Tag Archives: love

Alistair Begg – Approaching Rebuke

Alistair Begg

You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people. . . . You shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him.

Leviticus 19:16-17

Slander emits a threefold poison, for it injures the teller, the hearer, and the person who is being slandered. Whether the report is true or false, we are by this precept of God’s Word forbidden to spread it.

The reputations of the Lord’s people should be very precious in our sight, and we should regard it as shameful to help the devil dishonor the church and the name of the Lord. Some tongues need a bridle rather than a spur.

Many rejoice in putting down their brothers and sisters, as if in doing so they raised themselves. Noah’s wise sons cast a covering over their father, and the one who exposed him earned a fearful curse.

We may ourselves one of these dark days need leniency and silence from our family; let us offer it cheerfully to those who require it now. Let this be our family motto, and our personal bond: Speak evil of no man.

The Holy Spirit, however, permits us to censure sin and prescribes the way in which we are to do it. It must be done by rebuking our brother to his face, not by talking behind his back.

This approach is manly, brotherly, Christlike, and under God’s blessing will be useful.

Do we shy away from it? Then we must lay the greater stress upon our conscience and commit ourselves to the responsibility, in case by tolerating sin in our friend we become partakers of it.

Hundreds have been saved from gross sins by the timely, wise, affectionate warnings of faithful friends and family. Our Lord Jesus has set us a gracious example of how to deal with erring friends in His warning given to Peter, the prayer with which He preceded it, and the gentle way in which He endured Peter’s boastful denial that he needed such a caution.

 

Charles Spurgeon – The warning neglected

CharlesSpurgeon

“He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him.” Ezekiel 33:5

Suggested Further Reading: Haggai 1:1-6

Men have got time. It is the want of will, not want of way. You have time, sir, have you not, despite all your business, to spend in pleasure? You have time to read your newspaper—have you not time to read your Bible? You have time to sing a song—have you no time to pray a prayer? Why, you know when farmer Brown met farmer Smith in the market one day, he said to him, “Farmer Smith, I can’t think how it is you find time for hunting. Why, man, what with sowing and mowing and reaping and ploughing, and all that, my time is so fully occupied on my farm, that I have no time for hunting.” “Ah,” said he, “Brown, if you liked hunting as much as I do, if you could not find time, you’d make it.” And so it is with religion, the reason why men cannot find time for it is, because they do not like it well enough. If they liked it, they would find time. And besides, what time does it want? What time does it require? Can I not pray to God over my ledger? Can I not snatch a text at my breakfast, and think over it all day? May I not even when I am busy in the affairs of the world, be thinking of my soul, and casting myself upon a Redeemer’s blood and atonement? It wants no time. There may be some time required; some time for my private devotions, and for communion with Christ, but when I grow in grace, I shall think it right to have more and more time, the more I can possibly get, the happier I shall be, and I shall never make the excuse that I have not time.

For meditation: How much time do you make to spend alone with God each day? What do you do with him for the rest of the day? (Colossians 3:23).

Sermon no. 165

29 November (1857)

 

John MacArthur – Conquering in Conflict

John MacArthur

“By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they had been encircled for seven days” (Heb. 11:30).

Forty years had lapsed since the Israelites refused to enter the Promised Land. That unbelieving generation had perished in the wilderness. Now Joshua was leading a new generation into the land. The first obstacle they faced was Jericho–a well- fortified city that was near the mouth of the Jordan River.

Some city walls of that day were wide enough at the top to allow two chariots to ride side-by-side. That was probably true of Jericho because of its strategic location. That, coupled with the caliber of its army, made the city virtually impregnable– especially to unsophisticated Israelites, who lacked military training.

But what is impossible for man is easy for God. And the stage was set for Him to demonstrate His power and for the Israelites to demonstrate their faith and humility.

One can only imagine how embarrassed the Hebrew people felt as they marched around Jericho once a day for six days. That certainly is not your typical military strategy. But on the seventh day, after marching around the city seven times with the priests blowing their rams’ horns, the priests gave one final blast, the people all shouted out loud, and the walls of the city collapsed (Josh. 6:20). Faith had reduced a formidable obstacle to a crumbled ruin.

Can you identify some spiritual obstacles you’ve faced recently? How did you handle them? You’ll always have them to deal with in your Christian walk, but don’t fret. See them as opportunities to exercise faith and see God’s power on display in your life. Continue to trust the Lord and demonstrate your faith by courageously doing what He has called you to do.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Ask God to help you humbly trust in God’s power when you face spiritual conflicts.

For Further Study:

Read about the conquest of Jericho in Joshua 6:1-21. Note each occasion where the people obeyed one of Joshua’s commands without hesitation.

 

 

Joyce Meyer – Defeating Doubt

Joyce meyer

And take the helmet of salvation and the sword that the Spirit wields, which is the Word of God.

—Ephesians 6:17

There was a man who was sick and who was confessing the Word over his body, quoting healing scriptures, and believing for his healing to manifest. While doing so, he was intermittently attacked with thoughts of doubt. After he had gone through a hard time and was beginning to get discouraged, God opened his eyes to the spirit world. This is what he saw: a demon speaking lies to him, telling him that he was not going to get healed and that confessing the Word was not going to work. But he also saw that each time he confessed the Word, light would come out of his mouth like a sword, and the demon would cower and fall backward.

As God showed him this vision, the man then understood why it was so important to keep speaking the Word. He saw that he did have faith, which is why the demon was attacking him with doubt. Doubt is not something God puts in us. The Bible says that God gives every man a measure of faith (SEE ROMANS 12:3 KJV).

God has placed faith in our heart, but the devil tries to negate our faith by attacking us with doubt. Doubt comes in the form of thoughts that are in opposition to the Word of God. This is why it is so important for us to know the Word of God. If we know the Word, then we can recognize when the devil is lying to us. Then we can speak the Word and get the upper hand over doubt.

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Just as He Promised

dr_bright

“God, who called you to become His child, will do all this for you, just as He promised” (1 Thessalonians 5:24).

Have you ever substituted your own name in a promise like that? I have, and the result is staggering, overwhelming. “God, who called Bill Bright to become His child, will do all this for me, just as He promised.”

Include your name in the verse, and the effect will be the same for you. It is incredible that before the very foundation of the world God chose and called you and me to become His children. His foreknowledge makes possible many of the mysteries we puzzle over today.

Your sanctification (setting apart) – and mine – depends upon God, and since He has begun a good work in us, He will see it through to completion. God requires holiness (another word for sanctification) and He is the resource upon whom we may call for accomplishment of that requirement.

While it is true we will never be completely and totally holy in this life, it is equally true that provision is made for us to be holy. Every moment that you and I are under the control of God’s Holy Spirit, is a moment that we are holy! Looked at in that light, the task of acquiring holiness does not seem so impossible to attain.

The principle is clear: God never gives a command without the enablement to obey it.

Bible Reading: 2 Thessalonians 3:3-5

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will see myself as a child of God, the beneficiary of His multitudinous blessings, capable of living a supernatural life and bearing fruit for His glory through His enablement

 

 

Greg Laurie – The Antidote to Wandering

greglaurie

Remembering to Say Thanks

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way . . . — Isaiah 53:6

King David stands as the prime example of someone who lost their first love. We remember him rightfully as the man after God’s own heart—but we also remember David as a murderer and an adulterer.

We may ask the question, how could one who was known for his devotion to God fall so horribly? What were the steps that led to his demise?

David’s steps to losing his first love were subtle—but very real. When David sat on his rooftop watching Bathsheba bathe on that fateful night, he was not walking with the Lord as he once had.

We read earlier in the psalms how David possessed this great devotion and passion for God. But at this particular point in his life, we don’t read of him worshipping or singing love songs to God. David was spiritually idle.

The Bible says that “at the time when kings go out to battle” (2 Samuel 11:1), King David was sitting on his housetop. He was resting on his laurels.

When you stop progressing spiritually, you will soon be a train wreck waiting to happen. We must recognize that deep in our nature we all have a natural tendency to wander.

It is no coincidence that God compares us to wandering sheep. That is our natural tendency. And as an old hymn says, “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love.” We are prone to wander.

So the first love Jesus speaks of in Revelation 2:5 is the very thing that will counteract our wandering. Our first love exists as the antidote to the wandering spirit we have. That passion is what keeps us engaged in our relationship with God.

If you make Jesus your first love, everything else will fall into its proper balance.

 

 

Max Lucado – Declare His Glory

Max Lucado

Look around. People thrash about in seas of guilt, anger, despair. Life isn’t working.  We’re drowning fast. But God can rescue us. And only one message matters.  His!  We need to see God’s glory.

Make no mistake.  God has no ego problem. He doesn’t reveal His glory for His good. We need to witness it for ours. We need a strong hand to pull us into a safe boat. And once aboard, what becomes our priority?

Simple. Promote God. We declare, “Hey, strong boat over here!  Able pilot! He can pull you out!”

1 Chronicles 16:24 says, “Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous deeds among all peoples.” If we boast at all, we boast in the Lord!

Psalm 115:1 says, “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Your name give glory because of Your lovingkindness, because of Your truth.”

Declare His glory!

From When God Whispers Your Name

Charles Stanley – Overflowing with Gratitude

Charles Stanley

Colossians 2:6-8

The meaning of Thanksgiving has changed over the years. The name was given to our national holiday dedicated to thanking God for His protection and provision. More recently, though, ithas become synonymous with feasting, football, and family. In most homes, God probably isn’t even mentioned. But for believers, Thanksgiving is not simply a day; it’s a lifestyle. In fact, a godly person should be characterized by gratitude.

The apostle Paul teaches how we can become people who overflow with gratefulness in any circumstance. The first step is to appreciate our relationship with Christ. He chose each believer before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4) and wants us to “walk in Him” (Col. 2:6). This means acknowledging Jesus as Lord of our life and relying on Him to empower us to obey.

Next, we are to be firmly rooted in Him. This can happen only when we tap into His Word and draw nourishment from it. Then we’ll be like a tree whose roots reach down so deep that even storms cannot topple it. With this foundation, we can be built up in Christ and increasingly display His character in our attitudes, conduct, and conversation.

Finally, our faith needs to be firmly established. Then we won’t fall prey to worldly philosophies and deceptions.

Do you have a grateful spirit, or do you say “thanks” only when things are going your way? Thankfulness in all situations is possible only when you focus on the truths and promises of God’s Word. As you learn to see life from His perspective and acknowledge His loving lordship, you’ll overflow with appreciation.

 

Our Daily Bread — How To Enjoy Things

Our Daily Bread

Ecclesiastes 5:13-20

As for every man . . . to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor—this is the gift of God. —Ecclesiastes 5:19

In his book Daring To Draw Near, Dr. John White writes that several years earlier God had made it possible for him to acquire a lovely home with many luxuries. His feelings about the house fluctuated dramatically.

When he reminded himself that it was a gracious gift from God, he felt joy and thanksgiving. But when he would begin to compare it with those of his friends, he would feel proud because he had such a fine house and his joy would evaporate. His home would actually become a burden. All he could see were the many hedges and trees to care for and the endless odd jobs to do. White said, “While vanity clouds my eyes and burdens my heart, gratitude clears my vision and lightens my load.”

The writer of Ecclesiastes saw God at every turn in the enjoyment of material things. The power to eat the fruits of our labors and even the strength to receive and rejoice in them is from Him (5:18-19).

From beginning to end, all of life is a continuous gift-giving by God. We deserve nothing. He owes us nothing. Yet He gives us everything. If we remember this, we need not feel selfish or guilty. Whatever material blessings we have are a gift from our gracious God. —Dennis J. DeHaan

Ten thousand thousand precious gifts

My daily thanks employ;

Nor is the least a cheerful heart,

That tastes those gifts with joy. —Addison

God, who has given so much to us, gives one more thing—a grateful heart. —Herbert

Bible in a year: Ezekiel 33-34; 1 Peter 5

 

John MacArthur – Accepting God’s Provisions

John MacArthur

“By faith [Moses] kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood, so that he who destroyed the first-born might not touch them. By faith they passed through the Red Sea as though they were passing through dry land; and the Egyptians, when they attempted it, were drowned” (Heb. 11:28-29).

When the time came for Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, everything on the human level said it couldn’t be done. Pharaoh wasn’t about to let two to three million slaves just pack up and leave. His formidable army was ready to insure that no such exodus occurred.

But when God devises a plan, He always makes the necessary provisions for carrying it out. On this occasion, His provision came in the form of ten terrifying plagues designed to change Pharaoh’s mind.

The tenth and worst plague was the death of all the first- born (Ex. 11:5). To protect themselves from this plague, the Israelites sprinkled the blood of a lamb on the doorposts and lintels of their homes. When the angel of death saw the blood, he passed over that house. Thus the Passover was instituted.

The blood from those first Passover lambs had no intrinsic power to stave off the death angel, but its presence demonstrated faith and obedience, thus symbolizing the future sacrifice of Christ (cf. John 1:29).

Pharaoh got the message and allowed the Israelites to leave. But soon afterward he changed his mind and commanded his army to pursue them. Again God intervened by parting the Red Sea, allowing His people to walk across on dry land. He then drowned the entire Egyptian army when it followed the Israelites into the sea.

That was a graphic demonstration of a lesson every believer must learn: God’s provisions are always best. They may sometimes seem foolish to the human intellect–just as “the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness” (1 Cor. 1:18)– but the man or woman of faith trusts God and receives His provisions gratefully.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Thank God for the wise and gracious provisions He has made for your salvation and ongoing Christian walk.

For Further Study:

Read the account of the Passover and the parting of the Red Sea in Exodus 11-14.

 

Joyce Meyer – Doing the Word

Joyce meyer

But be doers of the Word [obey the message], and not merely listeners to it, betraying yourselves [into deception by reasoning contrary to the Truth].

—James 1:22

As a Christian, for a long time I didn’t understand that believers could know what God wanted them to do and then deliberately say no. I’m not talking about those who turn their backs on Jesus and want nothing to do with His salvation. I’m talking about those who disobey in the seemingly little things and don’t seem to be troubled by doing so.

In verses 23 and 24, James went on to say that if we only listen to the Word, but don’t obey it, it’s like looking at our reflection in a mirror and then going away and forgetting what we saw. But a doer of the Word, he says, is like one “who looks carefully into the faultless law, the [law] of liberty, and is faithful to it and perseveres in looking into it, being not a heedless listener who forgets but an active doer [who obeys], he shall be blessed in his doing (his life of obedience)” (v. 25).

Whenever Christians are faced with God’s Word, and it calls them to action but they refuse to obey, their own human reasoning is often the cause. They have deceived themselves into believing something other than the truth. It’s as if they think they are smarter than God.

I’ve met people who seem to think that God always wants them to feel good, and if something happens to make them feel bad, they don’t believe it is God’s will for them. Or they dismiss what they read in the Bible by saying, “That doesn’t make sense.”

One woman, referring to Paul’s instruction to “be unceasing in prayer” (1 Thessalonians 5:17), said that verse kept coming to her every time she prayed. “What do you think that means?” I asked her.

“Oh, I think it means that day in and day out, we are to pray when we feel a need or when we want something.”

Her words shocked me. “What about fellowship with the Lord?” I asked. “Isn’t that a good reason? Or maybe God just wants you to spend time reading His Word and praying about what you read.”

“I have too many things to do,” she said. “That’s fine for people who like to sit and read and pray for hours every day, but that’s not the way for me.”

In our brief conversation, I learned that her decisions about obeying God’s Word depended on whether or not it was convenient for her lifestyle. When she read things in the Bible that didn’t fit with the way she lived, she explained it to herself in such a way that she convinced herself God didn’t expect her to do that.

By contrast, I remember a very dignified woman who had been a member of a traditional church most of her life. She often spoke of the noise and confusion in charismatic churches (although she had not been to one). Then she visited one of the services where I spoke and was transformed. “I couldn’t believe that God would ask me to do something like clap my hands or sing loudly or even shout. But when I saw the joy on the faces of those in the congregation and heard you quote the Bible verse that commands us to clap our hands and shout, what else could I do? That was God speaking to me.”

She had exactly the right attitude. She didn’t try to reason it out or wonder why God commanded her to take that kind of action. She believed His Word and simply obeyed.

When the Bible speaks about obeying the Lord, it is not a suggestion. His Word doesn’t ask, “Would you like to obey?” God commands us to take action by being a doer of His Word, and when we are obedient, He promises that we will be blessed.

Dear holy Father, I thank You for the instructions found in Your Word. I may not always like what I read, and sometimes it may be difficult to follow You without hesitating, but I know it is for my good. Please help me to be always obedient and to bring glory and honor to You. Amen.

 

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – He Does the Work

dr_bright

“And I am sure the God who began the good work within you will keep right on helping you grow in His grace until His task within you is finally finished on that day when Jesus Christ returns” (Philippians 1:6).

Howard was adamant in his conviction. “I would never lead anyone to Christ that I could not personally follow up to be sure he matures and grows and becomes all that God wants him to be.”

“Since when did you assume the responsibility of the Holy Spirit?” I asked.

Obviously, we are to do everything we can to help a new believer grow to maturity in Christ – by teaching him to trust God, study His word, pray, live a holy life, and share his faith with others. But no matter how much we do, it is the Holy Spirit who helps the new believer come to Christ, and who illumines his heart with the Word. The Holy Spirit teaches us how to pray and empowers us to witness. In fact, there would be no supernatural life apart from the Holy Spirit.

Paradoxically, you and I can be confident, yet humble, when we think of all that we are, and all that we have in Christ, and realize that we are not responsible for any of it, but it is something which God has given us according to His grace. My only boast is in God, His Son Jesus Christ and His indwelling Holy Spirit. How can I boast of my abilities and achievements, when it is the Giver alone who is worthy of all honor and praise? The apostle Paul had the strong conviction that the work God had begun in the believer would be permanent. All events that transpire in our lives, all influences, heartaches, testings and sorrows, as well as all of the blessings, are designed to conform us to the image of Christ.

Bible Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:4-9

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: God, who saved me, continues to work in my life, conforming me to the image of Christ. Therefore, I will continue to trust and obey Him, as I draw upon His supernatural resources

 

Greg Laurie – Remembering to Say Thanks

greglaurie

Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! —Psalm 107:8

In the Old Testament, we find an interesting story of how King Jehoshaphat took an uncommon approach when his enemies waged war against him. Instead of sending in his army first, he sent the choir and musicians.

Imagine the scene: “All right, guys, here’s the plan today. An army is out there, armed to the teeth. So we are sending in the choir and the musicians.” If I had been a choir member or musician, I might have wondered whether the king liked our music.

But God had directed Jehoshaphat in this unusual battle tactic. We read that Jehoshaphat appointed people to sing to the Lord, praise the beauty of holiness, and go out in front of the army saying, “Praise the Lord, for His mercy endures forever” (2 Chronicles 20:21).

So that is exactly what they did. The Bible tells us that when they began to sing and praise, God sent an ambush against the enemy, and they were destroyed. God’s people were able to go into this situation giving thanks, because He was in control.

In approaching God to ask for new blessings, we should never forget to thank Him for the blessings He has already given.

Have you recently come to God for help and He came through for you? Did you come back to say “thank you”?

If we would stop and think how many of the prayers we have offered to God have been answered and how seldom we come back to God to thank Him, it just might amaze us. We should be just as deliberate in giving thanks to God as we are in asking for His help.

 

Max Lucado – You Matter to God

Max Lucado

What matters to you—matters to God! You probably think that’s true when it comes to the big stuff like death, disease, sin, and disaster. But what about the smaller things?  What about grouchy bosses or flat tires?  What about broken dishes, late flights, toothaches, or a crashed hard drive? Do these matter to God?

Let me tell you who you are! In fact, let me proclaim who you are. The Bible says you are an “heir of God and a co-heir with Christ” (Romans 8:17). You have “a crown that will last forever” (1 Cor. 9:25). You were “chosen before the creation of the world” (Eph. 1:4).

But more than anything else is the simple fact—you are God’s child. 1 John 3:1 says “we are called children of God.  And we really are His children.” I love that:  we really are His children!

If something is important to you—it’s important to God!

From Lucado Inspirational Reader

Charles Stanley – Comebacks after Setbacks

Charles Stanley

1 John 1:5-9

Whether we have recently become believers or have followed Christ for years, the Devil seeks to attack our faith and cause us to relapse into disobedient ways. We are warned to be alert because our Enemy is like a roaring lion seeking to harm us (1 Pet. 5:8).

His intentions are to enslave us to sin. When we succumb to temptation, Satan presses in to trap us so that we will feel estranged from our heavenly Father. Then the Enemy will try to convince us we cannot return to God in our current state. Some of us become so miserable that we buy into the lie and embrace the world’s ways.

Since our Father knows both the Devil’s tactics and our weaknesses, He has planned a way of escape for us. It is called confession. Genuine confession means telling the Lord what we have done and agreeing that it is wrong. Then we express sorrow over it, acknowledge inability to rescue ourselves, and declare the heartfelt desire to turn from our sin and live for Him again. God promises to forgive us and cleanse us so our fellowship with Him is restored (1 John 1:9).

The Enemy is cunning, but Scripture offers a sound strategy for avoiding entrapment: “Present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is” (Rom. 12:1-2). Notice that victory begins with your thinking. The more you apply this principle, the greater your success will be.

 

 

 

Our Daily Bread — Place Of Water

Our Daily Bread

Psalm 42:1-5

The water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. —John 4:14

East Africa is one of the driest places on earth, which is what makes “Nairobi” such a significant name for a city in that region. The name comes from a Masai phrase meaning “cold water,” and it literally means “the place of water.”

Throughout history, the presence of water has been both life-giving and strategic. Whether a person lives in a dry climate or a rainforest, water is a nonnegotiable necessity. In a dry and barren climate, knowing where to find the place of water can mean the difference between life and death.

Our spiritual life also has certain nonnegotiable elements. That is why Jesus, upon encountering a spiritually thirsty woman at a well, declared to her that He alone could provide living water. He told her, “Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14).

Like the deer mentioned in Psalm 42:1-2 who pants for water, our souls thirst for God and long for Him (63:1). We desperately need the sustenance that comes only from Jesus Christ. He is the source of living water that refreshes our hearts. —Bill Crowder

Rivers of living water,

Rivers of life so free,

Flowing from Thee, my Savior,

Send now the rivers through me. —Wood

Jesus is the fountain of living water.

Bible in a year: Ezekiel 30-32; 1 Peter 4

 

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The Appetite of Infancy

Ravi Z

I have never been so tired as I was when I stepped on that plane; neither have I been so happy for so many empty seats. I was dreaming of a two-hour nap before I even found my place. Of course, as is usually the case in situations like these, when one is intent on being anti-social and insistent on having earned the right to be so, I found myself not only with a companion, but with an animated, loquacious, first-time traveler. The young woman beside me had been a child as she watched the events of September 11th unfold and had determined then never to travel by airplane; that is, until today, when events reared a need to break her own rule. She was terrified and excited and inquisitive all at once. She also noticed things I’m fairly certain I have never noticed in all my years of travel, commenting with elation, curiosity, or confusion on every single one of them. By the time we landed, I not only had a new friend, I was wide awake to the disheartening reality of all I fail to see around me.

It would seem that repetition has a way of lulling us to sleep; monotony a way of robbing us of sight, or else leaving us in the stupor of disinterest. Real life examples are readily available. How many news stories do we need to hear about violence or suffering, racial oppression or injustice, before we fail to hear them at all? For that matter, how many stories about something small but positive do we really take in before we respond in boredom? How many times do we need to sit on an airplane or see the bird outside our window before the marvel of flight simply goes without notice? Like most adults, we learn to tolerate the repetitious by learning to operate on auto-pilot.

And yet, I am certain, even among the most skilled of auto-pilots, there was a time when we found ourselves, like every child, delighting in the monotonous, longing for another minute with grandpa, another page of the story, another trip down the slide. The incongruity is unmistakable. How can our failure to see be blamed on monotony, unconscious living attributed to the repetitive, when at one point monotony and repetition were not only tolerated but invigorating? Blindness can easily be blamed on the world around us—and there is certainly reason to consider the daily effects of all that bombards our senses—but perhaps this is too easy an answer. Perhaps the scales on our eyes are multiplied not by the many repetitions in life, but by our failure to see life in the many repetitions around us.

Jesus spoke of the kingdom as belonging to the likes of little children, and many have speculated the child’s ability to see the world with wonder as one of the reasons for it. G.K. Chesterton saw the child’s ability to revel in the monotonous as another. The children’s cry for more, reasoned Chesterton, is a quality of the very God who created them. “It is possible that God says every morning, ‘Do it again’ to the sun; and every evening, ‘Do it again’ to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we. The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical encore.”(1)

For the child on the slide or the toddler with a story, “Do it again!” is far from a cry of boredom or routine, but a cry for more of life itself. This is likewise the joy of the psalmist, the cry of the prophets, and the call of Christ: “Consider the lilies, how they grow…if God so clothes the grass of the field…how much more will he clothe you?” (Luke 12:27-28). Jesus asks the world to consider the kingdom around us like little children, and thus, something more like God—finding a presence in faithful recurrences, grace in repetition, an appetite for an incredible world in the ordinary one around us. Here, even those within the most taxing of life’s repetitions—the daily care of an aging parent, the constant burden on the shoulders of those who fight against injustice, the labor of hope in a difficult place—can find solace. “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope,” said Jeremiah in the midst of deep lament. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning…’ The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him’” (Lamentations 3:22-24, emphasis mine).

Morning by morning, the daily liturgy of new mercies comes with unapologetic repetition to all who will see it, the gift of a God who revels in the creation of yet another daisy, the encore of another sunset, the discovery of even one lost soul.

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

(1) G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1995), 65-66.

Presidential Prayer Team; C.P. – When God Whispers

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October 2, 2004, Laura Hatch went missing. Her family, friends and church searched and prayed. The night of October 9, Sha Nohr, the mom of one of Laura’s friends, dreamed of a wooded area. The next morning, with insistent urges heard by her spirit to “keep going,” she found Laura down a deep ravine, her car hidden in undergrowth. Despite no food and water and multiple injuries, Laura survived.

Thanks be to God, who put into the heart of Titus the same earnest care I have for you.

II Corinthians 8:16

A similar thing happened to Paul. The Holy Spirit dissuaded him and his missionary team from going to Asia and Bithynia, but in Troas, Paul had a dream of a Macedonian man requesting his help. Paul and his men went immediately and preached, resulting in many conversions, and after getting in trouble for delivering a girl from a demon, he testified to the whole city of Philippi.

What Christian hasn’t been going about their day when a name popped into their mind? Do not get too busy to follow God-given urges. He puts thoughts into your heart like He did for Sha Nohr – thoughts that can save lives. When you’re concerned for the country, pray…and remember to thank the Lord for all the times He moved someone else’s spirit on your behalf.

Recommended Reading: I John 3:11-24

Charles Stanley – The Patience of God

Charles Stanley

2 Peter 3:3-9

More than likely, you heard the gospel several times before you trusted Jesus as your Savior. Sometimes even though we know the truth, we decide to continue with our life as it is. Why does the Lord tolerate this deliberate sin?

Patience is an attribute of God; it can be seen through His goodness in withholding punishment from those involved in long-term sin. He has a motivation and purpose for His patience. God places a high value on us as His created beings. He waits patiently because He desires to see each one of us come to a saving knowledge of His Son Jesus Christ. That is His primary purpose.

The Father’s secondary reasons for being patient apply to us as believers. He understands our innate carnality and the sinful tendencies that result from it. He also recognizes our weakness and imma- turity in the Christian life. We have much to learn once we are saved, and God does not expect us to know everything at once.

We can, however, abuse God’s patience by misinterpreting it (Ps. 50:21). Have you ever done something you knew was wrong? Sometimes when nothing happens as a result of a particular sin, we think God has overlooked it. We may decide to continue in that behavior, which further abuses the Lord’s patience. But God is very clear that He will not strive with us forever (103:9). That is to say, we cannot continue in our disobedience consequence-free. Has God been convicting you of a sin that you are ignoring? Confess (agree with Him that it is wrong), repent (turn away from the sin), and thank Him for His patience with you.

 

 

Our Daily Bread — Real Love

Our Daily Bread

1 Corinthians 13:1-8

[Love] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. —1 Corinthians 13:7-8

A few years ago, my friend’s mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Since then, Beth has been forced to make tough decisions about her mom’s care, and her heart has often been broken as she watched her vibrant and fun-loving mom slowly slipping away. In the process, my friend has learned that real love is not always easy or convenient.

After her mom was hospitalized for a couple of days last year, Beth wrote these words to some of her friends: “As backwards as it may seem, I’m very thankful for the journey I am on with my mom. Behind the memory loss, confusion, and utter helplessness is a beautiful person who loves life and is at complete peace. I am learning so much about what real love is, and even though I probably wouldn’t have asked for this journey and the tears and heartache that go with it, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

The Bible reminds us that love is patient and kind. It is not self-seeking or easily angered. It “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor. 13:4-7).

Real love originated with our Father, who gave us the gift of His Son. As we seek to show His love to others, we can follow the example of Christ, who laid down His life for us (1 John 3:16-18). —Cindy Hess Kasper

Teach me to love, this is my prayer—

May the compassion of Thy heart I share;

Ready a cup of water to give,

May I unselfishly for others live. —Peterson

Real love is helping others for Jesus’ sake even if they can never return the favor.

Bible in a year: Ezekiel 27-29; 1 Peter 3