Tag Archives: Prayer

John MacArthur – Christ Is Our Peace

 

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matt. 5:9).

After World War II the United Nations was created to promote world peace. But since its inception in 1945 there has not been a single day of global peace. That’s a sad commentary on man’s inability to make peace. In fact, someone once quipped that Washington D.C. has so many peace monuments because they build one after every war!

It hasn’t always been that way. Prior to the Fall of man peace reigned on the earth because all creation was in perfect harmony with its Creator. But sin interrupted peace by alienating man from God and bringing a curse upon the earth. Man couldn’t know true peace because he had no peace in his heart. That’s why Jesus came to die.

I once read a story about a couple at a divorce hearing whose conflict couldn’t be resolved. They had a four-year-old boy who became distressed and teary-eyed over what was happening. While the couple was arguing, the boy reached for his father’s hand and his mother’s hand and pulled until he joined them.

In a sense that’s what Christ did: He provided the righteousness that allows man and God to join hands. Romans 5:1 says that those who are justified by faith have peace with God through the Lord Jesus Christ. Colossians 1:20 says that God reconciled all things to Himself through the blood of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.

Yet on the surface, the scene at the cross wasn’t peaceful at all. Pain, sorrow, humiliation, hatred, mockery, darkness, and death were oppressively pervasive, but through it all Christ was doing what He alone could do: making peace between man and God. He paid the supreme price to give us that precious gift.

In the future, Jesus will return as Prince of Peace to establish a kingdom of peace that will usher us into an eternal age of peace. In the meantime He reigns over the hearts of all who love Him. Let His peace reign in your heart today!

Suggestions for Prayer:

Thank God for the peace of heart that comes from knowing Christ.

For Further Study:

Read Philippians 4:6-9. What must a person do to know God’s peace?

Joyce Meyer – Show Jesus

 

And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted), forgiving one another [readily and freely], as God in Christ forgave you.—Ephesians 4:32

I hope to show to everyone I meet the character of Jesus through my words and actions. I pray that everyone who contacts our ministry team will say: “Those people are full of Jesus. They are patient, kind, and sweet.”

We are containers capable of being filled to overflowing with the Spirit of Jesus, who dwells in our hearts. If we understand that everywhere we go we can demonstrate His character and virtue, we will be as the Word says—lights in a dark world (see Philippians 2:15).

Jesus called us the salt of the earth (see Matthew 5:13). Salt gives flavor to what is otherwise bland or tasteless. Be salt today—at home, at your job, wherever you go.

Presidential Prayer Team; J.K. – Total Reliance

 

The saddest of stories: a rich, young ruler came running to Jesus, knelt at His feet and asked, “What must I do to have eternal life?” He came not to lay a trap, as some did, but because of a truly honest longing for assurance.

With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible. Matthew 19:26

He knew the commandments, but Jesus read his heart and knew the idol in his life gave the young man a deceptive feeling that he was self-sufficient. The answer to his question – give away all he possessed and follow Jesus – was an impossible request…unless he relied totally on God to do it. Instead, he turned away in sorrow, loving his possessions more than his soul!

In one form or another, the test comes to every Christian. It is the smallest of things that sometimes prevents the greatest results. A slight defect in the finest bell and it ceases to sound. The tiniest of sin, if there could be such a thing, keeps you from doing what the Lord has in mind.

Don’t go away sorrowfully. Reinstate God as the center of your life. All things are possible with Him. The hope of this nation rests on the prayers of those who give their all to Christ.

Recommended Reading: Psalm 62:5-12

 

 

Greg Laurie – A Bittersweet Message

 

To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this? —2 Corinthians 2:16

Have you ever eaten something that was sweet going down but made you sick later? Let me restate the question: Have you ever eaten eight Krispy Kreme doughnuts in one sitting? I have. I got a little carried away. They were great going down. But less than ten minutes later, I was asking, What have I done?

In Revelation 10, the apostle John asked an angel for a small scroll. When the angel gave him the scroll, he told John, “Yes, take it and eat it. It will be sweet as honey in your mouth, but it will turn sour in your stomach!” (verse 9).

John said, “So I took the small scroll from the hand of the angel, and I ate it! It was sweet in my mouth, but when I swallowed it, it turned sour in my stomach. Then I was told, ‘You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages, and kings’ ” (verses 10–11).

The message that we believe as Christians is sweet to us, but it is bitter to others. This is God’s Word to us. We eat it like food. Job said, “I have not departed from his commands, but have treasured his words more than daily food” (Job 23:12). For Christians to have a Bible study is like a feast. We love it. But for others, it is misery and torment. They don’t like it.

Some hear the gospel and say, “I love that. I believe it. I want Jesus.”

Others say, “Not only do I not like it, I hate it. And I hate you for saying it.”

As believers, we need to take the message of the gospel and give it to as many as we can. Whether they love it or hate it is really up to them.

Max Lucado – We Are All Beggars

 

We are all beggars in need of bread. “Give us this day our daily bread,” we pray. (Matthew 6:11). You may prefer, “We are all hungry, in need of bread.”  Such a phrase certainly has more dignity than the word beggar.  Who wants to be called a beggar?  After all, didn’t you create the ground in which the seed was sown? No? Well at least you made the seed? Right? You didn’t?

What about the sun?  Did you provide the heat during the day?  Or the rain.  Did you send the clouds?  No?   Then exactly what did you do?

You harvested food you didn’t make from an earth you didn’t create. Let me see if I have this straight. Had God not done His part, you would have no food. Hmmm. . .perhaps we best return to the word beggar. We are all beggars, in need of bread!

Charles Stanley – How to Be Encouraged

 

Psalm 139:7-10

Most of us yearn to walk through life with a sense of confidence and assurance. But see if the following scenario ever describes you: At the end of your day or week, you feel worn out and depleted. Your nerves are frazzled—you seem to be in a season of trials, trudging through valleys, water, and fire. You know Scripture says the Lord has omniscience and uses all things for His good purposes, but feelings of isolation and discouragement leave you wondering if He’s even aware of the situation.

If that sounds familiar, then you need this reminder: You do not journey through this life alone. Our loving heavenly Father is and has been with each believer every single day. He travels with us side by side and hand in hand. We are walking in the presence of the living God, whose Spirit abides with us and is in us (John 14:16-17).

No matter what season of life you are in—no matter how long, short, painful, or easy it might be—God wants you to know you are never alone. He is with you always (Matt. 28:20). Allow yourself to be encouraged by that truth.

David reflected on this reassurance in Psalm 139—he realized that no matter where we might go, the Lord is right there with us. We are never beyond the reach of a God who is full of lovingkindness, mercy, and comfort (1 Chron. 16:34; 2 Cor. 1:3).

Friend, remember that God is faithful and omnipresent. You have a partner in this life—a friend that sticks closer than a brother (Prov. 18:24), and He will never leave or forsake you, on this day or any other. Have a wonderful time walking with Him today.

Our Daily Bread — Now I See

 

John 14:15-27

The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. —John 14:26

Deborah Kendrick loves to attend Broadway musicals even though she is blind and always struggles to understand the setting and the movements of the characters onstage. Recently, however, she attended a play that used D-Scriptive, a new technology that conveys the visual elements of the stage production through a small FM receiver. A recorded narration, keyed to the show’s light and sound boards, describes the set and the action as it unfolds onstage. Writing in The Columbus Dispatch, Deborah said, “If you ask me if I saw a show last week in New York, my answer is yes . . . I genuinely, unequivocally mean that I saw the show.”

Her experience struck me as a vivid illustration of the Holy Spirit’s role in our understanding of God’s Word. Just before Jesus went to the cross, He told His followers that “the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you” (John 14:26).

As we open the Bible to read or study, the Spirit of Truth is with us to guide us into all truth (16:13). On our own we are blind, but through the guidance of God’s Holy Spirit we can see. —David McCasland

Break Thou the bread of life, dear Lord, to me,

As Thou didst break the loaves beside the sea.

Beyond the sacred page I seek Thee, Lord;

My spirit pants for Thee, O Living Word. —Lathbury

The Father gave the Spirit to teach us from the Word.

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – God of Hope

 

“Do not be afraid,” my instructor encouraged me as my horse continued to back up getting closer and closer to the edge of the trail. The “edge” once crossed would certainly mean that horse and rider would tumble down an eight foot embankment. “Do not be afraid” sounded silly and naïve to me as my horse continued to ignore my increasingly anxious prodding with my arms and legs. “Watch out; beware; don’t ever ride a horse” would have sounded more apropos given these circumstances. I was afraid, terrified even, as my horse backed right over the edge.

Fear is an entirely appropriate and indeed necessary emotion when facing danger. Proper fear ignites the “fight or flight” response in the animal world. And for human beings, we too experience a “fight or flight” response to danger, or harm to life. But our response is much deeper than simply the instinct to survive. Author Scott Bader-Saye argues: “We fear evil because it threatens the things we love—family, friends, community, peace, and life itself.  The only sure way to avoid fear, then, is to love less or not at all. If we loved nothing, we would have no fear, but this would hardly be considered a good thing.”(1) We are afraid of losing that which we love.

Interestingly enough, more than any other command in the Christian bible, Christians are commanded to “fear not,” and to “not be afraid.”(2) In fact, the admonition to not be afraid is offered up 366 times (one for every day of the year and for Leap Year). And just like my instructor, who uttered those words right in the middle of a crisis, so too, the writers of Scripture record these words in the midst of a crisis, or prior to one’s life being turned upside down. In the birth narratives of both John the Baptist and Jesus, for example, Zacharias and Mary are told “do not be afraid” even though they are being visited by an angelic being, not a likely or typical visitor. Furthermore, Mary is unmarried, just a young girl. Surely, she must have feared the repercussions of an unplanned pregnancy, including the possibility of her betrothed, Joseph, rejecting her. In the very midst of their worst fears, these and other biblical figures are told not to be afraid.

For many living in today’s world, do not be afraid evokes images of ostriches with their heads in the sand as the world collapses around them. In the wake of the bombings at the Boston Marathon and the mayhem that followed, the residents of Massachusetts can attest that uttering these words sounds just as naïve and perplexing as my instructor’s words to me right as my horse backed me off the eight-foot embankment. We have many, many reasons to feel afraid largely because we feel we have so much to lose. Do not be afraid echoes in our heads, whether or not we claim the Christian faith, and we wonder how to live courageously in a world filled with jagged edges and eight-foot embankments that would seek to claim all that is near and dear to us.

While there are no explicit references to hope in the teaching of Jesus, he too encouraged his followers to “not be anxious” but to trust in the God who could be trusted even in the face of our anxieties. Hope, contrary to what many of us might believe, is not the absence of fear but often arises in the midst of fear. It is both that which anchors us in the midst of the storm, and that which compels us to move forward—however ploddingly—towards goals, others, and the God whom the apostle Paul names the “God of hope” in his letter to the Romans. We hold on to hope, just as I held on while my horse slid backwards with me on her back, down the embankment that seemed without bottom, down to what I feared would end her life and my life. It is a desperate clinging to the God who is mysterious, and of whom we do not have control. There is a mystery in hope because we do not know how God will intervene.

I lived to tell about my horse-riding adventure without even a broken bone—not my own bones, or the bones of my horse. I couldn’t see the wide trail below me that would hold me, and would offer sure footing for my wayward steed. Our lives are often this way; we are often afraid because we cannot see where we will land. In the midst of broken bodies, maimed or decimated limbs, and in the loss of life itself fear can blind, disorient, and dismantle all that was normal before. But hope longs to hold us and to ground us in the midst of our fears. Hope is like a broad place, a wide trail underneath us. And though we know of those who fell and were not caught, though we all know that eventually life will end for all whom we love and hold dear, though we often fear a world destroying itself, the God of hope is at work raising the dead to life. Do not be afraid.

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

(1) Scott Bader-Saye, Following Jesus in a Culture of Fear (Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2007), 39-40.

(2) Lloyd Ogilvie cited in John Ortberg, If You Want To Walk on Water You Have to Get Out of The Boat (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001), 118.

Alistair Begg – How Are You Fighting Sin?

 

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  Romans 8:37

We go to Christ for forgiveness, and then too often look to the law for power to fight our sins. Paul issues this rebuke: “O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? . . . Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” Take your sins to Christ’s cross, for the flesh can only be crucified there: We are crucified with Him. The only weapon to fight sin with is the spear that pierced the side of Jesus.

To give an illustration–if you want to overcome an angry temper, how do you go about it? It is very possible that you have never tried the right way of going to Jesus with it. How did I get salvation? I came to Jesus just as I was, and I trusted Him to save me. I must kill my angry temper in the same way. It is the only way in which I can ever kill it. I must go to the cross with it and say to Jesus, “Lord, I trust You to deliver me from it.” This is the only way to give it a deathblow.

Are you covetous? Do you feel the world entangle you? You may struggle against this evil as long as you please, but if it is your besetting sin, you will never be delivered from it in any other way than by the blood of Jesus. Take it to Christ. Tell Him, “Lord, I have trusted You, and Your name is Jesus, for You save Your people from their sins. Lord, this is one of my sins; save me from it!”

Ordinances are nothing without Christ as a means of mortification. Your prayers, and your repentances, and your tears–the whole of them put together–are worth nothing apart from Him. Only Jesus can do helpless sinners good, and helpless saints too. You must be conquerors through Him who has loved you if you will be a conqueror at all. Our laurels must grow among His olives in Gethsemane.

Charles Spurgeon – A divine challenge

 

“Thus saith the Lord, let my people go, that they may serve me.” Exodus 8:1

Suggested Further Reading: James 3:3-6

Moses goes to Pharaoh yet again, and says, “Thus saith the Lord, let my people go, that they may serve me.” And at one time the haughty monarch says he will let some go; at another time he will let them all go, but they are to leave their cattle behind. He will hold on to something; if he cannot have the whole he will have a part. It is wonderful how content the devil is if he can but nibble at a man’s heart. It does not matter about swallowing it whole; only let him nibble and he will be content. Let him but bite at the fag ends and be satisfied, for he is wise enough to know that if a serpent has but an inch of bare flesh to sting, he will poison the whole. When Satan cannot get a great sin in he will let a little one in, like the thief who goes and finds shutters all coated with iron and bolted inside. At last he sees a little window in a chamber. He cannot get in, so he puts a little boy in, that he may go round and open the back door. So the devil has always his little sins to carry about with him to go and open back doors for him, and we let one in and say, “O, it is only a little one.” Yes, but how that little one becomes the ruin of the entire man! Let us take care that the devil does not get a foothold, for if he gets but a foothold, he will get his whole body in and we shall be overcome.

For meditation: Beware of giving Satan a window of opportunity (Ephesians 4:27), it is amazing how much damage can be caused by something apparently little (1 Corinthians 5:6; Hebrews 12:15).

Sermon no. 322

23 April (Preached 22 April 1860)

John MacArthur – Hindrances to Peace

 

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matt. 5:9).

Just as righteousness and truth are the noble companions of peace, so sin and falsehood are its great hindrances. The prophet Jeremiah said, “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately [evil]; who can understand it?” (Jer. 17:9). Jesus said, “Out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man” (Mark 7:21-23).

People with sinful hearts create a sinful society that resists true peace. Ironically, many who talk of peace will also pay huge sums of money to watch two men beat the daylights out of each other in a boxing ring! Our society’s heroes tend to be the macho, hard-nosed, tough guys. Our heroines tend to be free-spirited women who lead marches and stir up contention. Psychologists and psychiatrists tell us to stand up for our rights and get everything we can for ourselves. That breeds strife and conditions people to reject the peace of the gospel.

Beyond that, the unbelieving world has never tolerated God’s peacemakers. Christ Himself often met with violent resistance. His accusers said, “He stirs up the people” (Luke 23:5). Paul’s preaching frequently created conflict as well. He spent much time under house arrest and in filthy Roman prisons. On one occasion his enemies described him as “a real pest . . . who stirs up dissension among all the Jews throughout the world” (Acts 24:5).

All who proclaim the gospel will eventually meet with opposition because sin and falsehood have blinded people’s hearts to true peace. That’s why Paul warned us that all who desire to be godly will suffer persecution (2 Tim. 3:12). You can avoid strife by remaining silent about the Lord, but a faithful peacemaker is willing to speak the truth regardless of the consequences. Let that be true of you.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Thank God for Christ, who is the solution for the world’s problem of sin and falsehood.

Follow Paul’s example by praying for boldness to proclaim God’s truth at every opportunity (Eph. 6:19).

For Further Study:

Read Matthew 10:16-25, noting the kind of reception the disciples were to expect from unbelievers.

Joyce Meyer – Like a Child

 

Truly I say to you, unless you repent (change, turn about) and become like little children [trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving], you can never enter the kingdom of heaven [at all]. —Matthew 18:3

Jesus said we should become like little children if we expect to enter the kingdom of God. I believe that one of the things He was telling us is to study the freedom that children enjoy. They are unpretentious and straightforward; they laugh a lot; they’re forgiving and trusting. Children are definitely confident, at least until the world teaches them to be insecure and fearful. I can remember our son Danny at the age of three walking through the shopping mall with Dave and me and saying to people, “I’m Danny Meyer, don’t you want to talk to me?” He was so confident that he was sure everyone wanted to know him better.

Children seem to be able to make a game out of anything. They quickly adjust, don’t have a problem letting other children be different than they are, and are always exploring something new. They are amazed by everything!

Oswald Chambers wrote in My Utmost for His Highest: “The freedom after sanctification is the freedom of a child; the things that used to keep the life pinned down are gone.” We definitely need to watch and study children and obey the command of Jesus to be more like them. It is something we have to do on purpose as we get older. We all have to grow up and be responsible, but we don’t have to stop enjoying ourselves and life.

Trust in Him: Take time to watch children today and learn from them—play a game, adjust to your circumstances without complaint, let others be who they are—remember what it is like to be confident and bold and trust that God wants you to be just like that!

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Abounding Therein

 

“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him: Rooted and built up in Him, and established in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ” (Colossians 2:6-8, KJV).

Some years ago, while speaking at the University of Houston, I was told about a brilliant philosophy major. He was much older than most of the other students, having spent many years in the military before he returned to do graduate work.

He was so gifted, so brilliant, so knowledgeable that even the professors were impressed by his ability to comprehend quickly and to debate rationally. He was an atheist, and he had a way of embarrassing the Christians who tried to witness to him.

During one of my visits to the university, I was asked to talk with him about Christ. We sat in a booth in the student center, contrasting his philosophy of life with the Word of God. It was an unusual dialogue. He successfully monopolized the conversation with his philosophy of unbelief in God.

At every opportunity, I would remind him that God loved him and offered a wonderful plan for his life. I showed him various passages of Scripture concerning the person of Jesus Christ (John 1, Colossians 1, Hebrews 1). He seemed to ignore everything I said; there appeared to be no communication between us whatsoever.

A couple of hours passed, and it was getting late. I felt that I was wasting my time and there was no need to continue the discussion. He agreed to call it a day. A friend and staff member who was with me suggested to this student that we would be glad to drop him off at his home on the way to my hotel.

As we got into the car, his first words were, “Everything you said tonight hit me right in the heart. I want to receive Christ. Tell me how I can do it right now.” Even though I had not sensed it during our conversation, the Holy Spirit – who really does care – had been speaking to his heart through the truth of God’s Word which I had shared with him.

Bible Reading: Colossians 2:1-10

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  I will not depend upon my own wisdom, my personality or even my training to share Christ effectively with others, but I will commit myself to talk about Him wherever I go, depending upon the Holy Spirit to empower me and speak through me to the needs of others.

Presidential Prayer Team; P.G. – Resistance is Futile

 

Evil machines called Borg, from the television series “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” voiced a recurring theme: “Resistance is Futile.” Eventually, all living things in the Star Trek world would become part of the Borg Collective…or so Borg postured.

Nations will fear the name of the Lord, and all the kings of the earth will fear your glory. Psalm 102:15

The futility of resistance is today being proclaimed by leaders of North Korea, Iran, and Al-Qaeda militants. They firmly believe they will eventually control the world. But there is One ruling in Heaven to laughs at them – not in pleasure or delight, but a scoffing laugh of derision. Evil rulers mock God, but one day they will bend their knees before Him. No matter how many terrorists or religious fanatics conspire together against the Lord, no matter how many in America’s own government deny His precepts, God can laugh because He is still on the throne. Jesus Christ is King, and there is no other.

No rebellion against God can succeed. Victory has already been won in Jesus. Resisting Him and His plans is truly futile. Pray for the Holy Spirit to penetrate hardened hearts – in your community and in the governing halls of Washington D.C. – with the truth of the Lord. Then give glory to His name as your triumphant King!

Recommended Reading: Psalm 2

Greg Laurie – In Their Image

 

“You shall have no other gods before Me.” —Exodus 20:3

Pastor Chuck Smith once told a story about a Papua New Guinea tribe that had a widespread birth defect. Everyone had one leg shorter than the other. Interestingly, the idol they worshipped also had one leg shorter than the other. They had created a god in their own image.

I believe this is the same direction America is going. When people say, “I am spiritual, I am just not religious,” it is code for “I’m making it up as I go.”

People effectively make a god in their own image when they say things like, “My god would never judge a person” and “My god would never condemn two people of the same sex living together in a committed relationship.” But they just made up their own god. And their god, essentially, is them.

What is the first of the Ten Commandments? “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3). What is the second commandment? It is related to the first: “You shall not make for yourself a carved image” (verse 4). Idol worship is putting anyone or anything in the place of God.

I read an article in USA Today about the fastest growing spiritual group in America, which claims no affiliation with any faith. The article states, “This group, called ‘Nones,’ is now the nation’s second-largest category only to Catholics, and outnumbers the top Protestant denomination, the Southern Baptists. The shift is a significant cultural, religious and even political change.”

It has been said, “When a man stops believing in God he doesn’t then believe in nothing, he believes in anything.”

We can’t edit the Bible. We can’t say, “I like this part of the Bible and not that part.” If we do, then we will end up with a god that is not the God of the Bible.

 

 

 

Max Lucado – Abba

 

When my daughter Jenna was twelve, I took her to Jerusalem.  As we were exiting the Jaffa gate, an orthodox Jewish family was in front of us—a father and his three small girls.  One of the daughters fell a few steps behind and couldn’t see her father.  “Abba!” she called to him.  “Abba!” she called again.  He spotted her and immediately extended his hand.  As they continued, I wanted to see the actions of an abba.  He held her hand tightly in his.  When he stopped at a busy street, she stepped off the curb, so he pulled her back.  When the signal changed, he carried her and led her sisters through the intersection.

Isn’t that what we all need?  An abba who’ll hear when we call?  An abba who’ll swing us up into his arms and carry us home?  Don’t we all need an Abba Father?

Charles Stanley – God Calls in Various Ways

 

1 Samuel 3:1-21

When you hear the phrase “call of God,” what comes to mind? Many people assume it refers only to God’s call upon the lives of professional ministers. This could not be further from truth. The Lord issues no fewer than four specific calls to every single believer.

First, we are given the call to salvation. This is how God establishes a personal relationship with us. Today’s passage shows the poignant way in which God introduced Himself to young Samuel. He also reveals Himself to each of us in the wonders of nature all around us (Rom. 1:20).

Second, all believers experience the call to sanctification (Lev. 11:44). This is the Father summoning His children to experience godly living. Sanctification can be defined as being set apart—or made holy—for the purposes of God.

Third, every Christian receives the call to service. Scripture clearly reminds us that all believers—not just pastors and full-time missionaries—are called to serve the body of Christ and to spread the good news of salvation; each of us was “created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand for us to do” (Eph. 2:10). This means we all have specific and important tasks to accomplish.

Fourth, we all have the call to account- ability. The Bible teaches that each of us will one day stand before our Lord and give an account of our life. This is not something to fear if we are presently seeking to walk in His ways. Rather, it will be a time of great reward and rejoicing.

Make no mistake—our loving Father still speaks to His people. As you read His Word today, ask Him to make His call in your life clear.

Our Daily Bread — Wonderfully Made

 

Psalm 139:13-18

Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. —Psalm 139:14

While getting an eye exam recently, my doctor hauled out a piece of equipment that I hadn’t seen before. I asked him what the device was, and he responded, “I’m using it to take a picture of the inside of the back of your eye.”

I was impressed that someone had invented a camera that could do that. But I was even more impressed by what my doctor could learn from that picture. He said, “We can gather a lot of details about your current general health simply by looking at the back of your eye.”

My doctor’s comment amazed me. It is remarkable that a person’s overall health can be measured by the health of the eye. What care the Lord has taken to place these details in the bodies He has created! It immediately brings to my mind the words of David, the psalmist, who reveled in God’s creativity: “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well” (Ps. 139:14).

The enormous complexities of our bodies reflect the genius and wisdom of our great Creator. The wonder of His design is more than breathtaking—it gives us countless reasons to worship Him! —Bill Crowder

Lord, we are in awe of You! Thank You that You

created us with such complexity and care

and that You know us with such intimacy.

We love You and trust You with our lives.

All life is created by God and bears His autograph.

Alistair Begg – Not Far From Home

 

That through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death. Hebrews 2:14

Child of God, death has lost its sting, because the devil’s power over it is destroyed. Stop fearing death! Ask God the Holy Spirit to grant you an intimate knowledge and a firm belief in your Redeemer’s death, so that you may be strengthened for that journey. Living near the cross of Calvary, you may learn to think of death with pleasure and welcome it when it comes with intense delight. It is blessed to die in the Lord: It is a covenant blessing to sleep in Jesus. Death is no longer banishment; it is a return from exile, a going home to the many mansions where the loved ones are already living. The distance between glorified spirits in heaven and militant saints on earth seems great; but it is not.

We are not far from home–a moment will bring us there. The sail is spread; the soul is launched upon the deep. How long will its voyage be? How many weary winds must beat upon the sail before it shall be berthed in the port of peace? How long shall that soul be buffeted on the waves before it comes to that sea that knows no storm? Listen to the answer: “away from the body and at home with the Lord.”1 The ship has just departed, but it is already at its destination. It simply spread its sail, and it was there. Like that ship of old upon the Lake of Galilee, a storm had tossed it, but Jesus said, “Peace, be still,” and immediately it came to land. Do not think that a long period intervenes between the instant of death and the eternity of glory. When the eyes close on earth, they open in heaven. The chariots of fire are not an instant on the road.

So child of God, what is there for you to fear in death, seeing that through the death of your Lord Jesus its curse and sting are destroyed? And now it is like a Jacob’s ladder with its base in a dark grave, but with its top reaching to everlasting glory.

 

Charles Spurgeon – Final perseverance

 

“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.” Hebrews 6:4-6

Suggested Further Reading: Hebrews 10:26-39

God preserves his children from falling away; but he keeps them by the use of means; and one of these is, the terrors of the law, showing them what would happen if they were to fall away. There is a deep precipice: what is the best way to keep any one from going down there? Why, to tell him that if he did he would inevitably be dashed to pieces. In some old castle there is a deep cellar where there is a vast amount of stale air and gas which would kill anybody who went down. What does the guide say? “If you go down you will never come up alive.” Who thinks of going down? The very fact of the guide telling us what the consequences would be, keeps us from it. Our friend puts away from us a cup of arsenic; he does not want us to drink it, but he says, “If you drink it, it will kill you.” Does he suppose for a moment that we should drink it? No; he tells us the consequence, and he is sure we will not do it. So God says, “My child, if you fall over this precipice you will be dashed to pieces.” What does the child do? He says, “Father, keep me; hold thou me up, and I shall be safe.” It leads the believer to greater dependence on God, to a holy fear and caution, because he knows that if he were to fall away he could not be renewed, and he stands far away from that great gulf, because he knows that if he were to fall into it there would be no salvation for him. It is calculated to excite fear; and this holy fear keeps the Christian from falling.

For meditation: God is the One who keeps us from falling (Jude 24), but he still tells us that we have some responsibility to keep ourselves in his love (Jude 21).

Sermon no. 75

20 April (1856)