Tag Archives: Peace

Charles Stanley – Making a Lasting Impact

Charles Stanley

Matthew 5:13

All of us would like to be remembered as individuals who left a good and lasting imprint on the lives of others. The problem is that we tend to be so self-centered that few of us deeply impact even our closest neighbors.

How well we succeed in touching the lives of others is usually determined by our character. And ultimately, it is our spiritual impact that our heavenly Father is concerned about.

To illustrate the influence we should have on others, Jesus used the example of salt, a familiar household item that alters whatever it touches. The Lord taught that salt must maintain its purity and integrity in order to have lasting impact. In a similar way, we must guard our purity by walking in newness of life instead of loving the things of this world (1 John 2:15). Then, when people witness our transformed lives, they will be powerfully influenced.

Salt flavors and preserves food. When we sprinkle it on something flavorless, the food becomes much more enjoyable. We’re to flavor the lives of people around us by using our actions and words to point them to Jesus. If we are just like them, we’re not going to have any impact. Salt doesn’t change itself. It enhances only that which is bland or void of any real taste.

Never forget that you have an influence on others—either for good or for bad. Salt makes a positive difference on whatever comes in contact with it. Because we are followers of Christ, it is our job to flavor the world around us so it will be impacted in positive and God-honoring ways.

 

Our Daily Bread — Good-Behavior Rewards

Our Daily Bread

2 Corinthians 5:1-11

We make it our aim . . . to be well pleasing to [God]. —2 Corinthians 5:9

In a children’s ministry in my church, we hand out cards to the kids when we notice their good behavior. They collect the cards and receive prizes for the good choices they’ve made. We are trying to reinforce good behavior rather than focusing on bad behavior.

When one leader handed a card to 11-year-old Tyree, he responded, “No, thanks. I don’t need one; I want to behave well, and I don’t need a reward for that.” For him, doing the right thing was its own reward. He definitely has good values ingrained in him, and he wants to live them out—prize or not.

As believers in Jesus, we will receive rewards one day. Second Corinthians 5:10 says that everyone will “receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” But to get a reward should not be our motivation for right living. Neither is it to earn salvation. Living out of love for God and pleasing Him should be our heart’s desire.

When we love God, we make it our aim to please Him who first loved us (1 John 4:19) and to serve Him with pure motives (Prov. 16:2; 1 Cor. 4:5). The best reward will be to be with Him! —Anne Cetas

In all I think and say and do,

I long, O God, to honor You;

But may my highest motive be

To love the Christ who died for me. —D. DeHaan

Our desire to please God is our highest motive for obeying Him.

Bible in a year: Jeremiah 34-36; Hebrews 2

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Louder Than Words

Ravi Z

A wordsmith, according to Merriam-Webster, is a person who works with words; especially a skillful writer. As a part of my quest to become a wordsmith, I have subscribed to what has become one of my favorite online sites, Wordsmith.org. Each day the site sends a word of the day to my inbox. For example, the word bumbledom came into my inbox today. A bumbledom is a behavior characteristic of a pompous and self-important petty official. While I love the sound of bumbledom rolling off of my tongue, I am not sure how often I will find a use for it in my writing and speaking. But it sure is fun to drop it into conversation!

Words are the lifeblood for writers. Indeed, words are to writers, what food is for chefs. Writers spend their days imagining just the right combination of words put together in such a way that a beautiful sentence or idea emerges. When this happens, what is written can actually take the reader beyond the page creating images, pictures, colors, sounds, and smells that transport the reader to another world. Just as a chef combines the right ingredients to create a delicious dish, a skilled writer mingles words and carves out sentences to offer an experience of transcendence beyond the everyday realities of life.

Words are powerful. But there are times when words are not enough. There are mysteries that lie beyond their reach, such as when a joy experienced is too great, or sorrows are too deep as to be inexpressible. In such encounters, words seem rudimentary and inadequate. Nothing written can adequately capture the depth of what is being experienced or contemplated.

A group of early Christian teachers understood that there was a relationship between “the things that are spoken and the things that are ineffable, the things that are known and the things that are unknowable.”(1) They understood that there was a limitation of language in the face of mystery. In the contemplation of the Divine, for example, God’s essence, or ousia in the Greek, is something that could not be captured by words since God is beyond human understanding. God must do the extraordinary—divine revelation—for anything of God to be known.

Church historian Jaroslav Pelikan describes this early Christian theology as apophatic: “Theology was, at one and the same time, sublime and ‘apophatic,’ that is, based on negation. As the evangelist John had said, ‘no one has ever seen God,’ which means one could see the glory of God, but not God himself.”(2) God’s being or essence was beyond human beings. All that could be known or even spoken of was what God had chosen to reveal.

And God’s chosen means of ultimate revelation was startlingly in a person. The writer of Hebrews proclaims: “Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word” (Hebrews 1:1-3). In the person of Jesus, who is the logos or Word of God, God is revealed.

In Jesus we receive a vision of the ineffable God. “No one has ever seen God,” the Evangelist proclaims. “It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known” (John 1:18). What we can know about God is centrally communicated in Jesus through his life and ministry. Jesus embodied God’s saving work of redemption in his life, his death, and his resurrection. God is revealed definitively in Jesus who came to seek and to save what was lost.

As one who writes and speaks, I know the power of words.  In the defense of the gospel, a carefully crafted argument is often critical to breaking through the barriers of misinformation and misunderstanding. Yet, I am reminded that even words have limits, and people must see the gospel lived out, and must experience its power. The gospel must be embodied by those who claim to believe it. The oft-used saying attributed to St. Francis of Assisi “preach the gospel at all times, and if necessary use words” is a helpful reminder of the power of our lives in communication. And if I’m honest, embodying the gospel takes far more creative effort than simply crafting an argument or a skillful, word-smithed sentence.

The Christian tradition presents a God chiefly revealed through a person. As a result, I am challenged to consider the speech given by my life and actions just as carefully as I choose my words for an essay. For, “the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). God has acted in a person, and this action speaks louder than words.

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

(1) John of Damascus as quoted in Jaroslav Pelikan, The Christian Tradition, vol. 2 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1974), 31.

(2) Ibid., 32.

 

(The 5000 Post of the DDNI Blog )

Alistair Begg – A Day For Remembering

Alistair Begg

No weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed.

Isaiah 54:17

The 5th of November is notable in English history for two great deliverances granted by God for us. On this day the plot of the Papists to destroy the Houses of Parliament was discovered, 1605.

>While for our princes they prepare

In caverns deep a burning snare,

He shot from heaven a piercing ray,

And the dark treachery brought to day.

And secondly, today is the anniversary of the landing of King William III, at Torbay in 1688, which was crucial for the establishment of religious liberty.

This day should be celebrated not by the revelry of youth, but by the songs of saints. Our Puritan forefathers most devoutly made it a special time of thanksgiving. There is public record of the annual sermons preached by Matthew Henry on this day. Our convictions and our love of liberty should make us regard its anniversary with holy gratitude. Let our hearts and lips exclaim, “We have heard with our ears, our fathers have told us, what deeds you performed in their days, in the days of old.”1

You have made this nation the home of the Gospel; and when the enemy has risen against her, You have shielded her. Help us to offer repeated songs for repeated deliverances.

Grant us more and more a hatred of sin, and hasten the day of your coming. Till then and ever, we believe the promise, “No weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed.” Should it not be laid upon the heart of every lover of the Gospel of Jesus on this day to plead for the overturning of false doctrines and the extension of divine truth? Would it not be well to search our own hearts and turn out any of the lumber of self-righteousness that may lie concealed within?

1Psalm 44:1

Charles Spurgeon – Fast-day service: An exposition of Daniel 9:1-19

CharlesSpurgeon

Taken from brief exposition of Daniel 9:1-19 (This comment is on vv 10-15)

Suggested Further Reading: Psalm 85

The prophet in his prayer pleads what God has done for them, as the reason why he should bare his arm; he tells how God delivered Israel out of Egypt; and he therefore prays that God would deliver them from their present trouble. And, my brethren, not Israel itself could boast a nobler history than we, measuring it by God’s bounties. We have not yet forgotten an armada scattered before the breath of heaven, scattered upon the angry deep as a trophy of what God can do to protect his favoured isle. We have not yet forgotten a fifth of November, wherein God discovered many plots that were formed against our religion and our commonwealth. We have not yet lost the old men, whose tales of even the victories in war are still a frequent story. We remember how God swept before our armies the man who thought to make the world his dominion, who designed to cast his shoe over Britain, and make it a dependency of his kingdom. God fought for us; he fought with us; and he will continue to do so. He has not left his people, and he will not leave us, but he will be with us even to the end. Cradle of liberty! Refuge of distress! Storms may rage around you, but not upon you, nor shall all the wrath and fury of men destroy you, for God has pitched his tabernacle in your midst, and his saints are the salt in your midst.

For meditation: These stirring words, spoken at the time of the Indian mutiny, are equally true of God’s faithfulness during the worldwide conflicts of the twentieth century. But do Spurgeon’s words “We have not yet forgotten” retain any ring of truth in a nation which appears intent on moving further away from God by the day? While we may “Remember, remember the fifth of November,” few could probably explain why we do so!

n.b. Read again the text for yesterday’s reading—pray that a forgetful nation will remember and turn back to its Creator and Judge.

Part of nos. 154-155

5 November (Given on 7 October 1857)

John MacArthur – Knowledge Through Faith

John MacArthur

Knowledge Through Faith

“By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.”

As a man or woman of faith, you have insights into life that unbelievers can’t know. You know how the physical universe began, where it is heading, and how it will end. You know Who governs the universe and how you fit into the total scheme of things. You know why you exist and how to invest your life in matters of eternal consequence.

Unbelievers can’t possibly appreciate those things because “a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised” (1 Cor. 2:14).

Some of the most basic issues of life remain a mystery to most people because they refuse God’s counsel. For example, the most brilliant thinkers have never agreed on the origin of the universe. Theirs is a futile attempt to explain what is beyond the realm of scientific investigation.

But such things aren’t beyond the realm of knowing–if a person is willing to be taught by God’s Word. For the Bible clearly states that God spoke the physical universe into existence, creating visible matter from what was non-physical or invisible (Rom. 4:17). No humans observed that event. It cannot be measured or repeated. It must be taken by faith.

Any attempt to explain the origin of the universe or the nature of man apart from God’s Word is foolhardy. The unregenerate mind, no matter how brilliant it might be, cannot fathom such things.

So never feel you have to apologize for trusting God’s Word. Let the confidence of the psalmist be yours: “I have more insight than all my teachers, for Thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the aged, because I have observed Thy precepts” (Ps. 119:99-100).

Suggestions for Prayer:

Read Genesis 1-2 as a reminder of the power and wisdom of God in creating the universe. From those chapters select specific things to praise Him for.

For Further Study:

Memorize Psalm 19:1. Can you think of ways that the natural creation brings glory to God? (See also Romans 1:18-20.)

 

 

 

 

Joyce Meyer – Never Go to Bed Angry

Joyce meyer

When angry, do not sin; do not ever let your wrath (your exasperation, your fury or indignation) last until the sun goes down.  —Ephesians 4:26

Now I don’t know about you, but I’m glad this verse is in the Bible because it helps us to build character by giving us a guideline to follow in handling our anger: let go of anger before bedtime. There is only one problem. What happens when we become good and mad just before bedtime? If we become mad in the morning, at least we have all day to get over it. But when we become mad close to bedtime, we have to make a quick decision.

Why is it so bad for us to go to bed angry? I think it is because while we sleep, what we are angry about has time to get a hold on us and take root in us. But the Word says, Leave no [such] room or foothold for the devil [give no opportunity to him] (Ephesians 4:27).

This verse tells us what happens if we refuse to get over our anger by bedtime: It opens a door for the devil and gives Satan a foothold. Once Satan gets a foothold in our lives, then he can move on to a stronghold.

You may wonder, “Well, if I am mad, what should I do about it?” Get over it! You may think, “That’s easy for you to say, but you’re not in my situation.” I may not be in your situation, but you are not in my situation either. We all have different situations. If you are going to live a joyful, victorious life, you have to do so by choice and not by feeling.

In Deuteronomy 30:19 the Lord tells us, I have set before you life and death, the blessings and the curses; therefore choose life. Choose life by refusing to give in to anger. Take responsibility for your anger and learn to deal with it—process it and bring closure to it, and that will relieve the pressure.

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – You Can Trust Him

dr_bright

“So don’t worry at all about having enough food and clothing. Why be like the heathen? For they take pride in all these things and are deeply concerned about them. But your heavenly Father already knows perfectly well that you need them, and He will give them to you if you give Him first place in your life and live as He wants you to” (Matthew 6:31-33).

As a young businessman, I was strongly attracted to the material things of the world and worked very hard to achieve success. But when I became a Christian, I could not ignore the logic of Christ’s command, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33, KJV).

I made my commitment to obey His command. Since that day so many years ago, I have sought to be obedient to that command. The Lord has graciously and abundantly blessed me with the fulfillment of the promise of His supernatural provision which follows:

“You heavenly father already knows perfectly well (the things you need), and He will give them to you if you give Him first place in your life and live as He wants you to.”

God is trustworthy, and the obedient, faithful Christian soon learns that he, life the psalmist of old, can proclaim:

“I have never seen the Lord forsake a man who loves Him, nor have I seen the children of the godly go hungry” (Psalm 37:25).

Bible Reading: Matthew 6:25-30

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Resting on the absolute certainties of the Word of God, I will refuse to worry about anything today (recognizing that concern involves others, while worry involves only myself). “All things work together for good to them that love God…” (Romans 8:28). “My God shall supply all your need…” (Philippians 4:19). By trusting these and other promises from God’s word, I have no reason to worry

Presidential Prayer Team; H.L.M. – Total Gift

ppt_seal01

Can you imagine life without God’s gift of grace? Unfortunately, many live without it. According to a survey from LifeWay Research, 47 percent of Americans feel the weight of a bad choice from their past, even though a majority believe God gives second chances. Nearly 19 percent believe God gives a second chance when a person depends only on Him, followed closely by when a person makes restitution (18 percent), does enough good (15 percent) or promises not to repeat the mistake (11 percent).

I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus.

I Corinthians 1:4

Ephesians 2:8 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” The work of salvation is for God’s glory and is not accomplished by human effort. Salvation is fully a gift from God!

Of course, when someone gives you a gift, you say, “Thank you.” So every day thank God for His total gift of grace in your life…and for the second chances He has given you. Thank Him also for the grace He has bestowed on this country. Then pray that the nation’s leaders will discover this priceless gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.

Recommended Reading: Ephesians 2:1-10

Greg Laurie – His Loving Presence

greglaurie

“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” —Isaiah 43:2–3

Have you ever felt as though everyone has let you down? Have you ever felt abandoned or forgotten or forsaken?

Paul the apostle felt that way. Imprisoned at Jerusalem, Paul must have been feeling discouraged, because we read in Acts 23:11, “The following night the Lord stood by him and said, ‘Be of good cheer, Paul.’ ” God reminded him that he was not alone.

The great British preacher C. H. Spurgeon put it this way:

If all else forsook him, Jesus was company enough; if all despised him, Jesus’ smile was patronage enough; if the good cause seemed in danger, in the presence of His Master, victory was sure. The Lord who had stood for him at the cross, now stood by him in prison. . . . It was a dungeon, but the Lord was there; it was dark, but the glory of the Lord lit it up with heaven’s own splendour.

It comes down to this: I would rather be in a jail or in a storm or in a hardship with Jesus than anywhere else without Him. Better yet, I would rather be in a nice, happy place with Jesus—that is good too. But the thing is, He is with us wherever we go. That is what the Lord was saying to Paul: “You are not alone.”

God says, “When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. . . . For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior” (Isaiah 43:2–3).

He is with us in the good times, and He is also with us in the bad times. And as someone wisely said, “He can compensate by His loving presence for every earthly loss.”

 

 

Our Daily Bread — Leap The Wall

Our Daily Bread

Romans 12:14-21

If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. —Proverbs 25:21

Sgt. Richard Kirkland was a Confederate soldier in the US Civil War (1861–1865). When the Union’s failed charge at Marye’s Heights during the Battle of Fredericksburg left wounded soldiers abandoned in no-man’s land, Kirkland got permission to help them. Collecting canteens, he leaped the stone wall and bent over the first soldier to lend assistance. At great personal risk, the “Angel of Marye’s Heights” extended the mercy of Christ to enemy soldiers.

While few of us will face an enemy on the battlefield, those who suffer can be found all around us—people struggling against loneliness, loss, health issues, and sin. Their cries, muted by our many distractions, plead for mercy and comfort, for hope and help.

Kirkland’s example of Christlike compassion put action to Jesus’ command to “love your enemies” (Matt. 5:44). Paul expanded on that theme when he quotes Proverbs 25:21, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink” (Rom. 12:20). “Do not be overcome by evil,” he instructed us, “but overcome evil with good” (v.21).

Paul’s challenge compels us to emulate Sgt. Kirkland. Today is the day for us to “leap the wall” of safety to lend comfort from God to those in need. —Randy Kilgore

Father, give me the courage to reach out to those

I may not want to reach. Show Your love

through me in ways that will bring glory to You

and true peace in my corner of the world.

Kindness is in our power even when fondness is not. —Samuel Johnson

Bible in a year: Jeremiah 32-33; Hebrews 1

Alistair Begg – Made Perfect in Weakness

Alistair Begg

‘For my power is made perfect in weakness.’

2 Corinthians 12:9

A primary qualification for serving God with any amount of success, and for doing God’s work well and triumphantly, is a sense of our own weakness. When God’s warrior marches out to battle, strong in his own might, when he boasts, “I know that I will overcome-my own ability and my self-confidence will be enough for victory,” defeat is staring him in the face.

God will not enable the man who marches in his own strength. He who reckons on victory by such means has reckoned wrongly, for “not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts.”1

Those who go out to fight, boasting of their ability, will return with their banners trailing in the dust and their armor stained with disgrace. Those who serve God must serve Him in His own way and in His strength, or He will never accept their service.

Whatever a man does, unaided by divine strength, God can never own. The mere fruits of the earth He casts away; He will only reap corn the seed of which was sown from heaven, watered by grace, and ripened by the sun of divine love.

God will empty out all that you have before He will put His own into you; He will first clean out your granaries before He will fill them with the finest of wheat.

The river of God is full of water; but not one drop of it flows from earthly springs. God will have no strength used in His battles but the strength that He Himself imparts.

Are you mourning over your own weakness? Take courage, for there must be a consciousness of weakness before the Lord will give you victory. Your emptiness is but the preparation for your being filled, and you are being humbled to prepare you for being lifted up.

When I am weak then am I strong,

Grace is my shield and Christ my song.

1Zechariah 4:6

 

Charles Spurgeon – Tender words of terrible apprehension

CharlesSpurgeon

“The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.” Psalm 9:17

Suggested Further Reading: Ezekiel 8:5-18

How often do you forget his presence too! In the midst of a crowd, you are conscious every one of you of the presence of man, but perhaps this very moment you are ignoring the fact that God is here. In your shop on the morrow how carefully you will take heed that your conduct is circumspect if the eye of your fellow-man is observing you. But before the presence of God, with the Eternal eye upon you, you can presume to practice the paltry tricks of trade or to do that which you would not have revealed to mortals for all the world; careful to shut the door, and draw the curtain, and hide yourselves in secret from men; strangely forgetting that when the curtain is drawn and the door is shut, God is there still. No walls can shut him out; no darkness can conceal the deed from his eye; he is everywhere and sees us in all things. Why, my hearers, we are all guilty in this respect in a measure; we forget the actual presence and the overlooking eye of God. We talk as we dare not talk if we were thinking that he heard us. We act as we would not act if we were conscious that God was there. We indulge in thoughts which we should cast out if we could but bear in perpetual remembrance the abiding presence of God, the Judge of the whole earth. Forgetting God is so common a sin, that the believer himself needs to repent of it, and ask to have it forgiven, while the unbeliever may solemnly confess this to be his crying sin, a piece of guilt to which he dare not profess innocence.

For meditation: The Christian should make a positive effort to do everything to the satisfaction of his unseen but seeing Lord (Ephesians 6:5-7). This was the principle that Joseph adopted (Genesis 39:9).

Sermon no. 344

4 November (1860)

John MacArthur – Gaining God’s Approval

John MacArthur

“By [faith] the men of old gained approval” (Heb. 11:2).

The book Catch-22 tells of a squadron of World War II fliers stationed on the fictitious island of Pianos in the Mediterranean. Before a flier could transfer off the island, he had to complete 25 extremely dangerous missions over southern Europe.

One flier, Yosarian, was especially anxious to leave. After completing his twenty-fifth mission, his commanding officer began raising the number of qualifying missions. Insanity became the only justification for a transfer. But the commander decided that whomever feigned insanity to obtain a transfer simply proved his sanity by that sane act!

Realizing it was all a cruel game with no way out, Yosarian devised a plan to build a raft and float to Sweden. Even though there was a whole continent between him and Sweden and the ocean currents would take him in the opposite direction, he couldn’t be dissuaded. He took a leap into the absurd with a hopeless and impossible plan to escape a hopeless and impossible situation.

In their relentless quest for meaning in life, many people become spiritual Yosarians. Rejecting God, who is the only sure and rational answer to life, they jump headlong into alcohol, drugs, witchcraft, astrology, reincarnation, or countless other absurdities.

Many acknowledge God, but try to gain His approval through self-righteous deeds apart from true faith. In either case the results are the same: no faith, no salvation, no hope, no peace, and no assurance.

But those who take God at His word and approach Him in true faith receive His approval and enjoy His blessings. Theirs isn’t a blind leap into the absurd, but a living hope in the God who made man and who alone can fulfill man’s deepest longings. They know the joy and satisfaction of a life spent in service to Christ, and the peace and assurance that all is well–both now and for eternity.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Pray for those you know who have rejected God or are trying to gain His approval on their own. Explain to them the meaning and purpose Christ alone can bring to their lives.

For Further Study:

According to 2 Timothy 2:24-26, what is the spiritual state of those who oppose the gospel, and how are we to approach them?

Joyce Meyer – Little by Little

Joyce meyer

And the Lord your God will clear out those nations before you, little by little; you may not consume them quickly, lest the beasts of the field increase among you.—Deuteronomy 7:22

Recently I thought about my life from the time I seriously began to follow Jesus Christ to the present. Had I known then—at the beginning of the journey—all the things God would take me through, I would probably have been afraid to sign up for the trip.

As I look back, however, I realize that God held my hand and let me advance in small steps. I had times of great ¬discouragement—as we all do. I remember times of bitter tears over my personal failures. But God kept nudging me forward.

That’s the secret of living the victorious Christian life—we move ahead little by little. It’s an inching forward over months and years. Most of us can understand that. The same is true in the battle for the mind. We don’t roust Satan in one big blow and then live in victory forever after. We win one small battle, and then we’re ready to move on to the next one. We may have a few major victories that come suddenly, but not many of them. The fight to destroy Satan’s strongholds comes mostly by daily, doggedly, moving ahead.

The first time I thought of that fact, it was discouraging, until I realized the wisdom of God. After the Jews left Egypt and wandered in the wilderness, God spoke to them before they went into the Promised Land. It was a special land—fertile, beautiful, and promised to them. But in the more than 400 years since Jacob and his sons had left the land, others had moved in and occupied land that didn’t belong to them.

For the children of Israel, it wasn’t merely a matter of going in and settling down. They had to fight for every foot of ground—even though it was their inheritance. That’s how the spiritual principle works on every level. God has the blessings out there waiting for us, but it’s up to us to go in and take the land. Just as it was for the Jews of old, it is a battle.

In the verse at the beginning of this chapter, God spoke of the beasts of the field. There were many wild animals in the land, and it could have been dangerous. But what if we thought of the beasts as pride? What if God suddenly gave us full, complete victory, and we never struggled again; how would that affect us? Surely pride would creep in.

Our attitude then would be to look down on others who have not been as victorious as we have been. We may not express our condescension in words, but won’t those we disdain sense that we think we’re superior? And, truthfully, wouldn’t we feel superior. We’ve made it; those poor souls are still struggling.

God has a wonderful plan for each of us, but it never comes with just one major victory, so that we never struggle again. Instead, it’s an ongoing warfare, and we must remain vigilant and be aware of the attacks of the enemy.

Another aspect is that because we move ahead little by little, it makes us savor every victory. Each time we overcome or destroy one of Satan’s strongholds, we rejoice. We can remain in a constant state of thanksgiving. If we’ve had only one victory, and that was thirty years ago, how dull our lives would be. Or worse yet, how easy it would be for us to take God for granted. Isn’t it better to serve a God who takes us slowly forward, always showing us the way, always encouraging us? We always have new horizons to reach for, and that makes our journey with God exciting!

God, please forgive me for wanting all the victory right now. Help me realize that as I struggle and call on You, I see Your wonderful, loving, and caring hand taking me forward—little by little. For that, I’m so grateful. Amen.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Prayer Has Great Power

dr_bright

“Admit your faults to one another and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous man has great power and wonderful results” (James 5:16).

“I can take my telescope and look millions and millions of miles into space,” said the great scientist Sir Issac Newton , “but I can lay it aside and go into my room, shut the door, get down on my knees in earnest prayer, and see more of heaven and get closer to God than I can assisted by all the telescopes and material agencies on earth.”

Among many other things, the carnal Christian is characterized by a poor prayer life. The spiritual Christian, on the other hand, is characterized by an effective fruitful prayer life.

Prayer is simply communicating with God by listening as well as talking. The acrostic ACTS is helpful in recalling the various components of effective prayer, though the order is not necessarily rigid.

“A” is for adoration – worship of God, first for who He is; and second for all of His benefits. He alone is worthy of our adoration and praise.

“C” stands for confession. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Sometimes this component should take priority, especially for the unbeliever and the disobedient believer, because God does not hear the prayers of the disobedient until they confess. “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psalms 66:18, KJV).

“T” is for thanksgiving – gratitude to God for His blessings.

“S” represents supplication – expressing our petitions to God for individuals and specific things and events.

Bible Reading: James 5:13-18

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will claim great power and wonderful results for supernatural living by a righteous life and by giving priority to prayer. I will remember to bring my adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication to God throughout the day

 

 

Presidential Prayer Team; C.P. – People Presents

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November. Christmas plans begin. Visions of bicycles, electronic gizmos and longed-for jeans may be dancing in your head as you think about those perfect gifts you will purchase for friends and family.

I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world.

Romans 1:8

Ah, but first comes Thanksgiving. You put a lot of thought into Christmas gifts for people you care about…but do you realize the people in your life are God’s gift to you? In today’s verse, Paul thanks God for the Christians in Rome and for their world-renowned faith. He prayed that he would be able to visit them so they’d mutually encourage each other.

As thanksgiving approaches, think about all the people the Lord has put into your life – and pray for wisdom to be a blessing to them in some way. Remember to be grateful for your friends and family, your pastor and fellow church members, as well as associates in support groups and professional organizations, and all the people who serve you daily. Finally, thank God for the people who serve your country…whether in leadership, in the armed forces or at menial government jobs. Pray they will get to know God’s greatest “people gift,” Jesus.

Recommended Reading: John 3:16-21

Greg Laurie – Just in Time

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The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. —1 Corinthians 10:13

In her book, The Hiding Place, Nazi concentration camp survivor Corrie ten Boom recalls the story of how, as a young girl, she struggled with the prospect of having loved ones die.

Her father wisely took her aside and asked, “Corrie, when you and I go to Amsterdam—when do I give you your ticket?”

“Why, just before we get on the train.”

“Exactly,” her father said. “And our wise Father knows when we’re going to need things, too. Don’t run ahead of Him, Corrie. When the time comes that some of us will have to die, you will look into your heart and find the strength you need—just in time.”

Sometimes we wonder, What if I am tested above my ability to endure? What if I am tempted above my capacity to resist? You never will be because God knows your breaking point. As far as temptation goes, 1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us, “God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” There is always a way out. Sometimes it is as simple as the door.

But what if God sends me a trial that I can’t get through? Often I talk to people who are going through very difficult suffering, and I ask myself, Would I have the attitude they have if I were going through that? Here is my response: If God would ask me to do it, then He would give me the strength to do it.

God will give you the strength to face what you have to face. You will have what you need when you need it. So don’t worry about it. Just trust God. He is in control.

 

Max Lucado – Simply “Church”

Max Lucado

The church names we banter about?  They don’t exist in heaven.  Because it’s not the denomination that saves you.  And I wonder, if there’re no denominations in heaven, why do we have denominations on earth?

I know this is a crazy thought—but what would happen if all the churches agreed, on a given day, to change their names simply to “church?”  And then when people chose which church to attend, they wouldn’t do so by the sign outside, they’d do so by the hearts of the people inside.

And then, when people were asked what church they attended, their answer wouldn’t be a label but just a location. And then, we Christians wouldn’t be known for what divides us; instead we’d be known for what unites us—our common Father.

Crazy idea?  Perhaps.   But I think God would like it.  It was His idea to begin with!

from Lucado Inspirational Reader

Our Daily Bread — Be Still

Our Daily Bread

Psalm 46

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! —Psalm 46:10

Eric Liddell, memorialized in the film Chariots of Fire, won a gold medal in the 1924 Paris Olympics before going to China as a missionary. Some years later, with the outbreak of World War II, Liddell sent his family to safety in Canada, but he remained in China. Soon Liddell and other foreign missionaries were interned in a Japanese detainment camp. After months of captivity, he developed what doctors feared was a brain tumor.

Every Sunday afternoon a band would play near the hospital, so one day Liddell requested they play the hymn “Be Still, My Soul.” As he listened, I wonder if Eric pondered these words from the song: Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on / When we shall be forever with the Lord. / When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone, / Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored. / Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past / All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

That beautiful hymn, so comforting to Eric as he faced an illness that led to his death 3 days later, expresses a great reality of Scripture. In Psalm 46:10, David wrote, “Be still, and know that I am God.” In our darkest moments, we can rest, for our Lord conquered death on our behalf. Be still, and allow Him to calm your greatest fears. —Bill Crowder

Teach me, Lord, to still my soul before You. Help

me to bear patiently the trials I face, and to

leave everything to You to direct and provide.

I know that You will always remain faithful.

God’s whisper of comfort quiets the noise of our trials.

Bible in a year: Jeremiah 30-31; Philemon