Tag Archives: nature

Max Lucado – A Holy Incredibility

Max Lucado

God did what we wouldn’t dare dream. He did what we could not imagine. He became a man so we could trust him. He became a sacrifice so we could know him. And he defeated death so we could follow him.

It defies logic.  It’s a divine insanity.  A holy incredibility. Only a God beyond systems and common sense could create a plan as absurd as this. Yet, it’s the very impossibility of it all that makes it possible. The wildness of the story is its strongest witness. For only a God could create a plan this mad. Only a Creator beyond the fence of logic could offer such a gift of love.

What man cannot do, God does. When it comes to eternity, forgiveness, purpose, and truth, go to the manger, kneel with the shepherds. Worship the God who dared to do what man dared not dream!

From And the Angels Were Silent

Charles Stanley – Why Listening Is Critical

Charles Stanley

Nehemiah 8:9-12

Sometimes we take certain blessings for granted. Stop and think what it would be like if we couldn’t attend the church of our choice or read a Bible in our language.

During the 70-year Babylonian captivity, the temple and its sacrificial system weren’t available to the Israelites. And those born in that land didn’t understand the language of Scripture. So when the opportunity arose to hear God’s Word in Jerusalem, they were ready to listen.

Ezra read to them about the Lord’s promises to Abraham and his descendants, the covenants God made with the nation of Israel, and His requirements of faith and obedience. As the people listened with repentant hearts, they felt conviction and wept over their sins. But they also experienced joy because they were once again following the Lord’s commands. The people trusted not only the words of Scripture but also the men who explained its meaning.

The Bible is our source of truth about God’s righteous character, mankind’s sinful nature, and the plan of salvation. In its pages, we discover that man has a sin problem but no way to solve it on his own. We also learn that God’s just nature requires a penalty for transgression. Scripture goes on to reveal how divine justice was carried out against Jesus for our sin—that He died in our place, and through faith in Him, we receive forgiveness and the gift of eternal life. What an amazing provision from the God of love.

Good listening is essential, because faith comes from hearing God’s message (Rom. 10:17), and spiritual growth also depends on heeding what He tells us.

Our Daily Bread — The Eleventh Hour

Our Daily Bread

Matthew 24:3-14

Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. —Isaiah 2:4

World War I has been ranked by many as one of the deadliest conflicts in human history. Millions lost their lives in the first global modern war. On November 11, 1918, a ceasefire was observed on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. During that historic moment, millions around the world observed moments of silence while they reflected upon the war’s terrible cost—the loss of life and suffering. It was hoped that “the Great War,” as it was called, would truly be “the war that would end all wars.”

Despite the many deadly military conflicts that have followed, the hope for lasting peace has not faded. And the Bible offers a hopeful and realistic promise that someday wars will finally end. When Christ returns, Isaiah’s prophecy will come true: “Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” (Isa. 2:4). Then the eleventh hour will pass and the first hour of lasting peace in a new heaven and new earth will begin.

Until that day comes, those who follow Christ are to be people who represent the Prince of Peace in the way we conduct our lives and in the way we make a difference in our world. —Dennis Fisher

Peace, perfect peace, in this dark world of sin?

The blood of Jesus whispers peace within. . . .

Peace, perfect peace, our future all unknown?

Jesus we know, and He is on the throne. —Bickersteth

Only in Christ can true peace be realized.

Bible in a year: Leviticus 25; Mark 1:23-45

Insight – In today’s reading, Jesus predicts events that will accompany His imminent return. The Lord Jesus Christ ministers in the offices of Prophet (Mark 6:4), Priest (Heb. 4:14), and King (Luke 1:32). What a comfort it is to know that Jesus speaks God’s Word, represents us to the Father, and is sovereign over heaven and earth.

 

 

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Why Suffering?

Ravi Z

One of my favorite scenes from the story of Christ’s birth is of the far-seeing elderly Simeon reaching for the child in Mary’s arms, content now to die for having seen the Messiah with his own eyes. His words to Mary, more eerie than most mothers could graciously accept, always seemed a cryptic little side note from a strange and saintly old man. But the prophecy never struck me as a pivotal introduction to Luke’s overarching motif of suffering throughout his telling of the story of Christ. Says Simeon:

“This child is destined for the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed.”(1)

Starting with Simeon, theologian Roy Harrisville draws out a side of Luke that surprised my reading of Luke’s Gospel and passion narrative—if only the surprise of seeing plainly something I’d never noticed.(2) Again and again Luke points out the necessity of Jesus’s suffering, long before he is approaching the cross. I was nonetheless left with a plaguing question perhaps less for Harrisville than for God—or Jesus along the road to Emmaus. Why was it necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into glory, as he tells the men as they walk toward Emmaus? Why was Christ’s suffering a matter of “divine necessity”?

Luke has long struck me as one of the more fascinating narrators of the life and death of Jesus, including details at a story level that make for more nuanced intrigue. “Day after day I was with you in the temple and you did not seize me,” says Jesus at his trial. “But all this has taken place, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled,” he explains in Matthew and similarly in Mark, “But let the scriptures be fulfilled.” Yet Luke’s recollection of the scene is much less formulaic. Jesus replies with a far more layered vision of all that is at work. “But this is your hour, and the power of darkness,” hinting that there is another hour and the power of something else at hand.(3) Luke repeatedly includes hints of these disparate visions at work, blind and brute ignorance beside cryptic insight like Simeon’s, a contrast seen quite literally in the very criminals on either side of Jesus on the cross.

All of this I have cherished in the evangelist’s telling. And I can now see, as Harrisville notes, that Luke’s relentless pointing to the necessity of Christ’s suffering indeed lies at the heart of this dramatic narration; I can see that Luke describes the life of Jesus as the way of the suffering Christ, and the passion of the cross as the necessary event which marks the approaching kingdom. But why? Beyond the need to encourage suffering readers, beyond the musts of scripture, why was it necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things? If Luke’s telling is indeed a motif of human ignorance alongside that of the divine necessity, I am thankful for the grace that is shown on the side of unknowing. And I am thankful that Jesus went willingly toward suffering for our own sakes even though we might not fully understand it.

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

(1) Luke 2:34-35.

(2) Roy Harrisville, Fracture: The Cross as Irreconcilable in the Language and Thought of the Biblical Writers (Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 2006).

(3) Parallel texts found in Matthew 26:56, Mark 14:49b, and Luke 22:53b.

 

Alistair Begg – The End of Spiritual Monopoly

Alistair Begg

John 1:41

This case is an excellent pattern of all cases where spiritual life is vigorous. As soon as a man has found Christ, he begins to find others. I will not believe that you have tasted of the honey of the Gospel if you can eat it all yourself. True grace puts an end to all spiritual monopoly. Andrew first found his own brother Simon, and then others. Relationship has a very strong demand upon our first individual efforts.

Andrew, you did well to begin with Simon. I doubt whether there are not some Christians giving away tracts at other people’s houses who would do well to give away a tract at their own–whether there are not some engaged in works of usefulness abroad who are neglecting their special sphere of usefulness at home. You may or may not be called to evangelize the people in any particular locality, but certainly you are called to witness to your own servants, your own family and acquaintances.

Let your faith begin at home. Many tradesmen export their best commodities–the Christian should not. He should have all his conversation everywhere be the best; but let him take care to display and share the sweetest fruit of spiritual life and testimony in his own family. When Andrew went to find his brother, he little imagined how eminent Simon would become. Simon Peter was worth ten Andrews so far as we can gather from sacred history, and yet Andrew was instrumental in bringing him to Jesus. You may be very deficient in talent yourself, and yet you may be the means of drawing to Christ one who shall become eminent in grace and service.

Dear friend, you hardly know the possibilities that are in you. You may simply speak a word to a child, and in that child there may be slumbering a noble heart that shall stir the Christian church in years to come. Andrew has only two talents, but he finds Peter. Go out and do the same.

The family reading plan for February 19, 2014 Job 19 | 1 Corinthians 6

 

Charles Spurgeon – Spiritual peace

CharlesSpurgeon

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.” John 14:27

Suggested Further Reading: Ephesians 2:11-21

If you would maintain unbroken peace, take advice from God’s minister this morning, young though he be in years. Take advice, which he can warrant to be good, for it is Scriptural. If you would keep your peace continual and unbroken, look always to the sacrifice of Christ; never permit your eye to turn to anything but Jesus. When you repent, my hearer, still keep your eye on the cross; when you labour, labour in the strength of the crucified One. Everything you do, whether it be self-examination, fasting, meditation, or prayer, do all under the shadow of Jesus’ cross; or otherwise, no matter how you live, your peace will be but a sorry thing; you shall be full of disquiet and of sore trouble. Live near the cross and your peace shall be continual. Another piece of advice. Walk humbly with your God. Peace is a jewel; God puts it on your finger; be proud of it, and he will take it off again. Peace is a noble garment; boast of your dress, and God will take it away from you. Remember the hole of the pit whence you were digged, and the quarry of nature whence you were hewn; and when you have the bright crown of peace on your head, remember your black feet; nay, even when that crown is there, cover it and your face still with those two wings, the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ. In this way shall your peace be maintained. And again, walk in holiness, avoid every appearance of evil. “Be not conformed to this world.” Stand up for truth and rectitude. Suffer not the maxims of men to sway your judgment. Seek the Holy Spirit that you may live like Christ, and live near to Christ, and your peace shall not be interrupted.

For meditation: The Christian has permanent peace with God (Romans 5:1). The ruling peace of Christ in the heart is not supposed to be an optional extra (Colossians 3:15).

Sermon no. 300

19 February (1860)

John MacArthur – Avoiding Indiscriminate Love

John MacArthur

I pray “that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment” (Phil. 1:9).

As a Christian, you are a repository of divine love. More than anything else, your love for God and for other believers marks you as a true disciple of Jesus Christ (John 13:35).

In addition to possessing God’s love, you have the privilege and responsibility of expressing it to others on His behalf. That’s a sacred trust. Paul qualifies it in Philippians 1:9, which tells us love is to operate within the sphere of biblical knowledge and spiritual discernment. Those are the parameters that govern God’s love.

No matter how loving an act or word might seem, if it violates knowledge and discernment, it is not true Christian love. Second John 5-11 illustrates that principle. Apparently some believers who lacked discernment were hosting false teachers in the name of Christian love and hospitality. John sternly warned them, saying, “If anyone comes to you and does not bring [sound doctrine], do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds” (vv. 10-11). That might sound extreme or unloving but the purity of God’s people was at stake.

In 2 Thessalonians 3:5-6 after praying for the Thessalonians’ love to increase, Paul then commanded them to keep aloof from so- called Christians who were disregarding sound teaching. That’s not contradictory because Christian love guards sound doctrine and holy living.

Unfortunately, today it is common for Christians to compromise doctrinal purity in the name of love and unity, or to brand as unloving some practices that Scripture clearly commands. Both are wrong and carry serious consequences if not corrected.

Be thoughtful in how you express your love. Abundantly supply it in accord with biblical knowledge and discernment. Excellence and righteousness will result (Phil. 1:10-11).

Suggestions for Prayer:

Thank God for the love He has given you through His Spirit (Rom. 5:5).

Ask for opportunities to demonstrate Christ’s love to others today.

Pray that your love will always be governed by deep convictions grounded in God’s truth.

For Further Study:

What do the following passages teach about love? How might you apply them to your life?

Romans 12:8-10

Romans 5:5

1 John 4:7-10

Galatians 5:22

1 Peter 1:22; 4:8

Joyce Meyer – A Confused Mind

Joyce meyer

If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him. Only it must be in faith that he asks with no wavering (no hesitating, no doubting). For the one who wavers (hesitates, doubts) is like the billowing surge out at sea that is blown hither and thither and tossed by the wind. For truly, let not such a person imagine that he will receive anything [he asks for] from the Lord, [for being as he is] a man of two minds (hesitating, dubious, irresolute), [he is] unstable and unreliable and uncertain about everything [he thinks, feels, decides]. —James 1:5–8

My friend Eva received a summons for jury duty in a robbery trial. For two days, twelve citizens listened to the prosecuting attorney as he presented evidence to indicate that the accused had broken into a home and stolen many items. Eva was ready to convict him.

On the third day, the defense attorney presented the other side of the picture. The more Eva listened, the more confused she became. What had seemed very obvious at first now seemed ambiguous and contradictory.

Although the jury did convict the man, Eva said she struggled over making the right decision. Each attorney, when he was speaking, had seemed to be the most convincing.

Many Christians live much the same way day to day. They have become what James calls double-minded. They’re sure of one thing until something else happens, and then they flip-flop to the opposite opinion.

In their double-mindedness, they flit from one opinion to the other. They’re sure they know what to do, and then they switch again. The moment they feel sure they have made the decision they plan to stick with, they begin to wonder if it was the correct one. They continually doubt and question their reasoning.

This kind of behavior is not the same as being open-minded. To be open-minded means we’re willing to hear all sides of an issue—like jurors should be at a trial. But eventually we have to sort through the evidence or the circumstances in life and say, “This is what I’m going to do.”

That sounds good, but too many people have trouble being decisive. “What if I make a mistake?” they ask. “What If I choose the wrong thing?” Those are legitimate ques¬tions, but they are not meant to paralyze God’s people and prevent them from acting. Too often, these are tools that Satan uses to distract and prevent Christians from taking action. I’m an expert on this. For many years, I was that double-minded person James wrote about. I didn’t like being that way. It took so much energy to keep rethinking the same problems. But I was so afraid of making a mistake that I didn’t know how to make good decisions. It took a long time before I realized that the devil had declared war against me, and that my mind was his personal battlefield. At that moment of awareness, I felt totally confused about everything, and I didn’t understand why.

So many of God’s people are living exactly where I was then. They’re reasonable people. That is, they have the ability to figure out causes and relationships and reasons. They sincerely try to understand all the implications of a situation and then find the most sensible or logical solution by putting their reasoning ability to work. Too often, this is where Satan sneaks in and steals the will of God from them. God may speak to them about doing a certain thing, and it may not always seem to be the most sensible course of action. This presents an opportunity for the devil to cause them to question—to become double-minded.

For example, sometimes I sense that God wants me to bless people by giving to them—often an item of jewelry or clothing. On occasion, God wants me to give away a new and fairly expensive dress that I’ve never worn. It doesn’t make sense when I go through the natural reasoning process, but when I open myself to the Spirit of God, I have the assurance that it is the right thing to do.

God’s Spirit is always available to free you from natural reasoning that leaves you confused. Ask of the One who gives wisdom liberally, and He will free you of being indecisive and double-minded.

Dear Father, in the past, I’ve been double-minded and confused, giving Satan an advantage over me. Please forgive me. I ask You now, in faith, to give me the necessary wisdom to overcome all of Satan’s confusion. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Security for the Children

dr_bright

“Reverence for God gives a man deep strength; his children have a place of refuge and security” (Proverbs 14:26).

Mary, the daughter of African missionaries, recalled how her father – the leader of a large missionary thrust – would on occasion call the family together and share something in his life that he felt was not pleasing to God, which he would confess both to the Lord and to his family whenever they happened to be involved.

This he did for at least two reasons: (1) he had a reverential fear of God, a fear that he might grieve or quench the Spirit by acts of disobedience, and (2) he wanted to be an example to his wife and children, not parading as one who was perfect. Like them, he needed to breathe spiritually, exhaling and confessing his sins whenever he became aware of them and inhaling and appropriating the fullness of God’s Holy Spirit by faith so that he could keep walking in the light as God is in the light.

He would then ask other members of the family if they wanted to share anything in their lives that was grieving or quenching the Spirit, so that together they might pray for each other. This, Mary said, was such an encouragement to her and to other members of the family, helping her to have a greater sense of security and feeling of refuge, knowing that her father was a man of God who was honest with the Lord and with his family.

The example of her father and mother had played an important role in inspiring her to become a missionary as well, and now God is using her in a marvelous way for His glory.

In a day when children and young people lack a feeling of security, perhaps more than at any other time in history, it behooves Christian parents to cooperate with God in helping to provide for their families such a sense of security and refuge.

Bible Reading: Proverbs 14:15-21

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will begin to pray regularly that God will grant to me an understanding of His attributes as I study His Word so that I will learn to reverence God and thereby provide refuge and security to those who look to me for leadership.

Presidential Prayer Team; H.L.M. – Action Required

ppt_seal01

There are three primary words for love in the Bible: eros (sensual love); phileo (brotherly love); and agape (unconditional, supernatural love).

Do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel.

Philippians 1:16

Society focuses mainly on eros or phileo. God’s love, agape, is the purest, deepest kind. You are created as the object of God’s love. His heart overflows toward you. Your Heavenly Father proved His love first when He sent Jesus to die on the cross on your behalf. Then He left His Holy Spirit to guide and comfort you. Finally, God has given you His love letter, the Bible, through which you come to understand how much He adores and cherishes you. However, just knowing His love isn’t enough. It requires action.

As you thank Him today for the incredible gift of His love, take a moment to read I Corinthians 13 and let the words sink into your mind and your heart. Insert your name in the place of the word “love” and ask God to develop those qualities in you. Look for opportunities to demonstrate His love to others. Then pray that the nation’s leaders would come to know and act upon true agape love in their lives.

Recommended Reading: I Corinthians 13:1-13

 

 

Greg Laurie –Shaped by Suffering

greglaurie

That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. —2 Corinthians 12:10

On a recent visit to North Carolina, I drove through a town named Mocksville. I should have been born there. Prior to becoming a Christian, I always loved to mock other people. So when I became a follower of Jesus, I was shocked to discover that I was the one being mocked. People were laughing at me because of my faith in Christ.

This is what happened to Paul, but in a far more intense way. Right after his conversion, he started preaching the gospel in Damascus. But he was so powerful and persuasive that the religious leaders wanted him dead.

The Christians found out and devised a plan to help Paul escape. They put him into a basket and lowered it over the city wall at night. Think of the irony! Just a short time before, he was Saul of Tarsus, the notorious persecutor of Christians. But then the hunter became the hunted. He was getting a taste of his own medicine.

His name change from Saul to Paul offers insight into the real transformation that took place. The first king of Israel was named Saul. In contrast, Paul means “little.” It would be like deliberately changing your name from Spike to Squirt. Obviously, God had changed Paul into a man of humility.

Sometimes we want God to take certain things out of our lives that cause us pain. We pray again and again for those things to be removed. But do we ever stop to think that God is using those things in our lives to transform us and make us more like Him?

Max Lucado – Mis-use of the Mouth

Max Lucado

There are those in God’s family who find a controversy and stake their claim to it. Every church has at least one stubborn soul who has mastered a minutiae of the message and made a mission out of it.

As long as Christians split hairs, Christians will split churches. Religious leaders thought they could manipulate Jesus with their controversies. But they were wrong. He was not trapped by their trickery, flattered by their flattery, or fooled by their hypotheses.

Perhaps we should take note. I’d like to say to you what I need someone to say to me when I get territorial about my opinions.  I challenge you to look around you. Let go of your territory for a while. Scout some new regions. Explore some new reefs.  Much is gained by closing your mouth and opening your eyes every so often.

From And the Angels Were Silent

Charles Stanley – God Wants His Children to Listen

Charles Stanley

Nehemiah 8:1-8

The principles in Scripture teach us the way to live holy lives. But in order to receive God’s instructions, we must learn how to hear Him speak through His Word.

In the days of Nehemiah, the Israelites who helped to rebuild Jerusalem were good listeners. After working together to restore the city wall, they asked Ezra the scribe to read to them from the scrolls containing God’s laws.

The reading lasted for hours, during which time the people stood and listened intently as the scribe read. They were focused on comprehending what had been recorded in the law of Moses.

The scrolls were written in Hebrew. But most of the Israelites standing in the square had spent their lives in Babylonian captivity, and Aramaic was the language they spoke. Yet they had come together, intent on learning about God’s character and determined to follow His plan. For this reason, the Levites translated “to give the sense so that [the people] understood the reading” (v. 8).

As Ezra praised the Lord, the peoples’ hearts were stirred, and they worshipped. Thanksgiving and humility prepared them to receive from God. They bowed in gratitude for the privilege of hearing the Scriptures.

We need to understand what pleases the Lord so we can obey His plan. That means we must be good listeners who develop greater humility, attentiveness, gratitude, and zeal for Him. As we learn, we should be prepared not only to share the Word with others but also to explain it so they, too, can know God and obey.

 

Our Daily Bread — Helpers Needed

Our Daily Bread

Romans 16:1-16

The Helper, the Holy Spirit, . . . will teach you all things. —John 14:26

To some people, the term helper carries with it second-class connotations. Classroom helpers assist trained teachers in their classes. Helpers assist trained electricians, plumbers, and lawyers on the job. Because they aren’t as skilled in the profession, they might be viewed as having less value. But everyone is needed to accomplish the task.

The apostle Paul had many helpers in his work of ministry. He listed them in his letter to Rome (ch.16). He made special reference to Phoebe, who “has been a helper of many and of myself also” (v.2). Priscilla and Aquila risked their own lives for Paul (vv.3-4). And Mary, Paul said, “labored much for us” (v.6).

Helping is a spiritual gift, according to 1 Corinthians 12:28. Paul listed it among the gifts from the Holy Spirit that are given to believers in Christ’s body, the church. The gift of “helps” is just as needed as the others that are listed.

Even the Holy Spirit is called a “Helper.” Jesus said, “The Helper, the Holy Spirit, . . . will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you” (John 14:26).

In whatever ways the Holy Spirit, the Helper, has gifted you, let Him use you for His honor. —Anne Cetas

Dear Lord, thank You for the gifts You have

given me so that I might serve the

body of Christ. Help me to be faithful to use

my gifts to bring You glory.

You are a necessary part of the whole.

Bible in a year: Leviticus 23-24; Mark 1:1-22

 

Alistair Begg – Confess Your Sins to God

Alistair Begg

It is quite certain that those whom Christ has washed in His precious blood need not make a confession of sin as culprits or criminals before God the Judge, because Christ has forever taken away all their sins in a legal sense, so that they no longer stand where they can be condemned, but are once and for all accepted in the Beloved.

But having become children, and offending as children, should they not every day go before their heavenly Father and confess their sin and acknowledge their iniquity in that character? Nature teaches that it is the duty of erring children to make a confession to their earthly father, and the grace of God in the heart teaches us that we, as Christians, owe the same duty to our heavenly Father. We daily offend and ought not to rest without daily pardon. Suppose that my trespasses against my Father are not at once taken to Him to be washed away by the cleansing power of the Lord Jesus–what will be the consequence? If I have not sought forgiveness and been washed from these offenses against my Father, I shall feel at a distance from Him; I shall doubt His love for me; I shall tremble before Him; I shall be afraid to pray to Him: I shall grow like the prodigal who, although still a child, was yet far away from his father. But if with a child’s sorrow at offending so gracious and loving a Parent, I go to Him and tell Him everything, and do not rest until I realize that I am forgiven, then I shall feel a holy love to my Father and shall go through my Christian career not only as saved, but as one enjoying present peace in God through Jesus Christ my Lord.

There is a wide distinction between confessing sin as a culprit and confessing sin as a child. The Father’s bosom is the place for penitent confessions. We have been cleansed once for all, but our feet still need to be washed from the defilement of our daily walk as children of God.

Family Bible reading plan Job 18 1 Corinthians 5

Charles Spurgeon – Spiritual liberty

CharlesSpurgeon

“Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” 2 Corinthians 3:17

Suggested Further Reading: Isaiah 53:1-6

Do you understand how it is that the very guilt of the sinner is taken away? Here I stand today a guilty and condemned traitor; Christ comes for my salvation, he bids me leave my cell. “I will stand where you are; I will be your substitute; I will be the sinner; all your guilt is to be imputed to me; I will die for it, I will suffer for it; I will have your sins.” Then stripping himself of his robes, he says, “There, put them on; you shall be considered as if you were Christ; you shall be the righteous one. I will take your place, you take mine.” Then he casts around me a glorious robe of perfect righteousness; and when I behold it, I exclaim, “Strangely, my soul, art thou arrayed”, with my elder brother’s garments on. Jesus Christ’s crown is on my head, his spotless robes are round my loins, and his golden sandals are the shoes of my feet. And now is there any sin? The sin is on Christ; the righteousness is on me. Ask for the sinner, Justice! Let the voice of Justice cry, “Bring forth the sinner!” The sinner is brought. Who does the executioner lead forth? It is the incarnate Son of God. True, he did not commit the sin; he was without fault; but it is imputed to him: he stands in the sinner’s place. Now justice cries, “Bring forth the righteous, the perfectly righteous.” Whom do I see? Lo, the Church is brought; each believer is brought. Justice says, “Are these perfectly righteous?” “Yes they are. What Christ did is theirs; what they did is laid on Christ; his righteousness is theirs; their sins are his.”

For meditation: The substitutionary atonement of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24; 3:18). Are you a beneficiary?

Sermon no. 9

18 February (1855)

John MacArthur – A Prayer for Godliness

John MacArthur

“This I pray” (Phil. 1:9).

As we come to our study of godliness in Philippians 1:9-11, we note that this passage is a prayer. Typically, Paul’s prayers reflected his concern that his readers would mature spiritually. That is impossible without prayer because spiritual growth depends on the Holy Spirit’s power, which is tapped through prayer.

Prayer is so vital that Jesus instructed His disciples to pray at all times (Luke 18:1). Paul commands us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17). Peter said we should be “of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer” (1 Pet. 4:7).

Scripture gives many other commands to pray, but the true test of your spirituality is your compulsion to pray, not simply your obedience to commands. As a Christian you exist in a spiritual realm in which prayer is as natural as breathing is in the natural realm. Just as atmospheric pressure exerts force on your lungs, compelling you to breathe, so your spiritual environment compels you to pray. Resisting either brings devastating results.

The more you see life through God’s eyes, the more you are driven to pray. In that sense your prayers reveal the level of your spiritual maturity. Paul prayed with urgency day and night because he shared God’s love for His people and His concern for their spiritual maturity.

Examine your own prayers. Do you pray from a sense of duty or are you compelled to pray? Do you pray infrequently or briefly? Do your prayers center on your own needs or the needs of others? Do you pray for the spiritual maturity of others? Those important questions indicate the level of your spiritual maturity and give guidelines for making any needed changes in your pattern of prayer.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Thank God for the privilege and power of prayer.

If you have neglected prayer or if your prayers have been centered on yourself rather than others, confess your sin and ask God to give you a sense of holy urgency in praying as you should.

Is there someone for whom you should be praying more consistently?

For Further Study:

Read Daniel 6:1-28.

What was Daniel’s pattern of prayer?

What accusation did the political leaders bring against Daniel?

What was the king’s attitude toward Daniel?

How did God honor Daniel’s faith?

 

Joyce Meyer – Sanctification of the Soul

Joyce meyer

So get rid of all uncleanness and the rampant outgrowth of wickedness, and in a humble (gentle, modest) spirit receive and welcome the Word which implanted and rooted [in your hearts] contains the power to save your souls.—James 1:21

Once you are born again, your spirit has been reborn and you will go to heaven when you die. But God is not finished—He is just beginning. You need to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12 KJV). In other words, your soul needs to be saved. The soul is often defined as the mind, the will, and the emotions. Each of these areas needs salvation.

The Holy Spirit works relentlessly to transform the whole man into God’s perfect will. This process is called sanctification. When your soul is renewed with His Word, you think His thoughts and not your own. Submit yourself to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to change every thought and motive.

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Is Your Faith Worth Sharing?

dr_bright

“But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day” (Proverbs 4:18, KJV).

I had just finished giving a message, challenging students and young executives to commit their lives to helping to fulfill the Great Commission when Steve approached me with words that shocked me. I had known him for a long time and believed his life to be totally committed to Christ.

“If I were to respond to your challenge to take what I have to the rest of the world,” he said, “I’m afraid not much would be accomplished, because my brand of Christianity -quite frankly – is not that attractive, exciting or fruitful.”

He went on to share how he was not experiencing the joy of the resurrection in his life. The study of the Word of God had no appeal, his prayer life was nil and it had been a long time since he had introduced anyone to Christ. His outward evidence of being a man of God was just a facade, by his own admission.

What about you? Is your brand of Christianity truly the revolutionary, first-century kind that helped turn the world upside down and that changed the course of history? If not, it can be – and that is what this daily devotional guide is all about.

Every Christian needs to echo daily the sentiments of an unknown poet:

My life shall touch a dozen lives

Before this day is done,

Leave countless marks of good or ill,

Ere sets the evening sun.

This, the wish I always wish,

The prayer I always pray;

Lord, may my life help other lives

It touches by the way.

That goal should reign supreme during my waking hours – to touch lives for eternity. For if the all-powerful God, in the Person of His Holy Spirit, truly lives and reigns and triumphs, surely I can tap into that supernatural power and give evidence of it in my life.

Bible Reading: Proverbs 4:14-19

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Knowing that this dark world desperately needs light, I will trust God to let His light shine through me today. I pray that my life will be so radiant, joyful, attractive and fruitful for Christ that it will demonstrate the kind of Christianity that can be exported to others, to members of my family, neighbors and friends, as well as to people in other countries.

 

Presidential Prayer Team; C.P. – Word Fans

ppt_seal01

The Super Bowl is past…and life will go on as usual until the next one. But in the days leading up to the big game, opinions and passions bloomed abundantly. What if Christians had the same zeal for the Word of God as fans did for football?

I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love.

Psalm 119:48

The psalmist showed his passion for the Word of God in Psalm 119. Why was he so enthused about Scripture? He knew that in obeying God’s Word he’d be blessed (v.1), be kept from shame (v.6), not sin (v.11), have counsel (v.24), gain strength (v.28), walk in truth (v.29), gain understanding (v.32), turn from selfish gain (v.36), be given life (v.40), be saved (v.41), have hope (v.43), have freedom (v.45), be comforted (v.52), be provided for (v.57), receive God’s grace (v.58), be a blessing to others (v.74), receive mercy (v.77), persevere (v.92), gain wisdom (v.98), be kept from evil (v.101), receive direction (v.106), become joyful (v.111), become decisive (v.113), be protected (v.117), have God’s presence (v.151), have peace (v.165), and receive help (v.173).

The Bible contains a lot to be excited about. Meditate on His promises – and pray that U.S. citizens and leaders will turn their fervor toward the amazing Word of God, and seek the benefits of His wisdom.

Recommended Reading: Proverbs 7:12-19