Tag Archives: Prayer

Our Daily Bread — For The Long Run

Our Daily Bread

James 5:7-11

Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. —James 5:7

A 2006 survey of more than 1,000 adults discovered that most people take an average of 17 minutes to lose their patience while waiting in line. Also, most people lose their patience in only 9 minutes while on hold on the phone. Impatience is a common trait.

James wrote to a group of believers who were struggling with being patient for Jesus’ return (James 5:7). They were living under exploitation and distressing times, and James encouraged them to “set the timer of their temper” for the long run. Challenging these believers to persevere under suffering, he tried to stimulate them to stand firm and to live sacrificially until the Lord returned to right every wrong. He wrote: “Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand” (v.8).

James called them to be like the farmer who waits patiently for the rain and the harvest (v.7) and like the prophets and the patriarch Job who demonstrated perseverance in difficulties (vv.10-11). The finish line was just ahead and James encouraged the believers not to give up.

When we are being tried in a crucible of distress, God desires to help us continue living by faith and trusting in His compassion and mercy (v.11). —Marvin Williams

For Further Thought

What is most difficult about being patient during

stressful times? Ask God for the grace to help

you live by faith and to live for the long run.

The way to great patience is through great trials.

Bible in a year: Genesis 25-26; Matthew 8:1-17

 

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – What Is New?

Ravi Z

The world is full of beginnings and endings. We begin a new year with a certain hope—another year, another chance, a new day. But we carry with us the same fears, the same longings, the same resolutions. A more cynical riposte thus might be: Is there ever really anything new about a new year?

When the past or present seems so broken that its shards seem to reach well into the future, new days are often filled more with fear than with promise. I remember a time myself when I could see the end of a difficult situation, but I could not see a beginning unmarred by the residue of the past. ”Is there really such a thing as new day?” was the question I held disconsolately. A friend gave me the following words and asked me to hold them instead:

“But this I call to mind,

and therefore I have hope:

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases,

his mercies never come to an end;

they are new every morning;

great is your faithfulness.

‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul,

‘therefore I will hope in him.’”(1)

Spoken in a time of exile, I imagine these words were as pungent for the people they were spoken to as they were for me. The ancient writer held fast to the assurance of things new, even in the midst of a situation that blinded him from any vision of what that could possibly mean. In all of the suffering and sorrow surrounding him, it would not have been unreasonable for him to admit that he saw no way out. With all the damage that had been done, with the uncertainty of exile, and the finality of a destroyed Jerusalem, no one would have blamed him for seeing new mornings as nothing but a cynical promise of more of the same.

But this was not the lament on this writer’s lips. Written in the style of an ancient funeral song, the writer’s words, though consumed with death, call to this God by name: The steadfast love of Yahweh never ceases, his mercies never come to an end. Another translation reads, Because of Yahweh’s great love we are not consumed; his mercies are new every morning. What the writer was able to see in the midst of his own lamentation is that only an all-powerful God can truly make a beginning. New mornings, new years, in and of themselves, are useless and worse than useless if they are not seen as belonging to the one who makes all things new.

And often, it is in the midst of a definitive ending that this particular God brings new beginnings to life. In a poem called “Ash Wednesday,” T.S. Eliot describes redemption as a figure moving about ashes and endings.

The new years walk, restoring

Through a bright cloud of tears, the years, restoring

With a new verse the ancient rhyme. Redeem

The time. Redeem

The unread vision in the higher dream.

Perhaps there is something restorative about a new years walk, something hopeful in unread visions and new days, precisely because there is a coming new day that this God has promised. Perhaps the hope promised in new mornings, the assurance of new mercies and new beginnings, is only a hint of the promise of a certain redemption, a new earth.  In this higher dream, God is the dreamer, redeeming worlds, redeeming time; God’s redemption is the great love that prevents us from being consumed.

It is no coincidence that the last words of the Christian story are aimed at describing the beginning of something more than we see now. Depicting the vision of “a new heaven and a new earth,” John reports a voice crying out: “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them as their God; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.”

This day is new because it is a day made by the God of visions and beginnings, the God who came to live among mortals, the God who offers himself as a new portion every morning. Behold him come, for this is the Christian hope of newness.

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

(1) Lamentations 3:21-24.

Alistair Begg – I Shall See God

Alistair Begg

In my flesh I shall see God.

Job 19:26

 

Consider the subject of Job’s devout anticipation: “I shall see God.” He does not say, “I shall see the saints”–though doubtless that will be untold happiness–but “I shall see God.” It is not “I shall see the pearly gates, I shall behold the walls of jasper, I shall gaze upon the crowns of gold,” but “I shall see God.”

This is the sum and substance of heaven; this is the joyful hope of all believers. It is their delight to see Him now in the ordinances by faith. They love to behold Him in communion and in prayer; but there in heaven they shall have an open and unclouded vision, and thus seeing “him as he is,”1 shall be made completely like Him.

Likeness to God–what more can we wish for? And a sight of God–what can we desire better? Some read the passage, “Yet I shall see God in my flesh” and find here an allusion to Christ as the Word made flesh, and that glorious beholding of Him that shall be the splendor of the latter days.

Whether so or not, it is certain that Christ shall be the object of our eternal vision; nor shall we ever want any joy beyond that of seeing Him. Do not think that this will be a narrow sphere for the mind to dwell in. It is but one source of delight, but that source is infinite. All His attributes shall be subjects for contemplation, and as He is infinite under each aspect, there is no fear of exhaustion. His works, His gifts, His love to us, and His glory in all His purposes and in all His actions, these shall make a theme that will be ever new.

The patriarch looked forward to this sight of God as a personal enjoyment. “Whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another.”2 Take realizing views of heaven’s bliss; think what it will be to you. “Your eyes will behold the king in his beauty.”3 All earthly brightness fades and darkens as we gaze upon it, but here is a brightness that can never dim, a glory that can never fade–“I shall see God.”

1 1 John 3:2

2Job 19:27

3Isaiah 33:17

Charles Spurgeon – Paul’s sermon before Felix

CharlesSpurgeon

“And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.” Acts 24:25

Suggested Further Reading: Acts 17:30-18:1

Felix, unhappy Felix! why is it that thou dost rise from thy judgment-seat? Is it that thou hast much business to do? Stop, Felix; let Paul speak to thee a minute longer. Thou hast business; but hast thou no business for thy soul? Stop, unhappy man! Art thou about again to be extortionate, again to make thy personal riches greater? Oh! stop: canst thou not spare another minute for thy poor soul? It is to live for ever: hast thou nought laid up for it—no hope in heaven, no blood of Christ, no pardon of sin, no sanctifying Spirit, no imputed righteousness? Ah! man, there will be a time when the business that seems so important to thee will prove to have been but a day-dream, a poor substitute for the solid realities thou hast forgotten. Dost thou reply, “Nay, the king has sent me an urgent commission; I must attend to Caesar.” Ah! Felix, but thou has a greater monarch than Caesar, there is one who is Emperor of heaven and Lord of earth: canst thou spare no time to attend to his commands? Before his presence Caesar is but a worm. Man! wilt thou obey the one, and wilt thou despise the other? Ah! no; I know what thou durst not say. Felix, thou art turning aside again to indulge in thy lascivious pleasures. Go, and Drusilla with thee! But stop! Darest thou do that, with that last word ringing in thy ears, “Judgment to come?” What! Wilt thou repeat that wanton dalliance that hath damned thee already, and wilt thou go again to stain thy hands in lust, and doubly damn thy spirit, after warnings heard and felt? O man! I could weep o’er thee.

For meditation: When you hear the Word of God preached, do you get impatient for the sermon to finish and forget about it as soon as you can? That can be a very dangerous habit. We need to act upon it there and then—receive, remember, repent (Revelation 3:3; Luke 8:18).

Sermon no. 171

10 January (1858)

John MacArthur – Living to the Glory of God

John MacArthur

God chose us “to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in [His beloved Son]” (Eph. 1:6).

Englishman Henry Martyn served as a missionary in India and Persia in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Upon his arrival in Calcutta, he cried out “Let me burn out for God.” As he watched the people prostrating themselves before their pagan idols and heard blasphemy uttered against Christ, he wrote, “This excited more horror in me than I can well express. . . . I could not endure existence if Jesus was not glorified; it would be hell to me, if He were to be always thus dishonored” (John Stott, Our Guilty Silence [InterVarsity, 1967], pp. 21-22).

Martyn had a passion for God’s glory–and he was in good company. Angels glorify God (Luke 2:14), as do the heavens (Ps. 19:1) and even animals (Isa. 43:20). But as a believer, you glorify God in a unique way because you are a testimony to His redeeming grace.

You were created for the purpose of glorifying God–even in the most mundane activities of life, such as eating and drinking (1 Cor. 10:31). You are to flee immorality so you can glorify God in your body (1 Cor. 6:19- 20). You are to walk worthy of your calling “that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified” (2 Thess. 1:12).

Glorifying God is an enormous privilege and an awesome responsibility. When others see His character on display in your life, it reminds them of His power, goodness, and grace. But when they don’t, it dishonors God and calls His character into question.

Aim your life at God’s glory and make it the standard by which you evaluate everything you do.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Thank the Lord for the privilege of glorifying Him.

Ask Him to show you any areas of your life that do not honor Him.

Find a trusted Christian friend who will pray with you and hold you accountable for the areas you know need to change.

For Further Study:

Read Exodus 33:12-34:8

What did Moses request?

What was God’s response and what does it teach us about His glory?

 

Joyce Meyer – Determine Your Priorities

Joyce meyer

You shall have no other gods before or besides Me. —Exodus 20:3

The best way to determine if God is first in your life is to slow down and ask yourself some simple questions: What do I think about the most? What do I pray and talk about the most? What do I do with my time?

You see, we always make time for what we really want to do— no matter how busy we are. If you want to spend time with God, then you are going to make Him a priority.

Ask the Holy Spirit to show you where your priorities are out of line. Then allow His conviction to motivate you to seek a deeper relationship with God. It is God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, Who will give you the ability to adjust your lifestyle and bring it in line with the Word (see 1 Thessalonians 5:23 NLT). If you truly want Him to, He will enable you to put God first in your thoughts, conversations, and actions.

You may need to make some changes in your schedule, but they will be ones that will produce good results.

Power Thought: God is number one in my life.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Nothing You Cannot Do

dr_bright

“I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13, KJV).

What would you give for the power to live a truly holy, fruitful life? Strangely enough, it is yours for the asking. If your problem is timidity in witnessing, God promises to help you share your faith with others: “For the Holy Spirit, God’s gift, does not want you to be afraid of people, but to be wise and strong, and to love them and enjoy being with them” (2 Timothy 1:7).

If it is victory over temptation, He reminds us that temptation is not a sin; it is only in the yielding that it becomes sin.

If you need victory in your thought-life, He promises to allow no tempting or testing above that you are able to bear – and that certainly includes your thought-life (1 Corinthians 10:13). You are invited to “cast all your anxiety upon the Lord, because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

If it is forgiveness you seek, He offers it freely. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9, KJV).

In short, you have no burden, no problem, no need that is too big for our Lord to handle. “Ye receive not, because ye ask not,” He reminds us.

If your need is for physical healing, know that He is able to heal you if it is His will. If His answer to your prayer is no, thank Him for the sure knowledge that His grace is sufficient in the midst of pain and suffering. Acknowledge His sovereign right to be God in your life, whatever the cost may be. “Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust Him to help you do it and He will” (Psalm 37:5).

Bible Reading: Philippians 4:6-12

Today’s Action Point: I will begin this day – and every day – by committing everything I do to the Lord and expecting Him to help me. I will remember that I can do everything God asks me to do with the help of Christ, who gives me the strength and power (Philippians 4:13).

 

Presidential Prayer Team; J.K. – Courageous Changes

ppt_seal01

The human body truly is a magnificent creation. Consider the stomach – a muscular, hollow organ that stores, mixes and digests the food you eat, and protects you from infectious organisms. There’s also the heart what pumps oxygen-rich blood into every living cell in the body. It beats approximately 80,000 to 100,000 times a day, pumping almost 2,000 gallons of blood, for a lifetime.

What comes out of a person is what defiles him.

Mark 7:20

But these amazing physical characteristics can be overshadowed by the heart’s moral qualities, for it can pump out evil thoughts and words at an alarming rate. That is what defiles you, corrupting your life. The opposite, a right relationship with the Lord, is a matter of inward affection and attitude resulting in true worship of and obedience to Creator God. Exalting Scripture and holding its principles as truth will strengthen your faith…giving you confidence and direction to do God’s will.

The New Year can be a time of great opportunity for self-examination in order to make courageous changes. Take time to do that. Then intercede for this country’s people, and for your president and other leaders, that they would do the same and apply it to governing the nation.

Recommended Reading: I Thessalonians 3:11-4:7, 11-12

 

Greg Laurie – From His Perspective

greglaurie

Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” —Matthew 19:26

I heard the story of an elderly minister who liked to visit people in hospitals. He often would take along a little, embroidered bookmark that he carried in his Bible. On the back of the bookmark was a group of tangled threads with no apparent pattern. He would hand this bookmark, with the back facing up, to those who were hurting or upset and say, “Look at that and tell me what it says.” As they looked at all the tangled threads, they would say, “I have no idea what it says. It doesn’t seem to say anything.”

Then he said, “Now, turn it over.” As they would flip that bookmark over, they saw the words “God is love.” The minister would say, “Many times as we look at what God is doing, we just see tangled threads with no rhyme or reason. But from God’s perspective, He is dealing with us in love, and He knows what He is doing.”

The next time you think it’s all over for you, just remember how things turned out for Joseph in the book of Genesis. Just remember how things turned out for Daniel — no doubt things looked pretty grim when he was in the den of lions. It looked hopeless as well for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego when they were thrown into the fiery furnace. Things looked pretty hopeless for Peter when he was in prison, awaiting execution. And things certainly looked bleak for Martha and Mary when their brother died.

You see, things can look bad at one moment, but then God will step in and turn events around. Then as time goes on, you will look back and say, “Now I understand what God was doing.”

 

 

Max Lucado – Stubborn Peace

Max Lucado

Who do you know with a stubborn peace? Their problems aren’t any different, but there’s a serenity that softens the corners of their lips.

A priest visited just such a man in the hospital.  The man was nearing death. The priest noticed an empty chair beside the bed and wondered if someone else had been there. The old man smiled, “I place Jesus on that chair, and I talk to him.” The priest was puzzled so the man explained. “Years ago a friend told me prayer is as simple as talking to a good friend.  So every day I pull up a chair and Jesus and I have a good talk.”

When his daughter informed the priest her father had died, she explained, “When I got to his room, I found him dead.  Strangely, his head was resting, not on the pillow, but on an empty chair beside his bed.”  The picture of stubborn peace!

From The Applause of Heaven

Charles Stanley – Our God of Grace

Charles Stanley

Ephesians 2:4-5

Grace is God’s favor and love shown to mankind. We cannot earn it or ever be good enough to deserve it. To truly appreciate His grace, we need to comprehend certain truths about Him and ourselves.

First, God is absolutely holy, and sin cannot coexist with the sacred perfection of His presence. When Adam and Eve chose to eat from the forbidden tree, their intimate relationship with Him was broken. Since all future generations inherited their sinful nature, every person is born with a nature bent away from the Lord.

Next, God’s character is just. As a result, He requires payment for sin. The penalty He demands is death (Rom. 6:23), not just physically but also spiritually through eternal separation from Him.

Finally, we have a merciful God who does not treat us as our actions deserve but instead extends His grace toward us. He devised a plan that would affirm His holy nature, meet the requirements of His justice, and enable us to become members of His family: He sent His Son to accomplish our salvation. Born as a human being, Jesus lived a perfect life and fulfilled the Law. He alone was qualified to satisfy divine justice. Christ took our place, bore our sins, and experienced God’s wrath over our rebellion—all so that we could be reconciled to the Father.

God made this provision for our salvation while we were still sinners (Rom. 5:8). Have you acknowledged your sinful state and received His forgiveness through faith in Jesus? If so, are you expressing ongoing thankfulness for His grace?

 

Our Daily Bread — As Below, So Above

Our Daily Bread

Luke 24:44-53

You are witnesses of these things. . . . but tarry in the city . . . until you are endued with power from on high. —Luke 24:48-49

The Roman paganism of Jesus’ day taught that the actions of gods in the heavens above affected the earth below. If Zeus got angry, thunderbolts shot out. “As above, so below,” went the ancient formula.

Jesus, though, sometimes inverted that. He taught: As below, so above. A believer prays, and heaven responds. A sinner repents, and the angels rejoice. A mission succeeds, and God is glorified. A believer rebels, and the Holy Spirit is grieved.

I believe these things, yet somehow I keep forgetting them. I forget that my prayers matter to God. I forget that the choices I make today bring delight or grief to the Lord of the universe. I forget that I am helping my neighbors to their eternal destinations.

The good-news message of God’s love that Jesus brought to this earth we can now bring to others. That was the challenge He gave His disciples before ascending to His Father (see Matt. 28:18-20). We who follow Jesus serve as an extension of His incarnation and ministry. It is why He came to earth. Before He left, He told His disciples that He would send His Spirit from above to them below (Luke 24:48). He did not leave us alone. He fills us with His power that we might touch lives here below to affect eternity. —Philip Yancey

Thank You, O my Father,

For giving us Your Son,

And leaving Your Spirit

Till the work on earth is done. —Green

You ascended before our eyes, and we turned back grieving, only to find You in our hearts. —Augustine

Bible in a year: Genesis 23-24; Matthew 7

 

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Nothing Is Ordinary

Ravi Z

Some time ago, my wife and I were trying to get our daughter admitted into a school. For many reasons, it was quite a challenging experience. We narrowed down our selections and set about the long process of getting her enrolled. As we were about to enter yet another school building, I found myself thinking about how often we consider ourselves the masters of our own futures. We make choices in so many areas—are we not in charge?

A sharp person knows that this is not entirely true. We do not decide where we are born, our nationality, our family, our gender, our facial features, or so on. Moreover, there are also many times when our own lives depend on someone else’s choice. Though we chose the school where we wanted to see our child admitted, we could not ensure that the school would choose her. School officials regularly find themselves with a pool of candidates, all of whom they will evaluate, and not all of whom will be admitted. Applicants must wait and see if they are chosen by the school for enrollment.

Christians take a certain comfort in knowing that God uses the language of choosing them. We are not chosen because we are the most intelligent or the best behaved, but because God chooses the foolish things of the world to shame the wise. We are not heirs of the kingdom because we are people of inherent honor, but because Christ extends to us the glory of God. We are not God’s children because we are strong, but because we are weak. Not only do these things prevent believers from boasting in anything but Christ, they also offer a confidence in living out our lives together.

The consequences are many and indeed good news to all who will heed the call of a God who chooses us. No longer do we need to be achievement-driven; we were not chosen because of some special ability or gifting. No longer do we need to please people for a sense of acceptance; we are the apple of God’s eye. No longer do we need to fear the future, for we are held in the arms of one who holds everything in kind and able hands. Despair and defeat need not rule our lives—not because we are go-getters and succeed at all costs—but because we are confident that God is using all that happens in our lives to weave a beautiful tapestry. For we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

For the Christian, to live as Christ’s own is to live with the assurance that nothing can separate us from the love of God. And thus we also live with the reminder that nothing is ever really ordinary. As we go about the seemingly mundane and sometimes frustrating scenes in the drama of daily life, we are invited to see something greater in every scene. There is the hope of God’s grace in all that confronts us. There is the comfort of God’s presence throughout the stories of our lives. Even in our shortfalls and bad choices God is still near, going about the gift of redemption, urging us onward and further into the life of Father, Son, and Spirit. This God who begins a good work will be certain to bring it to completion.

Cyril Georgeson is a member of the speaking team with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Delhi, India.

 

Alistair Begg – Serve the Lord with Gladness

Alistair Begg

Serve the Lord with gladness.

Psalms 100:2

Delight in divine service is a token of acceptance. Those who serve God with a sad countenance, because they do what is unpleasant to them, are not serving Him at all; they bring the form of loyalty, but the life is absent. Our God requires no slaves to grace His throne; He is the Lord of the empire of love, and would have His servants dressed in the uniform of joy.

The angels of God serve Him with songs, not with groans; a murmur or a sigh would be a mutiny in their ranks. That obedience that is not voluntary is disobedience, for the Lord looks at the heart, and if He sees that we serve Him from force, and not because we love Him, He will reject our offering.

Service coupled with cheerfulness is heart-service and therefore true. Take away joyful willingness from the Christian, and you have removed the test of his sincerity. If a man be driven to battle, he is no patriot; but he who marches into the fray with flashing eye and beaming face, singing, “It is sweet for one’s country to die,” proves himself to be sincere in his patriotism.

Cheerfulness is the support of our strength; in the joy of the Lord are we strong. It acts as the remover of difficulties. It is to our service what oil is to the wheels of a railway carriage. Without oil the axle soon grows hot, and accidents occur; and if there be not a holy cheerfulness to oil our wheels, our spirits will be clogged with weariness.

The man who is cheerful in his service of God proves that obedience is his element; he can sing,

Make me to walk in your commands,

It’s a delightful road.

Reader, let us put this question–do you serve the Lord with gladness? Let us show to the people of the world, who think our religion to be slavery, that it is to us a delight and a joy! Let our gladness proclaim that we serve a good Master.

 

 

Charles Spurgeon – Free grace

CharlesSpurgeon

“Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord God, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel.” Ezekiel 36:32

Suggested Further Reading: 1 Timothy 1:12-17

My God! I have rebelled against thee, and yet thou hast loved me, unworthy me! How can it be? I cannot lift myself up with pride, I must bow down before thee in speechless gratitude. Remember, my dear brethren, that not only is the mercy which you and I have received undeserved, but it was unasked. It is true you sought for mercy, but not till mercy first sought you. It is true you prayed, but not till free grace made you pray. You would have been still today hardened in heart, without God, and without Christ, had not free grace saved you. Can you be proud then?—proud of mercy which, if I may use the term, has been forced upon you?—proud of grace which has been given you against your will, until your will was changed by sovereign grace? And think again—all the mercy you have you once refused. Christ sups with you; be not proud of his company. Remember, there was a day when he knocked, and you refused—when he came to the door and said, “My head is wet with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night; open to me, my beloved;” and you barred it in his face, and would not let him enter. Be not proud, then of what you have, when you remember that you once rejected him. Does God embrace you in his arms of love? Remember, once you lifted up your hand of rebellion against him. Is your name written in his book? Ah! there was a time when, if it had been in your power, you would have erased the sacred lines that contained your own salvation. Can we, dare we, lift up our wicked heads with pride, when all these things should make us hang our heads down in the deepest humility?

For meditation: For meditation: Whatever we have become or achieved in the Christian life must always be attributed to God’s grace and directed to his glory. The apostle Paul needed no reminder (1 Corinthians 15:10).

Sermon no. 233

9 January (1859)

John MacArthur – Living out Your Royal Heritage

John MacArthur

“In love [God] predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will” (Eph. 1:4-5).

Moses told Israel that God didn’t choose them because of their great numbers or any inherent goodness on their part, but as an expression of God’s sovereign will and sacrificial love (Deut. 7:7-8). That’s true of you as well if you’re a Christian.

The Greek word translated “love” in Ephesians 1:4 speaks not of emotional or sentimental love but of love that seeks God’s best for others at any cost. It is marked by sacrifice rather than selfishness–giving rather than receiving. It seeks to forgive rather than condemn–to dismiss offenses rather than count them.

Such love is epitomized in God Himself, who loved you so much that He sacrificed His Son on your behalf, who willingly laid down His own life for you (John 3:16; 15:13).

While false gods are worshiped out of fear and ignorance, the true God–your Heavenly Father–has eliminated all fear so that you can confidently enter into His presence (Heb. 10:19; 1 John 4:18). You have received a spirit of adoption and can address Him as “Abba! Father!” (Rom. 8:15), the Aramaic equivalent of Daddy or Papa.

Your Heavenly Father delights in your praise and glories in your obedience. Be a faithful child. Make this day count for Him. Live out your royal heritage. Seek His wisdom in all you do. Go to His Word and follow its counsel. Demonstrate His love to others in practical ways.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Thank God for granting you the privilege of being a member of His family.

Thank Him for the many manifestations of His love that you enjoy each day.

Ask Him to lead you to someone to whom you can demonstrate His love in a practical and sacrificial way.

For Further Study:

Read 1 Corinthians 13

List the characteristics of godly love.

How does the quality of your love for others compare to God’s standard? What steps can you take today to bring your love into greater conformity to His?

 

Joyce Meyer – You’re Invited

Joyce meyer

The next day Jesus desired and decided to go into Galilee; and He found Philip and said to him, Join Me as My attendant and follow Me. — John 1:43

When Jesus invited people to become His disciples and follow Him, I think He was basically asking them if they wanted to join His party. I realize that He was talking about His group, but I think traveling with Jesus was probably a lot of fun as well as a lot of hard work. Repeatedly throughout the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) we see that Jesus invited people to leave their lifestyles and side with His party; He is still issuing that invitation today.

Living for God, serving Him and others can be so much fun if we approach it with the mind of Christ. It comes down to our attitude. My favorite image of Jesus is one I have seen of Him laughing. Jesus’ mission could not have been any more serious and yet I am positive that He laughed with His disciples, made jokes about their goofy ways, enjoyed food, rested and somehow managed to turn the mission into something that was enjoyable. When we receive Jesus Christ as our Savior and decide we want to be a Christian and live a Christian lifestyle, we are not going to a solemn assembly or a funeral; we are joining His party.

Jesus can even make dying to self, which means being delivered from selfish, self-centered living, an interesting journey if we look at it properly. I speak a lot on spiritual maturity, dying to selfishness, taking up our cross and living holy lives, and I am continually amazed at how much people laugh while I do it. Somehow the Holy Spirit brings the teaching out of me in a way that makes people laugh while they are being corrected. God is amazing! People tell me all the time how funny I am and yet I speak a very straightforward, hard-hitting message that is quite serious. I have joined Jesus’ party.

Love Yourself Today: What about you? Have you joined Jesus’ party? Are you enjoying your life and having a good time as you follow Him? You’re invited!

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Seeking God’s Face

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“If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways: then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14, KJV).

“Humility is perfect quietness of heart,” Andrew Murray once wrote. “It is to expect nothing, to wonder at nothing that is done to me, to feel nothing done against me. It is to be at rest when nobody praises me, and when I am blamed or despised. It is to have a blessed home in the Lord, where I can go in and shut the door, and kneel to my Father in secret, and am at peace as in a deep sea of calmness, when all around and above is trouble.”

For years, I have claimed God’s promise recorded in 2 Chronicles 7:14. My emphasis has been on the humbling of ourselves and turning from sin. But recently a minister friend made a passing reference to the phrase, “seeking God’s face,” and it triggered in my mind some new thoughts about this great promise from God.

In a sense, the humbling of ourselves and turning from sin are the by-products, or end results, of coming to know God as He is, by meditating upon His character and attributes. To “seek God’s face” is to meditate upon His sovereignty, His holiness, His power, His wisdom, His love – getting to know Him as He is.

The disciples of the first-century church were mightily used of God because of their exalted view of Him. There was nothing too great for Him. God could do anything. The church today can once again experience that same dynamic that characterized those first believers if we, too, become totally absorbed in the character and attributes of our great God.

It is then that we will truly begin to believe God for supernatural, impossible things and make a great impact for good on the world.

Bible Reading: Psalm 145:5-12

Today’s Action Point: I will deliberately choose to seek God’s face today by meditating on His attributes, found in Psalm 145, and by looking for Him in every circumstance of my life this day.

 

Presidential Prayer Team; J.R. – Navigational Nightmare

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“Please proceed to the highlighted route.” If you have a GPS navigation system, you’re certainly familiar with this message, which is delivered in a voice that sounds both authoritative and sure. Donna Cooper followed that direction, just as you probably would. Outside of her air-conditioned car, the temperature in California’s Death Valley was 125 degrees. Three days later, a rescue helicopter finally found Cooper and her passengers…thirsty but alive. The GPS unit, as it turned out, led them down roads that no longer existed. Others were not so fortunate; it’s called Death Valley for a reason.

Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth.

James 1:18

Who will you rely upon for navigation in 2014? “There is a way that seems right to a man,” says Proverbs 14:12, “but its end is the way to death.” The way of the world often seems logical and compelling, but only the “word of truth” found in the Scriptures provides reliable guidance.

America, Christians would agree, has chosen the wrong routes, leading to a dead end of debt, crime and immorality. But God can turn the direction of a nation “wherever He will.” (Proverbs 21:1) Today, pray that President Obama and your leaders in Washington D.C. will submit to His leading.

Recommended Reading: Proverbs 21:1-8

 

 

Greg Laurie – Dealing with Discouragement

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Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God. —Psalm 42:11

It’s not unusual for even the most spiritual people to have their days of doubt. Moses, on one occasion at least, was overwhelmed by his circumstances. After he had listened to the constant complaining of the children of Israel, he basically told the Lord, “I’m fed up. Just kill me. I don’t want to deal with this another day.”

Elijah, after his contest with the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel, heard that Jezebel had put a contract out on his life. He was so overwhelmed by his circumstances, so discouraged, so uncertain, and so filled with doubt that he said to God, “Take my life.”

Even the great apostle Paul had moments when he was discouraged. He wrote to the church at Corinth, “We were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life” (2 Corinthians 1:8).

Jeremiah, the great prophet, faced it as well. He was ridiculed and harassed for giving out the Word of God. Because he was tired of the pressure he was facing, it made him want to stop giving out God’s Word altogether. He said, “The word of the Lord was made to me a reproach and a derision daily. Then I said, ‘I will not make mention of Him, nor speak anymore in His name’ ” (Jeremiah 20:8-9).

You aren’t the only one who has ever faced doubt or uncertainty or has been perplexed as to why God did not work in a certain way. We may be in the midst of God’s working and can’t see the big picture as He can.

We can trust His heart, even when we can’t trace His path.