Tag Archives: Peace

Presidential Prayer Team; J.K. – Overwhelmed with Thanksgiving

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There are many different forms of gifts – just as there are many reasons for giving. A homemade present shows the recipient how important they are to you. Another gift may be given to someone you know out of a sense of obligation.

Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!

II Corinthians 9:15

In today’s verse, the Greek word for “gift” appears only 10 other times in the New Testament…and only when referencing God as the giver! The significance is that it is a reversal of the normal flow of gifts. God, who is the ultimate superior in the universe, gives His special gift to humanity, the inferior. Of course, this extraordinary gift is Jesus Himself.

In II Corinthians 9:1-14, Paul conveys his happiness for the love of fellow Christians for each other and their willingness to give. But their relatively trivial presents, contrasted with the inexpressible gift from God, causes Paul to be overwhelmed with adoration and thanksgiving to the Father for the gift of His Son.

Don’t let the busyness of the season remove your sense of gratefulness and awe for the Lord’s magnificent gift. Let your intercessions be that America and its leaders will come to know God’s love for them through His greatest gift…Jesus.

Recommended Reading: Romans 8:1-11

Greg Laurie – Have You Lost Sight of Jesus?

greglaurie

After the celebration was over, they started home to Nazareth, but Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents didn’t miss him at first.

—Luke 2:43

On one occasion when Jesus was twelve years old, He went missing. Mary and Joseph lost sight of Him, and it took three days of searching to find Him again. They had been in Jerusalem for the Passover, and as they were returning home, He was nowhere to be found. But here is the interesting thing: they traveled an entire day before they missed Him. It isn’t that they lost their love for Him or their faith. They just lost Him.

Can this happen to us? The answer is yes. It is possible to go through an hour, a day, or even a week without a passing thought of Jesus. (That is, until a crisis hits.) This is the easiest thing to do at Christmas. We are so busy celebrating the birth of Christ that we can forget about Christ. This is the time of year when we have all kinds of responsibilities. And God’s only begotten Son can become God’s only forgotten Son.

One way we lose Jesus is when nonessentials displace essentials. When we are busy, often our spiritual lives are the first things to go. We don’t have time to read God’s Word. We don’t have time to pray, even for a moment. We can’t afford to give anything to God because we have so many things to buy. We allow nonessentials to take the place of essentials.

Whenever I lose something, I retrace my steps. Where did I have it last? I go back to that place, and often I will find it there.

If you’ve found that you’ve lost Jesus in the busyness of life, then you need to go back to where you were before. And the good news is that even if we lose sight of Jesus, He never loses sight of us.

 

 

Max Lucado – An Eternal Instant

Max Lucado

An eternal instant. An instant in time that had no time. A picture froze in mid-frame, demanding to be savored! A moment that reminds you of the treasures surrounding you. Your home.  Your peace of mind.  Your health. A moment that tenderly rebukes you for spending so much time on temporal preoccupations.  A moment that can bring a mist to the manliest of eyes and perspective to the darkest life.

It was such a moment when the Creator smiled and said, “It is good.”  It was such a moment in the “fullness of time” when a carpenter, some smelly shepherds, and an exhausted young mother stood in silent awe at the sight of the infant in the manger.

Eternal instants.  You’ve had them.  We all have them. But may you have more of them. You are, in a very special way, on holy ground.

From God Came Near

Charles Stanley – When Things Seem Impossible

Charles Stanley

John 6:5-14

Years ago, our church was preparing to purchase some costly property, and our desire was to accomplish the transaction without going into debt. One week before the deadline, we had accumulated less than half the money; raising the rest seemed impossible. I mentioned our need to the congregation, and after the first service, a young couple came up and gave me the husband’s wedding band to use toward the payment. They insisted I take the ring in spite of the fact that they were barely getting by and had a baby on the way.

During the second service, I pulled out the ring and told about this couple’s sacrifice. Then the most amazing thing happened. People started streaming down the aisle and giving all kinds of things—boats, houses, jewelry, cars. At the end of that service, we had exactly the amount we needed.

Nothing is impossible for our Father. He used an inexpensive ring to raise over two million dollars in one day, just as He once borrowed a sack lunch to feed five thousand people.

We often make the same mistake the disciples did in today’s passage—we ask the wrong question: “What am I going to do?” Instead, we should ask the right one: “Lord, what are You going to do?” God has a plan to guide us safely through every seemingly impossible situation if we will simply trust Him instead of our own resources.

Look to your heavenly Father for whatever you need. He has promised to provide for His children, and He knows the best way and timing to do so.

 

Our Daily Bread — The Good And The Bad

Our Daily Bread

Jonah 4

The LORD God prepared a plant [for] shade . . . [and] a worm, and it so damaged the plant that it withered. —Jonah 4:6-7

The story of the rebellious prophet Jonah shows us how God desires to use both blessings and trials to challenge us and change us for the better. Five times in the book of Jonah it says that the Lord prepared circumstances for him—both good and bad.

In Jonah 1:4 we read that the Lord sent a storm. It says He “sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea.” After the mariners discovered that Jonah was the reason for this storm, they threw him overboard (1:15). Then God “prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah” to save him from drowning (1:17).

Later in the book we read that “the LORD God prepared a plant” to shade Jonah (4:6). Then we see that God prepared a worm to kill the vine as well as a scorching wind and sun to beat down upon him (4:7-9). These circumstances were used to reveal Jonah’s rebellious attitude. Only after that revelation could God directly confront Jonah’s heart problem.

As we face different situations, we should remember that God is sovereign over both the blessings and the troubles that come our way. He desires to use everything to build our character (James 1:1-5). He uses both good and bad to transform us and guide us on our journey. —Dennis Fisher

The Maker of the universe

Knows every need of man,

And made provision for that need

According to His plan. —Crane

The Lord gives and takes away. Blessed be the Lord.

Bible in a year: Daniel 11-12; Jude

 

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Breaking Silence

Ravi Z

There are those who say that lukewarm acceptance is more bewildering than outright rejection. I always wonder if they have ever heard the story of the Syrophoenician woman.

Jesus was on his way to a place where no one would recognize him. From the chaos of Jerusalem and the crowds of Galilee he withdrew to the region of Tyre. According to one of his disciples, when he had entered a house, he wanted no one to know of it. Yet, he did not escape notice. A Gentile woman of the Syrophoenician race immediately fell at his feet and began to cry out, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed.” But he did not answer her a word.(1)

In the lives of those who believe in God, sensed rejection is a difficult pill to swallow. Likewise, many former believers tell stories of a silent or unconcerned God on whom they eventually gave up. Even if we can reckon that God is not rejecting us personally, it is hard to square, “whoever comes to me I will never drive away” or “whatever you ask for in my name, I will do” with the barren silence of years of praying for a child; or the slamming of a door that held a real and certain hope; or the wordless dismissal of a mother brought to her knees. The rejection is indeed personal.

But this woman at Jesus’s feet did not turn away at the first sign of his refusal. She was not deterred by the disciples’ request that she be sent away, nor was she convinced to cease her plea after the harsh words that finally broke Jesus’s silence: ”I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Being a Gentile, this meant she was not one of them. Lesser rejections have certainly brought me to crumbled mess. Yet even this was not a thought that would dissuade her. Speaking again, she pled once more, “Lord, help me!”

This is precisely the place in the interchange where I can no longer remain comfortable, imagining what it feels like to be truly helpless before someone you know can help you, imagining what it feels like—even then—to be told “no.”  Still, Matthew recounts the story: “And Jesus answered and said, ‘It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.’ But she said, ‘Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table” (15:26-27). Her persistence, her vulnerability—her desperation—is more than most typically give anyone.

There is a line in the book of Hosea where God laments the presence of those who wail upon their beds but do not cry out to God from their hearts. In the brave voice of woman silenced by the world around her, I wonder if she is not the answer to this lament. If prayer is the pillar of a relationship that is built with one who knows us better than we know ourselves, how deeply rooted are the pillars of hope and love that have never been driven again and again into the ground? Perhaps there are times when rejection drives us deeper and we plunge further into faith, into the sheer earnestness of our request, into the presence of the God who hears it.

I don’t know why there are some prayers we seem to need to repeat exhaustively. I don’t know why there are some who seem to live lifetimes marked by the sting of rejected pleas. But I know that it is often the one who has learned to wrestle through denied petitions who also seems to exhibit a tender depth in her relationship with the one who hears; the one who God has given a chance to speak, to know her own voice and to be heard, who comes to value the conversation. I know that somehow even in sensed rejection, or the undesirable command to wait, is the hope of something understood.

At the close of the Syrophoenician woman’s final petition, Jesus turned to her with a response that overfilled the depths of her own rejection with the certainty of a relationship: “O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed at once.

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

(1) The story of the Syrophoenician woman is told in Matthew 15:21-28 and in Mark 7:24-30.

 

 

Charles Spurgeon – The Exodus

CharlesSpurgeon

“And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the self same day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt.” Exodus 12:41

Suggested Further Reading: 1 Corinthians 10:1-11

It is our firm conviction and increasing belief, that the historical books of Scripture were intended to teach us spiritual things by types and figures. We believe that every portion of Scripture history is not only a faithful transcript of what did actually happen, but also a shadow of what happens spiritually in the dealings of God with his people, or in the dispensations of his grace towards the world at large. We do not look upon the historical books of Scripture as being mere rolls of history, such as profane authors might have written, but we regard them as being most true and infallible records of the past, and also most bright and glorious foreshadowings of the future, or else most wondrous metaphors and marvellous illustrations of things which are verily received among us, and most truly felt in the Christian heart. We may be wrong—we believe we are not; at any rate, the very error has given us instruction, and our mistake has afforded us comfort. We look upon the book of Exodus as being a book of types of the deliverances which God will give to his elect people; not only as a history of what he has done, in bringing them out of Egypt by smiting the first-born, leading them through the Red Sea, and guiding them through the wilderness, but also as a picture of his faithful dealings with all his people, whom by the blood of Christ he separates from the Egyptians, and by his strong and mighty hand takes out of the house of their bondage and out of the land of their slavery.

For meditation: Are you getting as much out of the Old Testament as you should? It is full of the Lord Jesus Christ (Luke 24:27)! While it may be wrong and confusing to see types in every verse or action, if you major on the types which are identified and applied in the New Testament you cannot go far wrong.

Sermon no. 55

9 December (1855)

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Another Comforter

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“If ye love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever” (John 14:15,16, KJV).

Some time ago, a young businessman came to see me. He was very eager to be a man of God. He wanted to know the fullness of the Holy Spirit in his life, but he said that every time he got on his knees to pray, all he could see was the merchandise he had stolen from his employer.

“God doesn’t hear my prayers,” he lamented. “I feel miserable and don’t know what to do.”

I suggested he confess his sin to his employer and make restitution.

“I don’t have the money to pay for the merchandise I have stolen,” he said. “What should I do? I’m afraid to tell my employer what I have done. I’m sure he will fire me, and he could send me to jail.”

“The Holy Spirit is convicting you,” I told him. “You can never experience the fullness of God’s Spirit and you’ll never be a man of God or have your prayers answered until you deal with this sin. You must trust the Lord to help you make restitution.”

So the next day he went to his employer, confessed he had stolen the merchandise and offered to make restitution. The employer received him warmly and understanding. He suggested that my friend pay a certain amount each month out of his salary until the debt was paid, which he was more than happy to do. He came immediately to tell me what had happened.

“Now God is hearing my prayers,” he said. “Now I know I am filled with the Holy Spirit. My heart is filled with joy and praise to God.”

Bible Reading: John 14:22-26

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will remain sensitive and alert for any unconfessed sin that might grieve or quench the indwelling Holy Spirit and hinder His working in and through me, robbing me of the supernatural life which God has commanded and enabled me to live, if only I will trust and obey Him.

 

 

Greg Laurie – Why the Virgin Birth of Jesus?

greglaurie

“That is why I said that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I AM who I claim to be, you will die in your sins.” —John 8:24

Larry King once said that if he could choose one person to interview from the course of human history, he would choose to interview Jesus Christ. King said that he would like to ask Jesus “if He was indeed virgin-born.” He added, “The answer to that question would define history for me.” Larry King understands that the Virgin Birth is a big deal.

If you are a Bible-believing Christian, then you can’t dismiss what the Scriptures teach on this topic. I would even take it further and say that if you don’t believe that Jesus was supernaturally conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary, then you can’t really be a Christian.

This is an essential part of Christian doctrine. If Christ was not conceived in the womb of Mary by the Holy Spirit, if His biological father was indeed Joseph, then He was a sinner. And if He was a sinner, then His death on the cross did not atone for my sins or yours.

The fact is that because Jesus was supernaturally conceived in Mary’s womb, He was fully God, yet He was also fully man. Jesus said, “Unless you believe that I AM who I claim to be, you will die in your sins” (John 8:24). In other words, “If you don’t believe that I am God, then you are not really a believer.”

I AM is God’s own statement about Himself. When Moses wanted to know what to say when people asked who had sent him, God told him, “I AM WHO I AM. Say this to the people of Israel: I AM has sent me to you” (Exodus 3:14).

That is why the Virgin Birth is such an essential teaching. Christ was not God because He was virgin-born; He was virgin-born because He was God.

 

 

Max Lucado – A Lack of Vision

Max Lucado

“We were hoping the doctor would release him.”

“I thought the job was in the bag.”

Words painted gray with disappointment. What we wanted did not come.  What came, we didn’t want. The result?  Shattered hope.  What kind of God would let me down like this? The foundation of our world trembles.

So tear-filled are our eyes and so limited is our perspective. It’s not a lack of faith, but a lack of vision. Our petitions are limited to what we can imagine—an earthly kingdom. We roll in the mud of self-pity in the very shadow of the cross. If we would just remember the heavenly body that awaits us, we’d stop complaining that he hasn’t healed this earthly one. Hope is not what you expect—it’s what you would never dream!

From God Came Near

Charles Stanley – The Guidance of the Holy Spirit

Charles Stanley

How does the Holy Spirit guide us? How much does He control our actions? Does He still speak to believers, or was personal communication only for Biblical times?

God does not want us to be confused about this vital area. In talking to His disciples about the Holy Spirit, Jesus said, “When He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come” (John 16:13, emphasis added).

Let’s consider four key truths about the leadership of the Holy Spirit:

1. The Holy Spirit will guide us.

Jesus doesn’t promise that the Holy Spirit will control us. He says He will guide us.

Granted, there are times when I wish the Holy Spirit would control me. For instance, when I am tempted. Or when I become so task oriented that I become insensitive. Or when it’s a beautiful Saturday afternoon and I need to study, but everything in me wants to grab my camera and head for the mountains. Life would be much easier if the Holy Spirit would take control of me.

But He is our guide, not our controller. We never lose our ability to choose to follow His leading. As a result, we are always responsible for our words and actions.

2. The Holy Spirit is a trustworthy guide.

The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, helps believers discern between what is true and what is not; what is wise and what is foolish; what is best and what is simply OK. Each day is full of decisions. Most of our decisions concern issues not clearly spelled out in the Scriptures, for example, where to attend school, whether to hire a particular applicant, how much to budget for vacation, on and on it goes.

As you are inundated with the details of everyday living, the Holy Spirit will guide you. He will give you that extra on-the-spot sense of discernment you need to make both big and small decisions. As you develop a greater sensitivity to His guidance, you will worry much less about the decisions you make. Why? Because the Holy Spirit is a trustworthy guide.

3. The Holy Spirit is God’s mouthpiece to believers.

The Holy Spirit does not speak on His own. Like Christ, this member of the Trinity has willingly submitted to the authority of the Father. Everything He communicates to us is directly from the Father: “He will not speak on His own initiative” (John 16:13).

Our heavenly Father has chosen to communicate to His children through the Holy Spirit (Acts 11:12). He is God’s mouthpiece to believers. When the Father chooses to speak directly to you, it will be through the Holy Spirit.

When you think about it, this really makes perfect sense. After all, where does the Holy Spirit reside? In you! And in me! Therefore, He is the perfect candidate for communicating God’s will to Christians. Living inside us, He has direct access to our minds, emotions, and consciences.

4. The Holy Spirit speaks.

The question of whether God still speaks today is one that has spawned numerous books, articles, and lectures. It is not my purpose to present a tightly woven argument about why I believe He still speaks today. Suffice it to say, I do believe God, through the Holy Spirit, communicates directly with believers. No, I don’t write these revelations in the back of my Bible and call them inspired. Neither do I run around telling everybody what “God told me.”

My experience is that the Holy Spirit, at the prompting of the heavenly Father, still communicates with believers today. How does He do that? The Holy Spirit indwells me. He doesn’t need my ears. What He needs is a listening heart and a renewed mind.

The book of Acts records several occasions when the Holy Spirit spoke to Paul and Peter (11:12; 13:2; 16:6; 20:23). It can’t be denied that those men had a special gift and call on their lives. But the same Holy Spirit who indwelt those men indwells every believer. Just as they needed divine direction at critical times in their lives, we need it today.

In his letters to the Christians in Rome and Galatia, the Apostle Paul refers to believers as “led by the Spirit” (Rom. 8:14; Gal. 5:18). If we are going to be led by the Holy Spirit, we can only assume that He is willing (and able) to communicate with us.

How does God communicate with us today? The Lord speaks through the voice of His Spirit, who resides within us. We may have to seek His face for a season; other times, we can sense His direction immediately. No matter what, the Holy Spirit is a trustworthy guide.

Adapted from “The Wonderful Spirit-Filled Life,” by Charles F. Stanley, 1992.

 

Related Resources

Related Video

Our Constant Companion

We all need a companion—someone who helps when we’re in trouble, laughs with us in good times, and weeps with us through pain. This is why Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to be our Comforter. In this message, Dr. Stanley shares how the this third Person of the Trinity works within us. (Watch Our Constant Companion.)

 

 

 

Our Daily Bread — Serious Fear

Our Daily Bread

Luke 2:8-20

Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy. —Luke 2:10

After weeks of preparation by the children’s choir, the night had finally arrived for our annual Christmas musical in 1983. The costumed children began filing into the auditorium when suddenly we heard a ruckus at the back door. My wife and I turned to look and saw our own little Matt. Sobbing loudly and with a look of sheer terror on his face, he had a death grip on the door handle. He refused to enter the auditorium. After much negotiating, the director finally told him he didn’t have to go on stage. Instead, Matt sat with us, and soon his fears began to subside.

Although we don’t usually identify Christmas as a time of fear, there was plenty of it on the night of Christ’s birth. Luke says, “Behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid” (Luke 2:9). The sight of the angelic messenger was more than the shepherds could process. But the angel reassured them: “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people” (v.10).

In a world full of fear, we need to remember that Jesus came to be the Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6). We desperately need His peace. As we look to Him, He will ease our fears and calm our hearts. —Bill Crowder

Hail, the heaven-born Prince of Peace!

Hail the Sun of righteousness!

Light and life to all He brings,

Risen with healing in His wings. —Wesley

God incarnate is the end of fear. —F. B. Meyer

Bible in a year: Daniel 8-10; 3 John

 

Alistair Begg – Walk With Christ in White

Alistair Begg

Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy.

Revelation 3:4

We may understand this to refer to justification. “They will walk in white”; that is, they will enjoy a constant sense of their own justification by faith; they will understand that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to them, that they have all been washed and made whiter than the newly-fallen snow.

Again, it refers to joy and gladness, for white robes were holiday dress among the Jews. They who “have not soiled their garments” will have their faces always bright; they will understand what Solomon meant when he said, “Go, eat your bread in joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do. Let your garments be always white.”1

The one who is accepted by God will wear white garments of joy and gladness while they walk in sweet communion with the Lord Jesus. Why are there so many doubts, so much misery and mourning? It is because so many believers spoil their garments with sin and error, and as a result they lose the joy of their salvation and the comfortable fellowship of the Lord Jesus; they do not walk here below in white.

The promise also refers to walking in white before the throne of God. Those who have not soiled their garments here will most certainly walk in white in heaven, where the white-robed crowd sings perpetual hallelujahs to the Most High. They will possess joys inconceivable, happiness beyond a dream, bliss that imagination knows not, blessedness that even the stretch of desire has not reached.

“Those whose way is blameless”2 shall have all this-not of merit, nor of works, but of grace. They shall walk with Christ in white, for He has made them “worthy.” In His sweet company they will drink from the fountains of living waters.

1 Ecclesiastes 9:7-8

2 Psalm 119:1

 

 

Charles Spurgeon – The feast of the Lord

CharlesSpurgeon

“The governor of the feast called the bridegroom, And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.” John 2:9-10

Suggested Further Reading: Psalm 73

If the Christian has the best wine to come, why should he envy the unbeliever? David did; he was discontented when he saw the prosperity of the wicked, and you and I are often tempted to do it; but you know what we ought to say when we see the wicked prosper, when we see them happy and full of delights of sinful pleasure. We ought to say, “My good wine is to come; I can bear that you should have your turn; my turn will come afterwards; I can be put off with these things, and lie with Lazarus at the gate, while the dogs lick my sores; my turn is to come, when the angels shall carry me into Abraham’s bosom, and your turn is to come too, when in hell you lift up your eyes, being in torments.” Christian, what more shall I say to you?—though there be a thousand lessons to learn from this, the best wine is kept to the last. Take heed to yourself, that you also keep your good wine until the last. The further you go on the road, seek to bring to your Saviour the more acceptable sacrifice. You had little faith years ago: man! Bring out the good wine now! Seek to have more faith. Your Master is better to you every day and you shall see him to be the best of all Masters and friends. Seek to be better to your Master every day; be more generous to his cause, more active to labour for him, more kind to his people, more diligent in prayer; and take heed that as you grow in years you grow in grace, so that when you come at last to the river Jordan, and the Master shall give you the best wine, you may also give to him the best wine.

For meditation: In which direction is your Christian life going at the moment—forwards (Philippians 3:13), backwards (Galatians 5:7) or nowhere (1 Corinthians 3:1-3)?

Sermon no. 226

8 December (Preached 28 November 1858)

 

John MacArthur – Christ’s Radiance and Representation

John MacArthur

“He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature” (Heb. 1:3).

Just as the rays of the sun give light, warmth, life, and growth to the earth, so Jesus Christ is the glorious light of God shining into the hearts of men and women. As “the radiance of God’s glory,” Jesus expresses God to us. No one can see God in HIs full glory; no one ever will. The radiance of that glory that reaches us from God appears in the Person of Jesus Christ.

Just as the sun was never without and can never be separated from its brightness, so God was never without and cannot be separated from the glory of Christ. Never was God without Him or He without God, and never in any way can He be separated from God. Yet the brightness of the sun is not the sun, and neither is Jesus exactly the same as God in that sense. He is fully and absolutely God, yet as a distinct Person within the triune Godhead.

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12). As the radiance of God’s glory, Christ can transmit that light into your life and mine so that we can radiate the glory of God to a dark world.

In using the term “exact representation” to describe Christ’s relationship to God’s nature, the writer employs terminology usually associated with an impression reproduced on a seal by a die or stamp. Jesus Christ is the reproduction of God–the perfect, personal imprint of God in time and space.

How wonderful to realize that Jesus Christ, who is both the full expression of God and exact reproduction of God’s nature in human history, can come into our lives and give us light to see and to know God! His light is the source of our spiritual life. And His light gives us purpose, meaning, happiness, peace, joy, fellowship, everything–for all eternity.

Suggestion for Prayer:

Thank God that He determined to become a man so we could know what He is like.

For Further Study:

Read 2 Corinthians 4:3-6 and note who allows people to see or not see spiritually.

 

Joyce Meyer – Honor God’s Voice Above All

Joyce meyer

[Most] blessed is the man who believes in, trusts in, and relies on the Lord, and whose hope and confidence the Lord is.—Jeremiah 17:7

One attitude that welcomes the presence of God into our lives is the attitude that honors Him above everyone and everything else. Our attitudes need to say, “God, no matter what anyone else tells me, no matter what I think myself, no matter what my own plan is, if I clearly hear You say something and I know it’s You, I will honor You—and honor what You say—above everything else.”

Sometimes we give more consideration to what people tell us than to what God says. If we pray diligently and hear from God, and then start asking people around us what they think, we honor their human opinions above God’s. Such an attitude will prevent our being able to consistently hear God’s voice. If we are ever going to develop an ability to hear from God and be led by His Spirit as a way of life, we have to stop listening to so many opinions from so many people and begin trusting the wisdom God deposits in our hearts. There is a time to receive good counsel, but needing the approval of people will keep us out of the will of God.

The devil wants us to think we are not capable of hearing from God, but God’s Word says that is not true. The Holy Spirit dwells inside of us because God wants us to be led by the Spirit in a personal way and to hear His voice for ourselves as He leads and guides us.

In the verse for today, God says we will be blessed when we look to Him. According to Jeremiah 17:5–6, severe consequences come to those who trust in the frailty of mere men and women, but blessed are those who trust in and honor the Lord. Good things happen if we listen to God. He wants to be our strength and we must honor His Word above all else.

God’s word for you today: Hear what others have to say, but listen to God.

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – He Will Preserve Me

dr_bright

“And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto His heavenly kingdom; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen” (2 Timothy 4:18, KJV).

Do you and I have that same kind of confidence in God?

Note that the apostle Paul did not mention the word deathhere, for earlier verses in this chapter reveal that he expected to die – and he was ready. But he was assured that God would keep Paul from apostasy, and from displaying an improper spirit at the time of his death.

In the same way, we can ask the Lord today, in faith believing, for that inner peace we need to face up to all that He allows to happen in our lives. His perfect peace is sufficient for every testing and trial and trouble and temptation.

By keeping us from every evil work, He likewise enables us to reach His heavenly kingdom.

An appropriate time for praise to God is when a person knows he is about to be brought to heaven, and Paul introduces such a doxology here: “to whom be glory for ever and ever.”

The truth is clear: we are protected on every side, and even at death we can sing the doxology, for we are about to meet the altogether lovely One in His heavenly home. To remain in constant fellowship with our heavenly Father will maintain a spirit of joy, love and peace in our lives that nothing can shake.

Bible Reading: Psalm 3:1-6

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Like the apostle Paul, I will confidently expect God to protect me from every evil work and enable me to live the supernatural life for His glory.

 

Presidential Prayer Team; P.G. – Prioritized Place

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Do you ever wonder why it seems like you’re always facing one problem or another? Perhaps temptations get the better of you, or you’re driven to anger and bitterness because prayers seem to go unanswered. Could it be you’re not spending enough time reading your Bible?

The word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.

I John 2:14

Today’s verse reminds you of one of the benefits of letting God’s word abide in you – you will overcome evil. Yet Scripture will only take up residence in your life if you let it in, and the only way you can do that is to prioritize it and give it the rightful place it deserves at the top of your daily routine.

During this holiday season, develop a new habit by setting aside specific time to saturate yourself with the gift of God’s love as found in His Word. Allow the abundance of His grace to flood into your soul. Memorize something new. Enjoy spiritual songs. Play a Scripture CD in your car. The more you abide in the Word, the more it will abide in you!

In a nation where many have lost their way, pray that this will be a season of discovering Jesus for who He really is – Savior, Lord and friend. Ask for this same discovery to happen among your nation’s leaders as well.

Recommended Reading: John 15:7-14

Greg Laurie – The Man Who Tried to Stop Christmas

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A real war has been raging over Christmas. Many retailers have instructed their employees to no longer say, “Merry Christmas,” but to say, “Seasons Greetings” or “Happy Holidays” instead. We see this trend being carried through to the public schools and other places. Some school districts in Florida and New Jersey have prohibited the singing of Christmas carols altogether. And in Texas of all places, a school confiscated one child’s gifts for classmates, which were pencils with the inscription, “Jesus is the reason for the season.” A Wisconsin elementary school actually changed the lyrics for “Silent Night” to a secularized version, “Cold in the Night.”

Attempts to create a politically correct version of Christmas are not only happening in the US, but abroad as well. Cardiff Cathedral, an Anglican Church in Wales, has made the hymn, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” more gender-friendly by renaming it, “God Rest You Merry Persons.” (That just doesn’t have the same sound.) Some are even suggesting they take it a step further by substituting the words “higher power” for God in the lyrics. Now we are losing the whole point of the song.

Efforts to stop Christmas have been going on for a very long time. In fact, someone tried to stop the first Christmas, and he wasn’t a fictional character like the Grinch or Ebenezer Scrooge. He is known as Herod the Great. Herod was born into a politically well-connected family, and at the age of 25, he was named the governor of Galilee—a very high-ranking position for such a young man. The Romans were hoping that Herod would somehow be able to control the Jews who lived in that area. And in 40 B.C., the Roman Senate gave Herod the title of “king of the Jews.” This was a title the Jews especially hated, because Herod was not a religious man. He was not a devout man. He had no regard for the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, or for the Jewish people. But he loved that title because it spoke of power.

And that was Herod’s problem. He was addicted to power. Power has been described as the ultimate human obsession, and that certainly was the case with King Herod. His craftiness knew no barriers, because he had a morbid distrust of anyone who would try to take his reign. He had his spies fan out and constantly look for any potential threats to his throne. Over the years, he killed many people whom he perceived as a threat, including his brother-in-law, mother-in-law, two of his own sons and even his wife. The ancient historian Josephus described Herod as barbaric. Another writer described him as the malevolent maniac.

By the time Jesus was born, Herod’s life was coming to an end. The so-called king of the Jews was slowly dying of a disease, and he was rapidly losing his mind. He had successfully fought off all attempts to take his power away when mysterious visitors from the east suddenly came blowing into town. They were strange men with strange questions. And right off the bat, they pushed Herod’s button when they said they were looking for the one who was born the king of the Jews. That was Herod’s title, but he certainly wasn’t born the king of the Jews. Yet that is who the wise men were looking for.

So Herod called in the members of the local clergy to assist him, scribes who had spent their lives in the study of Scripture. Immediately they pointed to the prophecy of Micah that predicted the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. But Herod wasn’t thinking about prophetic significance; he was thinking about the threat to his throne. He secretly called in the wise men and asked them to tell him exactly when the star appeared. Then he told them to search for the child and when they had found him, to report back so that he could go and worship also. But the Bible tells us that after the wise men found Jesus and worshipped him, God warned them in a dream not to return to Herod. So the wise men took a different way home. Herod was so angry these wise men had not reported back to him that he freaked out. All the worst instincts of a lifetime of cruelty came to the surface, and he ordered the cold-blooded murder of all males in Bethlehem and its districts under the age of two.

We find an interesting contrast of kings in this story. Both possessed immense power, but how they chose to use it revealed the hearts of two radically different men. Herod was a tyrant; Jesus was a servant. One was consumed with self-interest; the other was focused on pleasing God and serving others. One manipulated, slandered, deceived and coerced, while the other healed, touched, taught and loved. Herod tried to stop Christmas, and more to the point, he tried to stop Christ. But even with all of his wealth and power and influence, he came to ruin.

Like Herod, there are people today who oppose Christmas. They don’t want us to say, “Merry Christmas.” They don’t want us to say that Jesus is the reason for the season. They don’t want us to sing our Christmas carols. They don’t want us to post the Ten Commandments in our classrooms or have prayers in public places. They don’t want any freedom of expression in our culture. They want to impose their values—or lack of values—on us. There are people today who oppose everything about God or about Jesus Christ. And that is what Herod did. He was a man who fought against God and ended up destroying himself.

Of course, we can complain about people who are leaving Christ out of Christmas, but let’s not do that ourselves. We can forget to keep Christ in Christmas with all of our busyness at this time of year. The wise men had it right. They wanted to worship Jesus. And that is quite dramatic when you consider these men were like royalty themselves, yet willing to bow before the baby king. Their gifts were an expression of worship from the overflow of adoring and grateful hearts. And right worship is always—and must be—the only basis for right giving and right service. Christmas is all about Christ. It is not about Christmas presents; it is about His Christmas presence in our lives. Don’t forget Jesus at Christmas.