Tag Archives: lord jesus christ

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – God Meets Our Needs

 

“I have been young and now I am old. And in all my years I have never seen the Lord forsake a man who loves Him; nor have I seen the children of the godly go hungry” (Psalm 37:25).

Tom had been a humble follower and servant of the Lord Jesus Christ from his youth. He had learned of our Lord at the family altar in his modest home. Through the urging of his father and mother, he mastered and memorized large portions of Scripture. By his teenage years he was preaching, and after a brief time of study in a Bible institute he became an evangelist. His work was largely in the smaller rural churches. His speech was never eloquent nor was he distinguished and cultured in his appearance and demeanor, but he was a man of God. wherever he went, hearts were strangely warmed as he spoke the truths concerning our wonderful Savior.

Now he had reached the ripe age of ninety. His hair was snow white and a bit long, but always neat. His ministry had covered over seventy years, and in that period he had come to know heartache, sorrow, adversity and poverty (especially during the depression years). He had performed many wedding ceremonies, had spent long nights at the bedside of the sick and had preached many funeral sermons. In obedience to his Lord, he had ministered to the widows and orphans, the poor and imprisoned. On this occasion, as he was coming to the climax of a rich and overflowing life, a radiant adventure with God – yes, the supernatural life – he reminisced. As he recalled some of the heartaches and tragedies, he said, “You know, not one single time in all my years have I seen the Lord forsake a man who loved Him, nor have I seen the children of the godly go hungry. Of course, I have seen Christians suffer, and I’ve been with them in their sorrow. But there’s something different about the life of the one who walks with God. There’s serenity, a peace. And then almost miraculously, while the ungodly go hungry, God meets the needs of His children as He promised.

“Yes,” he said in conclusion, “you can trust God and His Word. He never fails to keep His promise.”

Bible Reading: Psalm 37:26-34

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Knowing that I can trust God to meet my every need no matter what happens, I shall seek first the kingdom of God. Through the enabling of the Holy Spirit, I will live a godly life, a supernatural life for the glory of my Savior, and I will tell others how faithful and trustworthy He is.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Recognizing False Teachers

 

“Beware of false teachers who come disguised as harmless sheep, but are wolves and will tear you apart. You can detect them by the way they act, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit. You need never confuse grapevines with thorn bushes or figs with thistles” (Matthew 7:15,16).

The secular press frequently quoted a famous professor in one of the most prestigious theological seminaries in the world, referring to him as the Protestant theologian of our time. As I talked with two of his students, whom I had the privilege of introducing to Christ, I asked, “What is your impression of Professor So-and-so?” They replied, “If the Bible is true, he is not a Christian.”

They went on to explain that he denied the deity of Christ, the authority of Scripture and all the basic tenets of the Christian faith. Yet he was so subtle, so brilliant and profound, that many pastors and Christian leaders who were not biblically oriented were deceived and looked upon him as a great scholar and theologian.

However, after he died, his wife wrote a highly revealing book in which she described his many sexual exploits as well as his other wrongdoings that were inconsistent with what the Bible teaches.

There are many false teachers in the seminaries and pulpits of the world, who represent another master, not our Lord Jesus Christ. They do not preach the inspired Word of God. Often brilliant, loving, gracious, considerate people, they are, nevertheless, well-described by our Lord as false teachers, wolves disguised as harmless sheep.

How can you recognize false teachers? The test is threefold: (1) What is their view of the Lord Jesus Christ? Is He truly the Son of God? Did He die on the cross for our sins? Was He raised from the dead? (2) Do they profess that the Bible is the authority of God, divinely inspired? (3) Do they live lives that are consistent with the teachings of Scripture? Or do they condone practices that are contrary to the Word of God? If they do the latter, beware, for they will rob you of the supernatural resources of God that are available to you.

As you meditate upon the entire passage of scripture for today, ask God to give you a discerning spirit that you may not be deceived by false teachers.

Bible Reading: Matthew 7:13-23

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I shall meditate upon God’s Word and weigh those who profess to be His followers in light of their view of the Lord Jesus Christ, His holy, inspired Word, and how their lives are a witness to what God’s Word commands us to be I will instruct other believers and non-believers alike to be alert to the influence of false teachers.

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – All Who Win Souls Are Wise

 

“Godly men are growing a tree that bears life-giving fruit, and all who win souls are wise” (Proverbs 11:30).

I have never led anyone to Christ, and I never shall.

However, I have had the privilege of praying with thousands of people who have received Christ as a result of my witness.

When a person receives Christ, it is the work of the Holy Spirit. That is why I cannot boast over much fruit or be discouraged over little fruit.

The responsibility for fruit belongs to the Holy Spirit who works in and through the believer, producing fruit and changing the lives of those who respond favorably to our witness.

The power of our Lord Jesus Christ is available to all who trust and obey Him. We need to “understand how incredibly great His power is to help those who believe Him.”

The Lord Jesus commissioned the disciples to go into all the world and preach the gospel, with the promise that He would always be with them.

Bible Reading: Proverbs 11:24-31

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Today I will consciously draw upon the supernatural resources of the Holy Spirit to obey God’s commands for holy living and fruitful witnessing.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – The Right Priorities

 

“Constantly remind the people about these laws, and you yourself must think about them every day and every night so that you will be sure to obey all of them. For only then will you succeed” (Joshua 1:8).

Jim was a driven man. He loved his wife and his four children. But the thing that consumed almost every waking thought was, “How can I be a greater success? How can I earn the praise of men?”

Through neglect his family began to disintegrate, and he came to me for counsel. His wife was interested in another man; he was alienated from his children. Three were involved in drugs and one had attempted suicide twice.

“Where have I gone wrong?” Jim asked.

I reminded him of the Scripture, “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?”

According to Scripture, a man’s priorities are first, to love God with all his heart, his soul and his mind, and then to love his neighbor as himself. Since his closest neighbors are his wife and children, his second priority is his wife. A good marriage takes the Ephesians 5:25 kind of love. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church,” a sacrificial, giving love.

The third priority is his children. He must show love to them, not by giving them things, but by giving them himself, spending time with them, letting them know they are far more important to him than his business.

A man must love his wife and children unconditionally as God loves him – not when, if, or because they are good and deserve to be loved.

And the fourth priority I discussed with Jim was his business. A man’s business must be dedicated to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jim surrendered his life to Christ. After almost three years of implementing the Bible’s priorities, Jim’s family again was united in the love of Christ, and God had given Jim and his wife a new-found love for Himself and for each other.

The law of God is clear: When we disobey Him, he disciplines us as a loving father and mother discipline their child, and when we obey Him, He will bless us.

Bible Reading: James 2:-8

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  I will seek to please the Lord in all that I do, knowing that I will experience His blessings when I obey Him, and His discipline when I disobey Him.

Our Daily Bread — Fantastic Offers

 

1 Peter 1:3-9

[God’s] abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus. —1 Peter 1:3

I am amazed at the unbelievable offers that flood my e-mail box every day. Recently, I added up the offers of free money that came to me in a week, and my “take” totaled $26 million. But each of those offers was a fraud. Every one—from a $1 million prize to a $7 million offer—was nothing but a lie sent by unscrupulous people to squeeze money from me.

We’re all vulnerable to fantastic offers—to scams that in reality pay off with nothing but trouble. We are offered false hope that ends in dashed dreams.

There is one offer, however, that is genuine, though fantastic beyond belief. It’s the offer God makes to us—salvation through faith in Jesus’ finished work on the cross: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). It is an offer that cost Him greatly—and we get the benefits. The book of Romans tells us, “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification” (4:25 NIV).

By saying yes to salvation, we can have hope (Titus 1:2), peace (Rom. 5:1), forgiveness (Eph. 1:7), incomparable riches (2:7), and redemption (4:30). This is the real deal. Jesus’ death and resurrection guarantees it. —Dave Branon

Amazing love! How can it be

That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

Amazing love! How can it be

That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

—John Wesley. © 1951 Singspiration

Our salvation was infinitely costly to God, but it is absolutely free to us.

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Unhindered

 

My high school band director was adamant about many things, but none so much as what he called the obligatory rule of good musicianship. That is, the two most important notes in any musical composition are the first and the last. “The audience might forgive you for what comes in the middle,” he would say, “but they will forget neither your very first impression nor your final remark.”

The last word of the book of Acts in the Greek New Testament is the word akolutos. The word literally means “unhindered,” though many translations render it with multiple words. Others move the word from its final position for the sake of syntax. In both cases, I think something is lost in translation. Luke was intentionally making a statement with this last word of his two volume testimony to the life of Jesus Christ. I think he intended readers to pause at the conclusion of his words, leaving us with the provocative thought of a gospel that is unhindered. After the stories of Jesus’s ministry were told, after recollections of his death and ruminations of his resurrection, after Jesus’s ascension and the church’s beginnings, after all the resistance, disappointment, and surprises along the way, Luke concludes, “Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, unhindered” (Acts 28:30-31).

Through prisons and angry crowds, the book of Acts traces the birth and growth of the early church. The book begins with a few hundred believers in Christ and a collective will to be his witnesses in Jerusalem, in Judea and Samaria, and to all the ends of the earth. Opposition to this witness is described at every turn. Persecution, beatings, death, and imprisonment all threatened the voice of the early church and ultimately the spread of the gospel itself. But in spite of all this, Luke epitomizes the history of the early church and the spread of the gospel by boldly describing the progression of God’s kingdom as going forth without so much as the slightest of hindrances. The Good News of God to all the world, he seems to want the world to remember, goes forth in power.

For any man or woman who will hear his testimony, Luke wants to conclude his eyewitness account with the dimension of the gospel that is most striking—namely, that these evidences are far from the end of the story. Luke wants hearers to be well aware that eyewitnesses to the power of the kingdom will go well beyond his own eyes, his stories, his lifetime; your eyes, your stories, your lifetime. Though variant theologies and distorted gospels will abound, though the world will delight in yet another conspiracy theory that promises to be the downfall of Christianity, the great narration of God’s kingdom will go forth unhindered. For the Christian, this means we need not live defeated by every emerging plot to undermine Christ. And for the one who has yet to accept him, it is continually and powerfully an invitation. Won’t you consider living into a victory like his, walking further up and farther into the great unhindered kingdom of God?

Luke begins on a note intent on crescendo: “Many have undertaken to set down an orderly account of the events that have been fulfilled among us” (Luke 1:1). He sets out to sing the beginnings of the early church and the work of God from the very start to the ends of time. He wants to be clear that we are invited to be a part of a story that will not fade away. Despite all appearances, despite dim turns in melody, the gospel was and will continue to be Good News that resounds without hindrance. No person or power can thwart the resonant sounds of the kingdom Jesus proclaimed, for it is moved by a Spirit who presses it ever-onward, ringing invitingly into the unexpected places of the world. The redemptive song of Christ and the Spirit who enables creation to add its praise will continue to move forth, unhindered.

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

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – No Darkness in Him

 

“This is the message God has given us to pass on to you: That God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. So if we say we are His friends, but go on living in spiritual darkness and sin, we are lying. But if we are living in the light of God’s presence, just as Christ does, then we have wonderful fellowship and joy with each other, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from every sin” (1 John 1:5-7).

One of the first passages of Scripture that I memorized as a new Christian was the first chapter of 1 John. This passage has been a beacon to me through the years as a simple reminder that in God is light and the only reason that I do not live perpetually in that light is because at times I deliberately sin.

Steve had lost his joy and enthusiasm for Christ, and as a new Christian was perplexed. He could not understand what had happened to him. As we counseled together, it became apparent that he had allowed some of his old natural habit patterns to creep back into his life.

I suggested that he make a list of all the things that were wrong in his life and confess them to the Lord in accordance with 1 John 1:9. A few days later, with joyful enthusiasm he came to share with me how his heart had been kindled afresh with the love of God as he was now walking in the light as God is in the light, having wonderful fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

How does one walk in the light? Do not tolerate unconfessed sin. Meditate upon the Word of God. Spend time in prayer talking to God and letting Him talk to you. Share your faith in Christ with others. Obey the commandments of God.

Are you walking in the light as God is in the light? Are you experiencing the joy of the Lord? Are you constrained by the love of Christ to share Him with others?

Bible Reading: I John 1:6-10

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  I shall always seek to walk in the light as God is in the light in order that I may experience wonderful fellowship with my Lord. When I find myself walking in darkness, I shall pause to confess my sins and by faith claim God’s forgiveness and cleansing so that I may be restored to once again walk in the light with God.

John MacArthur – Christ Is Our Peace

 

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matt. 5:9).

After World War II the United Nations was created to promote world peace. But since its inception in 1945 there has not been a single day of global peace. That’s a sad commentary on man’s inability to make peace. In fact, someone once quipped that Washington D.C. has so many peace monuments because they build one after every war!

It hasn’t always been that way. Prior to the Fall of man peace reigned on the earth because all creation was in perfect harmony with its Creator. But sin interrupted peace by alienating man from God and bringing a curse upon the earth. Man couldn’t know true peace because he had no peace in his heart. That’s why Jesus came to die.

I once read a story about a couple at a divorce hearing whose conflict couldn’t be resolved. They had a four-year-old boy who became distressed and teary-eyed over what was happening. While the couple was arguing, the boy reached for his father’s hand and his mother’s hand and pulled until he joined them.

In a sense that’s what Christ did: He provided the righteousness that allows man and God to join hands. Romans 5:1 says that those who are justified by faith have peace with God through the Lord Jesus Christ. Colossians 1:20 says that God reconciled all things to Himself through the blood of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.

Yet on the surface, the scene at the cross wasn’t peaceful at all. Pain, sorrow, humiliation, hatred, mockery, darkness, and death were oppressively pervasive, but through it all Christ was doing what He alone could do: making peace between man and God. He paid the supreme price to give us that precious gift.

In the future, Jesus will return as Prince of Peace to establish a kingdom of peace that will usher us into an eternal age of peace. In the meantime He reigns over the hearts of all who love Him. Let His peace reign in your heart today!

Suggestions for Prayer:

Thank God for the peace of heart that comes from knowing Christ.

For Further Study:

Read Philippians 4:6-9. What must a person do to know God’s peace?

Charles Spurgeon – The carnal mind

 

“The carnal mind is enmity against God.” Romans 8:7

Suggested Further Reading: Romans 5:6-11

Let me suppose an impossible case for a moment. Let me imagine a man entering heaven without a change of heart. He comes within the gates. He hears a sonnet. He starts! It is to the praise of his enemy. He sees a throne, and on it sits one who is glorious; but it is his enemy. He walks streets of gold, but those streets belong to his enemy. He sees hosts of angels; but those are the servants of his enemy. He is in an enemy’s house; for he is at enmity with God. He could not join the song, for he would not know the tune. There he would stand; silent, motionless; till Christ should say, with a voice louder than ten thousand thunders, “What doest thou here? Enemies at a marriage banquet? Enemies in the children’s house? Enemies in heaven? Get thee gone! Depart ye cursed, into everlasting fire in hell!” Oh! sirs, if the unregenerate man could enter heaven, I mention once more the oft-repeated saying of Whitefield, he would be so unhappy in heaven, that he would ask God to let him run down into hell for shelter. There must be a change, if you consider the future state; for how can enemies to God ever sit down at the banquet of the Lamb? And to conclude, let me remind you—and it is in the text after all—that this change must be worked by a power beyond your own. An enemy may possibly make himself a friend, but enmity cannot. If it be but an adjunct of his nature to be an enemy he may change himself into a friend; but if it is the very essence of his existence to be enmity, positive enmity, enmity cannot change itself. No, there must be something done more than we can accomplish.

For meditation: The Lord Jesus Christ has done for us much more than he commanded his disciples to do for their enemies (Luke 6:27-28).

Sermon no. 20

21 April (Preached 22 April 1855)

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – All Men Know What God Wants Them to Do

 

“But this is the new agreement I will make with the people of Israel, says the Lord: I will write my laws in their minds so that they will know what I want them to do without My even telling them, and these laws will be in their hearts so that they will want to obey them, and I will be their God and they shall be my people” (Hebrews 8:10).

Harry boasted that he was an atheist, that he could not believe in God – that there was no such thing as right and wrong. But as we counseled together, it became apparent that he lived a very immoral life, and the only way he could justify his conduct was to rationalize away the existence of God.

This he was unable to do. As God’s Word reminds us, His law is written in our minds, so that we will know what He wants us to do without His even telling us.

A very honest, frank, straightforward counseling session helped Harry to see that he was living a lie, a life of deceit and shame. All of this resulted in making him a very miserable person until he surrendered his life to Christ and became an honest, authentic, transparent disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Bible says that the mind of natural man is essentially disgusting (Ezekiel 23:17-22), despiteful (Ezekiel 36:5), depraved (Romans 1:28), hardened (2 Corinthians 3:14), hostile (Colossians 1:21) and defiled (Titus 1:15).

In contrast, the Scriptures show that the mind of the Christian is willing (1 Chronicles 28:9), is at peace (Romans 8:6), is renewed (Romans 12: 2), can know Christ’s mind (I. Corinthians 2:16) and can be obedient (Hebrews 8:10).

Our minds are susceptible to the influence of our old sin- nature and, as such, can pose some dangers to us. As soon as we get out of step spiritually with the Holy Spirit and get our focus off the Lord, our minds begin to give us trouble.

Bible Reading: Hebrews 8:7-13

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  Claiming by faith the help of the Holy Spirit, I will discipline my mind to think God’s thoughts as expressed in His holy, inspired Word. In this way, I can be assured of knowing and doing His perfect will.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Inner Strengthening

 

“That out of His glorious, unlimited resources He will give you the mighty inner strengthening of His Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 3:16).

In Christ are all the attributes and characteristics promised to His children as the fruit of the Spirit. And the Holy Spirit was given to glorify Christ.

Do you need love?

The Lord Jesus Christ is the incarnation of love. Paul prays that our roots may “go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love; and may you be able to feel and understand, as all God’s children should, how long, how wide, how deep and how high His love really is; and to experience this love for yourselves (though it is so great that you will never see the end of it, or fully know or understand it”) (Ephesians 3:17-19).

Do you need peace?

Christ is the “Prince of Peace.” “I am leaving you with a gift,” said Jesus, “peace of mind and heart! And the peace I give isn’t fragile like the peace the world gives” (John 14:27).

Do you need joy?

Christ is joy.

Do you need patience?

Christ is patience.

Do you need wisdom?

Christ is wisdom.

Are you in need of material possessions so that you can better serve Christ?

They are available in Him, for God owns “the cattle on a thousand hills,” and He promised to supply all our needs (Philippians 4:19).

All that we need is to be found in Christ and nowhere else. The supernatural life is Christ, for in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.

Bible Reading: Ephesians 3:17-21

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  Knowing that God’s unlimited resources make possible the mighty inner strengthening in my life, I shall focus my attention upon Him through reading His inspired Word and obeying His commands.

 

Our Daily Bread — Keep It Simple

 

2 Corinthians 1:12-14

We are not writing any other things to you than what you [can] read or understand. —2 Corinthians 1:13

James Madison, fourth president of the United States, was instrumental in the drafting of the US constitution. He warned against creating laws “so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood.” Based on some of the complicated government forms I’ve read, that’s advice that still needs to be heeded a little more often!

Sometimes when sharing the gospel, we make it more complicated than it needs to be. We can be glad that the Bible presents the good news of salvation in clear, easily understood language. Jesus said to Nicodemus, an educated Pharisee, that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). He later said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (14:6). The apostle Paul said it in straightforward language to the jailor in Philippi who asked how to be saved: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).

God’s precious love story is simple. He sent His Son to rescue us from sin and death. Wonderful news that even children can understand. —Dave Egner

Tell me the story of Jesus,

Write on my heart every word;

Tell me the story most precious,

Sweetest that ever was heard. —Crosby

Through faith in Christ, we receive God’s pardon and escape sin’s penalty.

Greg Laurie – Born Twice, Die Once

 

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God—Romans 5:1–2

If you are born once, you will die twice. If you are born twice, you will die once. By “born once,” I mean the physical birth. By “born twice,” I mean a physical birth as well as a spiritual birth in which you are born again, spiritually putting your faith in Christ.

Just as there are two births, the Bible teaches there are two deaths: one is physical, and the other is spiritual. Jesus warned that we are to fear the second death more than the first one.

Revelation 20:14 tells us, “Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.” The second death is mentioned again in Revelation 21:8, which says, “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” The second death is hell.

One commentator wrote, “The second death is the continuance of spiritual death in another and timeless existence.”

Another wrote, “Eternity to the godly is a day that has no sunset. Eternity to the wicked is a night that has no sunrise.”

Jesus spoke of hell in a very specific way. He warned of the fire of hell (see Matthew 5:22). He warned about our bodies being thrown into hell (see Matthew 5:29). And He spoke of the soul and the body being destroyed in hell (see Matthew 10:28).

The Bible teaches that all Christians—defined as sinners who have been converted by putting their faith in Jesus Christ—will be in heaven. And that offer of forgiveness is for everyone.

Your eternal destination is really your choice. Not everyone will be saved in the end—only those who put their faith in Jesus Christ.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – The Holy Spirit Enlightens

 

“But the man who isn’t a Christian can’t understand and can’t accept these thoughts from God, which the Holy Spirit teaches us. They sound foolish to him, because only those who have the Holy Spirit within them can understand what the Holy Spirit means. Others just can’t take it in” (1 Corinthians 2:14).

Though I have been a Christian for more than 35 years, I still have much to learn. I am far from perfect. And I do not ever expect to be – in this lifetime. Only our Lord Jesus Christ was without sin.

However, I know from experience that the more time I spend with God through reading, studying, memorizing and meditating on His Word, with the help of the Holy Spirit to interpret God’s truth to me, the more I become like our Lord Jesus Christ, God’s Son.

When you spend time daily in Bible reading and study, your life will change. After reading God’s Word consistently for several months, you will be amazed by the things God has done in your life.

How can we understand the Bible? How can we experience its life-changing influence in our lives?

The non-believer and the disobedient, carnal Christian have difficulty in understanding the Bible because they must rely on their human faculties in their attempt to understand things that are of a spiritual nature in God’s Word.

As Paul writes to the church at Corinth,” …the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (KJV).

Bible Reading: I Corinthians 2:9-13

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  Since the Holy Spirit inspired holy men of old to record God’s Word, the Bible, I will ask Him to interpret God’s message to my own life, and today I will encourage someone, or several others, to depend upon the Holy Spirit and to join me in living a supernatural life for the glory of God.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – How to Gain Understanding

 

“For ever, O Lord, Thy Word is settled in heaven. Thy faithfulness is unto all generations” (Psalm 119:89,90, KJV).

A story is told of a young woman who had been informed about a famous novel. She was interested in reading it, but as she began to read the novel, she found it dry and uninteresting. She would put it down to read something else, and then she would come back and try to read it again because her friends said it was an excellent book.

Even with the high recommendations of her friends, the book just did not captivate her. Then one day she met the author. He was very handsome and personable. They became interested in each other, and she fell in love with him.

Now she could hardly wait to read the novel. It was the most exciting book she had ever read, for she had fallen in love with the author.

This is what happens with the Scriptures when we love the Author, the Lord Jesus Christ.

During my years of skepticism and agnosticism, I found the Bible very dry and difficult to read and I believed it was filled with “all kinds of errors and inconsistencies.” Then after becoming a Christian I began to read the Bible again. It was a completely different book, filled with exciting, life-changing truth. All the “errors and contradictions” were gone.

Why the difference? The non-believer or disobedient Christian does not understand spiritual truth (1 Corinthians 2:14). The Spirit-filled believer is taught by the Holy Spirit, who illumines the truth which He revealed to the original authors as recorded in the Bible.

Bible Reading: Psalm 119:129-136

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  I will ask God to give me a love for His holy, inspired Word. Then things that happen in my life which I do not understand will be made clear as I go to the source of all true understanding, the Word of God.

Greg Laurie – Saved!

 

Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.

—Romans 5:9

The Philippian jailer asked Paul and Silas, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

The answer Paul and Silas gave him is very important: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved . . .” (Acts 16:31).

What does that mean? The word “believe” does not merely mean intellectual assent, acknowledging there is a God, or even that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. To believe, in a biblical sense, is much more than that, because the Bible says that “even the demons believe—and tremble!” (James 2:19). Demons acknowledge the existence of God, but they don’t trust in Him.

To believe means to hold on to, to cling to. It also means to let go of. So in the Bible, belief speaks of both letting go of one thing and taking hold of another. We let go of our sin and take hold of Christ, and Christ alone, to save us. It is not Christ—plus good works that we do—that saves us. Rather, it is just Christ.

I read an article about the pastor of a megachurch who said that he doesn’t believe pastors should use the word “saved” anymore in their preaching because people don’t understand it. But I think “saved” is a great word, and I will keep using it because it is in the Bible.

I also think “saved” is a fairly self-explanatory term. When someone gets caught in a riptide and a lifeguard pulls him out, we say the lifeguard saved him. And “saved” is the perfect word to use when we talk about conversion, because before we put our trust in Christ, we were headed to eternal judgment.

So when we say that we are saved, that is the perfect word.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – His Power to Change

 

“But our homeland is in heaven, where our Savior the Lord Jesus Christ is; and we are looking forward to His return from there. When He comes back He will take these dying bodies of ours and change them into glorious bodies like His own, using the same mighty power that He will use to conquer all else everywhere” (Philippians 3:20,21).

George Gallup, Jr., a deeply religious and dear personal friend, has just completed a very important survey asking people, in face-to-face, in-depth interviews, key questions about heaven and hell and other aspects about life beyond death.

One result indicated that two-thirds of all American adults – or 100 million people – believe in an after-life. But what was surprising, said Gallup, was that about 15 percent of those surveyed in one poll indicated they had had an unusual near-death experience – seeing figures or objects that beckoned them to a world beyond life on earth.

Dwight L. Moody caught a glimpse of the glory awaiting him a few hours before leaving this earth for his heavenly mansion.

“Earth recedes, heaven opens before me,” he said, awakening from a sleep. “If this is death, it is sweet. There is no valley here. God is calling me, and I must go.”

A son stood by his bedside. “No, no, father,” he said, “you are dreaming.”

“No,” said Moody, “I am not dreaming. I have been within the gates. I have seen the children’s faces.”

A short time passed, then followed what his family thought to be the death struggle. “This is my triumph,” Moody said. “This is my coronation day. It is glorious!”

Nothing in that true story contradicts Scripture in any way. One of God’s choice saints simply had a foretaste of his heavenly home, related for our joy and encouragement and edification.

Bible Reading: John 14:1-6

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  Realizing afresh that my homeland is in heaven with my Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, and that the time of my departure from this earth is unknown but certain, I shall take advantage of every opportunity to encourage others to be ready for their time of departure, as I prepare for my own.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Share His Treasures

 

“For His Holy Spirit speaks to us deep in our hearts, and tells us that we really are God’s children. And since we are His children, we will share His treasures – for all God gives to His Son Jesus is now ours too. But if we are to share His glory, we must also share His suffering” (Romans 8:16,17).

You may cringe, as I do, at the thought of suffering for Jesus. As He reminds us in Mark 10, anything we ever give up for Him will be given to us a hundred times over, with persecution. Quite frankly, I have never relished the thought of being persecuted. Yet, again and again, in my own experience I have known the reality of that supernatural presence of God, that peace that passes all understanding, during times of suffering and persecution.

Our Lord Himself, knowing that He was on His way to the cross, spoke of peace, love and joy more than at any other time in His ministry. The apostle Paul knew all kinds of suffering. He was in prison frequently; he was beaten, and he finally died as a martyr for his faith. Yet, even while in prison, he wrote of joy and peace – “Count it all joy,” he said. “Rejoice ever more.”

Philippians 3:10 records the desire of his heart: “That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death” (KJV). Apart from the fellowship of His sufferings, Paul knew that he would never mature and become like the Lord Jesus Christ. “Adversity is the touchstone of character.”

All men suffer; however, the disobedient Christians and the unbelievers suffer far more than the obedient, Spirit-filled Christians, because most of the problems of life are self- imposed and when they suffer, they suffer alone, for they are on their own. But the Spirit-filled, obedient, faithful servant of God always knows the reality of God’s faithfulness.

Bible Reading: Romans 8:18-23

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  Since it is my desire to be conformed to the image of Christ, to share His glory and His treasure. I will gladly share His suffering, knowing that He will be with me, ministering to me, caring for me, enveloping me with His love and peace. And I will share this word of encouragement with others who may not understand the faithfulness of God.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – The Only Way

 

“Jesus told him, ‘I am the Way – yes, and the Truth and the life. No one can get to the Father except by means of Me'” (John 14:6).

Dr. Bob Pierce, founder of World Vision, was conducting a great city-wide campaign in Tokyo and asked me to be in charge of the student phase of the crusade. So day after day, for more than a month, I spoke to thousands of students on many campuses, presenting the claims of Christ and challenging the students to receive Him as their Savior and Lord.

Many thousands responded, but occasionally a student would object and say that Jesus had no relevance for the Japanese – that Christianity is for the Westerner, not for the Asian. They were surprised when I reminded them that Jesus was born and reared in and carried out His ministry in the Middle East and that He was in many ways closer to them culturally and geographically that He was to me.

I reminded them, and I want to remind you, that though the Lord Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem and grew up in Nazareth, in what is now Israel, He came to this world to die for all people in all lands.

The Scripture reminds us, “Whosoever will may come.” In addition to coming to Him for salvation, Christians have the privilege of coming to God the Father a thousand times, and more, each day in prayer in the name of Jesus. This is because He is our mediator, unlike anyone else who has ever lived – Mohammed, Buddha, Confucius. No other religious leader died for us and was raised from the dead.

Jesus alone can bridge the great chasm between the holiness of God and the sinfulness of man, because He personally has paid the penalty for our sins. God proved His love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still in our sins.

Bible Reading: John 14:1-5

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Today I will ask the Holy Spirit to examine my heart to see if there be any wicked way in me, so that I can confess and turn from my sin. I will visualize our mediator – the Lord Jesus Christ – seated at the right hand of God making intercession for me. I will also ask the Lord to lead me today to someone who does not yet know our Savior, that I may share with him or her the most joyful news ever announced.

Charles Stanley – Genuine Justification

 

Romans 3:23-26

Jesus’ death was central to God’s plan of salvation. Scripture tells us the Son of Man had to be lifted up and all who trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior would be saved.(John 3:14-16) The cross was essential for God to accomplish His desire for us—that we would be redeemed and have a personal relationship with Him for all eternity.

Every one of us has violated God’s law, and justice requires that a penalty be paid. When we labor for the Lord and serve Him faithfully, we want Him to be just in rewarding us. But what about when we transgress against Him? We have a sin debt that must be paid, and because He is perfect and just, God cannot simply overlook offenses—atonement must be made.

In order for us to have a close personal relationship with God, there must be a way for imperfect, sin-stained man to approach the perfect, holy Creator. Therefore, the Father provided a substitute—His Son Jesus Christ—who took it upon Himself to pay our penalty. If we accept that payment on our behalf, God declares us no longer guilty, reconciling us to Himself so we can enjoy a right relationship with Him eternally (Rom. 8:6-10). There is no justification apart from the blood of Jesus Christ.

To be justified means to be declared “no longer guilty.” With His death on the cross, Jesus paid the price for our reconciliation. Through His shed blood, we are now sanctified. If we accept this priceless gift, it enables us to enjoy communion with Almighty God in this life and the next.