Tag Archives: Peace

Alistair Begg – Enlist God’s Aid Through Prayer

Alistair Begg

Beginning to sink he cried out, ‘Lord, save me.’

Matthew 14:30

 

Sinking times are praying times with the Lord’s servants. Peter neglected prayer at starting upon his venturous journey, but when he began to sink, his danger made him a suppliant, and his cry, though late, was not too late.

In our hours of bodily pain and mental anguish, we find ourselves as naturally driven to prayer as the wreck is driven upon the shore by the waves. The fox runs to its hole for protection; the bird flies to the wood for shelter; and even so the tried believer hastens to the mercy-seat for safety. Heaven’s great harbor of refuge is All-prayer; thousands of weather-beaten vessels have found a haven there, and the moment a storm comes on, it is wise for us to make for it with full sail.

Short prayers are long enough. There were but three words in the petition that Peter gasped out, but they were sufficient for his purpose. Not length but strength is desirable. A sense of need is a mighty teacher of brevity. If our prayers had less of the tail feathers of pride and more wing, they would be all the better. Verbiage is to devotion as chaff to the wheat. Precious things lie in small compass, and all that is real prayer in many a long address might have been uttered in a petition as short as that of Peter.

Our extremities are the Lord’s opportunities. Immediately a keen sense of danger forces an anxious cry from us, the ear of Jesus hears, and with Him ear and heart go together, and the hand does not long linger. At the last moment we appeal to our Master, but His swift hand makes up for our delays by instant and effectual action. Are we nearly engulfed by the boisterous waters of affliction? Let us then lift up our souls unto our Savior, and we may rest assured that He will not suffer us to perish. When we can do nothing, Jesus can do everything; let us enlist His powerful aid upon our side, and all will be well.

 

 

Charles Spurgeon – The sin of unbelief

CharlesSpurgeon

“And that lord answered the man of God, and said, Now, behold, if the Lord should make windows in heaven, might such a thing be? And he said, Behold, thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof.” 2 Kings 7:19

Suggested Further Reading: John 20:24-29

“Thou shalt shall see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof.” It is so often with God’s own saints. When they are unbelieving, they see the mercy with their eyes, but do not eat it. Now, here is corn in this land of Egypt, but there are some of God’s saints who come here on the Sabbath, and say, “I do not know whether the Lord will be with me or not.” Some of them say, “Well, the gospel is preached, but I do not know whether it will be successful.” They are always doubting and fearing. Listen to them when they get out of the chapel. “Well, did you get a good meal this morning?” “Nothing for me.” Of course not. Ye could see it with your eyes, but did not eat it, because you had no faith. If you had come up with faith, you would have had a morsel. I have found Christians, who have grown so very critical, that if the whole portion of the meat they are to have, in due season, is not cut up exactly into square pieces, and put upon some choice dish of porcelain, they cannot eat it. Then they ought to go without, until they are brought to their appetites. They will have some affliction, which will act like quinine upon them: they will be made to eat by means of bitters in their mouths; they will be put in prison for a day or two until their appetite returns, and then they will be glad to eat the most ordinary food, off the most common platter, or no platter at all. But the real reason why God’s people do not feed under a gospel ministry, is because they have not faith. If you believed, if you heard only one promise, that would be enough.

For meditation: The unbeliever needs to hear in order to believe (Romans 10:14); the believer needs to believe in order to hear.

Sermon no. 3

14 January (1855)

 

John MacArthur – Pursuing God’s Will

John MacArthur

“In all wisdom and insight [God] made known to us the mystery of His will” (Eph. 1:8-9).

When God redeemed you, He not only forgave your trespasses and removed the guilt and penalty of sin, but He also gave you spiritual wisdom and insight–two essential elements for godly living. Together they speak of the ability to understand God’s will and apply it to your life in practical ways.

As a believer you understand the most sublime truths of all. For example, you know that God created the world and controls the course of history. You know that mankind’s reason for existence is to know and glorify Him. You have goals and priorities that transcend earthly circumstances and limitations.

Such wisdom and insight escapes unbelievers because they tend to view the things of God with disdain (1 Cor. 2:14). But you “have the mind of Christ” (v. 16). His Word reveals His will and His spirit gives you the desire and ability to understand and obey it.

Today is another opportunity to cultivate that desire through diligent prayer and Bible study. Let the psalmist’s commitment be yours: “O how I love Thy law! It is my meditation all the day. Thy commandments make me wiser than my enemies. . . . I have more insight than all my teachers. . . . I understand more than the aged . . . I have restrained my feet from every evil way, that I may keep Thy word” (Ps. 119:97-101).

Suggestions for Prayer:

Thank God for the wisdom and insight He gives you through His Word.

If you have neglected the Word, ask His forgiveness and begin once again to refresh your spirit with its truths.

Ask for wisdom to respond biblically to every situation you face today.

For Further Study:

Many Christians think God’s will is vague or hidden from them. But Scripture mentions several specific aspects of His will. Once you align yourself with those specifics, the Spirit will direct you in the other areas of your life.

List six elements of God’s will from these passages: 2 Peter 3:9; Ephesians 5:17-18; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; 1 Peter 2:13-15; 1 Peter 3:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:18.

Are you following God’s will in those areas? If not, what steps can you take today to do so?

 

 

Joyce Meyer – Power of the Spirit

Joyce meyer

Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit . . . says the Lord of hosts.—Zechariah 4:6b (NKJV)

“I’m a nobody,” my friend Gary said, “and besides, God has so many millions of people to look out for, and in comparison with some of them, my problems seem so petty.”

His words shocked me. Of course, God has millions to care for—but He can care for all of them at the same time.

Gary missed something very important. God wants us to ask for help—and to ask often. Look at it this way: If Satan constantly attacks our minds, how else can we fortify ourselves? We fight back—but our major weapon is to cry out to the Lord asking for His strength to become ours.

Too many times, we think we can do it ourselves. In some instances, that may be true, but if we’re going to win continually over the attacks against our minds, we must realize that willpower alone won’t work. What we need is the humility to turn to the Holy Spirit and ask Him to strengthen us.

I realize that many people do not grasp how the Lord lovingly operates in their lives. Not only does God love us like a father, but He also has caring concern for every part of our lives. Our heavenly Father wants to intervene and help us, but He waits for an invitation to get involved. We issue that invitation and open the door for God’s help through prayer. God’s Word says, “You do not have, because you do not ask” (James 4:2 NKJV).

Perhaps we can think of it this way. God is watching us all the time, and He is aware of the temptations, struggles, and hardships we face—and we all face them. If we think we can do it by ourselves, God takes no action. But He remains ready to jump in and rescue us as soon as we cry out, asking for the power of the Holy Spirit to operate in our lives.

Our victory begins with right thinking. We have to be convinced that God cares, wants to act, and waits for us to cry out. When we cry out, we understand the words quoted previously, that it’s not by force or power, but by God’s Holy Spirit that victory comes.

For example, take the matter of personal fellowship—daily time spent in prayer and reading the Word. As Christians, we know this is what God wants and what we need if we’re going to mature spiritually. At one time in my life, I tried to maintain spiritual self-discipline. I determined that I would pray and read my Bible every single day. I would do well for two or three days, and then something would interfere—sometimes my family or something at our church, but mostly little things that took my attention away from daily fellowship with my Lord.

One day, in desperation, I cried out, “Without Your help, I’ll never be faithful in doing this.” That’s when the Holy Spirit came to me and gave me the self-discipline I needed. It was almost as if God watched me struggle and allowed me to become frustrated and angry with myself. But as soon as I sincerely asked for help, the Spirit came to my rescue. We are too independent, and we experience a lot of unnecessary frustration simply because we try to do things without God’s help.

With the Spirit’s help, I am learning—yes, still learning—that I can choose what I want to think about. I can choose my thoughts, and I need to do that carefully. Unless I’m in regular fellowship with Him, I won’t know the difference between healthy thoughts and unhealthy ones. And if I don’t know the difference, I provide the opportunity for Satan to sneak into my mind and torment me. Spend plenty of time studying God’s Word, and you will quickly recognize each lie that Satan tries to plant in your mind.

Dear loving God, I want to think thoughts that honor You. I want to have a mind that’s fully centered on You, and I know that can’t happen unless I spend daily time with You. Help me, Holy Spirit; help me to be obedient and eager to be in constant fellowship with You. Amen.

 

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – A Blessing So Great

dr_bright

“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so that there will be food enough in my Temple; if you do, I will open up the windows of heaven for you and pour out a blessing so great you won’t have room enough to take it in” (Malachi 3:10).

Tom and Marti were newlyweds. They were just getting started in business and had all the expense of setting up housekeeping. So they found their budget severely strained. In fact, the bills were piling up. Then they were challenged to tithe their gross income. Their first response was, “Impossible! We can’t even pay our present bills, let alone take 10 percent off the top.”

As they prayed together, however, they felt definitely led that this was God’s will. Since they wanted to please Him by obeying His command, they began systematically and faithfully to give priority to their tithe. At first, it was nip and tuck, and some of the other obligations had to wait. But after a few months they were amazed to see how they were able to accomplish more with the nine-tenths than they had previously been able to accomplish with the total amount.

Now they are enthusiastic over the privilege of laying up treasures in heaven, seeking first the kingdom of God. Tithing was only the beginning. Now they are giving 40 percent off the top because God has prospered them so abundantly.

I began to tithe as a new Christian when I was made aware of the scriptural principle that everything belongs to God and we are only stewards during our brief time here on earth. Actually a tithe is the Old Testament concept and according to the New Testament concept every believer has the privilege of laying up treasures in heaven far beyond the amount of the tithe. There is a law of sowing and reaping: The more you sow, the more you reap.

To the Christian, it is not how much we give to God; it is how much we have left after we have given to Him – and to His kingdom.

Bible Reading: Malachi 3:5-9

Today’s Action Point: Today I will take inventory of my giving to the Lord. I will begin at least to tithe, expecting that God, as He promised Malachi, “will open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing so great that I won’t have room enough to take it in.

 

Presidential Prayer Team; A.W. – Striving for Excellence

ppt_seal01

Author Richard Carlson’s Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff is considered one of the fastest selling books of all time. Published in 135 countries and translated into 35 languages, it made publishing history as USA Today’s bestselling book for two years and spent 101 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. The book’s focus is on being happy and reducing stress by not worrying about the small things in life, but some have misinterpreted its title to mean being careless about the details.

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.

Colossians 3:23

Today’s verse encourages you to do everything, even the smallest actions, to the best of your ability. You honor to God and bring Him glory by striving for excellence and faithfulness.

As you approach your daily routine, from taking care of your family to sweeping the floor, do all with enthusiasm and diligence, not by grumbling or being reluctant. Nothing you do is unimportant when you do it to serve Him. As you ask the Lord to help you do everything heartily and with gladness, pray also for the nation’s leaders to be the best they can be and to serve the nation’s citizens in a way that honors God.

Recommended Reading: Ephesians 6:5-11

 

Greg Laurie – Subtle Damage

greglaurie

He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with one who flatters with his lips. —Proverbs 20:19

Among the many ways we can use our words to hurt others, three of them are backbiting, gossip, and flattery.

The word used for backbite in Hebrew means “to play the spy.” It’s a picture of someone who collects clues and scraps of information regarding a person’s character and then relates the information to anyone who will listen.

Gossip is more subtle because it can veil itself in “acceptable” language. People will say, “Have you heard?” or “I personally don’t believe it’s true, but I did hear that. . . .” Or, here is one of my personal favorites: “I wouldn’t normally share this, but I know it won’t go any further. Keep this to yourself.”

Of course, we Christians like to wrap gossip in spiritual language: “I need to tell you this about so-and-so so you can pray for them.” But how often do we really follow through and make it a matter of prayer?

A more subtle misuse of the tongue is in flattery. Flattery is just a fancy lie. It’s when you say something that is really not true to win a person’s favor, attention, or approval when you don’t mean what you said about him or her at all. A good definition of gossip and flattery is this: Gossip is saying behind a person’s back what you would never say to his or her face. Flattery is saying to a person’s face what you would never say behind his or her back.

That is why James tells us, “If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body” (James 3:2). That is a mark of true spirituality.

 

Max Lucado – A New Definition

Max Lucado

With God—all things are possible! (Matthew 19:26).

Consider Abram. Pushing a century of years, his wife, Sarai, ninety. The wallpaper in the nursery faded, baby furniture out of date.  The topic of a promised child brings sighs and tears. . . and God tells them they’d better select a name for their new son. They laugh! Partly because it’s too good to happen and partly because it might.  They’ve given up hope, and hope born anew is always funny before it’s real. They laugh a little at God, and a lot with God—for God is laughing too.

With the smile still on His face, He gets busy doing what He does the best—the unbelievable. Abram, the father of one, will now be Abraham, the father of a promised multitude. Sarai, the barren one, will now be Sarah, the mother.

Their names aren’t the only thing God changes. He changes the way they define the word impossible!

From The Applause of Heaven

Charles Stanley – A Reason for Confidence

Charles Stanley

Philippians 4:10-13

Negativity affects us both spiritually and physically. Simply spending time with a pessimistic individual can take a toll. On the other hand, positive emotions, particularly godly confidence, can empower us to live fully, as the Lord intends.

Facing each day with the knowledge that our strength comes from Jesus will drive away doubt and anxiety. Yet many things can interfere with a healthy outlook. For example, we often allow wrong advice and negative attitudes to drain us. Sin, too, will keep our hearts from finding full confidence in God. And sometimes false guilt creeps into our minds and robs us of assurance as well.

Instead, we can purposefully develop confidence in almighty God by maturing in our faith. Meditating on the Word, drawing near to the Lord in prayer, and choosing to believe Him are all ways to strengthen our relationship with the Father. The more our friendship with Him deepens, the more unshakable our trust will become.

As Christians, we have every reason to live with assurance—we have the very presence of God living within us (John 14:17). But in addition, we also have His peace, power, and provision (Phil. 4:7, 13, 19).

Our world is full of distrust, fear, and uncertainty. Don’t allow yourself to listen to negative messages, which can make you lose the confidence God gives His children. Instead, focus on the truth in Scripture, as well as the glory and victory of Jesus. Let His perfect love cast out your fear (1 John 4:18).

 

 

 

Our Daily Bread — Much More Than Survival

Our Daily Bread

1 Thessalonians 2:17–3:7

Timothy has come to us from you, and brought us good news of your faith and love. —1 Thessalonians 3:6

In April 1937, Mussolini’s invading armies forced all the missionaries serving in the Wallamo region to flee Ethiopia. They left behind just 48 Christian converts, who had little more than the gospel of Mark to feed their growth. Few even knew how to read. But when the missionaries returned 4 years later, the church had not just survived; it numbered 10,000!

When the apostle Paul was forced to leave Thessalonica (see Acts 17:1-10), he yearned to learn about the survival of the small band of Christians he left behind (1 Thess. 2:17). But when Timothy visited the Thessalonian church later, he brought word to Paul in Athens about their “faith and love” (1 Thess. 3:6). They had become “examples” to the believers in the surrounding regions in Macedonia and Achaia (1 Thess. 1:8).

Paul never claimed credit for any numerical increase in his ministry. Nor did he attribute it to anyone else. Rather, he gave credit to God. He wrote, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase” (1 Cor. 3:6).

Difficult circumstances may thwart even our best intentions, separating friends from each other for a season. But God is growing His church through every difficulty. We need only be faithful and leave the results to Him. —C. P. Hia

Lord, we are so prone to be fearful when we face

opposition, yet so often we want to take credit

for every little success. Help us see that You are

the One who blesses and builds Your church.

I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. —Jesus (Matthew 16:18)

Bible in a year: Genesis 31-32; Matthew 9:18-38

 

 

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – God of Possibility

Ravi Z

“Over the past few years I’ve had an uncomfortable sense that someone, or something, has been tinkering with my brain, remapping the neural circuitry, reprogramming the memory. My mind isn’t going—so far as I can tell—but it’s changing.”(1) So begins Nicholas Carr’s now well-circulated essay, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” His Atlantic article describes the shifting of his own thought patterns; how he once could delve easily into long bouts of prose, but now finds his mind trailing off after skimming only a few pages. As a writer he is the first to applaud the instant wonders of Google searches, information-trails, and hyperlinks ad infinitum. He just wonders aloud about the cost.

University of Virginia English professor Mark Edmundson is another voice attempting to articulate the current cultural ecosystem, and the minds, souls, and relationships it cultivates. In an article for The Chronicle of Higher Education he attempts to describe the turbo-charged orientation of his students to life around them. “They want to study, travel, make friends, make more friends, read everything (superfast), take in all the movies, listen to every hot band, keep up with everyone they’ve ever known… They live to multiply possibilities. They’re enemies of closure… [They] want to take eight classes a term, major promiscuously, have a semester abroad at three different colleges, [and] connect with every likely person who has a page on Facebook.”(2) Edmundson argues that for all the virtues of a generation that lives the possibilities of life so fully, there are detriments to the mind that perpetually seeks more and other options. For many, the moment of maximum pleasure is no longer “the moment of closure, where you sealed the deal,” but rather, “the moment when the choices had been multiplied to the highest sum…the moment of maximum promise.”

There is a phrase in Latin that summarizes the idea that the way our minds and souls are oriented is the way our lives are oriented. Lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi is an axiom of ancient Christianity, meaning: the rule of worship is the rule of belief is the rule of life. That is, the way we are oriented in worship (whatever it might be that we focus on most devotedly) orients the way we believe and, in turn, the way we live. In a cultural ecosystem where we seem to worship possibilities, where freedom is understood as the absence of limitation upon our choices, and where the virtue of good multitasking has replaced the virtue of singleness of heart, it is understandable that we are both truly and metaphorically “all over the place”—mentally, spiritually, even bodily, in a state of perpetual possibility-seeking.

Of course, for the ancient Christians who first repeated the idiom, Lex orandi lex credendi lex vivendi, they did so with Christ in mind as the subject, aware that the Son of God was the only object of worship who could ever quiet their own restless souls. Before any formal creeds were written, the early church held this adage, knowing that the essence of their theology would rise from their acts of adoration, thanksgiving, and petition. And they knew that the ways of their worship, the things they said when they prayed, not only defined their ultimate beliefs, but ultimately defined their lives.

No matter our object of worship, the same is true of our lives today. That which claims the most thorough part of our hearts, minds, and time both reflects and shapes our lives. We most certainly live in a time when focusing our minds on one thing is a challenge met with a constant parade of options vying for our attention. The Christian story introduces a God who longs to gather us, whose arm is not too short to save (even from ourselves), nor ear too dull to hear, who is the same yesterday and today.

What’s more, the distracted soul is hardly unique to the age of Google. There was a time when the ancient church father Augustine of Hippo defined his soul as “too cramped” for God to enter. He prayed that God might widen it, seeing too that it needed to be emptied. “You prompt us yourself to find satisfaction in appraising you,” he prayed. “[Y]ou made us tilted toward you, and our heart is unstable until stabilized in you.”(3) Of course, such satisfaction in worship is not likely if God is known as one of many possibilities in a never-ending, ever-expanding web of activities and diversions. If faith is only a part of life, then it has become as optional as pursuing one more hyperlink or skimming one more article. But those who fully approach the God of all possibilities find rest and focus, wisdom—and indeed, possibility—for their souls. As we worship, so will we live.

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

(1) Nicholas Carr, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” Atlantic, (July/August 2008).

(2) Mark Edmundson, “Dwelling in Possibilities,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, Vol. 54, Issue 27, Pg. B7.

(3) Saint Augustine, Confessions, trans. Garry Wills, (New York: Penguin, 2006), 5.

 

 

Alistair Begg – God Makes Impossible Things Possible

Alistair Begg

. . . Made the iron float.

2 Kings 6:6

The axe head seemed hopelessly lost, and as it was borrowed, the honor of the prophetic band was likely to be imperiled, and so the name of their God to be compromised. Contrary to all expectation, the iron was made to mount from the depth of the stream and to swim; for things impossible with man are possible with God.

I knew a man in Christ but a few years ago who was called to undertake a work far exceeding his strength. It appeared so difficult as to involve absurdity in the bare idea of attempting it. Yet he was called to it, and his faith rose with the occasion.

God honored his faith, unlooked-for aid was sent, and the iron did swim. Another of the Lord’s family was in dreadful financial straits. He would have been able to meet all claims and much more if he could have realized a certain portion of his estate, but he was overtaken with a sudden pressure.

He sought for friends in vain, but faith led him to the unfailing Helper, and lo, the trouble was averted, his footsteps were enlarged, and the iron did swim.

A third had a sorrowful case of depravity to deal with. He had taught, reproved, warned, invited, and interceded, but all in vain.

Old Adam was too strong for young Melanchthon; the stubborn spirit would not relent. Then came an agony of prayer, and before long a blessed answer was sent from heaven. The hard heart was broken; the iron did swim.

Beloved reader, what is your desperate case? What heavy matter have you to deal with this evening? Bring it here. The God of the prophets lives, and lives to help His saints. He will not suffer you to lack any good thing. Believe in the Lord of hosts! Approach Him pleading the name of Jesus, and the iron shall swim; you too shall see the finger of God working marvels for His people. According to your faith be it unto you, and yet again the iron shall swim.

 

 

 

Charles Spurgeon – Portraits of Christ

CharlesSpurgeon

“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son.” Romans 8:29

Suggested Further Reading: 1 John 2:28-3:5

That image is so perfect I can never reach it. It is high as heaven, what can I know? It surpasses my thoughts, I cannot conceive the ideal, how, then, can I reach the fact? If I were to be like David I might hope it; if I were to be made like Josiah, or some of the ancient saints, I might think it possible; but to be like Christ, who is without spot or blemish, and the chief among ten thousand, and altogether lovely, I cannot hope it. I look, sir; I look, and look, and look again, till I turn away, tears filling my eyes, and I say, “Oh, it is presumption for such a fallen worm as I, to hope to be like Christ.” And did you know it, that while you were thus speaking, you were really getting the thing you thought to be impossible? Or did you know that, while you were gazing on Christ, you were using the only means which can be used to effect the divine purpose? And when you bowed before that image overawed, do you know it was because you began to be made like it? When I come to love the image of Christ, it is because I have some measure of likeness to it. It was said of Cicero’s works, if any man could read them with admiration, he must be in a degree an orator himself. And if any man can read the life of Christ, and really love it, methinks there must be somewhat—however little—that is Christ-like within himself. And if you as believers will look much at Christ, you will grow like him; you shall be transformed from glory to glory as by the image of the Lord.

For meditation: Getting to know Christ now is the process by which the Christian will become like Christ in the future. (Philippians 3:8,10,20,21). We may say “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.” (Psalm 139:6), but the image of Christ in the believer is no more impossible to God than the conception of Christ in a virgin (Luke 1:37).

Sermon no. 355

13 January (1861)

 

John MacArthur – Enjoying God’s Forgiveness

 John MacArthur

In Christ we have “the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of [God’s] grace, which He lavished upon us” (Eph. 1:7-8).

On Israel’s Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) the high priest selected two goats. One was sacrificed; the other set free. Before releasing the second goat, the high priest symbolically placed the sins of the people on it by laying his hands on its head. This “scapegoat” was then taken a great distance from camp and released–never to return again (Lev. 16:7-10).

The Greek word translated “forgiveness” in Ephesians 1:7 means “to send away.” It speaks of cancelling a debt or granting a pardon. Like the scapegoat, Christ carried away our sins on the cross.

In Christ, God cancelled your debt and pardoned your transgressions, and He did so “according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon [you]” (v. 8). That means you have infinite forgiveness because God’s grace is infinite. You cannot sin beyond God’s grace because where sin abounds, grace super-abounds (Rom. 5:20).

God delights in lavishing His grace upon you. Such grace is overflowing and cannot be contained. You are forgiven for every sin–past, present, and future. You will never be condemned by God or separated from Him (Rom. 8:1-2, 31-39). Even when you fail, God doesn’t hold your sins against you. Christ bore them all so that you might know the joy and peace that freedom from sin and guilt brings.

Let the reality of God’s grace fill your heart with joy and assurance. Let the responsibility of glorifying Him fill you with awe and reverence. Let this day be a sacrifice of praise and service to Him.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Thank God for His infinite grace and forgiveness.

Look for opportunities to extend forgiveness to others.

For Further Study:

Read Matthew 18:21-35

What characteristic marked the wicked slave?

What was the king’s response to the wicked slave’s actions?

What point was Jesus making? How does it apply to you?

 

 

Joyce Meyer – Be Confident in Christ

Joyce meyer

I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me].—Philippians 4:13

You were created by a great God to do great things. But without confidence you will never fulfill your destiny. It is important, however, to remember you are to be confident not in yourself but in Christ who dwells in you.

Satan tries to steal your confidence, but you must resist him at all times. If he has tormented you with fears about your worth and abilities, boldly remind him God is with you and you are equal to anything. It is encouraging to know God is able even when you are not. He has His eye on you and is waiting for you to show confidence in Him. Faith opens the door for God’s greatness to be seen through your life, so trust Him and enjoy the peace and power of a confident life.

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Perfect in His Sight Promise

dr_bright

“But Christ gave Himself to God for our sins as one sacrifice for all time, and then sat down at the place of highest honor at God’s right hand, waiting for His enemies to be laid under His feet. For by that one offering He made forever perfect in the sight of God all those whom He is making Holy” (Hebrews 10:12-14).

All the sins you and I have ever committed or ever shall commit – past, present and future – are forgiven the moment we receive Christ, according to God’s Word. Think of it and rejoice!

Then you may rightly ask, “If all of my sins – past, present and future – are forgiven, why do I need to confess my sins?”

According to God’s Word, confession is an act of obedience and an expression or demonstration of faith that makes real in our experience what is already true concerning us from God’s point of view.

Through the sacrifice of Christ, He sees us as righteous and perfect. The rest of our lives on earth are spent maturing and becoming in our experience what we already are in God’s sight.

This maturing process is accelerated through the faithful study of God’s Word, prayer, witnessing for Christ, and spiritual breathing – exhaling through confessing our sins and inhaling by appropriating the fullness of God’s Holy Spirit by faith.

If you retake the throne, the control center, of your life through sin (a deliberate act of disobedience) breath spiritually. First, exhale by confession. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9, KJV).

Next, inhale by appropriating the fullness of God’s Spirit by faith. Trust Him now to control and empower you by faith according to His command to “be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18).

Bible Reading: Hebrews 10:19-25

Today’s Action Point: Today I will study God’s Word, pray and invite the Holy Spirit to lead me to someone whose heart He has prepared to receive Christ. Also, I will practice spiritual breathing whenever any attitude, action, motive or desire that is contrary to God’s will short-circuits God’s power in my life. I will confess it and by faith inhale by appropriating the fullness and power of God’s Holy Spirit.

 

Presidential Prayer Team; C.H. – No Fees

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It’s a new year! People are scrambling to get organized. Stores which once boasted gadgets are now selling boxes to pack them away, which people use as they rent storage units to make room for all their new gifts. Of the some 58,000 storage units worldwide, 46,000 are located in the United States. Americans together store 2.35 billion square feet of stuff. What’s so important that your desire to keep it is greater than the monthly fee to store it? There’s even a TV show where people purchase full units whose owners have fallen behind on their rent.

I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.

Psalm 119:11

David, the author of today’s verse, also thought storage was important. But David wasn’t storing antique chairs and baseball cards; he was storing God’s Word in his heart. He knew it was vital to walk spiritually with the Lord. Memorization of God’s truth allowed him to live a more righteous and holy life.

What are you storing and why? “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth.” (Matthew 6:19) Spend time reading God’s Word and ask Him to help you, your nation’s leaders, and the country as a whole to shift focus from material to spiritual. Invest in the eternal. There’s no monthly fee.

Recommended Reading: Matthew 6:19-33

Greg Laurie – Unlikely Conversions

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Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts. —Hebrews 4:7

An attorney was trying to deliver an important paper to a man who was determined to avoid him. The man reasoned that the attorney had some type of subpoena, so he went out of his way to dodge him. Fourteen years passed, and the man finally found himself in the hospital, dying of cancer. Through a strange series of events, the attorney was admitted to the hospital and was assigned to the same room as the dying man.

The man turned to the attorney and said, “Well, you never got me. I’ve escaped you all this time, and now it doesn’t matter. You can even serve your subpoena. I don’t care.”

The lawyer replied, “Subpoena? I was trying to give you a document that proved you had inherited forty-five million dollars!”

Many people go out of their way to avoid Christians and the opportunity to have a relationship with Jesus Christ. All the while, their hearts grow harder, and they risk becoming calloused to the point of no return. We don’t know when that point will come in their lives. Maybe you even know someone who seems to have already reached it.

We can take heart when we look at the conversion of Saul of Tarsus. It was so radical and unexpected that when it happened, first-century Christians thought he was attempting to infiltrate their ranks and persecute the church even further. They didn’t believe that God could save someone as wicked and hostile toward the church as Saul. They couldn’t wrap their minds around a change of that magnitude. But we know that Saul became Paul the apostle.

If you know someone who seems so far gone and permanently hardened toward the gospel, keep praying. You never know. That person just might be the next Paul.

 

 

Max Lucado – You Cannot Save Yourself

Max Lucado

You work hard, pay your dues, and “zap”—your account with God is paid in full.  Jesus says, “No way.”

What you want costs far more than you can pay. You don’t need a system of payment, you need a Savior. You don’t need a resume, you need a Redeemer.

The Bible says, “For what is impossible with men is possible with God” (Luke 18:27).  Don’t miss the thrust of this verse.  You cannot save yourself. Not through the right rituals. The right doctrine.  Not through the right goose bumps. Jesus’ point is crystal clear. It is impossible for human beings to save themselves.

It’s not the possessions—it’s the pomp that hinders us. It’s a different path. Admission of failure isn’t usually admission into joy. Complete confession isn’t commonly followed by total pardon. But then again, God has never been governed by what’s common!

From The Applause of Heaven

Charles Stanley – How should I wait upon the Lord?

Charles Stanley

Be strong and let your heart take courage.
Psalm 27:14

It is wise to wait upon the Lord in order to receive His clear direction for our lives, to keep in step with His timing, to prepare us for what He wants to give us in life, and to sift our motives.

But how are we to wait? What should be the attitude with which we wait? How can we position ourselves to receive His help?

God expects us to wait:

Patiently. Making quick decisions often means making wrong decisions and forcing action when God is planning a different approach and outcome. As difficult as it may seem, we must wait until we are certain God has spoken to us.

Quietly. We cannot hear God’s still small voice when we drown Him out with our clamorous anxiety.

Full of trust. Doubting God stymies what He wants to do in your life and for you. His Word and His promises are unfailingly true, and it honors Him when you live out your faith in trust and confidence in Him.

Steadfastly. It can be so tempting to act on impulse or to follow the advice of others. While God may use other people or circumstances to lead you, what you are hearing or experiencing must always square with God’s Word.

Courageously. Sometimes waiting requires the courage to suffer through difficult or harsh circumstances. God often strengthens us through trials, increasing our faith even as His hand undergirds us.

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

 

 

Related Resources

Related Audio

The Grace to Wait

God expects us to wait patiently, quietly, steadfastly and courageously. He has equipped us to wait on Him. (Listen to The Grace to Wait.)