sentinels on the city wall. Astrologers from the east followed a lone star through a great expanse of darkness to come upon a newborn king. Their watchful journey took years. It impelled further darkness as Herod’s jealousy reared an evil demand for the murder of infant boys throughout Bethlehem. It was a solitary journey, disregarded by the masses and wrought with difficulty. But the light was real and relieving. “Nations shall come to your light,” sang the prophet of this child, “and kings to the brightness of your dawn” (Isaiah 60:3).

With those who first watched and waited for God to step from the heavens and into our darkness, the feast of Epiphany is a reminder that ours is still a world straining in shadow, with our glimpses of light, waiting. Like those who first journeyed to set their eyes on the child, we move through long nights, at times finding ourselves out of place, in the dark, straining to see more. The Christian story is a declaration that Jesus transforms this watching and waiting, our lives and our deaths, bringing light where death stings, where tears discourage, and darkness haunts. “I wait for the Lord,” sang the psalmist, “my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord, more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.” The night is surely long, but what if the light is real?

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

(1) cf. Jeremiah 6:16-17, Isaiah 52:8.

(2) Story told in Luke 2:26-32

Alistair Begg – “Lord, Grant Me Divine Communion”

Alistair Begg

Now the hand of the Lord had been upon me the evening before . . .

Ezekiel 33:22

In the matter of judgment this may be the case, and if so, let me consider the reason for such a visitation and accept it as from His hand. I am not the only one who is chastened in the night season; let me cheerfully submit to the affliction and carefully endeavor to profit by it.

But the hand of the Lord may also be felt in another manner, strengthening the soul and lifting the spirit upward toward eternal things. O that I may in this sense feel the Lord dealing with me! A sense of the divine presence and indwelling bears the soul toward heaven as upon the wings of eagles.

At such times we are full to the brim with spiritual joy, and forget the cares and sorrows of earth; the invisible is near, and the visible loses its power over us. Servant-body waits at the foot of the hill, and the master-spirit worships upon the summit in the presence of the Lord. O that a hallowed season of divine communion may be granted to me this evening! The Lord knows that I need it very greatly.

My graces languish, my corruptions rage, my faith is weak, my devotion is cold; all these are reasons why His healing hand should be laid upon me. His hand can cool the heat of my burning brow and calm the turmoil of my palpitating heart. That glorious right hand that molded the world can renew my mind; the unwearied hand that bears the earth’s huge pillars can sustain my spirit; the loving hand that encloses all the saints can cherish me; and the mighty hand that breaks in pieces the enemy can subdue my sins.

Why should I not feel that hand touching me this evening? Come, my soul, address God with the potent plea that Jesus’ hands were pierced for your redemption, and you shall surely feel that same hand upon you that once touched Daniel and set him upon his knees that he might see visions of God.

 

 

Charles Spurgeon – Life for a look

CharlesSpurgeon

“Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else.” Isaiah 45:22

Suggested Further Reading: Acts 26:1-29

Six years ago, today, as nearly as possible at this very hour of the day, I was “in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity,” but had yet, by divine grace, been led to feel the bitterness of that bondage, and to cry out by reason of the soreness of its slavery. Seeking rest, and finding none, I stepped within the house of God, and sat there, afraid to look upward, lest I should be utterly cut off, and lest his fierce wrath should consume me. The minister rose in his pulpit, and, as I have done this morning, read this text—“Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.” I looked that moment; the grace of faith was vouchsafed to me in the self-same instant; and now I think I can say with truth:

“E’er since by faith I saw the stream His flowing wounds supply,

Redeeming love has been my theme, And shall be till I die.”

I shall never forget that day, while memory holds its place; nor can I help repeating this text, whenever I remember that hour when first I knew the Lord. How strangely gracious! How wonderfully and marvellously kind, that he who heard these words so little time ago for his own soul’s profit, should now address you from the same text, in the full and confident hope that some poor sinner may hear the glad tidings of salvation for himself also, and may today, on this 6th of January, be “turned from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God.”

For meditation: Even if you cannot pinpoint an exact time or place, can you recall your conversion when the Lord Jesus Christ became real to you and you trusted him to be your Saviour? If you can, are the memories of that great event still as precious as they should be? If you have no such memories, Spurgeon, though dead, speaks to you today. Read again his testimony, obey his text and look to his Saviour so that you too may be saved.

Sermon no. 60

6 January (1856)

John MacArthur – Identifying with Christ

John MacArthur

“God…has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3, emphasis added).

Many people mistakenly believe that one’s religious preference is irrelevant because all religions eventually lead to the same spiritual destination.

Such thinking is sheer folly, however, because Scripture declares that no one comes to God apart from Jesus (John 14:6). He is the only source of salvation (Acts 4:12) and the only One powerful enough to redeem us and hold us secure forever (John 10:28).

Every Christian shares a common supernatural union with Christ. Paul said, “The one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him” (1 Cor. 6:17). We are in Him and He is in us. His life flows through us by His Spirit, who indwells us (Rom. 8:9).

As a non-Christian, you were in bondage to evil (Rom. 3:10-12), enslaved to the will of Satan (1 John 5:19), under divine wrath (Rom. 1:18), spiritually dead (Eph. 4:17-18), and without hope (Eph. 2:12). But at the moment of your salvation a dramatic change took place. You became a new creation in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17), alive in Him (Eph. 2:5), enslaved to God (Rom. 6:22), and a recipient of divine grace (Eph. 2:8). You were delivered out of the domain of darkness and transferred into the kingdom of God’s beloved Son (Col. 1:13). You now possess His righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21) and share in His eternal inheritance (Rom. 8:16-17).

All those blessings–and many more–are yours because you are in Christ. What a staggering reality! In a sense what He is, you are. What He has, you have. Where He is, you are.

When the Father sees you, He sees you in Christ and blesses you accordingly. When others see you, do they see Christ in you? “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16).

Suggestions for Prayer:

Thank God for His marvelous grace in taking you from spiritual death to spiritual life in Christ.

Ask Him for wisdom and discernment to live this day for His good pleasure.

For Further Study:

Read the book of Ephesians, noting every occurrence of the phrase “in Christ.”

What has God accomplished in Christ?

What blessings are yours in Christ?

Joyce Meyer – Start With What You Have

Joyce meyer

Do not say to your neighbor, Go, and come again; and tomorrow I will give it. —Proverbs 3:28

We can have good intentions and still be disobedient. Procrastination is very deceptive.

We don’t see it as disobedience because we intend to obey God; it is just that we are going to do it when— when we have more money, when we are not so busy, as soon as Christmas is over, after we get the kids in school this year, as soon as vacation is over, etc.

There is no point in praying for God to give you more money so you can be a blessing to others if you are not being a blessing with what you already have. Don’t believe Satan’s lies that you have nothing to give. Even if it is only a pack of gum or a ballpoint pen, start using what you have to bless others.

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Strong Love Is the Proof

dr_bright

“And so I am giving a new commandment to you now – love each other just as much as I love you. Your strong love for each other will prove to the world that you are My disciples” (John 13:34,35).

A Navajo Indian woman who had been healed of a serious ailment by a missionary doctor was greatly impressed by the love he manifested.

“If Jesus is anything like the doctor,” she said, “I can trust Him forever.”

The doctor was a living example of the above promise. When Jesus spoke these words, the entire known world was filled with hate, war and fear. The Jews and the Gentiles hated each other. The Greeks and the Romans hated each other.

But with the resurrection of the Lord Jesus and the day of Pentecost came a breath of heavenly love. Those who received Jesus, the incarnation of love, into their lives and who chose to obey His command began to love one another. The pagan world looked on in amazement and said of the believers, “How they love one another!”

Within a few years following this command to love one another, the gospel had spread like a prairie fire throughout the known world. The miracle of God’s love, His supernatural agape, had captivated multitudes throughout the decadent, wicked Roman Empire.

Tragically, today one seldom hears “How they love one another!” about Christians. Instead there is far too much suspicion, jealousy, criticism and conflict between Christians, churches and denominations. The unbelieving world often laughs at our publicized conflicts.

But those individuals who do demonstrate this supernatural love are usually warmly received by nonbelievers as well as believers. The churches that obey our Lord’s command to “love one another” usually are filled to overflowing and are making a great impact for good and for the glory of God. They represent a highly desirable alternative to secular society.

How does one love supernaturally? By faith. God’s Word commands us to love (John 13:34,35). God’s Word promises that He will enable us to do what He commands us to do (John 5:14,15).

Bible Reading: 1 John 3:14-19

Today’s Action Point: Through the enabling of the Holy Spirit, I will by faith love others and thus prove that I am a true disciple of the Lord Jesus.

Presidential Prayer Team; C.H. – Fair Play

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Imagine an invincible sword – one never to be beaten. Sound like a fantasy-based video game? It’s actually from the annals of history. At the 1976 Montreal Olympics, Boris Onischenko held just such a sword. After registering unbelievable hits in each of his fencing matches, an opponent called foul play. Onischenko was fencing with a tampered sword wired with an electronic device to register a hit…even when he hadn’t touched his opponent! He was expelled from the games and stripped of his medals.

The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Ephesians 6:17

The apostle Paul shares in today’s verse about a similar sword, one that will win in any spiritual battle – only this one is fair play. The Word of God is just such a weapon…and while hiding it in your heart will help you live an upright life (Psalm 119:11), God’s Word can actually be used defensively in the ultimate battle: Jesus used the sword of the spirit in His temptation with the devil, saying, “It is written…” then quoted scripture.

You’ve been given a formidable weapon. Ask God to give both you and the Christians in political office wisdom as you use His Word to arm for battle.

Recommended Reading: Matthew 4:1-11

Greg Laurie – By Faith We walk by faith, not by sight. —2 Corinthians 5:7

greglaurie

The inspired writers of Scripture did not use the phrase walk by faith in a random way. Those three words are there for a purpose. Notice that the Bible doesn’t tell us to sprint by faith; it tells us to walk by faith. To walk speaks of continual, regulated motion. The Bible says Enoch walked with God. Many believers have their bursts of energy. For a few months, they run. Then they collapse for a while. They need to learn what it is to walk with God.

Of course, most of us like things fast. We have microwave dinners, e-mail, cell phones, and instant messaging. We have so much technology to make our lives a little easier and, most importantly, faster. Then, when we come to the Christian life, we say, “All right, what’s the angle? What’s the shortcut?”

Here it is: “The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17). It’s a day-by-day process.

We are always looking for the angle, for the inside track. But it’s very simple. The Bible declares that the just shall live by faith — not by feeling, not by emotion, not by fear, not by worries — by faith.

I know sometimes that it seems like nothing is happening in terms of our spiritual growth. There are times when we don’t really feel like we are changing, because as we look at ourselves every day, we don’t necessarily see any changes. But as we are walking by faith day by day, month by month, and year by year, we are being transformed.

Colossians 2:6 tells us, “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.”

 

Max Lucado – Sacred Delight

Max Lucado

He should have been miserable.  He should have been bitter. He had every right to be a pot of boiling anger. But he wasn’t. Jesus embodied a stubborn joy!

What is this stubborn joy?  This bird that sings while it’s still dark?  What is the source of this peace that defies pain? I call it sacred delight. What is sacred is God’s!  And this joy is God’s.

Sacred delight is good news coming through the back door of your heart.  It’s the too-good-to-be-true coming true. It’s having God as your lawyer, your dad, your biggest fan, and your best friend.  It’s hope where you least expected it—a flower in life’s sidewalk.

It is sacred because only God can grant it. It is a delight because it thrills. It can’t be stolen.  It can’t be predicted. It is God’s sacred delight!

The Applause of Heaven

Charles Stanley – Why is it wise to wait on God?

Charles Stanley

It is always wise to wait on God. Why?

First, it is wise to wait because God gives clear direction only when we are willing to wait. Remember, we don’t operate like the world operates. Instant gratification of need defines society. But we, as believers, live differently. We don’t take our cues from the world. We take them from God. He will give us clear direction, whether it is guidance for making a move or changing a career or choosing a mate. However, much to the distress of many, He seldom does it quickly. We must wait until He is ready to give direction.

God says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye” (Ps. 32:8). We must wait until He is ready to give counsel to us. I know it’s hard. No one ever said it would be easy. However, it is absolutely worth it.

Second, it is wise to wait because God uses that waiting time to get us in step with His timing. Being in step with the Father’s timing gives us a sense of peace. However, when we run ahead of Him, we will constantly be trying to figure out how to make our decisions work. Instead of peace, we will feel the chaos of our choices.

Third, it is always wise to wait because God uses the time of waiting to prepare us for the answer. As earthly parents, we don’t give our children everything they ask for. Sometimes we know that the timing isn’t right. How much more our heavenly Father knows this for His children. He waits until we are able to handle the blessing with grace and trust.

Fourth, it is always wise to wait because waiting strengthens our faith. We might want to say, “Okay, God. I’ve learned as much faith as I care to. You can act now.” But when we realize that God is more interested in our character than in our comfort, waiting is a lot more palatable.

Fifth, it is always wise to wait because God gets our attention and sifts our motives. While waiting and praying for the promotion at work, we have time to think through our motives. Why do we really want that promotion? Do we want it to get more money or so others will think we are powerful? Could it be we want the promotion so we have a greater platform to serve the Lord? If we allow God to sift through our motives, the truth will surface—good or bad. It is amazing what we learn about ourselves through this waiting period.

So it is wise to wait because:

1. He gives clear direction.

2. He gets us in step with Himself.

3. He prepares us for what He has in store for us.

4. He strengthens our faith.

5. He gets our attention and sifts our motives.

Waiting is one of the more difficult things in the Christian life. However, it is never wasted time. God teaches us His path, changes our circumstances, keeps us in step with Himself, prepares us for His answers, and uses times of waiting to sift our motives and strengthen our faith.

The question comes: With all the advantages of waiting, why do we rush ahead as if we don’t have a trustworthy Father? We need to hit the pause button in our lives and take our lives out of the fast forward mode. God will amaze us with what He is doing while we wait on Him and watch Him work.

Adapted from Charles Stanley’s Handbook for Christian Living,” 1996.

 

Related Resources

Related Audio

When is it wise to wait?

Waiting is one of the more difficult things in the Christian life. However, it is never wasted time. God teaches us His path, changes our circumstances, keeps us in step with Himself, prepares us for His answers, and uses times of waiting to sift our motives and strengthen our faith. (Listen to When is it wise to wait?)

 

 

Our Daily Bread — Adoption

Our Daily Bread

Ephesians 1:3-12

He chose us in Him . . . having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself. —Ephesians 1:4-5

My wife, Marlene, and I have been married for over 35 years. When we were first dating, we had a conversation I have never forgotten. She told me that at 6 months old she had been adopted. When I asked her if she ever wondered about who her real parents were, she responded, “My mom and dad could have selected any of a number of other babies that day, but they chose me. They adopted me. They are my real parents.”

That strong sense of identification and gratitude she has for her adoptive parents should also mark our relationship with God. As followers of Christ, we have been born from above through faith in Him and have been adopted into the family of God. Paul wrote, “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will” (Eph. 1:4-5).

Notice the nature of this transaction. We have been chosen by God and adopted as His sons and daughters. Through adoption, we have a radically new relationship with God. He is our beloved Father!

May this relationship stir our hearts to worship Him—our Father—with gratitude. —Bill Crowder

Loving Father, thank You for making me

Your child and giving me a place in

Your family. With a grateful heart, I

thank You for making me Yours.

God loves each of us as if there were only one of us. —Augustine

Bible in a year: Genesis 13-15; Matthew 5:1-26

 

Alistair Begg – Take Comfort in God’s Light

Alistair Begg

And God saw that the light was good.

Genesis 1:4

This morning we noticed the goodness of the light, and the Lord’s dividing it from the darkness. We now note the special eye that the Lord had for the light. “God saw the light”–He looked at it with complacency, gazed upon it with pleasure, saw that it “was good.” If the Lord has given you light, dear reader, He looks on that light with peculiar interest; for not only is it dear to Him as His own handiwork, but it is like Himself, for “God is light.”

It is pleasant for the believer to know that God’s eye tenderly observes that work of grace that He has begun. He never loses sight of the treasure that He has placed in our earthen vessels. Sometimes we cannot see the light, but God always sees the light, and that is much better than our seeing it. Better for the judge to see my innocence than for me to think I see it. It is very comfortable for me to know that I am one of God’s people–but whether I know it or not, if the Lord knows it, I am still safe. This is the foundation, “The Lord knows those who are his.” 1

You may be sighing and groaning because of inbred sin, and mourning over your darkness; yet the Lord sees “light” in your heart, for He has put it there, and all the cloudiness and gloom of your soul cannot conceal your light from His gracious eye.

You may have sunk low in despondency, and even despair; but if your soul has any longing toward Christ, and if you are seeking to rest in His finished work, God sees the “light.” He not only sees it, but He also preserves it in you. “I, the Lord, do keep it.” This is a precious thought to those who, after anxious watching and guarding of themselves, feel their own powerlessness to do so. The light thus preserved by His grace, He will one day develop into the splendor of noonday, and the fullness of glory. The light within is the dawn of the eternal day.

1 2 Timothy 2:19

 

Charles Spurgeon – A sermon for the week of prayer

CharlesSpurgeon

“Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving.” Colossians 4:2

Suggested Further Reading: Luke 18:1-8

Continue in prayer once more, because prayer is a great weapon of attack against the error and wickedness of the world. I see before me the strong bastions of the castle of sin. I note the host of men who have surrounded it. They have brought the battering-ram, they have dashed it many times against the gate; it has fallen with tremendous force against it, and you would have supposed that the timbers would be split asunder the first time. But they are staunch and strong; he who made them was a cunning architect, he who depends upon them for his protection is one who knew how to make the gate exceeding massive,—is one who knew the struggle full well which he would have to endure—prince of darkness as he is. If he knew of his defeat, yet well he knew how to guard against it if it were possible. But I see this ponderous battering-ram as it has been hurled with giant force again and again upon the gate, and how as often seemed to recoil before the massive bars. Many of the saints of God are ready to say, “Let us withdraw the instrument. Let us take away the besieging artillery, we shall never be able to storm this castle, we shall never effect an entrance.” Oh, be not craven, sirs, be not craven. The last time the battering-ram thundered in its course, I saw the timbers shake. The very gate did reel, and the posts did rock to and fro; see now they have moved the earth around their sockets. Hell is howling from within because it knows how soon its end must come. Now, Christian warriors, use your battering-rams once more, for the gates begin to shake, and the walls are tottering. They will reel, they will fall before long.

For meditation: Are your prayers stuck in defensive mode as you seek God’s protection? Does your prayer-life ever venture out on the attack? Remember the Saviour’s powerful promise that the gates of hell would be unable to stand up against the advance of his church (Matthew 16:18). May these words before a special week of prayer encourage us to continue in prayer all year round.

Sermon no. 354

5 January (Preached 6 January 1861)

 

 

John MacArthur – Cultivating a Heavenly Perspective

John MacArthur

“God…has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” (Eph. 1:3, emphasis added).

It’s been said that some Christians are so heavenly minded, they’re no earthly good. But usually the opposite is true. Many Christians are so enamored with this present world that they no longer look forward to heaven. They have everything they want right here. The health, wealth, and prosperity doctrine has convinced them that Christians can have it all, and they pursue “the good life” with a vengeance.

Despite the prevalence of such thinking, the old Negro spiritual well says, “This world is not my home. I’m just a passin’ through.”

Paul reminds us of that truth in Philippians 3:20: “Our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” That’s why we must set our minds on heavenly, not on earthly things (Col. 3:1- 2). Our deepest affections and highest aspirations should center there. Our actions and decisions should reflect heavenly priorities, not earthly indulgences.

Even though we live in a sin-stained world and must constantly fight against its corrupting influences, God hasn’t left us stranded. He extends to us all the rights and privileges of our heavenly citizenship. Let that assurance encourage you today to live to His glory and rely on His heavenly provisions. Take care not to let impure aspirations or trivial pursuits distract you from your heavenly priorities.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Tell Jesus how thankful and full of praise you are because of the place He is preparing for you in heaven (John 14:1-3).

Pray for a greater awareness of the fleeting value of this world and the surpassing value of the world to come (1 John 2:17).

For Further Study:

Read Revelation 4-5, 21

What primary activity are the inhabitants of heaven engaged in?

List some of heaven’s blessings.

 

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – An Infusion of Power

dr_bright

“Even the youths shall be exhausted, and the young men will all give up. But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:30,31).

I flew all night from Los Angeles to New York for a very important meeting with the president of one of the major television networks, and after only three hours in New York flew back across the continent to Portland, Oregon, to speak that night at a conference of several hundred pastors.

Every fiber of my being ached with fatigue as I waited for my luggage in the Portland airport. In only 30 minutes I would be speaking to the pastors, yet I felt about as spiritual as a head of cabbage. Suddenly I felt impressed to pray, “Lord, do You have something You would like to share with me?”

Immediately I felt a leading to turn to the 40th chapter of Isaiah. As I read those familiar words, which at that instant had new, inspiring meaning for me, I sensed a surge of strength, energy, and power flow into and through my body. I suddenly felt that I could have thrown my luggage over the building and run to the meeting several miles away.

I could hardly wait to stand before those servants of God and proclaim to them the wonder and majesty, the glory and power, the faithfulness and love of our God. Within a half hour or so, I did have that privilege and God empowered and anointed me for the occasion in a most unusual and marvelous way.

Bible Reading: Isaiah 40:25-29

Today’s Action Point: As I discover a need for renewed strength today, I will say with the psalmist, “I will go in the strength of the Lord God” (Psalm 71:16a, KJV). I will repeat that solemn declaration throughout the day, and by faith will claim His supernatural strength for my every physical and spiritual need.

 

Presidential Prayer Team; J.K. – The World’s Priests

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Today’s verse says you “ought always to pray.” The word for “ought” appears no less than 100 times in the New Testament. To the Greeks, it meant a forced compulsion defined by the situation. But Jesus’ explanation revealed that the directive has a much greater implication.

He told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.

Luke 18:1

It is God’s will that you pray…it is a loving, creative, purposeful will. Its intentions for you promise only hope and a bright future. It is in prayer and in the study of His Word that you are privileged to know Him and His will more.

Charles Spurgeon believed that the Lord’s people are the world’s priests. As such, you can be an intercessor for the needs of those in your midst…the weak who fall into sin or who despair in difficult circumstances, the strong who may grow presumptuous, the sick and the poor. In a world full of idols, wickedness, and people deprived of salvation, the opportunity to pray is constant

Make knowing the Lord your priority in 2014. Study His Word. Intercede for President Obama and the nation’s leaders…that they may know God’s will and do it. Diligently pray and do not lose heart.

Recommended Reading: Psalm 116:1-6, 12-14

Charles Stanley – A Healthy Body

Charles Stanley

1 Corinthians 6:12, 19-20

We all know there is an undeniable relationship between our health and our ability to reach our full potential. We may labor to have a clean heart, a clear mind, and a balanced schedule, but without a healthy body, we simply cannot do our best. And good health will be

enhanced when we begin to think about our bodies the way God does. In the sixth chapter of 1 Corinthians, the apostle Paul teaches that our bodies belong to the living God (vv. 19-20). As a result, we all have to make a decision: Am I going to take care of my body, or will I ignore or abuse it?

None of us would walk into church and deliberately make a big mess, smearing red or black paint all over the place. We wouldn’t do that, because we respect the church building as a place where God’s people worship. With that in mind, consider this: The human body, because it is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, is far more important than any house of worship that ever existed.

Nevertheless, people often assume that neglecting or mistreating the body is their own prerogative. Whether the issue is substance abuse, abortion, or unhealthy habits, many people will say, “This is my body. I can do with it whatever I want.” But as we read in Scripture, your body is not your possession. Although you can do as you please, you will pay the price for poor decisions. Sin has its consequences, and sin against the body can inflict a penalty that lasts even beyond the present generation. Ask God to help you regard the body as He does so that you will care for it appropriately.

 

 

 

Our Daily Bread — Situation Excellent

Our Daily Bread

Philippians 1:3-14

The things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel. —Philippians 1:12

At the First Battle of the Marne during World War I, French lieutenant general Ferdinand Foch sent out this communiqué: “My center is giving way, my right is retreating. Situation excellent. I am attacking.” His willingness to see hope in a tough situation eventually led to victory for his troops.

Sometimes in life’s battles we can feel as if we are losing on every front. Family discord, business setbacks, financial woes, or a decline in health can put a pessimistic spin on the way we look at life. But the believer in Christ can always find a way to conclude: “Situation excellent.”

Look at Paul. When he was thrown in prison for preaching the gospel, he had an unusually upbeat attitude. To the church at Philippi he wrote, “I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel” (Phil. 1:12).

Paul saw his prison situation as a new platform from which to evangelize the Roman palace guard. In addition, other Christians became emboldened by his situation to preach the gospel more fearlessly (vv.13-14).

God can use our trials to work good in spite of the pain they bring (Rom. 8:28). That’s just one more way He can be honored. —Dennis Fisher

Comfort us, Lord, when life’s trials assail—

we fail and stumble so often. Renew us, and

help us to grow so that others may also

know Your goodness and comfort.

Trials can be God’s road to triumph.

Bible in a year: Genesis 10-12; Matthew 4

 

Alistair Begg – God’s Foreknowledge of Us

Alistair Begg

And Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him.

Genesis 42:8

This morning our desires went forth for growth in our acquaintance with the Lord Jesus; it may be well tonight to consider a kindred topic, namely, our heavenly Jesus’s knowledge of us. This was most blessedly perfect long before we had the slightest knowledge of Him. “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them.”1

Before we had a being in the world we had a being in His heart. When we were enemies to Him, He knew us, our misery, our madness, and our wickedness. When we wept bitterly in despairing repentance, and viewed Him only as a judge and a ruler, He viewed us as His brethren well beloved, and His heart yearned toward us. He never mistook His chosen but always beheld them as objects of His infinite affection.

“The Lord knows those who are his”2 is as true of the prodigals who are feeding pigs as of the children who sit at the table.

But, sadly we did not know our royal Brother, and out of this ignorance grew a host of sins. We withheld our hearts from Him and allowed Him no entrance to our love. We mistrusted Him and gave no credit to His words. We rebelled against Him and paid Him no loving homage.

The Sun of Righteousness shone forth, and we could not see Him. Heaven came down to earth, and earth perceived it not. Let God be praised, those days are over with us; yet even now what we know of Jesus is small compared with what He knows of us. We have only begun to study Him, but He knows us altogether.

It is a blessed circumstance that the ignorance is not on His side, for then it would be a hopeless case for us. He will not say to us, “I never knew you,” but He will confess our names in the day of His appearing, and meanwhile will show Himself to us as He does not to the world.

1Psalm 139:16

22 Timothy 2:19