Tag Archives: Peace

Charles Stanley – Living Amidst False Teachers

Charles Stanley

Jude 1:17-19

We all know how dangerous incorrect teaching can be in our Christian walk. Today, we will be looking at ways to identify false teachers. This will help us be prepared for the things Satan might send our way.

First, false teachers are mockers. That is, they attack or attempt to discredit the Word of God or the church. When such a message is presented passionately and intelligently, even sincere people can get caught up in anti-church sentiment and find themselves doubting the truth of Scripture.

Second, false teachers will follow after their own lusts. For these people, the interpretation of Scripture becomes a matter of selective beliefs. They arrange their theology to justify their sinful habits and desires.

Third, false teachers are divisive. They try to come across as superior to their listeners by claiming an experience that elevates them to a “higher level,” or by professing a more advanced spirituality that others could never hope to achieve.

Fourth, false teachers are worldly-minded. They are not interested in the true teaching of God’s Word but are focused on what they can achieve, how many people will follow them, or how much they can earn through their teaching.

True Spirit-led teachers avoid these traps and recognize that two important keys are humility and unity with the listener (Phil. 2:1-4). And when receiving instruction, a wise believer will pray for the Holy Spirit’s discernment in order to distinguish truth from error (1:9-10).

 

 

 

 

Our Daily Bread — In Harmony

Our Daily Bread

1 Peter 4:7-11

As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. —1 Peter 4:10

I love playing the 5-string banjo. But it has one drawback. The fifth string will harmonize with only a limited number of simple chords. When other musicians want to play more complicated music, the banjoist has to adapt. He can lend marvelous melodic tones to a jam session only by making the right adjustments.

Just as musicians adjust with their instruments, we as believers also need to make adjustments with our spiritual gifts if we want to harmonize with others to serve God. For instance, those who have the gift of teaching must coordinate with those who have the gift of organizing meetings and with those who make sure meeting rooms are set up and cleaned. All of us have spiritual gifts, and we must work together if God’s work is to get done.

The apostle Peter said, “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10). Stewardship requires cooperation. Think about your spiritual gifts (Rom. 12; 1 Cor. 12; Eph. 4; 1 Peter 4). Now reflect on how you can dovetail their use with the gifts of other believers. When our talents are used in a complementary way, the result is harmony and glory to God. —Dennis Fisher

Without a note we sing in tune,

An anthem loud we bring,

When willingly we give our gifts

Of labor to our King. —Branon

Keeping in tune with Christ keeps harmony in the church.

Bible in a year: Exodus 1-3; Matthew 14:1-21

 

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Temporarily Able Bodied

Ravi Z

My friend Sylvia is a paraplegic. She has not been able to use her legs since she was a high school girl. A horrible accident took away her ability to walk or to run, and left her without any discernible feeling in the lower half of her body—her spine severed, the nerves do not receive the necessary information to register sensation or stimulation.

Prior to her accident, Sylvia was an aspiring athlete. Without the use of her legs, this aspiration would be put on hold, but not permanently. Though she is paralyzed in body, she is not paralyzed in spirit. And she eventually competed in several World Championships and in the Paralympic Games. Her determination to excel at world-class competitions, despite her injury, and her intention to live a full-life has been an immense inspiration to me.

Sylvia uses a term for people like me who have the use of our legs. We are “TAB’s”—Temporarily Able Bodied. Every day I wake up with a new ache or pain, or I see my stamina waning, I recognize the truth of her naming me a “TAB.” I truly am temporarily able bodied—at some point in my life, I will need assistance in many of my daily tasks.

Sylvia is not one to ask for help: she drives, works at least a 40 hour week and has traveled the world. She has mastered the art of navigating the world in a wheelchair. Yet, there are times when even this accomplished athlete needs some assistance. She is grateful for the technology that has developed excellent, lightweight wheelchairs. She is grateful for friends who can reach for the pan in the high cabinetry when we have gathered for home-cooked meals.  And she was grateful when we helped her out of the wheelchair and into the lake so she could swim one beautiful summer day not too many years ago. She welcomes the kind of assistance that develops her abilities in spite of her disability.

While I cannot begin to imagine what it must be like to be physically paralyzed like my friend Sylvia, I certainly understand the emotional, spiritual and psychological paralysis that results from trauma or duress. After suffering my own form of paralyzing accident, I experienced what I could only describe as a numbing paralysis. While my body functioned, my mind and heart were paralyzed. I could not create any momentum to move me past the questions that imprisoned me or the doubts that bound me. Initiative fled away, drive and determination left me. I was stuck and unable to move. All that had propelled me forward in the past stalled, stopped, and froze. I was, practically speaking, immobile.

I know that my emotional, psychological and spiritual paralysis doesn’t compare to my friend Sylvia’s being a paraplegic. But it did help me understand what it must feel like to lack the freedom to move and to have a sense of being able.

The gospels are filled with stories about paralytics. But the story that always gets my attention occurs in Mark’s gospel. Jesus was teaching in Capernaum in a house that was filled to capacity with listeners. There was not any more room for anyone, let alone a paralytic being carried on a cot by four friends. Yet the crowded house would not deter these determined friends. They were so determined to get their friend to Jesus that they got up onto the roof of the house, with their paralyzed friend, removed the portion of the roof above where Jesus was teaching, and lowered their friend down on his pallet.(1)

I’m not sure how the owners of the house felt when part of their roof was removed, but Jesus, the gospel tells us, saw their faith—faith that went to extraordinary lengths to bring their friend to him. As a result of their faith, Jesus declared that the paralytic’s sins were forgiven. To demonstrate his authority to forgive sins, Jesus then heals him and tells him to “rise, take up your pallet and go home.” And immediately, the paralytic jumps up (perhaps for the first time) and went out before everyone so that “they were all amazed and glorified God.”

In periods of paralysis, we are forced to depend on others, perhaps even relying on the faith, courage, and strength of those who see our abilities even through our disability. Something very beautiful and healing occurs when we allow others to offer us assistance. In my own paralysis, friends gathered around to help me. They did the things I could not do any longer. They said the prayers on my behalf; they believed on my behalf. When I slowly began to move again, they held my arms and steadied my legs. I came to experience a kind of healing because of the assistance and help of my friends. Their faith inspired movement in me towards the God who heals. Indeed, those who are willing to carry the cots of their paralyzed friends embody God’s healing love and care.

There will always be times in life that inhibit forward movement—or any movement at all. In those times, we trust that there will be others to help carry us and care for us.  And when we are moving along, perhaps with such momentum that we could miss those lying in cots along our path, may the same kind of care and determination to help others cause us to stop, pick them up, and carry them with faith to Jesus.

Margaret Manning is a member of the speaking and writing team at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Seattle, Washington.

(1) Mark 2:1-12

 

Alistair Begg – Weakness in Triumph

Alistair Begg

And he was very thirsty, and he called upon the Lord and said, ‘You have granted this great salvation by the hand of your servant, and shall I now die of thirst . . . ?’

Judges 15:18

Samson was thirsty and ready to die. The difficulty was totally different from any that the hero had met before. Merely to get thirst quenched is nothing like so great a matter as to be delivered from a thousand Philistines! But when the thirst was upon him, Samson felt that particular difficulty to be more weighty than the great past difficulty out of which he had so specially been delivered.

It is very usual for God’s people, when they have enjoyed a great deliverance, to find a little trouble too much for them. Samson slays a thousand Philistines and piles them up in heaps, and then faints for a little water! Jacob wrestles with God at Peniel and overcomes Omnipotence itself, and then goes “limping because of his hip!” 1 Strange that there must be a shrinking of the sinew whenever we win the day. As if the Lord must teach us our littleness, our nothingness, in order to keep us within bounds.

Samson boasted right loudly when he said, “I have slain a thousand men.” His boastful throat soon grew hoarse with thirst, and he betook himself to prayer. God has many ways of humbling His people.

Dear child of God, if after great mercy you are laid very low, your case is not an unusual one. When David had mounted the throne of Israel, he said, “I am this day weak, though anointed king.” You must expect to feel weakest when you are enjoying your greatest triumph. If God has wrought for you great deliverances in the past, your present difficulty is only like Samson’s thirst, and the Lord will not let you faint, nor allow your enemy to triumph over you. The road of sorrow is the road to heaven, but there are wells of refreshing water all along the route. So, tested and tired pilgrim, cheer your heart with Samson’s words, and rest assured that God will deliver you before long.

1 Genesis 32:31

Charles Spurgeon – The personality of the Holy Spirit

CharlesSpurgeon

“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever: Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him: for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” John 14:16,17

Suggested Further Reading: Acts 2:32-39

Observe here, that each person is spoken of as performing a separate office. “I will pray,” says the Son—that is intercession. “I will send,” says the Father—that is donation. “I will comfort,” says the Holy Spirit—that is supernatural influence. Oh! if it were possible for us to see the three persons of the Godhead, we should behold one of them standing before the throne with outstretched hands crying day and night, “O Lord, how long?” We should see one girt with Urim and Thummim, precious stones, on which are written the twelve names of the tribes of Israel; we should behold him crying unto his Father, “Forget not thy promises, forget not thy covenant;” we should hear him make mention of our sorrows, and tell forth our griefs on our behalf, for he is our intercessor. And if we could behold the Father, we should not see him a listless and idle spectator of the intercession of the Son, but we should see him with attentive ear listening to every word of Jesus, and granting every petition. Where is the Holy Spirit all the while? Is he lying idle? Oh, no; he is floating over the earth, and when he sees a weary soul, he says, “Come to Jesus, he will give you rest.” When he beholds an eye filled with tears, he wipes away the tears, and bids the mourner look for comfort on the cross. When he sees the tempest-tossed believer, he takes the helm of his soul and speaks the word of consolation; he helps the broken in heart, and binds up their wounds; and ever on his mission of mercy, he flies around the world, being everywhere present. Behold how the three persons work together.

For meditation: Salvation is all of God—the work is all done by him. And yet he grants to believers the privilege of being co-opted as his fellow-workers to advertise the gospel on his behalf (2 Corinthians 5:18-6: 1).

Sermon no. 4

21 January (1855)

 

John MacArthur – Reflecting God’s Ownership

John MacArthur

You were sealed with the Holy Spirit “with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory” (Eph. 1:14).

Yesterday we saw that God seals us with the Holy Spirit as a pledge of our eternal inheritance. Here Paul says He does so “with a view to the redemption of [His] own possession.” That refers to when God takes full possession of all that is rightfully His.

Everything is God’s by creation, but Satan has usurped God’s rulership to become the “god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4) in whose power the whole world currently lies (1 John 5:19). Consequently, all creation is in bondage to decay and “groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time” (Rom. 8:22, NIV). It eagerly awaits the time when the curse of Genesis 3 is reversed, all Christians are fully glorified, and sin is eternally vanquished. What a glorious time that will be!

You are God’s special possession because you are His by redemption as well as creation. In Revelation 5:9 the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders sing to the Lord, “Worthy art Thou . . . for Thou wast slain, and didst purchase for God with Thy blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.” In Acts 20:28 Paul charges the Ephesian elders to guard carefully “the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.”

That makes you a priceless commodity to God–part of “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God” (1 Pet. 2:9-10).

As God’s special possession, you should reflect His ownership and sovereign rule in everything you do. Remember, “you are not your own . . . for you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Cor. 6:19-20).

Suggestions for Prayer:

Thank God that you are His treasured possession.

Seek His Spirit’s leading in proclaiming His excellencies to others through your words and deeds.

Ask Him to teach you to esteem other believers as highly as He does.

For Further Study:

Read Ephesians 2:1-13, noting the spiritual privileges and responsibilities that are yours in Christ.

 

 

Joyce Meyer – Wait for the Lord

Joyce meyer

Keep the charge of the Lord your God, walk in His ways, keep His statutes, His commandments, His precepts, and His testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may do wisely and prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn. —1 Kings 2:3

When you pray, wait for the Lord. This means to look for, to expect, and to hope in God. This isn’t a passive state of mind, but one of expectancy.

Tell Him, “God, I have my hope in You. I believe that You are working on my problems. I believe that You are making arrangements for my day. You are posting angels all throughout my walk, everywhere along my path where You already know I am going to walk today. Thank you, Lord, that You are a pioneer who has already gone before me and made a way for me to have a blessed day.”

 

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Sure Road to Faith

 

dr_bright“So then, faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17, KJV).

Martin Luther said he studied his Bible in the same way he gathered apples. First, he shook the whole tree, that the ripest might fall; then he shook each limb, and when he had shaken each limb, he shook each branch, and after each branch, every twig; and then he looked under every leaf. He admonishes us:

“Search the Bible as a whole, shaking the whole tree. Read it rapidly, as you would any book. Then shake every limb – study book after book.

“Then shake every branch, giving attention to the chapters when they do not break the sense. Then shake each twig, by careful study of the paragraphs and sentences. And you will be rewarded if you will look under each leaf, by searching the meaning of the words.”

Seek to know the Lord with all your heart. While you may have no difficulty in worshiping the omnipotent God, you cannot really know God unless you study His Word. The one who spoke and caused the worlds to be framed is waiting to reveal Himself to you personally.

Faith is not given to those who are either undisciplined or disobedient. Faith is a gift of God which is given to those who trust and obey Him. As we master His Word and obey His commands, our faith continues to grow.

It is my strong conviction that it is impossible to ask God for too much if our hearts and motives are pure and if we pray according to the Word and will of God.

Every time you and I open and read God’s Word carefully, we are building up our storehouse of faith. When we memorize the Word, our faith is being increased. When we study or teach a Sunday school lesson, or hear a sermon faithfully expounding the Word, we are growing in faith.

Bible Reading: Hebrews 11:1-6

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will read, study, memorize and meditate upon God’s Word daily, knowing that in the process my faith will grow, for “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”

 

Presidential Prayer Team; G.C. – Start With Gusto!

ppt_seal01

What if you were as enthusiastic about something, anything, as Julia Child was about French cooking? Fifty years after she wrote her first cookbook, the world still feels the impact. While many disagree with how Julia used her influence, it’s indisputable that her unbridled passion for the art of cooking captured a global audience.

His delight is in the law of the Lord.

Psalm 1:2

The Bible talks about delighting in the law of the Lord. This might seem to be an unlikely pairing: delight and law. What the writer of Psalms is alluding to is the very thing Julia possessed – enthusiasm. She didn’t try to be cool and ironic. No…she was so thrilled to tell you how to cook, she’d inadvertently sling a raw chicken leg across the cabinet in excitement.

How passionate are you about God’s Word and the work He is doing today? Do you still believe His law is love and His passion is peace for all who believe in Him? Start this year off with gusto. Don’t get lost in the lies of unbelief. Delight yourself in the law of the Lord, and put His passion into practice. Then pray for more of your nation’s leaders to discover God and become enthusiastic about Him!

Recommended Reading: Psalm 84:1-7  Click to Read or Listen

 

 

Greg Laurie – Thankful in Everything

greglaurie

Powered by His Spirit

In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. — 1 Thessalonians 5:18

In her remarkable book The Hiding Place, Corrie ten Boom relates an amazing story about the importance of being thankful. Corrie and her sister Betsie were held in a concentration camp known as Ravensbück, where they lived in barracks that were plagued with fleas. Fleas were everywhere — in their hair and on their bodies. One day Betsie told Corrie they needed to give thanks for the fleas.

Corrie thought Betsie had gone too far. She couldn’t imagine thanking God for fleas. But Betsie insisted, reminding her sister that the Bible said, “In everything give thanks.” Still, Corrie didn’t want to thank God for the fleas. But as it turned out, Corrie and Betsie

were trying to reach the other women in their barracks with the message of the gospel, and they had been holding Bible studies. They found out later that because of the fleas, the guards would not go into those barracks, and therefore, the women were able to have their Bible studies. As a result, they had the freedom to minister to numerous women. So God can even use fleas.

If the Bible said, “In some things give thanks,” I would say, “No problem there!”

But it says, “In everything give thanks.” And that is not an easy thing to do.

This verse doesn’t say we should give thanks for everything as much it says in everything. There are some things that happen, and I am not glad they happened. But I am glad that, in spite of the tragedies, God is still on the throne, and He is still in control of all circumstances that surround my life.

 

 

Max Lucado – Blessed are the Merciful

Max Lucado

Could someone actually be forgiven a debt of millions and be unable to forgive a debt of hundreds? Could a person be set free and then imprison another? You don’t have to be a theologian to answer those questions; just look in the mirror.

Who among us hasn’t begged God for mercy on Sunday and then demanded justice on Monday? Is there anyone who doesn’t, at one time or another, show contempt for the riches of God’s kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?

Look into the face of the One who forgave you.  Who wept when you pleaded for mercy.  Look into the face of the Father who gave you grace when no one else gave you a chance. “Blessed are the merciful,” Jesus said (Matthew 5:7). Why? “Because they will be shown mercy.”

You see, forgiving others allows us to see how God has forgiven us!

From The Applause of Heaven

Charles Stanley – Idols in the Life of the Believer

Charles Stanley

Mark 11:24-25

Have you noticed that in recent history, the word “idol” has been completely disassociated from the word “idolatry”? In church circles, we recoil at the mention of idolatry, as it brings to mind images of golden calves and other things once worshiped by heathens. We know these things are wrong, because our worship should be directed to God alone. But do we feel the same about “idols”?

Today’s culture enjoys its own idols. We have music stars, beauty queens, pop-culture icons, and sports heroes all fighting for our interest. And, in return for their hard work, we give them just what they want: our focus and attention.

We sit for hours in front of the TV, follow fashion trends of top celebrities, and read, watch, or listen to anything that features our favorite public figures. The 1950s gave our society a term that has since characterized our culture-driven mindset: the “teen idol.”

We must be reminded what an idol is. It’s not simply some image of a false god to whom we bow down in worship. Instead, an idol is anything that we value more than the Lord. This could be movie stars, prized possessions, or even our loved ones.

The nature of idolatry is distraction. When something pulls our eyes away from God, we begin to spiral out of control. Bring your distractions to the Lord, asking forgiveness for the times you’ve allowed other people or things to take precedence in your life. Pray for the wisdom to enjoy His blessings without being blinded by temptations that pull you from communion with Him.

 

Our Daily Bread — True Greatness

Our Daily Bread

Mark 10:35-45

Whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. —Mark 10:43

Some people feel like a small pebble lost in the immensity of a canyon. But no matter how insignificant we judge ourselves to be, we can be greatly used by God.

In a sermon early in 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. quoted Jesus’ words from Mark 10 about servanthood. Then he said, “Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don’t have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. . . . You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.”

When Jesus’ disciples quarreled about who would get the places of honor in heaven, He told them: “Whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:43-45).

I wonder about us. Is that our understanding of greatness? Are we gladly serving, doing tasks that may be unnoticed? Is the purpose of our serving to please our Lord rather than to gain applause? If we are willing to be a servant, our lives will point to the One who is truly great. —Vernon Grounds

No service in itself is small,

None great, though earth it fill;

But that is small that seeks its own,

And great that does God’s will. —Anon.

Little things done in Christ’s name are great things.

Bible in a year: Genesis 49-50; Matthew 13:31-58

 

 

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Present Hope

Ravi Z

If there is one thing Martin Luther King Jr. would have the U.S. remember on the day that marks his memory, perhaps it would be that remembering the past must never come at the expense of remaining alert today. “We stand in the fierce urgency of now,” said Dr. King in one of his final sermons. It is far too easy to locate these words into a specific moment that we deem past, a time King and many others fought to see changed, through a movement we now remember within stories of history, speeches long memorialized, and events that seem both tragic and far removed. But this I think is to misread King as much as it is to misread history. “The past is never dead,” said William Faulkner. ”It’s not even past.”(1)

Just as ignoring history is itself a type of amnesia, so an awareness of history as something that is only history invites a posture of self-deception. If the world only remembers King’s fight as one fit for the American Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, we are neither seeing the American Civil Rights Movement for all it was, nor the moment before the world today. Sunday is still very much the most segregated hour of the week. It is still very possible to order our worlds in such a way that we never have to see the poor among us. Racial inequality, social injustice, and blind allegiance to materialism are all still present and active, its victims crying out for a better kingdom, a better story, a better hope. The message of Martin Luther King Jr. and the history American’s remember on the anniversary of his birth is not a static bundle of dates and details past. The history we recall when we tell stories of the American Civil Rights Movement is the vital form in which we must both take account of our past and fathom the present before us.

There is a parable Jesus tells in the book of Luke that is perhaps as easy to overlook as any injustice we want not to see. I have misread the story for years. In it, Jesus speaks of a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. “And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table” (Luke 16:20). When the poor man died he was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. Then Jesus notes, “In Hades, where the rich man was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. He called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us’” (16:24-25).

It is far from a mere commentary on wealth. In this parable, Jesus describes a man who chooses to live with a great chasm between his success and a poor man’s fate. At his own gate, he daily passes the beggar, choosing neither to see him nor his agony. He allows the rules of social hierarchy to keep the man at his feet nameless and invisible. Even from Hades, the rich man chooses to address Lazarus as a mere servant, asking Abraham to send him to soothe his own discomfort. But the chasms he allowed in life have now grown fixed in death.

If we will hear this parable with our ears open to the story, attune to our discomfort and possible biases, approaching with a sensitivity to the lessons of history within the fierce urgency of now, there is a glimpse of an amazing God and the welcoming table to which we are invited. For Christ’s is a theology that is far from assuming God’s only concern for humanity is that we make it to eternity. As Nicholas Wolterstorff writes, “God’s love of justice is grounded in God’s longing for the complete shalom of God’s creatures and in God’s sorrow over its absence.”(2) And so, the present kingdom we discover in the proclamations of Jesus is one that turns social norms, status, and hierarchies upside down, one that insists that the beggar Lazarus has a name, a place, and a value beyond the one we may have given him. The words and actions of Christ bid the world to take seriously the present in front of us, because in fact, they matter deeply.

In truth, the final sermons of Dr. King can largely be read as laments, for he could hear the God of history saying to a world that was not listening, “That was not enough! I was hungry and ye fed me not. I was naked and ye clothed me not…And consequently, you can not enter the kingdom of greatness.”(3) King was increasingly aware that the only hope for the present existed in our ability to see the fierce urgency of now and to hear the voice crying through the vista of time for all things to be made new. His dream was that we would remain awake to both.

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

(1) William Faulkner, “Requiem for a Nun” in William Faulkner: Novels 1942-1954 (New York: Library of America, 1994), 535.

(2) Nicolas Wolterstorff, Until Justice and Peace Embrace (Spring Arbor: Spring Arbor Distributors, 1999), 113.

(3) James Washington, Ed., A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King Jr. (New York: HarperCollins, 1986), 269.

 

Alistair Begg – “Give Me Life”

Alistair Begg

Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.

Psalms 119:37

There are various kinds of vanity. The cap and bells of the fool, the merriment of the world, the dance, and the cup of the dissolute–all these men know to be vanities; they wear upon their chest their proper name and title. Far more treacherous are those equally vain things–the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches. A man may follow vanity as truly in a portfolio as in a theater.

If he is spending his life in amassing wealth, he passes his days in a vain show. Unless we follow Christ and make our God the great object of life, we only differ in appearance from the most frivolous. It is clear that there is much need of the prayer of our text: “Give me life in your ways.” The psalmist confesses that he is dull, heavy, all but dead.

Perhaps, dear reader, you feel the same. We are so sluggish that the best motives cannot quicken us, apart from the Lord Himself. What! Will not hell quicken me? Shall I think of sinners perishing, and yet not be awakened? Will not heaven quicken me? Can I think of the reward that awaits the righteous and yet be cold? Will not death quicken me? Can I think of dying and standing before my God, and yet be slothful in my Master’s service? Will not Christ’s love constrain me? Can I think of His dear wounds, can I sit at the foot of His cross, and not be stirred with fervency and zeal? It seems so!

No mere consideration can quicken us to zeal, but God Himself must do it; hence the cry, “Give me life in your ways.” The psalmist breathes out his whole soul in vehement pleadings; his body and his soul unite in prayer. “Turn my eyes,” says the body. “Give me life,” cries the soul. This is a fit prayer for every day. O Lord, hear it in my case this night.

 

 

Charles Spurgeon – Words of expostulation

CharlesSpurgeon

“And now what hast thou to do in the way of Egypt, to drink the waters of Sihor? or what hast thou to do in the way of Assyria, to drink the waters of the river?” Jeremiah 2:18

Suggested Further Reading: 2 Corinthians 6:14-7: 1

In the life of Madame Guyon, who, though professedly a Papist, one must ever receive as being a true child of God, I have read an anecdote something to this effect. She had been invited by some friends to spend a few days at the palace of St. Cloud. She knew it was a place full of pomp, and fashion, and, I must add, of vice also; but being over-persuaded by her friend, and being especially tempted with the idea that perhaps her example might do good, she accepted the invitation. Her experience afterwards should be a warning to all Christians. For some years that holy woman had walked in constant fellowship with Christ; perhaps none ever saw the Saviour’s face, and kissed his wounds more truly than she had done. But when she came home from St. Cloud, she found her usual joy was departed; she had lost her power in prayer; she could not draw near to Christ as she should have done. She felt in going to the lover of her soul as if she had played the harlot against him. She was afraid to hope that she could be received again to his pure and perfect love, and it took some months before the equilibrium of her peace could be restored, and her heart could yet again be wholly set upon her Lord. He that wears a white garment must mind where he walks when the world’s streets are as filthy as they are. He that has a thousand enemies must take care how he shows himself. He that has nothing on earth to assist him towards heaven should take care that he does not go where the world can help towards hell. O believer, keep clear of fellowship with this world, for the love of this world is enmity against God.

For meditation: Commonsense should tell us that when something clean and something unclean brush against one another, the unclean object is not improved but the clean object is changed for the worse (Haggai 2:11-14).

Sermon no. 356

20 January (1861)

John MacArthur – Rejoicing in Assurance

John MacArthur

“You were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance” (Eph. 1:13-14).

The Holy Spirit’s ministry in your life is multifaceted and profound. Among other things He brings salvation, conviction, guidance, and strength. He indwells and equips you for spiritual service and gives assurance of your salvation. He is your Helper and Advocate. He is the Spirit of promise, who seals you until the day when your redemption is fully realized (Eph. 4:30).

Sealing speaks of security, authenticity, ownership, and authority. Ancient kings, princes, and nobles placed their official seal on documents or other items to guarantee their inviolability. To break the seal was to incur the wrath of the sovereign whom it represented (cf. Dan. 6:17; Matt. 27:62-66).

A seal on a letter authenticated it as from the hand of the one whose seal it bore. Legal documents such as property deeds and wills were often finalized with an official seal. Those who possessed the sealed decree of a king had the king’s delegated authority to act on that decree.

Each of those aspects of sealing is a picture of the Spirit’s ministry. He is God’s guarantee that your salvation is inviolable and that you are an authentic member of His kingdom and family. You are His possession–having been purchased with His Son’s precious blood (1 Cor. 6:20). You are His ambassador with delegated authority to proclaim His message to a lost world (2 Cor. 5:20).

The Spirit is the pledge of your eternal inheritance (Eph. 1:14). The Greek word translated “pledge” in that verse (arrab[ma]on) was used of down payment or earnest money given to secure a purchase. Rejoice in the assurance that God, who cannot lie (Titus 1:2), has given you His Spirit as a guarantee that He will keep His promises.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Praise God for the security of your eternal inheritance.

Praise the Spirit for His many ministries in your life. Be sensitive to His leading today so that your ministry to others will be powerful and consistent with His will.

For Further Study:

Read Esther chapters 3, 8. What role did the king’s signet ring play in the decree of Haman (chapter 3)? The decree of Ahasuerus and Mordecai (chapter 8)?

 

 

Joyce Meyer – Let Joy into Your Life

Joyce meyer

Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. —Psalm 30:5

Part of disciplining ourselves to celebrate life is refusing to live in mourning. There is a time to mourn, but we dare not let it become a way of life. The Bible says that weeping (mourning) endures for a night, but joy comes in the morning. There are things that happen in life that rightfully need to be mourned over, but joy always returns to balance things out. We must let the joy back into our lives after times of sadness and not feel guilty about enjoying life after disappointment or even tragedy has struck. There is a time to mourn and a time to rejoice, but we must not live in the state of mourning.

Part of life is dealing properly with sadness and disappointment. We cannot avoid them—and we should not deny the emotions that go with loss of any kind—but we can recover! I was saddened when I learned that a trusted employee had been stealing from our ministry, but I rejoiced that God brought the wrongdoing to light and it was discovered. I have a time of mourning when people I love die, but I can also rejoice that they knew Jesus and are spending eternity with Him.

I am sad when I realize I have let an area of my life get out of balance through lack of discipline, but I can rejoice that I now see the truth and am back on track. For all mourning there is an offsetting reason to celebrate. And although mourning is proper and is even part of our healing, it cannot last forever.

We cannot live in a state of mourning over things that have happened that we cannot change. In Christ there is always a place of new beginnings, and that is good news worth celebrating.

Trust in Him: If you are in a time of mourning, allow yourself to feel those feelings. But don’t get stuck there. Trust that God has a plan for you and wants you to have joy in the morning.

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – He Will Tell You

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“I advise you to obey only the Holy Spirit’s instructions. He will tell you where to go and what to do, and then you won’t always be doing the wrong things your evil nature wants you to” (Galatians 5:16).

Major conflicts in life are resolved when, by an act of the will, one surrenders to the control of the Holy Spirit and faces temptation in His power.

It should be explained that there is a difference between temptation and sin.

Temptation is the initial impression to do something contrary to God’s will. Such impressions come to all people, even as they did to the Lord, and they are not sin in themselves.

Temptation becomes sin when we meditate on the impression and develop a strong desire, which is often followed by the actual act of disobedience.

For practical daily living, we simply recognize our weakness whenever we are tempted and obey the Holy Spirit’s instructions. When we do not yield to temptation, we breathe spiritually and resume our walk with God.

“At what point does one who practices spiritual breathing become carnal again?” Whenever one ceases to believe God’s promise that He will enable us to be victorious over all temptations. The fact is, one need never be carnal again. So long as a believer keeps breathing spiritually, there is no need to live a life of defeat.

The moment you realize that you have done that which grieves or quenches the Spirit, you simply exhale spiritually by confessing immediately, and then inhale as by faith you claim God’s forgiveness and the fullness of the Holy Spirit, and you keep walking in the light as God is in the light.

Bible Reading: Galatians 5:17-26

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will consciously seek to obey the Holy Spirit’s instructions revealed to me in His holy, inspired Word.

 

 

 

Presidential Prayer Team; C.H. – Time Management

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Each year in November, a new stall shows up in the mall selling calendars and daily planners. Flocks of people purchase them in hopes of getting organized for the New Year. Others use a more technical version in the form of a smartphone app. Paper and digital users alike fill the cells with dates and deadlines, grocery lists and meetings in an attempt to make the best use of their minutes and hours.

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching.

Acts 2:42

How do you organize your time each day? How many hours are spent at a job, cleaning, doing laundry, cooking, eating and personal grooming? Now consider how much time is given to God. This includes reading the Bible, prayer, and service or ministry work. The author of today’s verse speaks of Christians who did not just pencil in a little time to listen and learn about the Lord – they devoted themselves to it.

If someone looked at your calendar today, where would it show you’ve invested your time? Ask God to help you become a better time manager. Then pray for your nation’s leaders to have a desire to devote their time, and hearts, to the Lord.

Recommended Reading: Luke 12:35-48  Click to Read or Listen