Tag Archives: Peace

Presidential Prayer Team; A.W. – HAPPY THANKSGIVING DAY

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Freedom with Responsibility

David Porter, a Union army admiral, told of a visit to Richmond by Abraham Lincoln after the Confederate capital fell to the Union army. As word of Lincoln’s arrival spread, he became surrounded by newly freed slaves. He addressed them saying, “My poor friends, you are free. You can cast off the name of slave and trample upon it. Liberty is your birthright.” But he also warned them not to abuse their freedom. “Let the world see you merit [your freedom]. Don’t let your joy carry you into excesses. Learn the laws and obey them.”

The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God.

Romans 14:6

In today’s scripture, Paul is addressing Jews and Gentiles about their differing opinions on eating sacrificed meat and observing religious festivals. He explains freedom purchased by Christ’s crucifixion allows both groups to be correct if they are thanking and honoring God. However, they were still responsible for being obedient and not causing others to doubt.

Freedom is one of the greatest blessings America has; but freedom in Christ is an ever greater blessing. As you praise God on this Thanksgiving Day, thank Him for your nation, then pray for its citizens and leaders to discover the glorious freedom with responsibility that He abundantly offers to them.

Recommended Reading: Galatians 5:13-23

 

Greg Laurie – Remembering to Say Thanks

greglaurie

Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! —Psalm 107:8

In the Old Testament, we find an interesting story of how King Jehoshaphat took an uncommon approach when his enemies waged war against him. Instead of sending in his army first, he sent the choir and musicians.

Imagine the scene: “All right, guys, here’s the plan today. An army is out there, armed to the teeth. So we are sending in the choir and the musicians.” If I had been a choir member or musician, I might have wondered whether the king liked our music.

But God had directed Jehoshaphat in this unusual battle tactic. We read that Jehoshaphat appointed people to sing to the Lord, praise the beauty of holiness, and go out in front of the army saying, “Praise the Lord, for His mercy endures forever” (2 Chronicles 20:21).

So that is exactly what they did. The Bible tells us that when they began to sing and praise, God sent an ambush against the enemy, and they were destroyed. God’s people were able to go into this situation giving thanks, because He was in control.

In approaching God to ask for new blessings, we should never forget to thank Him for the blessings He has already given.

Have you recently come to God for help and He came through for you? Did you come back to say “thank you”?

If we would stop and think how many of the prayers we have offered to God have been answered and how seldom we come back to God to thank Him, it just might amaze us. We should be just as deliberate in giving thanks to God as we are in asking for His help.

 

Max Lucado – You Matter to God

Max Lucado

What matters to you—matters to God! You probably think that’s true when it comes to the big stuff like death, disease, sin, and disaster. But what about the smaller things?  What about grouchy bosses or flat tires?  What about broken dishes, late flights, toothaches, or a crashed hard drive? Do these matter to God?

Let me tell you who you are! In fact, let me proclaim who you are. The Bible says you are an “heir of God and a co-heir with Christ” (Romans 8:17). You have “a crown that will last forever” (1 Cor. 9:25). You were “chosen before the creation of the world” (Eph. 1:4).

But more than anything else is the simple fact—you are God’s child. 1 John 3:1 says “we are called children of God.  And we really are His children.” I love that:  we really are His children!

If something is important to you—it’s important to God!

From Lucado Inspirational Reader

Charles Stanley – Comebacks after Setbacks

Charles Stanley

1 John 1:5-9

Whether we have recently become believers or have followed Christ for years, the Devil seeks to attack our faith and cause us to relapse into disobedient ways. We are warned to be alert because our Enemy is like a roaring lion seeking to harm us (1 Pet. 5:8).

His intentions are to enslave us to sin. When we succumb to temptation, Satan presses in to trap us so that we will feel estranged from our heavenly Father. Then the Enemy will try to convince us we cannot return to God in our current state. Some of us become so miserable that we buy into the lie and embrace the world’s ways.

Since our Father knows both the Devil’s tactics and our weaknesses, He has planned a way of escape for us. It is called confession. Genuine confession means telling the Lord what we have done and agreeing that it is wrong. Then we express sorrow over it, acknowledge inability to rescue ourselves, and declare the heartfelt desire to turn from our sin and live for Him again. God promises to forgive us and cleanse us so our fellowship with Him is restored (1 John 1:9).

The Enemy is cunning, but Scripture offers a sound strategy for avoiding entrapment: “Present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is” (Rom. 12:1-2). Notice that victory begins with your thinking. The more you apply this principle, the greater your success will be.

 

 

 

Our Daily Bread — Place Of Water

Our Daily Bread

Psalm 42:1-5

The water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. —John 4:14

East Africa is one of the driest places on earth, which is what makes “Nairobi” such a significant name for a city in that region. The name comes from a Masai phrase meaning “cold water,” and it literally means “the place of water.”

Throughout history, the presence of water has been both life-giving and strategic. Whether a person lives in a dry climate or a rainforest, water is a nonnegotiable necessity. In a dry and barren climate, knowing where to find the place of water can mean the difference between life and death.

Our spiritual life also has certain nonnegotiable elements. That is why Jesus, upon encountering a spiritually thirsty woman at a well, declared to her that He alone could provide living water. He told her, “Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14).

Like the deer mentioned in Psalm 42:1-2 who pants for water, our souls thirst for God and long for Him (63:1). We desperately need the sustenance that comes only from Jesus Christ. He is the source of living water that refreshes our hearts. —Bill Crowder

Rivers of living water,

Rivers of life so free,

Flowing from Thee, my Savior,

Send now the rivers through me. —Wood

Jesus is the fountain of living water.

Bible in a year: Ezekiel 30-32; 1 Peter 4

 

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The Appetite of Infancy

Ravi Z

I have never been so tired as I was when I stepped on that plane; neither have I been so happy for so many empty seats. I was dreaming of a two-hour nap before I even found my place. Of course, as is usually the case in situations like these, when one is intent on being anti-social and insistent on having earned the right to be so, I found myself not only with a companion, but with an animated, loquacious, first-time traveler. The young woman beside me had been a child as she watched the events of September 11th unfold and had determined then never to travel by airplane; that is, until today, when events reared a need to break her own rule. She was terrified and excited and inquisitive all at once. She also noticed things I’m fairly certain I have never noticed in all my years of travel, commenting with elation, curiosity, or confusion on every single one of them. By the time we landed, I not only had a new friend, I was wide awake to the disheartening reality of all I fail to see around me.

It would seem that repetition has a way of lulling us to sleep; monotony a way of robbing us of sight, or else leaving us in the stupor of disinterest. Real life examples are readily available. How many news stories do we need to hear about violence or suffering, racial oppression or injustice, before we fail to hear them at all? For that matter, how many stories about something small but positive do we really take in before we respond in boredom? How many times do we need to sit on an airplane or see the bird outside our window before the marvel of flight simply goes without notice? Like most adults, we learn to tolerate the repetitious by learning to operate on auto-pilot.

And yet, I am certain, even among the most skilled of auto-pilots, there was a time when we found ourselves, like every child, delighting in the monotonous, longing for another minute with grandpa, another page of the story, another trip down the slide. The incongruity is unmistakable. How can our failure to see be blamed on monotony, unconscious living attributed to the repetitive, when at one point monotony and repetition were not only tolerated but invigorating? Blindness can easily be blamed on the world around us—and there is certainly reason to consider the daily effects of all that bombards our senses—but perhaps this is too easy an answer. Perhaps the scales on our eyes are multiplied not by the many repetitions in life, but by our failure to see life in the many repetitions around us.

Jesus spoke of the kingdom as belonging to the likes of little children, and many have speculated the child’s ability to see the world with wonder as one of the reasons for it. G.K. Chesterton saw the child’s ability to revel in the monotonous as another. The children’s cry for more, reasoned Chesterton, is a quality of the very God who created them. “It is possible that God says every morning, ‘Do it again’ to the sun; and every evening, ‘Do it again’ to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we. The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical encore.”(1)

For the child on the slide or the toddler with a story, “Do it again!” is far from a cry of boredom or routine, but a cry for more of life itself. This is likewise the joy of the psalmist, the cry of the prophets, and the call of Christ: “Consider the lilies, how they grow…if God so clothes the grass of the field…how much more will he clothe you?” (Luke 12:27-28). Jesus asks the world to consider the kingdom around us like little children, and thus, something more like God—finding a presence in faithful recurrences, grace in repetition, an appetite for an incredible world in the ordinary one around us. Here, even those within the most taxing of life’s repetitions—the daily care of an aging parent, the constant burden on the shoulders of those who fight against injustice, the labor of hope in a difficult place—can find solace. “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope,” said Jeremiah in the midst of deep lament. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning…’ The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him’” (Lamentations 3:22-24, emphasis mine).

Morning by morning, the daily liturgy of new mercies comes with unapologetic repetition to all who will see it, the gift of a God who revels in the creation of yet another daisy, the encore of another sunset, the discovery of even one lost soul.

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

(1) G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1995), 65-66.

Alistair Begg – Priests and Kings Unto God

Alistair Begg

Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord.

Zechariah 3:1

In Joshua the high priest we see a picture of each and every child of God, who has been brought near by the blood of Christ and has been taught to minister in holy things and enter into that which is within the veil. Jesus has made us priests and kings unto God, and even here upon earth we exercise the priesthood of consecrated living and hallowed service.

But this high priest is said to be “standing before the angel of the LORD,” that is, standing to minister. This should be the perpetual position of every true believer.

Every place is now God’s temple, and His people can serve Him just as truly at work as in His house. They should always be ministering, offering the spiritual sacrifice of prayer and praise, and presenting themselves “a living sacrifice.”1

But notice where Joshua stands to minister-it is before the angel of Jehovah. It is only through a mediator that we poor, defiled ones can ever become priests to God.

I present what I have before the messenger, the angel of the covenant, the Lord Jesus; and through Him my prayers find acceptance wrapped up in His prayers; my praises become sweet as they are bound up with bundles of fragrant spices from Christ’s own garden.

If I can bring Him nothing but my tears, He will put them with His own tears in His own bottle, for He once wept; if I can bring Him nothing but my groans and sighs, He will accept these as an acceptable sacrifice, for He once was broken in heart and sighed heavily in spirit. I myself, standing in Him, am accepted in the Beloved; and all my polluted works, though in themselves only objects of divine displeasure, are so received that God smells a sweet savor. He is content, and I am blessed. Consider, then, the position of the Christian-“a priest . . . standing before the angel of the LORD.”

1 Romans 12:1

 

Charles Spurgeon – A woman’s memorial

CharlesSpurgeon

“Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.” Matthew 26:13.

Suggested Further Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:26-31

The evangelists are of course the historians of the time of Christ; but what strange historians they are! They leave out just that which worldly ones would write, and they record just that which the worldly would have passed over. What historian would have thought of recording the story of the widow and her two mites? Would a Hume or a Smollet have spared half a page for such an incident? Or think you that even a Macaulay could have found it in his pen to write down a story of an eccentric woman, who broke an alabaster box of precious ointment upon the head of Jesus? But so it is. Jesus values things, not by their glare and glitter, but by their intrinsic value. He bids his historians store up, not the things which shall dazzle men, but those which shall instruct and teach them in their spirits. Christ values a matter, not by its exterior, but by the motive which dictated it, by the love which shines from it. O singular historian! You have passed by much that Herod did; you tell us little of the glories of his temple; you tell us little of Pilate, and that little not to his credit; you treat with neglect the battles that are passing over the face of the earth; the grandeur of Caesar does not entice you from your simple story. But you continue to tell these little things, and wise are you in so doing, for truly these little things, when put into the scales of wisdom, weigh more than those monstrous bubbles of which the world delights to read.

For meditation: God usually bypasses those who look great to the world and in their own eyes; he desires people who are after his own heart, however inconspicuous they are in the world’s sight (1 Samuel 16:7; Luke 3:1-2).

Sermon no. 286

27 November (1859)

 

John MacArthur – Bearing the Reproach of Christ

John MacArthur

Moses considered “the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen” (Heb. 11:26-27).

How could Moses, who lived 1,500 years before Christ, bear His reproach? Christ is the Greek form of the Hebrew title Messiah, the Anointed One. Many Old Testament personalities were spoken of as being anointed for special service to the Lord. Some have suggested that Moses was thinking of himself as a type of messiah, for he delivered his people from the Egyptian bondage. They would translate verse 26 as, “Considering the reproach of his own messiahship as God’s deliverer.”

However, it seems best to see this verse as a reference to Jesus Himself, the future great Deliverer. We don’t know how much knowledge Moses had of Jesus, but certainly it was more than Abraham, of whom Jesus said, “Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad” (John 8:56).

The Messiah has always been identified with His people. When they suffer for righteousness’ sake, they suffer in His place. That’s why David said, “The reproaches of those who reproach Thee have fallen on me” (Ps. 69:9). Speaking from a New Testament perspective, Paul made a similar statement: “I bear on my body the brand-marks of Jesus” (Gal. 6:17).

There’s also a sense in which Christ suffers with His people. When Jesus confronted Paul, who was heavily persecuting the church, He said, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? . . . I am Jesus whom you are persecuting” (Acts 9:4-5).

Moses chose to turn his back on Pharaoh’s household and identify with God’s people because he knew that suffering for Christ was far better than enjoying the riches of Egypt. At some point in time you too will be persecuted for Christ’s sake (2 Tim. 3:12), so be prepared. When that time comes, follow Moses’ example of faith and courage, knowing that God will be your shield and your reward (cf. Gen. 15:1).

Suggestions for Prayer:

Follow the examples of the apostles by thanking God for the privilege of bearing a small portion of the reproach that the world aims at Christ (Acts 5:27-41).

For Further Study:

Memorize Psalm 27:1 as a source of encouragement when facing difficulty.

 

Joyce Meyer – Listen for God’s Voice

Joyce meyer

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

—John 10:27 NKJV

One of the questions that people most frequently ask me is “How can I know specifically what God wants me to do?”

Of all the ways God speaks to you, He most frequently uses peace, wisdom, and the voice of our conscience—that still, small voice inside your spirit that tells you what is right and wrong. The Holy Spirit, who dwells in believers, speaks to your spirit what He wants you to do. Your spirit then communicates the message to your mind, and your mind is then enlightened on what action to take.

God is speaking to you! And He wants to direct you in every area of your life. So delight yourself in Him, follow after peace, and obey the voice of your conscience.

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Saved From Trouble

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“Yes, the Lord hears the good man when he calls to Him for help, and saves him out of all his troubles” (Psalm 34:17).

You and I have one of the greatest privileges ever known to mankind – that of calling on God with the assurance that He will hear and answer us.

No trouble we face today will be too great for us to bring God, who has promised to save us out of all our troubles.

True, He suggests certain conditions that must be met for such praying to be effective, but these conditions are not grievous. They are attainable by “whosoever will.”

One of these conditions is referred to by the psalmist, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psalm 66:18, KJV). According to God’s Word, that means I must not even allow wrong feelings and critical attitudes against others to fester in my heart and mind, but rather I must confess them the moment they arise and then trust God for the forgiveness He promises.

Another condition is suggested in the well-known verse on revival: “If my people…will humble themselves, and pray…” (2 Chronicles 7:14, KJV). Even before that time of intercession with the Lord, I must be sure to humble myself, to recognize God as my Lord and Master, and His Holy Spirit as one who sits and rules and reigns on the throne of my life.

As a result, God will produce in my life those qualities of the supernatural life.

Bible Reading: Psalm 35:1-9

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Confession and humbling will precede prayer in my life this day, so that I may be sure God hears and will answer

Presidential Prayer Team; C.P. – When God Whispers

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October 2, 2004, Laura Hatch went missing. Her family, friends and church searched and prayed. The night of October 9, Sha Nohr, the mom of one of Laura’s friends, dreamed of a wooded area. The next morning, with insistent urges heard by her spirit to “keep going,” she found Laura down a deep ravine, her car hidden in undergrowth. Despite no food and water and multiple injuries, Laura survived.

Thanks be to God, who put into the heart of Titus the same earnest care I have for you.

II Corinthians 8:16

A similar thing happened to Paul. The Holy Spirit dissuaded him and his missionary team from going to Asia and Bithynia, but in Troas, Paul had a dream of a Macedonian man requesting his help. Paul and his men went immediately and preached, resulting in many conversions, and after getting in trouble for delivering a girl from a demon, he testified to the whole city of Philippi.

What Christian hasn’t been going about their day when a name popped into their mind? Do not get too busy to follow God-given urges. He puts thoughts into your heart like He did for Sha Nohr – thoughts that can save lives. When you’re concerned for the country, pray…and remember to thank the Lord for all the times He moved someone else’s spirit on your behalf.

Recommended Reading: I John 3:11-24

Greg Laurie – Every Fiber of Your Being

greglaurie

“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” —Mark 12:30

I find it interesting that Jesus said, ” ‘And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ ” This statement reveals that God is not simply looking for some emotional, gooey kind of love. He is looking for a complete, true love.

You see, some people only love the Lord with all of their soul or with all of their emotion, but they don’t love Him with all of their minds. Other people love God with all of their minds, but they neglect the emotional side of loving the Lord.

Jesus is saying, “I want a love that possesses an emotional, intellectual, and physical backbone.” Jesus desires a love that draws from every fiber of your being—inside and out. Any other kind of love is no love at all.

For example, let’s say you have the greatest physique with bulging biceps, protruding pecs, and rippling abs. In essence, you stand as an incredible specimen of humanity, because you sculpted your body day in and day out at the gym.

But what good is all of that muscle if you have heart disease? You may look good on the outside, but if your heart is diseased and sickened, your physique will not do you one bit of good.

In the same way, if you are attending church, reading your Bible, and praying, but your heart is spiritually diseased with a lack of love for God, you will face a similar dynamic.

Through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God expressed His love for us from every fiber of His being. The very least we can do is to love Him back with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength.

 

Max Lucado – Come to Me

Max Lucado

How does a person get relief from shame, embarrassment, anger?

In Matthew 11:28, Jesus said, “Come to Me, all of you who are tired and have heavy loads, and I will give you rest.  Accept my teachings and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit, and you will find rest for your lives. . .”

I can see you shaking your head.  I’ve tried that.  I’ve read the Bible.  I’ve sat on the pew—but I’ve never received relief. Could it be you went to religion and you didn’t go to God? Could it be you went to a church, but never saw Christ?

“Come to Me” the verse reads. Jesus is the solution for weariness of the soul. Go to Him. Admit you have soul secrets you’ve never dealt with. He already knows what they are.

Go to Him! He’s just waiting for you to ask Him to help!

From When God Whispers Your Name

Charles Stanley – The Patience of God

Charles Stanley

2 Peter 3:3-9

More than likely, you heard the gospel several times before you trusted Jesus as your Savior. Sometimes even though we know the truth, we decide to continue with our life as it is. Why does the Lord tolerate this deliberate sin?

Patience is an attribute of God; it can be seen through His goodness in withholding punishment from those involved in long-term sin. He has a motivation and purpose for His patience. God places a high value on us as His created beings. He waits patiently because He desires to see each one of us come to a saving knowledge of His Son Jesus Christ. That is His primary purpose.

The Father’s secondary reasons for being patient apply to us as believers. He understands our innate carnality and the sinful tendencies that result from it. He also recognizes our weakness and imma- turity in the Christian life. We have much to learn once we are saved, and God does not expect us to know everything at once.

We can, however, abuse God’s patience by misinterpreting it (Ps. 50:21). Have you ever done something you knew was wrong? Sometimes when nothing happens as a result of a particular sin, we think God has overlooked it. We may decide to continue in that behavior, which further abuses the Lord’s patience. But God is very clear that He will not strive with us forever (103:9). That is to say, we cannot continue in our disobedience consequence-free. Has God been convicting you of a sin that you are ignoring? Confess (agree with Him that it is wrong), repent (turn away from the sin), and thank Him for His patience with you.

 

 

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – What Is the Nature of Faith?

Ravi Z

What is the nature of faith? Is faith the sort of thing that is like an impenetrable fortress? Is it a sense of absolute certainty, as is found in mathematical formulae, with consistent and guaranteed results? Or is the nature of faith like the feeling one gets when barely hanging on—fingers fatigued, sweaty, and slowly slipping off of whatever prop, cliff, or ledge that holds one from falling into the abyss of disbelief?

I wonder about the nature of faith as I encounter so many different perspectives and experiences with faith. After profound loss, for example, many individuals suffer what is described as a ‘crisis of faith.’ All that seemed a sure foundation before the loss crumbles under the weight of crisis. For others, faith seems a swinging pendulum that vacillates between certainty and doubt. The poet Emily Dickinson wrote that “we both believe and disbelieve a hundred times an Hour…”.(1) Still for others faith is a constant assurance, a sense of strength and repose regardless of the assaults to it.

Of course, to ask about the nature of faith is to inquire about the nature of trust and belief. As such, it is not simply a conversation among religious adherents, but a real question over which humans wrestle whether they acknowledge it explicitly or not. We make decisions each and every day about whether or not we will trust the bus driver and the bus to get us to work. We make decisions to trust other drivers on the highway that they will keep their vehicles under control and not careen into our lane of traffic. We make decisions to trust individuals—spouses, children, friends, employers. The exercise of trust is a basic requirement for relationships and for living in this world.

This is why it is so interesting to me that talk of ‘faith’ is often relegated to the margin that is religious discourse. To have ‘faith’ or ‘trust’ or ‘belief’ in scientific studies is simply assumed because science has become the standard by which truth is measured. And yet, even scientists exercise ‘faith’ in a relationship to a tradition of knowledge. Assumptions, assured findings from the past, and the methods of science all become a part of the relationship between faith and knowledge. Sometimes, even this relationship comes under testing when what were once considered ‘true’ results are called into question by new assumptions and new data.(2) Relationships are dynamic; going through ebbs and flows, ups and downs, changes and stasis. As such, it seems a complete category mistake to speak of faith and certainty in the same sentence-even in the realm of science. As author Philip Yancey asserts about the necessary uncertainty of faith, “Doubt always coexists with faith, for in the presence of certainty who would need faith at all?”(3)

It is reasonable, then, to wonder aloud about the nature of faith. One ought to be wary of arriving at a simple definition. For C.S. Lewis, one of the great spokesmen on behalf of the Christianity, the nature of faith was complicated and something that was not easily understood. In his heart-wrenching memoir, A Grief Observed, Lewis writes: “You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you. It is easy to say you believe a rope to be strong and sound as long as you are merely using it to cord a box.”(4) I believe Lewis articulates a profound dynamic of faith—one never really knows what it is until it is tested. Yet, once tested the true nature of one’s faith is revealed-even when it is revealed to be wanting. In these times, we can reflect honestly about that in which we’ve placed our trust and whether the subject or object of trust is warranted.

Yet, even here where one’s faith might be revealed for what it is and what it is not, there is room for growth and for hope. Philip Yancey reflects that,

“What gives me hope, though, is that Jesus worked with whatever grain of faith a person might muster. He did, after all honor the faith of everyone who asked, from the bold centurion to doubting Thomas to the distraught father who cried, ‘I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief!’”(5)

The true nature of faith is inextricably bound to relationship. As such, it is subject to all of the intricacies and complexities of relationship. At times unshakable and strong, and at other times revealed to be flabby and weak, the nature of faith is dynamic. But entering into a relationship of trust with the God revealed in Jesus of Nazareth assures me that despite the complexities, and despite my often small offering of faith, I am welcomed into a relationship anyway. And as my faith is tested, its true nature is progressively revealed.

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

(1) From a letter to Otis Lord, April 30, 1882; Thomas H. Johnson, ed., The Letters of Emily Dickinson (Cambridge: Belknap, 1958), 728.

(2) As is seen in the recent studies that showed a new gauge for cholesterol was flawed. Cardiologists learned that a new online calculator meant to help them determine a patient’s suitability for cholesterol treatment was flawed, doubling the estimated risk of heart attack or stroke for the average patient. See Gina Kolata, “Flawed gauge for cholesterol risk poses new challenge,” NY Times, November 18, 2013.

(3) Philip Yancey, Reaching for the Invisible God: What Do We Expect to Find? (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000), 41.

(4) C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed (New York: HarperCollins ebooks, 2009), loc 326-329.

(5) Philip Yancey, Reaching for the Invisible God: What Do We Expect to Find, 40.

 

 

Alistair Begg – With All Your Might

Alistair Begg

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might.

Ecclesiastes 9:10

Whatever your hand finds to do” refers to works that are possible. There are many things that our heart finds to do that we will never do. It is good for it to be in our heart; but if we would be eminently useful, we must not be content with forming schemes in our heart and talking of them; we must practically carry out “whatever your hand finds to do.”

One good deed is worth more than a thousand brilliant theories. Let us not wait for large opportunities or for a different kind of work, but just do the things we “find to do” day by day.

We have no other time in which to live. The past is gone; the future has not arrived; we will never have any time but now. So do not wait until your experience has ripened into maturity before you attempt to serve God.

Endeavor now to bring forth fruit. Serve God now, but be careful about the way in which you perform what you find to do-“do it with your might.”

Do it promptly; do not fritter away your life in thinking of what you intend to do tomorrow as if that could repay today’s laziness.

No one ever served God by doing things tomorrow. If we honor Christ and are blessed, it is by the things that we do today.

Whatever you do for Christ, throw your whole soul into it. Do not give Christ a little halfhearted labor, done as a matter of course every now and then; but when you serve Him, do it with heart and soul and strength.

But where is the power of a Christian? It is not in himself, for he is perfect weakness. His power lies in the Lord of Hosts. Let us then seek His help; let us proceed with prayer and faith, and when we have done what our “hand finds to do,” let us wait upon the Lord for His blessing. What we do in this way will be well done and will not fail in its effect.

Charles Spurgeon – Preaching! Man’s privilege and God’s power!

CharlesSpurgeon

“For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.” Mark 6:20.

Suggested Further Reading: James 1:19-25.

If you would hear the word to profit, you must hear it obediently. You must hear it as James and John did, when the master said “Follow me,” and they left their nets and their boats and they followed him. You must do the word as well as hear it, yielding up your hearts to its sway, being willing to walk in the road which it maps, to follow the path which it lays before you. Hearing it obediently, you must also hear it personally for yourselves, not for others, but for yourselves alone. You must be as Zaccheus, who was in the sycamore tree, and the Master said, “Zaccheus, make haste and come down; for today I must abide at thy house.” The word will never bless you till it comes home directly to yourself. You must be as Mary, who when the Master spoke to her she did not know his voice, till he said unto her, “Mary”, and she said, “Rabboni.” There must be an individual hearing of the truth, and a reception of it for yourself in your own heart. Then, too, you must hear the truth penitently. You must be as that Mary, who when she listened to the word, must needs go and wash the feet of Jesus with her tears, and wipe them with the hairs of her head. There must be tears for your many sins, a true confession of your guilt before God. But above all you must hear it believingly. The word must not be unto you as mere sound, but as matter of fact. You must be as Lydia, whose heart the Lord opened; or as the trembling gaoler, who believed on the Lord Jesus with all his house and was baptized immediately. You must be as the thief, who could pray, “Lord, remember me,” and who could believe the precious promise given, “Today shalt thou be with me in Paradise.”

For meditation: To want to hear the preaching of God’s Word and to enjoy hearing it are good things as far as they go, but by themselves they do not go far enough (Ezekiel 33:30-32).

Sermon no. 347

26 November (Preached 25 November 1860)

 

 

John MacArthur – Rejecting the World’s Passing Pleasures

John MacArthur

“By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin” (Heb. 11:24-25).

For forty years Moses enjoyed the best of everything Egypt had to offer: formidable wealth, culture, education, and prestige (Acts 7:22). Yet he never forgot God’s promises toward his own people, Israel.

Then, “when he was approaching the age of forty, it entered his mind to visit his brethren, the sons of Israel. And when he saw one of them being treated unjustly, he defended him and took vengeance for the oppressed by striking down the Egyptian. And he supposed that his brethren understood that God was granting them deliverance through him; but they did not understand” (vv. 23-25).

Somehow Moses knew he was to deliver his people from Egyptian oppression. Although it would be another forty years before he was fully prepared for the task, by faith he forsook the pleasures and prestige of Egypt and endured ill-treatment with God’s chosen people.

Humanly speaking, Moses made a costly choice. He seemed to be sacrificing everything for nothing. But the opposite was much more the case since Moses considered “the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the [greater] reward” (Heb. 11:26).

Sometimes obedience to Christ seems very costly, especially when evil people prosper while many who faithfully serve God suffer poverty and affliction. Asaph the psalmist struggled with the same issue: “Behold, these are the wicked; and always at ease, they have increased in wealth. Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure” (Ps. 73:12-13).

But be assured that the eternal rewards of Christ far outweigh the passing pleasures of sin. The wicked have only judgment and hell to look forward to; you have glory and heaven. So always choose obedience, and trust God to guide your choices, just as He did with Moses.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Praise God that the righteous will one day be fully rewarded.

Seek God’s grace to be obedient when you’re faced with difficult choices.

For Further Study:

Read Stephen’s account of Moses in Acts 7:20-39.

 

Joyce Meyer – Don’t Stay Angry

Joyce meyer

Cease from anger and forsake wrath; fret not yourself—it tends only to evildoing.

—Psalm 37:8

The Word tells us another way to resist temptation: “When angry, do not sin; do not ever let your wrath (your exasperation, your fury or indignation) last until the sun goes down. Leave no [such] room or foothold for the devil [give no opportunity to him]” (Ephesians 4:26–27).

Paul said that we should forgive people to keep Satan from gaining an advantage over us (See 2 Corinthians 2:10–11). If someone offends you, get over it quickly so you won’t leave open a door for the devil. It is a sin to hold anger and bitterness, so never go to sleep mad. If you forgive everyone before you fall asleep, freedom from wrong attitudes in your heart will help you start your day right the next morning.