Tag Archives: Prayer

Charles Stanley – Developing Patience

Charles Stanley

Galatians 5:22-25

We have all kinds of excuses for why we are not patient: stress, ill health, other peoples’ mistakes, running late, or simply having a bad day. But impatience can cause us to make poor decisions, hurt others, or damage relationships.

God wants something far better for us. He knows that patience helps us to stay in His will—where His favor rests upon us. We achieve strong, loving, lasting relationships when we are willing to wait for others to change. In so doing, we also become happier ourselves.

How do we develop this attribute? First, we must view our lives as God does and recognize difficulties as disguised opportunities to learn patience. We must leave behind the mistaken assumption that success in the Christian life means an absence of problems. God’s purpose is not to provide us with ease, comfort, and pleasure but rather to grow us up into Christlikeness. Patience is one of those “grown-up” qualities we’re to have.

Second, we have a personal responsibility to pursue the quality of patience and train ourselves in it. We must learn to resist our bad habits, wrong thinking, and negative behavior patterns from the past. Practice responding with kindness and love, even if the other person is unjustly accusing you.

It takes time, energy, and effort to change our thinking and our responses. Fortunately, we don’t do this alone—the Holy Spirit is committed to producing this fruit in our lives with our cooperation. See difficulty as God does, and then respond patiently.

 

 

Our Daily Bread — Spiritual Plagiarism

Our Daily Bread

John 1:1-18

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. —John 1:14

When I teach English composition, I require students to write in class. I know that in-class writing is their own work, so in this way I become familiar with each student’s writing voice and am able to detect if they “borrow” a bit too heavily from another writer. Students are surprised to learn that their writing voice—which includes what they say as well as how they say it—is as distinctive as their speaking voice. Just as the words we speak come from our hearts, so do the words we write. They reveal who we are.

We become familiar with God’s voice in much the same way. By reading what He has written, we learn who He is and how He expresses Himself. Satan, however, tries to make himself sound like God (2 Cor. 11:14). By using God’s words in a slightly altered fashion, he comes up with convincing arguments for things that are untrue. For example, by convincing people to do things that simulate godliness, such as trusting in an outward regimen of self-discipline rather than Christ’s death for salvation (Col. 2:23), Satan has led many astray.

God went to extremes to make sure we’d recognize His voice. He not only gave us His Word, He gave us the Word made flesh—Jesus (John 1:14)—so that we will not be easily deceived or misled. —Julie Ackerman Link

Instill within my heart, dear Lord,

A deep desire to know Your Word,

I want to learn to hear Your voice

That I may make Your will my choice. —D. DeHaan

Your Word is very pure; therefore Your servant loves it. —Psalm 119:140

Bible in a year: Ezekiel 24-26; 1 Peter 2

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Truth on Its Head

Ravi Z

G.K. Chesterton took the word “prolific” to a level that, as a writer, simply makes me feel tired. In his lifetime, Chesterton authored over 100 books and contributed to 200 others. He penned hundreds of poems, five plays, five novels, and some 200 short stories, including the popular Father Brown detective series. He wrote over 4000 newspaper essays, including 30 years worth of weekly columns for The Illustrated London News, and 13 years of weekly columns for The Daily News.  He also edited his own newspaper, G.K.’s Weekly.

As one can easily imagine after such an inventory, G.K. Chesterton was always writing—wherever he found himself, and with whatever he could find to write on. So, in the tearoom he scribbled on napkins. On the train, in front of a bank teller, or in the middle of a lecture, he was known to jot hurriedly in a notebook, or even on the cuff of his sleeve.

Chesterton’s eccentric approach to writing, in fact, matched his eccentric approach to life in general. His public image was one out of a Shakespearean comedy. If he were not recognized in the streets of London by the flowing black cape and the wide brimmed top hat he always wore, he was given away instantly by the clamoring of the swordstick he always carried—for nothing more than the romantic notion that he might one day find himself caught up in some adventure where defending himself might become necessary.

He rarely knew, from hour to hour, where he was or where he was supposed to be, what appointment he was to be keeping, or lecture he was to be giving. The story is often told of the time he telegraphed his wife with the note, “Am at Market Harborough. Where ought I to be?” His faithful wife, Frances, wired back, “Home,” knowing it would be most promising for all involved if she could physically point him in the right direction. Chesterton seemed to live out one of his own clever paradoxes: “One can sometimes do good by being the right person in the wrong place.”

In fact, paradox, in more ways than one, is an ample word for G.K. Chesterton. It was one of his favorite things to point out, stir up, and call to mind. He described paradox as “truth standing on its head to gain attention,” and often evoked such jestering truisms throughout his dialog. With declarations bizarre enough to escape defensive mindsets, but with a substance that could blow holes in fortresses of skepticism, G.K. Chesterton, as absentminded as he may have appeared to be, challenged the world to think. With humility, wonder, and genius, Chesterton taught us, in the words of Father Brown, that often it isn’t that we can’t see the solution; it’s that we can’t see the problem.

In his disarming manner, such that even his opponents regarded him with affection, Chesterton exposed the inconsistencies of the modern mindset, the unfounded and unnoticed dogmatism of the unbeliever, and the misguided guidance of the cults of comfort and progress. He marveled that religious liberty now meant that we were no longer allowed to mention the subject, and that “there are those who hate Christianity and call their hatred an all-embracing love for all religions.” To the convicted agnostic he said, “We don’t know enough about the unknown to know that it is unknowable.” To the social Darwinist he said, “It is absurd for the Evolutionist to complain that it is unthinkable for an admittedly unthinkable God to make everything out of nothing, and then pretend that it is more thinkable that nothing should turn itself into everything.”

And to all who would listen, Chesterton devotedly pled the case for Christ: “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.”

To everyone his life affected, and continues to affect, G.K. Chesterton, with and without words, made a boisterous point about delighting in life to the fullest; life that is fullest, first and foremost, because there is someone to thank for making it full. He writes:

You say grace before meals.

All right.

But I say grace before the play and the opera,

And grace before the concert and the pantomime,

And grace before I open a book,

And grace before sketching, painting,

swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing;

And grace before I dip the pen in the ink.

Chesterton was a man alive with the gusto of resurrection, the marvel of truth, and the thankful foresight of a coming King among us.

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

Alistair Begg – Liberty from Captivity

Alistair Begg

. . . To proclaim liberty to the captives.

Luke 4:18

No one but Jesus can give deliverance to captives. Real liberty comes from Him alone. It is a liberty rightly granted; for the Son, who is Heir of all things, has a right to make men free.

The saints honor the justice of God, which now secures their salvation. It is a liberty that has been dearly purchased. Christ reveals it by His power, but He bought it by His blood. He makes you free, but it is by His own bonds.

You go clear because He bore your burden for you: You are set at liberty because He has suffered in your place.

Although the purchase price was great, Jesus gives it freely. He asks nothing of us as a preparation for this liberty. He finds us sitting in sackcloth and ashes and invites us to wear the fitting garment of freedom; He saves us just as we are and without any help from us.

When Jesus sets us free, the liberty is perpetually enjoyed; no chains can bind again. Let the Master say to me, “Captive, I have delivered you,” and it is done forever.

Satan may plot to enslave us, but if the Lord is on our side, whom shall we fear? The world, with its temptations, may seek to ensnare us, but He who is for us is mightier than all those who are against us. The movements of our own deceitful hearts may harass and annoy us, but He who has begun the good work in us will bring it to completion in the end. The enemies of God and the antagonists of man may gather their forces together and come with concentrated fury against us, but if God acquits, who is he that condemns?

The eagle that flies to its rocky perch and afterwards soars above the clouds is no more free than the soul delivered by Christ. If we are no longer under the law but free from its curse, let our liberty be practically displayed as we serve God with gratitude and delight. “I am your servant; the son of your maidservant. You have loosed my bonds.”1

1 Psalm 116:16

Charles Spurgeon – Comfort for the desponding

CharlesSpurgeon

“Oh that I were as in months past.” Job 29:2

Suggested Further Reading: Galatians 4:11-20

There is such a thing, my dear friends, as your getting into a terribly bad condition through the ministry that you attend. Can it be expected that men should grow in grace when they are never watered with the streams that make glad the city of our God? Can they be supposed to grow strong in the Lord Jesus, when they do not feed on spiritual food? We know some who grumble, Sabbath after Sabbath, and say they can’t hear such and such a minister. Why don’t you buy an ear-trumpet then? Ah! But I mean, that I can’t hear him to my soul’s profit. Then do not go to hear him, if you have tried for a long while and don’t get any profit. I always think that a man who grumbles as he goes out of chapel ought not to be pitied, but whipped, for he can stay away if he likes, and go where he will be pleased. There are plenty of places where the sheep may feed in their own manner; and everyone is bound to go where he gets the pasture most suited to his soul. But you are not bound to run away directly your minister dies, as many of you did before you came here. You should not run away from the ship directly the storm comes, and the captain is gone, and you find her not exactly sea-worthy; stand by her, begin caulking her, God will send you a captain, there will be fine weather by and by, and all will be right. But very frequently a bad minister starves God’s people into walking skeletons, so that you can tell all their bones; and who wonders that they starve out their minister, when they get no nourishment from his ministrations.

For meditation: God provides leaders to build up his people so that they can go on to build up one another (Ephesians 4:11-12). The absence of the leader will show whether the flock can stand on their own feet in the Lord (Philippians 1:27; Colossians 2:5).

Sermon no. 51

25 November (1855)

 

 

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – God Protects Us

dr_bright

“You don’t need to be afraid of the dark any more, nor fear the dangers of the day… For the Lord says, ‘Because he loves me, I will rescue him; I will make him great because he trusts in my name.’ ” (Psalm 91:5,14).

“Ladies and gentlemen, we should be out of the storm in a few moments…” The calm voice over the intercom was hardly reassuring as our Pam Am 707 pierced the fury of a storm during our flight from New York to Washington, D.C. Lightning flashed as the aircraft bounced and shuddered in the turbulence.

I gripped Vonette’s hand. “I don’t know how much longer the plane can endure this storm without breaking into pieces.”

She nodded gravely.

The 707 began to twist — first to the right, then to the left. Its wings flapped like those of a giant bird struggling against a violent downdraft. Vonette and I began praying. Convinced that our aircraft could not survive the turbulence much longer, I tenderly said goodbye to Vonette and she to me. We told our wonderful Lord that we were ready to meet Him.

Then I remembered how the Lord Jesus had calmed the winds when His disciples feared that their boat would capsize during another violent storm. If it was His will, He would protect us, too. I prayed aloud, “Lord, You control the laws of nature. You quieted the storm on the Sea of Galilee. Please quiet this storm.”

In a very short time, the rain and turbulence stopped. Amazed and thankful, Vonette and I praised God for protecting us.

Hours later, the pilot landed the plane at a freight terminal in Norvolk. The flight that should have taken sixty-five minutes had lasted four hours and taken us far from our destination. Lightning had knocked a huge hole in the fuselage near the cockpit, destroying all the radar equipment. The pilot said this was the most violent storm he had ever experienced. But God was more powerful than the storm!

God promises to protect and rescue those who trust Him. What peace and joy this gives us as we turn over the difficult circumstances in our lives to Him!

Bible Reading: Psalm 91

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: With God’s help, I will claim His promise to protect me and will not be afraid of danger

 

 

Presidential Prayer Team; C.P. – That You May Know

ppt_seal01

Death—something to be avoided at all cost. People pray against it. They thank the Lord when He watches over their loved ones and keeps them safe. But everyone knows eventually (unless Christ returns first) that everyone will die. Do you still have hope? Yes, indeed!

Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

I Corinthians 15:57

In the apostle Paul’s day, some people claimed there was no resurrection. Paul said if there was no resurrection then even Christ didn’t rise from the dead. He then exhorts, “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” (I Corinthians 15:22) And John adds, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.” (I John 5:13-14)

Pray now, knowing the same God who raised Christ from the dead will answer your prayers in the name of Jesus. Intercede for a spiritual revival in this country and that many people will be saved. And thank the Heavenly Father for your present victory and eternal hope in Christ.

Recommended Reading: I John 5:1-15

 

Greg Laurie – The Unpopular Truth

greglaurie

For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus. —1 Timothy 2:5

One of the most often-asked question regarding the Christian faith goes something like this: “What about the person who has never heard that Jesus is the only way to God? What about the person in the middle of the jungle who has never heard the gospel?” (They are always in a jungle for some unknown reason—or in the desert.)

The teaching that Jesus Christ is the only way to God has never been popular. But maybe it has never been more controversial than it is today. If you want to get someone’s blood boiling, then say that Jesus is the only way to God. The “coexist” bumper sticker on their car will catch fire.

The idea that you would have the audacity to say that Jesus is the only way is, in effect, saying that other religions are not true. That is the way it works itself out, and people don’t like it. It is acceptable if you say that Jesus is a way to God. But when you dare to say that He is the only way, then you can be certain that will have some pushback.

But here is what it comes down to. We have to say what the Bible says, whether it is popular or not. It is not for me to edit the message of the Bible; it is for me, as a Christian, to simply deliver it.

It would be like a doctor’s discovering a very serious problem with a patient’s health, but then being unwilling to say what that problem is, because it might make that patient uncomfortable.

We have to tell people the truth about their real condition, which happens to be sinful, and then seek to save them, which is to point them to Jesus Christ as the only solution.

 

Max Lucado – Stunned by Grace

Max Lucado

I’ve never been surprised by God’s judgment, but I’m still stunned by His grace.

God’s judgment has never been a problem for me. In fact, it always seemed right. Lightning bolts on Sodom. Fire on Gomorrah. Good job, God! Egyptians swallowed in the Red Sea. They had it coming.

Discipline is easy for me to swallow. Logical to assimilate.

But God’s grace? Anything but. Do you need examples? How much time do you have? Peter denied Christ before he preached Christ. Zacchaeus, the crook… the cleanest part of his life was the money he’d laundered. But Jesus still had time for him. The thief on the cross, hung-out to die one minute, heaven-bound and smiling the next.

Story after story. Surprise after surprise! Search the pages. Read the stories! Find one person who came seeking a second chance and left with a stern lecture. Search. You won’t find it.

Charles Stanley – Created to Love

Charles Stanley

Have you ever wondered if your life has a purpose? The Word of God says it does—one that is both noble and desirable: Every believer was created by God to love and be loved.

God loves you personally and individually, without limit or qualification. He desires to shower you with His affection and kindness. Let me assure you of several things:

God’s love is the most important thing we can know about Him.

The very essence of God’s being—in other words, His personality and nature—is love (1 John 4:8). It is the reason Jesus came to earth, lived a victorious life, and then died to restore man’s relationship with the Father (John 3:16). The most important decision we can ever make is to receive this gift of God.

The Lord’s affection is absolute, unwavering, and sacrificial. Moreover, God’s love is not subject to favoritism. He cares for the sinner as much as He does for the saint. In our human pride or our desire to be “somebody special,” we may find that fact difficult to swallow. But God grants love to each person.

The Bible tells us that the rain falls on the just and the unjust, and the sun shines on the righteous and the wicked (Matt. 5:45). This means that with or without faith in God, everyone experiences certain benefits and blessings from Him. But the person who receives Jesus as Savior is in a position to reap the blessings that accompany an outpouring of love into his or her life.

The Lord’s love is not based upon what we do, what we have, or what we achieve. He freely gives it to us simply because we are His creation. You cannot win or earn more of God’s favor—it has nothing to do with performance. Accept and delight in that truth.

The most important response we can make is to reciprocate God’s love.

John said it simply and eloquently: “We love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19, NKJV). And Jesus said the first and foremost commandment was this: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matt. 22:37). The only acceptable response to God’s great outpouring of love toward you is to love Him back.

We can choose to rebel. And while this doesn’t affect God’s nature, it will change us. Those who refuse to acknowledge and receive divine love cut themselves off from great blessing. Not only that, but such individuals typically yield to anger, hatred, and bitterness. To harden one’s heart toward God is the supreme act of rebellion—in doing so, a person hurts himself far more than he hurts others. Humbly receiving God, on the other hand, brings good into one’s life.

Satan constantly tries to convince us that if we follow Jesus, we will have to give up personal freedom, identity, and pleasure. But those who live apart from God’s love inevitably discover their rebellion did not make them any freer. They may not go to jail, but they end up in emotional or psychological prisons—caught in addiction or trapped by feelings of resentment. The longer they live separated from the Lord’s love and mercy, the less pleasure they find in life. In that situation, it is easy to become cynical, jaded, critical, and in the end, apathetic to nearly everything.

But those who embrace and reciprocate God’s love enjoy inner freedom they never imagined. They develop as individuals, discovering hidden talents and abilities. They experience true delight in God’s creation and know the joy of perpetual discovery.

When we choose to love and obey God, we can be sure He will guide us toward doing what will bring about the greatest fulfillment in life.

God’s love is our ultimate reason to hope.

If we know with certainty that God loves us and desires good for our lives, what is there to fear? Hope in Christ is for everyone. It compels us not to remain in a state of dread, doubt, or worry but to seek transformation by the Holy Spirit’s power. Trust encourages us to anticipate God’s best and look for the dawning of a new day.

Our heavenly Father is generous—even extravagant—in His love. Open your heart and let the Lord shower more of His good gifts upon you. You won’t regret yielding your life to Him.

Adapted from “Discover Your Destiny” (1997).

 

Related Resources

Related Video

Loving God

If you ask the average person if he loves God, his answer will probably be “yes.” However, words alone are not proof of love. In fact, we use the word love rather loosely, ascribing it to the most treasured people in our lives as well as our trivial preferences. In this message, Dr. Stanley explains why the Lord should have a prominent place in our hearts and why our love for Him should permeate every area of our lives. (Watch Loving God.)

 

 

Our Daily Bread — What Time Is It?

Our Daily Bread

Galatians 3:26–4:7

When the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son. —Galatians 4:4

The old adage is true: Timing is everything! That’s why Paul’s statement, “When the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son” intrigues me so much (Gal. 4:4).

A quick look at history reveals that the coming of Christ was at just the right time. Centuries earlier, Alexander the Great conquered most of the known world, bringing with him the Greek culture and language. On the heels of his demise, the Roman Empire picked up where Alexander left off and expanded the territory under the unifying influence of the culture and language of the Greeks. It was under Roman rule that the crucifixion took place, where the blood of Christ was shed for us. It was under the rule of Rome that conditions were made ready for the spread of the gospel across three continents: good roads, territorial boundaries free of “passport” restrictions, and a unifying language. The providence of God had put all the pieces in place for the perfect time to send His Son.

God’s timing is perfect in everything. While you are waiting, perhaps wondering why God doesn’t seem to be acting on your behalf, remember that He’s working behind the scenes to prepare His moment of intervention at just the right time. Trust Him. He knows what time it is. —Joe Stowell

Lord, in Your infinite wisdom and power, You work

behind the scenes to prepare all things for just the

right time. Teach me to wait well and to trust You

to know when the fullness of time has come.

Teach us, O Lord, the disciplines of patience, for to wait is often harder than to work. —Marshall

Bible in a year: Ezekiel 22-23; 1 Peter 1

Alistair Begg – Abundance in God

Alistair Begg

But there the Lord in majesty will be for us a place of broad rivers and streams.

Isaiah 33:21

Broad rivers and streams” produce fertility and abundance in the land. Places near broad rivers are remarkable for the variety of their plants and their plentiful harvests. God is all this to His Church. Having God she has abundance. What can she ask for that He will not give her? What need can she mention that He will not supply?

On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food.”1

Do you want the bread of life? It drops like manna from the sky. Do you want refreshing streams? The rock follows you, and that Rock is Christ.

If you still have any need, it is your own fault; if you are deprived, you are not deprived in Him, but in yourself. “Broad rivers and streams” also point to business.

Our glorious Lord is to us a place of heavenly merchandise. Through our Redeemer we have business with the past; the wealth of Calvary, the treasures of the covenant, the riches of the ancient days of election, the stores of eternity-all come to us down the broad stream of our gracious Lord.

We have business, too, with the future. What ships, laden to the water’s edge, come to us from heaven! What visions we have of a new heaven and a new earth!

Through our glorious Lord we have business with angels-communion with the bright spirits washed in blood, who sing before the throne. Better still, we have fellowship with the Infinite One. “Broad rivers and streams” are specially intended to set forth the idea of security.

Rivers were often a defense. Beloved, what a defense God is to His Church! The devil cannot cross this broad river of God. How he wishes he could turn the current, but do not fear, for God abides unchangeably the same.

Satan may annoy, but he cannot destroy us; no galley with oars shall invade our river, neither will a majestic ship pass through.

1 Isaiah 25:6

 

 

Charles Spurgeon – The character of Christ’s people

CharlesSpurgeon

“They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” John 17:16

Suggested Further Reading: Leviticus 19:35-37

Look at Jesus’ character; how different from every other man’s—pure, perfect, spotless, even such should be the life of the believer. I plead not for the possibility of sinless conduct in Christians, but I must hold that grace makes men to differ, and that God’s people will be very different from other kinds of people. A servant of God will be God’s man everywhere. As a chemist, he could not indulge in any tricks that such men might play with their drugs; as a grocer—if indeed it be not a phantom that such things are done—he could not mix aloe leaves with tea or red lead in the pepper; if he practised any other kind of business, he could not for a moment condescend to the little petty shifts, called “methods of business.” To him it is nothing what is called “business;” it is what is called God’s law, he feels that he is not of the world, consequently, he goes against its fashions and its maxims. A singular story is told of a certain Quaker. One day he was bathing in the Thames, and a waterman called out to him, “Ha! there goes the Quaker.” “How do you know I’m a Quaker?” “Because you swim against the stream; it is the way the Quakers always do.” That is the way Christians always ought to do—to swim against the stream. The Lord’s people should not go along with the rest in their worldliness. Their characters should be visibly different. You should be such men that your fellows can recognise you without any difficulty, and say, “Such a man is a Christian.”

For meditation: When the Christian thinks to himself “But everybody else does it”, he is thinking of denying Christ (Ephesians 4:17,20).

Sermon no. 78

24 November (Preached 22 November 1855)

 

 

 

John MacArthur – Acknowledging God’s Sovereignty

John MacArthur

 

“By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the exodus of the sons of Israel, and gave orders concerning his bones” (Heb. 11:22).

God uses your present circumstances to accomplish His future purposes.

Like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Joseph was an heir to the covenant promises of God. His hope was firmly fixed on God, and he knew that some day his people would be at home in the Promised Land.

Although he spent all his adult life in Egypt, never seeing the Promised Land for himself, Joseph’s faith never wavered. At the end of his life, he instructed his brothers to remove his bones from Egypt and bury them in their future homeland (Gen. 50:25). That request was fulfilled in the Exodus (Ex. 13:19).

But Joseph’s faith wasn’t in the promises of future events only, for his life was marked by exceptional trust in God and personal integrity. His understanding of God’s sovereignty was unique among the patriarchs. Even though he suffered greatly at the hands of evildoers (including his own brothers, who sold him into slavery), Joseph recognized God’s hand in every event of his life and submitted to His will.

Joseph said to his brothers, “Do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life . . . and to keep you alive by a great deliverance. Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God” (Gen. 45:5, 7-8). Later, after their father’s death, he reassured them again: “Do not be afraid, for am I in God’s place? And as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to . . . preserve many people alive” (Gen. 50:19- 20).

The genius of Joseph’s faith was understanding the role that present circumstances play in fulfilling future promises. He accepted blessing and adversity alike because he knew God would use both to accomplish greater things in the future.

Joseph is the classic Old Testament example of the truth that God works all things together for good to those who love Him (Rom. 8:28). That’s a promise you can rely on too.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Reaffirm your trust in God’s sovereign work in your life.

For Further Study:

Read of Joseph’s life in Genesis 37-50.

 

Joyce Meyer – Watch What You Say

Joyce meyer

And let us consider and give attentive, continuous care to watching over one another, studying how we may stir up (stimulate and incite) to love and helpful deeds and noble activities.

—Hebrews 10:24

I have written in this devotional about the importance of loving people with our words .The carnal (lower, sensual) nature points out flaws, weaknesses and failures. The flesh is quick to talk about the things others do wrong or the mistakes they make. It likes to gossip, and say things like, “Did you hear that So-and-So got fired for being late so many times?” or, “Did you hear that So-and-So’s husband left her for another woman because she nagged him all the time?” The flesh seems to feed on the negatives in life. It sees and magnifies all that is wrong with people and things. But the Bible says in Romans 12:21 that we are to overcome evil with good.

Walking in the Spirit (continually following the prompting or leading, guiding and working of the Holy Spirit through our own spirit instead of being led by our emotions) requires being positive. God is positive, and in order to walk with Him we must agree with Him (see Amos 3:3).

It is easy to find something wrong with everyone, but 1 Peter 4:8 says, “love covers a multitude of sins.” Love does not expose people’s faults and talk about them; it covers them. Believing the best about people and speaking words that build them up is one way of loving them.

Parents, employers, friends, husbands, wives, children—all of us need to make a commitment to love people by saying nice things about people in the privacy of our own thoughts and with the words of our mouths. We need to build confidence in others by speaking well of them. We need to speak positively when talking to them and when talking about them to others. Use your words to bless others and cover their faults and shortcomings.

Love Others Today: Lord, help me to choose my words carefully today.

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Everything Belongs to Us

dr_bright

“Now we are no longer slaves, but God’s own sons. And since we are His sons, everything He has belongs to us, for that is the way God planned” (Galatians 4:7).

In the sense of being under the servitude of sin, you and I are no longer servants or slaves. We are sons, children of God, adopted into His family, and are to be treated as sons.

What a glorious privilege is ours in Christ!

In our exalted position as sons, of course we are to be treated as sons. We are to share God’s favors, His blessings. And as sons, it follows that we have responsibilities – not only to our heavenly Father, but also to other sons (and daughters) in Christ.

All that God has, Paul is saying, belongs to us as well for we are His sons. But there is another side to our exalted position – obedience to the Lord. And His calling is sure: “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.”

If we are following our Lord, we are becoming fishers of men – soul-winners. We are regularly and naturally, as a part of our daily routine, sharing the good news of the gospel with those whose lives we touch.

That does not necessarily mean buttonholing people and making a nuisance of ourselves; it does mean being available for God’s Holy Spirit to speak through us in every conversation as He chooses. It also means being “prayed up,” with no unconfessed sin in our lives.

Bible Reading: Revelation 8:14-17

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: With the Power of the Holy Spirit available to me by faith, I will behave like a child of the King – a son of the Most High. I will live a supernatural life for the Glory of God

Presidential Prayer Team; J.K. – Failing Faith

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He was going to die soon and couldn’t bear the thought of what he imagined was divine disapproval. Living in the “before Christ” period, Hezekiah saw nothing in death but darkness. So he prayed, expressing the conditions as he understood them and asking to live.

The living, the living, he thanks you, as I do this day.

Isaiah 38:19

God heard his prayer, miraculously healed him and added 15 years to his life. For that, Hezekiah praised Him and His faithfulness. This remarkable experience should have caused him to draw so close to the Lord that he would never doubt His love again, but it was not so. He chose to be friends with Babylon, a nation that represented all that was humanly impressive but totally opposed to God.

In light of Hezekiah’s failing faith, examine your own life. Has God brought healing in your life, physically or spiritually, but you’ve neglected to give Him thanks? Are you relying on the Lord and Him only?

Living in the “after Christ” time, you know that, as a believer, death is not darkness but presence with the Lord (II Corinthians 5:8). Give thanks in that. Then intercede for the leaders of this nation that they may rely solely on God and His faithfulness and give Him never ending thanks.

Recommended Reading: Psalm 67

Charles Stanley – Expressing Patience

Charles Stanley

Ephesians 4:1-3

We’re called to demonstrate patience in times of conflict. As believers, we have an obligation to exhibit this quality because God knows there is great power in showing restraint. Our natural tendency is to shout back when we are wrongly accused, but to reflect Christ, we must choose a different path. We should:

• Stay quiet when verbally attacked. A person’s anger can feed our own and lead to a shouting match. Instead, we should allow him to have his say.

• Listen without responding. In our silence, it may be easy to mentally shut out the verbal assault, but we should listen to the other person’s concerns.

• Pray for whoever is attacking. We probably do not feel like praying, but feelings often get in the way of what God would have us do.

• Control our thoughts. It can be tempting to dwell on the injustice of a situation instead of focusing on God and what He thinks of us.

• Control our emotions. We’re to rely on the Holy Spirit to give right responses.

• Be ready to forgive. We are to be patient when wronged and willing to release our hurt (2 Tim. 2:24).

• Speak encouraging words. It’s good to express appreciation when someone brings a concern to our attention—and to ask forgiveness if we’ve made a mistake.

To our human flesh, these practices may seem foolish and ineffective, but in fact, the opposite is true. There’s great power in patience because so few practice it well. Responding rightly makes an impression on non-believers, who’ll notice something in you that they also want.

 

Charles Spurgeon – Love’s commendation

CharlesSpurgeon

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

Suggested Further Reading: Hebrews 2:5-9

I could almost conceive a parliament in heaven. The angels are assembled; the question is proposed to them: “Cherubim and seraphim, cohorts of the glorified, ye spirits that like flames of fire, at my bidding fly, ye happy beings, whom I have created for my honour! Here is a question which I condescend to offer for your consideration: Man has sinned; there is no way for his pardon but by someone suffering and paying blood for blood. Who shall it be?” I can conceive that there was silence throughout the great assembly. Gabriel spoke not: he would have stretched his wings and flapped the heavens in a moment, if the deed had been possible; but he felt that he could never bear the guilt of a world upon his shoulders, and, therefore, still he sat. And there the mightiest of the mighty, those who could shake a world if God should will it, sat still, because they felt all powerless to accomplish redemption. I do not conceive that one of them would have ventured to hope that God himself would assume flesh and die. I do not think it could have entered even into angelic thought to conceive that the mighty Maker of the skies should bow his awful head and sink into a grave. I cannot imagine that the brightest and most seraphic of these glorified ones would for an instant have suffered such a thought to abide with him. And when the Son of God, rising from his throne, spoke to them and said, “Principalities and powers! I will become flesh, I will veil this Godhead of mine in robes of mortal clay, I will die!” I think I see the angels for once astonished.

For meditation: Man had sinned; man must suffer. Only a real, yet sinless man could take his place; God the Son alone qualified for the task (Romans 8:3).

Sermon no. 104

23 November (1856)

 

John MacArthur – From Jacob to Israel

John MacArthur

“By faith Jacob, as he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped” (Heb. 11:21).

Jacob’s life can be outlined in three phases: A stolen blessing, a conditional commitment, and a sincere supplication.

From the very beginning it was God’s intention to bless Jacob in a special way. But Jacob, whose name means “trickster,” “supplanter,” or “usurper,” tricked his father into blessing him instead of his older brother, Esau (Gen. 27:1-29). As a result, Jacob had to flee from Esau and spend fourteen years herding flocks for his Uncle Laban.

As Jacob traveled toward Laban’s house, God appeared to him in a dream (Gen. 28:10-22) and made him the recipient of the covenant promises first made to his grandfather, Abraham, then to his father, Isaac.

Jacob’s response is revealing, for he “made a vow, saying, ‘If God will be with me and will keep me on this journey that I take, and will give me food to eat and garments to wear, and I return to my father’s house in safety, then the Lord will be my God'” (vv. 20-21, emphasis added). Jacob’s conditional vow said in effect, “God, if you’ll give me what I want, I’ll be your man.”

Despite Jacob’s selfish motives, God did bless him, but He humbled him too. By the time he left Laban’s house, Jacob was ready to yield to God’s will unreservedly. Note his change of heart in Genesis 32:10: “I am unworthy of all the lovingkindness and of all the faithfulness which Thou hast shown to [me].”

Then the Lord appeared in the form of a man and wrestled with Jacob all night (v. 24). Jacob refused to let Him go until he received a blessing. That wasn’t a selfish request, but one that came from a heart devoted to being all God wanted him to be. That’s when the Lord changed Jacob’s name to “Israel,” which means “he fights or persists with God.”

Like Abraham and Isaac before him, Jacob never saw the fulfillment of God’s covenant promises. Yet on his spiritual journey from Jacob to Israel, from selfishness to submission, he learned to trust God and await His perfect timing.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Pray for grace to consistently pursue God’s will, and patience to wait on His perfect timing.

For Further Study:

Read Jacob’s story in Genesis 27-35.