Tag Archives: nature

Max Lucado – Reliable

Max Lucado

Reliable! Liable means responsible.  Re means over and over again.

I’m wondering if someone’s listening who’s a saint of re-liability? If you are, I can’t resist the chance to say two things. The first?  Thank you!

Thank you teachers for the countless Sunday school lessons prepared and delivered with tenderness. Thank you senior saints for a generation of prayer. Thank you missionaries for your bravery in sharing the timeless truth. Thank you preachers. You thought we weren’t listening, but we were.

Thanks to all of you who practice on Monday what you hear on Sunday.  It’s on the back of your fidelity that the Gospel rides. You are reliable! You get the job done.

I said I had two things to say.  What’s the second? Keep pitching! Your Hall of Fame award is just around the corner.

From God Came Near

Charles Stanley – A Vision for Believers

Charles Stanley

People often have bright aspirations for their lives. Some aim for a high-powered career or financial success. Others dream about making close friendships or impacting the world.

But no matter what our personal goals may be, the Lord has cast a vision for all of His children. It is known as the Great Commission: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).

What does it mean, to “make disciples”? Some Christians think this refers to adding new church members and growing the size of the congregation. But God is not interested in numbers or external appearances; He’s concerned about genuine heart change. So He commissions His followers to lead others, first to saving faith in Jesus Christ and then to the next step—baptism—as a public declaration of their trust in the Savior.

Once Jesus shared these objectives, most of the disciples spent the rest of their days fulfilling them. In fact, almost every one gave his life to accomplish them.

This command has not changed. God still expects us, His children, to share the good news of the gospel, to teach people how to be followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, and to baptize those who are saved.

Are you living with God’s purpose as your guide? Ask Him for opportunities and the courage to share His message of hope and love.

Excerpt from In Touch magazine. Subscribe to In Touch magazine free here.

 

Related Resources

Related Video

A Heart for God – A Vision for the World

Do you have a heart for God? If so, you are compelled to share the good news of salvation with a lost and dying world. In this sermon, Dr. Stanley explains how having a heart for God means we desire to know God, obey Christ, and share the gospel. (Watch A Heart for God – A Vision for the World.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Daily Bread — Letter To A Child

Our Daily Bread

All of 3 John

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. —3 John 4

Even at the end of his life, C. S. Lewis showed an interest in the spiritual nurture of younger believers. Although in ill health, he took time to respond to the letter of a child named Philip. Complimenting the boy’s fine written expression, Lewis said he was delighted that Philip understood that in the Narnia Chronicles the lion Aslan represented Jesus Christ. The next day, Lewis died at his home in the Kilns, Oxford, England, one week before his 65th birthday.

The apostle John, in his later years, sent a letter to his spiritual children. In it we see the joy of a mature believer encouraging his spiritually younger disciples to keep walking in the truth and following Christ.

John wrote, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” (3 John 1:4). Short by New Testament standards, John’s letter demonstrates the joy that comes in nurturing and watching the next generation’s spiritual growth.

Encouraging spiritual understanding in the next generation should be the pursuit of mature believers. Sending a note of appreciation, giving a word of encouragement, praying, or offering sound advice can all be ways of helping others on their spiritual journey with God. —Dennis Fisher

To help another in Christ to grow

You have to pay a price

It takes the giving of yourself

And that means sacrifice. —D. DeHaan

The journey is better with someone who knows the way.

Bible in a year: Zechariah 9-12; Revelation 20

Alistair Begg – The Lord Has Helped Us

Alistair Begg

Till now the Lord has helped us.

1 Samuel 7:12

The phrase “till now” is like a hand pointing in the direction of the past. Twenty years or seventy, and still “till now the LORD has helped us.” Through poverty, through wealth, through sickness, through health, at home, abroad, on the land, on the sea, in honor, in dishonor, in perplexity, in joy, in trial, in triumph, in prayer, in temptation, “till now the LORD has helped us.”

We delight to look down a long avenue of trees. It is delightful to gaze from end to end of the long vista, a sort of verdant temple, with its branching pillars and its arches of leaves. In the same way look down the long aisles of your years at the green branches of mercy overhead and the strong pillars of loving-kindness and faithfulness that support your joys.

Are there no birds singing in those branches? Surely there must be many, and they all sing of mercy received “till now.”

But the word also points forward. For when a man reaches a certain point and writes “till now,” he is not yet at the end; he still has a distance to go. More trials, more joys; more temptations, more triumphs; more prayers, more answers; more toils, more strength; more fights, more victories; and then he faces sickness, old age, disease, death. Is it over then? No! Then there is wakening in Jesus’ likeness, thrones, harps, songs, psalms, white raiment, the face of Jesus, the company of saints, the glory of God, the fullness of eternity, the infinity of bliss. Be of good courage, believer, and with grateful confidence raise your banner, for-

He who hath helped thee hitherto

Will help thee all thy journey through.

When read in light of heaven, how glorious and marvelous a prospect will the “till now” provide for your grateful eye!

 

Charles Spurgeon – The cleansing of the leper

CharlesSpurgeon

“And if a leprosy break out abroad in the skin, and the leprosy cover all the skin of him that hath the plague from his hand even to his foot, wheresoever the priest looketh; Then the priest shall consider: and, behold, if the leprosy have covered all his flesh, he shall pronounce him clean that hath the plague: it is all turned white: he is clean.” Leviticus 13:12-13

Suggested Further Reading: Colossians 3:5-14

Sinner, if you are to be saved, Christ must do it all; but when once you have faith in Christ, then you must be washed; then must you cease from sin, and then by the Holy Spirit’s power you shall be enabled to do so. What was ineffective before shall become mighty enough now, through the life which God has put into you. The washing with water by the word, and the cleansing of yourself from dead works, shall become an effectual and mighty duty. You shall be made holy, and walk in white, in the purity wherewith Christ has endowed you. The shaving off of his hair was fitly to represent how all the old things were to pass away, and everything was to become new. All the white hair was to be cut off, as you read in Leviticus 14:9: “He shall shave all the hair off his head, and his beard, and his eyebrows.” There was not a remnant or relic left of the old state in which the hair was white; all was to be given up. So it is with the sinner. When he is once pardoned, once cleansed, then he begins to cut off the old habits, his old prides, his old joys. The beard on which the hoary Jew prided himself was to come off, and the eyebrows which seem to be necessary to make the countenance look decent, were all to be taken away. So it is with the pardoned man. He did nothing before, he does everything now. He knew that good works were of no benefit to him in his carnal state, but now he becomes so strict that he will shave off every hair of his old state. Not one darling lust shall be left, not one iniquity shall be spared, all must be cut away.

For meditation: Very soon many will be breaking their New Year’s resolutions! The Christian is already a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), a new person with a new nature. May God give us grace and strength to be what we are in Christ.

Sermon no. 353

29 December (Preached 30 December 1860)

 

 

John MacArthur – He Who Sanctifies

John MacArthur

“Both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, ‘I will proclaim Thy name to My brethren, in the midst of the congregation I will sing Thy praise.’ And again, ‘I will put My trust in Him.’ And again, ‘Behold, I and the children whom God has given Me'” (Heb. 2:11-13).

From our own perspective and experience, it is difficult to think of ourselves as holy. Sin simply is too much a part of us in this fallen world. In thought and practice we are far from holy, but in Christ we are perfectly holy.

We may not always act holy, but because of our faith in Christ we are perfectly holy in God’s sight. Just as a child may not always act like his father, he is nonetheless still his son. We are holy in the sense that before God, the righteousness of Christ has been applied and imputed on our behalf through faith. We were made holy through His sacrifice and have become “those who are sanctified.”

“By one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified” (Heb. 10:14). We are as pure as God is pure, righteous as Christ is righteous, and therefore entitled to be called His brothers because we now share in His righteousness.

The Sanctifier and sanctified now have “one Father,” and the Sanctifier “is not ashamed” to call the sanctified His brothers. What an overwhelming truth!

The practical experience of a Christian’s life in this world includes sin, but the positional reality of his or her new nature is holiness. “In Him [we] have been made complete” (Col. 2:10). Yet practically we have a long way to go. So the overriding purpose of our lives is to become in practice what we are in position. Now that we are Christ’s brothers and God’s children, let that be all the motivation we need to live like it.

Suggestion for Prayer:

Thank the Lord for His sanctifying work on the cross, which enables you to be holy.

For Further Study:

Read Romans 1:16. Based on what God has done for you through Christ, can you wholeheartedly echo Paul’s statement?

 

 

Joyce Meyer – Dwell in Unity

Joyce meyer

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!—Psalm 133:1

Great power was manifested in the lives of the early believers. Acts 2:46 tells us why: “And day after day they regularly assembled in the temple with united purpose.” They had the same vision, the same goal, and they were all pressing toward the same mark. They prayed in agreement (see Acts 4:24), lived in harmony (see Acts 2:44), cared for one another (see Acts 2:46), met each other’s needs (see Acts 4:34), and lived a life of faith (see Acts 4:31). The early church lived in unity—and operated in great power.

Now the church is divided into countless factions with different opinions about everything. Even individual congregations are split by the most trivial differences. When we finally see Jesus face-to-face, we will surely discover that not one of us was 100 percent right. Only love holds people together. Make a strong commitment to do whatever is necessary to live in unity—you will discover how good it is!

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Tempted Like We Are

dr_bright

“For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15, KJV).

“In your opinion, who is the greatest person who ever lived, and who has done more good for mankind than anyone else who ever lived?” I asked a student who was both an atheist and a card-carrying Communist.

There was an awkward silence. Then finally came this reluctant reply, “I guess I would have to say Jesus of Nazareth.”

How could an atheist and a Communist, who had been reared in another religion, give such an answer?

Jesus has done more good for mankind than anyone else who has ever lived. He is the greatest person of the centuries, because it is a fact. Compare Jesus, even as a man, with any other person – Muhammad, Buddha, Confucius, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, anyone else in any country at any time in history – and it would be like comparing a giant with a midget.

Though he lived 2,000 years ago and changed the course of history, though He was the greatest leader, the greatest teacher, the greatest example the world has ever known, He is infinitely more than these. He is God.

The omnipotent Creator God visited this little planet earth and became a man, the God-man, Jesus of Nazareth. He was perfect God and perfect man, and as perfect man He understands our weaknesses, since He had the same temptations we do – though He never once gave way to them and sinned.

Do you believe that Jesus ever had the temptation to lie, to lust, to steal or to be immoral? Make a list of your temptations, all your weaknesses, all your failures, and then, as suggested in the verse following our reference, “Let us come boldly to the very throne of God and stay there to receive His mercy and to find grace to help us in our times of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

Bible Reading: Hebrews 2:14-18

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Since Jesus is my high priest and knows everything about me, having been tempted as I am and yet without sin, I will come boldly into His presence today and every day. I will come to receive His mercy and grace to live a supernatural life, which will enable me to live victoriously and to be fruitful for the glory and praise of His matchless name.

 

Presidential Prayer Team; P.G. – Great Way to Start

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Some 50 years ago, an American president challenged, “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” More than 2,000 before, that phrase might have been used by Jesus to His apostles: “Ask not what the Lord can do for you. Ask what you can do for Him!”

You received without paying; give without pay.

Matthew 10:8

It’s easy to feel conflicted with the giving and receiving of this season when you consider Syrian Christians being persecuted in their hometowns, Filipino Christians flooding into makeshift churches to pray for relief after the super-sized typhoon, and fellow Americans in the Midwest sifting through what’s left of their homes after devastating tornadoes. As you look to toward the New Year, consider how you can comfort the suffering and support the needy. A great way to start is to share your knowledge of the immeasurable gift that God has given with a hurting world – one prayer and one word of love at a time. Remember you have freely received; now it is time to be a good steward of that gift.

Offer prayers today for members of Congress and others in government and the Pentagon that, in the last days of this year, they might find Jesus, the only gift worth having.

Recommended Reading: Matthew 10:5-15

Charles Stanley – When God Is Silent

Charles Stanley

John 11:1-6

As Lazarus was dying, his sisters urgently called for Jesus to come. Imagine how their grief must have compounded when He didn’t instantly respond to their request.

God’s silence is difficult to accept. We want Him to leap into action at our call, particularly if we are hurting or afraid. But since He promises to meet our needs, we can be sure that a silence from heaven has purpose.

• Silence grabs our attention. The disciples knew that Jesus could heal, so they must have wondered why He delayed instead of rushing to His friend’s bedside. But the Lord wanted them to witness something even greater: His power over death. They had been confused by His statements about conquering death, and they needed to understand that He could fulfill His own resurrection prophecies (Mark 9:31-32). The miracle at Lazarus’s tomb was part of their preparation.

• Silence teaches us to trust. Mary and Martha sent word of Lazarus’s illness because they anticipated the Lord would heal him. But if that expectation was not met, would their faith waver? Martha answered the question by stating that she believed Jesus was “the Christ, the Son of God” (John 11:21-27). The women’s trust was rewarded with a stunning miracle: their brother’s return to life.

At times, the only thing we can hear when we pray is our own breathing. That can be frustrating and frightening. But Scripture says God is always with us, and His silence won’t last forever (Ps. 38:15; Heb. 13:5). Cling to those promises as you seek the purpose behind His silence.

 

 

 

Our Daily Bread — The Presentation

Our Daily Bread

Colossians 1:21-23

He has reconciled . . . to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight. —Colossians 1:21-22

My wife, Martie, is a great cook. After a long day I often look forward to the smell of spicy aromas that promise a tasty feast. Not only does she know how to prepare a meal, but she is also a master at the presentation. The colors of the food on the plate, beautifully arranged in a harmony of meat, white puffy rice, and vegetables welcome me to pull up my chair and enjoy her handiwork. But the food was not so attractive before she got her hands on it. The meat was raw and squishy, the rice was hard and brittle, and the vegetables needed to be scrubbed and trimmed.

It reminds me of the gracious work Jesus has done for me. I am well aware of my frailty and propensity to sin. I know that in and of myself I am not presentable to God. Yet when I’m saved, Jesus makes me a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17). He takes me just as I am and makes me just as I should be—“holy, and blameless, and above reproach” (Col. 1:22). He presents me to our Father as a thing of beauty worthy to be in His presence.

May His transforming work on our behalf stimulate us to live up to the presentation and to be humbly grateful to Christ for His finishing work in our lives! —Joe Stowell

Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me—

All His wonderful passion and purity!

O Thou Spirit divine, all my nature refine,

Till the beauty of Jesus be seen in me. —Orsborn

Jesus takes us as we are and makes us what we should be.

Bible in a year: Zechariah 5-8; Revelation 19

 

 

Alistair Begg – A Firm and Determined Grasp

Alistair Begg

And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the son of God.

Galatians 2:20

When the Lord in mercy drew near and saw us in our deadness, He first of all said, “Live”; and He did this, first, because life is absolutely essential in spiritual matters, and until it is given we are incapable of seeing or entering the kingdom. Now the life that grace confers upon believers at the moment of their conversion is none other than the life of Christ, which, like the sap from the stem, runs into us, the branches, and establishes a living connection between our souls and Jesus. Faith is the grace that perceives this union, having proceeded from it as its firstfruit. It is the neck that joins the body of the Church to its all-glorious Head.

A faith that shines more bright and clear,

When tempests rage without,

That when in danger knows no fear,

In darkness feels no doubt.

Faith lays hold upon the Lord Jesus with a firm and determined grasp. It knows His excellence and worth, and no temptation can induce faith to place its trust elsewhere. And Christ Jesus is so delighted with this heavenly grace that He never ceases to strengthen and sustain that faith by the loving embrace and all-sufficient support of His eternal arms.

This establishes a living, sensible, and delightful union that produces streams of love, confidence, sympathy, contentment, and joy, from which both the bride and Bridegroom love to drink. When the soul can clearly see this oneness between itself and Christ, the pulse may be felt as beating for both, and the one blood as flowing through the veins of each. Then the heart is as near heaven as it can be on earth and is prepared for the enjoyment of the most sublime and spiritual kind of fellowship.

Lord, give me such a faith as this,

And then, whate’er may come,

I taste e’en now the hallowed bliss,

Of an eternal home.

 

Charles Spurgeon – Heavenly worship

CharlesSpurgeon

“And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the Mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.” Revelation 14:1-3

Suggested Further Reading: Revelation 5:6-10

Why is the song said to be a new song? It will be a new song, because the saints were never in such a position before as they will be when they sing this new song. They are in heaven now; but the scene of our text is something more than heaven. It refers to the time when all the chosen race shall meet around the throne, when the last battle shall have been fought, and the last warrior shall have gained his crown. It is not now that they are singing, but it is in the glorious time to come, when all the hundred and forty and four thousand—or rather, the number typified by that number—will be all safely housed and all secure. I can conceive the period. Time was—eternity now reigns. The voice of God exclaims, “Are my beloved all safe?” The angel flies through paradise and returns with this message, “Yes, they are.” “Is Fearful safe? Is Feeble-mind safe? Is Ready-to-Halt safe? Is Despondency safe?” “Yes, O King, they are,” says he. “Shut the gates,” says the Almighty, “they have been open night and day; shut them now.” Then, when all of them shall be there, then will be the time when the shout shall be louder than many waters, and the song shall begin which will never end.

For meditation: The old year is about to be replaced by a new year, but that will soon grow old and fade away. Revelation speaks of the former things passing away (21: 4), and the old serpent being cast out and bound (12: 9 and 20: 2). All that remains is new and remains new throughout eternity—a new song, a new heaven, a new earth, new Jerusalem—all things new (21: 1-5).

Sermon no. 110

28 December (1856)

John MacArthur – The Author of Our Salvation

John MacArthur

“It was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings” (Heb. 2:10).

As we look at what Christ has done, we must never forget that He was fulfilling the sovereign plan of God. The writer of Hebrews tells us it was fitting in God’s sight for Christ to bring many sons to glory. That means everything God did through Christ was consistent with His character.

The cross was a masterpiece of God’s wisdom. It displayed His holiness in His hatred of sin. It was consistent with His power: Christ endured in a few hours what it would take an eternity to expend on sinners. The cross displayed His love for mankind. And Christ’s death on the cross agreed with God’s grace because it was substitutionary.

To bring “many sons to glory,” God had “to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings.” The Greek word translated “author” (archegos) means “pioneer” or “leader.” It was commonly used of a pioneer who blazed a trail for others to follow. The archegos never stood at the rear giving orders; he was always out front blazing the trail. As the supreme Archegos, Christ has gone before us–He is our trailblazer.

Life seems most anxious and dreadful when death is near. That’s a trail we cannot travel by ourselves. But the Author of our salvation says, “Because I live, you shall live also” (John 14:19). Only the perfect Pioneer could lead us out of the domain of death into the presence of the Father. All you have to do is put your hand in His nail- scarred hand and He will lead you from one side of death to the other. Then you can say with the apostle Paul, “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Cor. 15:55).

Suggestion for Prayer:

Praise God for all His attributes, specifically for each one displayed in Christ’s death for you.

For Further Study:

Read Hebrews 5:8-9 and 1 Peter 2:19-25. How do those verses expand on Hebrews 2:10?

 

 

Joyce Meyer – Truth in the Inner Being

Joyce meyer

Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your steadfast love; according to the multitude of Your tender mercy and loving-kindness blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly [and repeatedly] from my iniquity and guilt and cleanse me and make me wholly pure from my sin! For I am conscious of my transgressions and I acknowledge them; my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned and done that which is evil in Your sight, so that You are justified in Your sentence and faultless in Your judgment. Behold, I was brought forth in [a state of] iniquity; my mother was sinful who conceived me [and I too am sinful]. Behold, You desire truth in the inner being; make me therefore to know wisdom in my inmost heart.

—Psalm 51:1–6

The heading under this psalm reads: “A Psalm of David; when Nathan the prophet came to him after he had sinned with Bathsheba.” David cried out for mercy because he had sinned with Bathsheba, and when he learned she was pregnant, he had had her husband murdered in battle.

In this passage, the promise is life and health. Isn’t that amazing? It’s even a promise that when you contemplate and brood over the Bible, it will affect your physical body.

After David confessed his sin, Nathan said to him, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die. Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the Lord and given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child that is born to you shall surely die” (2 Samuel 12:13–14).

That’s the first lesson I want you to grasp from this incident. When you fail God, you harm yourself, but you also bring dishonor to His name. Whenever you take a false step, there are those who watch and gleefully point their fingers. The two always go together. Not only do you bring disgrace on the name of the Lord, but you fail yourself. You knew the right but chose the wrong.

As if that were not enough, the evil one also whispers, “See how bad you are. God won’t forgive you. It’s too awful.” Of course, he’s lying, because that’s what he does best. Don’t listen to those words, because there is no sin you’ve committed that God won’t forgive. You may have to carry scars or pay the penalty, but God wipes away the sin.

There’s something else to learn from this: You need to face reality. You sinned. You disobeyed God. What will you do about your sin? You can plead excuses (and most of us are good at that), or you can follow David’s example. When the prophet said, “You are the man . . .” (2 Samuel 12:7), the king did not deny his wrongdoing or try to justify his actions. David admitted he had sinned and confessed.

He wrote in the psalm quoted earlier: “For I am conscious of my transgressions and I acknowledge them; my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned and done that which is evil in Your sight, so that You are justified in Your sentence and faultless in Your judgment” (vs. 3–4).

If you follow Jesus Christ, not only are you declaring to yourself, to your family, and to the world your trust in the Savior, but you are also declaring your stand for truth. It’s easy for us to deceive ourselves, but God has called us to be totally, completely, and scrupulously honest in our inner being. Don’t look at what others may get away with or how they justify their behavior. We can’t blame others, the devil, or circumstances.

When you fail, remind yourself that the greatest king of ¬Israel cried out to God and said, “My sin is ever before me” (v. 3). Those sins, failures, or shortcomings (or whatever you may choose to call them) will always be there until you admit them and confess them to the Lord; only then can you know the joy of living with integrity and in truth.

This is the message for you from this final meditation; this is the message of the entire book: Strive to live with truth in your inner being. You—you and God—are the only ones who know what’s in your heart. Live in honesty and truth.

Holy God, David prayed, “You desire truth in the inner being; make me therefore to know wisdom in my inmost heart.” Through Jesus Christ, I plead with You to help me desire truth in my inner being, to live in such a way that I’m as honest and as open with You as I can become. I know that the life You honor is the life You bless. Amen.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Praying for Results

dr_bright

“Ask and you will be given what you ask for. Seek, and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened. For everyone who asks, receives. Anyone who seeks, finds. If only you will knock, the door will be open” (Matthew 7:7,8).

We were conducting a Bible study on the subject of prayer when Amy, a professing Christian most of her life, said, “God never answers my prayers. In fact, I cannot recall a single prayer of mine that God has answered specifically.”

Several others in the group chimed in and said, “Neither can I.” So we turned to this passage and discussed it together. Would God lie to us? Is His Word trustworthy? Or is prayer an exercise in futility? Are we simply talking to ourselves and each other, or is there a God who hears and answers? If so, why have these not had their prayers answered?

First of all, we had to review the qualifications for prayer. Jesus said, “If you abide in Me and My Word abides in you, ask what you will and it shall be done unto you.” The Scripture also says, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” So if we expect to have our prayers answered, Jesus Christ must be the Lord of our lives. There must be no unconfessed sin in our lives and we must be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Further, 1 John 5:14,15 reminds us: “If we ask anything according to God’s will, He hears us and answers,” so we must be sure that we are praying according to the Word of God. As we pray, the Spirit of God impresses upon us certain things for which to pray specifically, such as the salvation of a friend, the healing of a body or a financial need. If the prayer is offered with a pure motive and according to God’s will, we can expect an answer to it.

And we cannot pray casually. We must enter into an expectant spirit of prayer, knowing that, when we meet His conditions, God will hear and answer us.

Within a matter of weeks everyone in that Bible study, especially Amy, was inspired by the exciting challenge of prayer. God had truly heard, and again and again, they were able to point to specific answers.

Bible Reading: Luke 11:5-13

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I shall review my spiritual walk to be sure I am meeting God’s conditions: (1) Christ is Lord of my life. (2) I am filled with the Holy Spirit. (3) There is no unconfessed sin in my life. (4) I am praying according to God’s Word. And (5) I am praying specifically. As a result, I expect my prayers to be answered because God promises they will be.

 

Presidential Prayer Team; A.W. – Identity Check

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In 1880, the Social Security Administration began keeping records of popular baby names in the United States. Many parents use this list and spend months agonizing over what to name their newborn child. Some believe a name has the power to shape a child’s identity and self-esteem, influence how he’s treated by others, and even affect future success.

The name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

Hebrews 1:4

God emphasized the importance of identity when He changed the names of Abram (Genesis 17:5), Jacob (Genesis 32:28) and Simon (John 1:42) to match their destinies. He instructed Joseph to name Mary’s baby Jesus (Matthew 1:21). Names are important to God, and a good name is more desirable than great riches (Proverbs 22:1).

Today’s verse refers to the name above all names – Jesus. The writer reminds the Hebrews Christ is superior to everyone and everything, including the angels. By His name, all can be saved (Acts 4:12). As you pray today for family and friends, call upon the power of the name of Jesus (Acts 4:10). Ask for the message of the Lord to spread and be honored (II Thessalonians 3:1) and for Him to move in the hearts of the nation’s leaders to do what is just, honest and upright.

Recommended Reading: Proverbs 21:1-8

 

 

Greg Laurie – The 3 Things we can give to God in 2014

greglaurie

As we enter into a new year, here is something to remember: When it’s all said and done, we have three things we can offer God—our treasure, our talent, and our time. Each of these is given to us by God, and each of them should be given back in generous portions.

First, there is our treasure. I urge you to commit yourself to give faithfully and generously to the Lord in this coming year. Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21 NKJV). Whenever we put our money into something, we develop a vested interest in it. It makes sense to us that we would place our treasures where our hearts are. If we love reading books, or being entertained, or the latest technology, we spend our treasure on those things. And if our heart’s desires change, that changes where we put our treasure.

But it works the other way too: Where we put our treasures, our heart will follow. Do you want your heart to be in the things of God? Then put your treasures in the things of God! Develop a vested interest in God’s kingdom.

The second thing we can give to God is our talent. God has gifted each believer in different ways. Everyone has something to offer for the work of the kingdom. Romans 12 says, “Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are all parts of his one body, and each of us different work to do” (NLT).

Finally, there is our time. Let’s say that one day your phone rang and it was the president of the bank that you use. He told you that an anonymous donor who loved you very much had decided to deposit 86,400 pennies into your bank account each and every morning. At first, maybe that didn’t seem like a lot. But then you figured out that it was $864 a day. At seven days a week and 52 weeks a year, those pennies add up to almost $315,000 each year! But the bank president added one thing: “The anonymous giver said you must spend all of the money on the day you receive it! No balance will be carried over to the next day. Each evening the bank must cancel whatever sum you failed to use! Remember, what you don’t spend is lost.”

That may sound like fantasy, but here’s the reality: Every morning, Someone who loves you very much deposits into your “bank of time” 86,400 seconds, which represent 1,440 minutes, which of course equals 24 hours each and every day. God gives you that much to use each day. Nothing is ever carried over on credit to the next day. There is no such thing as a 27-hour day. It’s called time, and you can’t escape it. Time is ticking away right now. The Bible tells us to “redeem the time”—to make sacred and wise use of every opportunity.

Offer God your treasure, your talent, and your time. Live this next year as if it were your last, because it could be. Make those minutes count!

 

Charles Stanley – God’s Emphasis on Jesus’ Return

Charles Stanley

Colossians 3:1-4

The idea of eternity is a hard one to grasp. Though it is difficult to wrap the human mind around the concept of endlessness, God wants His children to live with an eternal perspective. So throughout Scripture, He stresses Christ’s second coming to help us think about our life in those terms.

Realizing that Jesus could return at any time keeps the church’s focus right. Paul reminds us to set our minds on heavenly things rather than on the things of earth (Col. 3:2). Though we live in the material world, we’re to consider long-term impact when deciding where to spend our time, money, and energy.

One critically important decision for us involves obeying God’s call to evangelize. Every believer has a personal responsibility to share the gospel with people in his or her sphere of influence (Matt. 28:19). The goal of the church, as well as individual believers, must be to take along as many as possible into eternity. But for that to happen, believers need to get busy sharing the good news before Jesus returns. People won’t come to Christ unless they’ve heard the story of His grace, mercy, and redemption.

The Word of God emphasizes Jesus’return so that believers will live with an eternal mindset. Christ can come back at any time, and when He does, those who have trusted Him as Savior will experience uninterrupted, never-ending life in His presence. In preparation for that day, we must live now with our feet on the ground, our hands busy for God, and our spiritual eyes watching for the Savior’s arrival.

 

Our Daily Bread — The Challenge Of Confinement

Our Daily Bread

Jeremiah 29:4-14

Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. —2 Peter 3:18

At the age of 86, Ken Deal concluded more than 3 decades of volunteer jail and prison ministry with a final Sunday sermon. His message to the inmates was about serving the Lord while incarcerated. Many of the examples he used came from prisoners, some serving life sentences. In a place everyone wants to leave, he encouraged them to grow and to share the good news of Jesus Christ with others.

After the people of Judah were taken captive by King Nebuchadnezzar and deported to Babylon because of their disobedience to God, the prophet Jeremiah sent them this message from the Lord: “Build houses and dwell in them; plant gardens and eat their fruit. Take wives and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands . . . that you may be increased there, and not diminished” (Jer. 29:5-6).

We may face some limiting circumstance today. Whether it is the result of our failure, or through no fault of our own, we can “go” through it or seek God’s strength to “grow” through it. The challenge of every confinement is to increase rather than decrease; to grow and not diminish. The Lord’s goal is to give us “a future and a hope” (v.11). —David McCasland

I know, Lord, that You can use the circumstances

I am in for my good. Change me, and grow

me in my knowledge of You and intimacy

with You. Give me Your strength.

A limited situation may afford the soul a chance to grow.

Bible in a year: Zechariah 1-4; Revelation 18