Tag Archives: presence of god

Presidential Prayer Team; C.P. – Sonlight

 

A scientific website says, “The sun is as bright as four trillion 100-watt light bulbs.” But the sun has nothing on the Son of God. How beautiful that eternal city will be, with the glory of God lighting up the place!

The city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light.

Revelation 21:23

Revelation 21 describes wonderful things about the New Jerusalem: made of pure gold with walls of precious jewels, no night, nothing unclean. But the most marvelous thing of all is the very presence of God. “He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:3-4)

No one likes to think of the fate of the unsaved (Revelation 21:8), but they need prayer. Intercede for all those who have yet to yield to Jesus as Lord – the true light of this world and the one to come.

Recommended Reading: I Peter 5:1-11

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Nothing Against You

 

“This includes you who were once so far away from God. You were his enemies and hated him and were separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions, yet now He has brought you back as His friends. He has done this through the death on the cross of His own human body, and now as a result Christ has brought you into the very presence of God, and you are standing there before Him with nothing left against you – nothing left that He could ever chide you for” (Colossians 1:21,22).

Have you ever claimed your right to holiness, not by virtue of anything you have done, but on the basis of what Christ has done and is doing for you?

This passage of Scripture explains how holiness is available to every believer. By acknowledging and receiving His gift of eternal life through Christ, we have been brought into the very presence of God. Now we are candidates for the supernatural filling of the Holy Spirit.

After we have claimed our right to holiness, we must confess all our known sins and appropriate, by faith, the fullness of the Holy Spirit, asking Him to give us spiritual insight into the true meaning of God’s Word.

“And so, dear brothers, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living sacrifice, holy – the kind He can accept. When you think of what He has done for you, is this too much to ask? Don’t copy the fashions and customs of this world, but be a new and different person with a fresh newness in all you do and think. Then you will see from your own experience how His ways will really satisfy you” (Romans 12:1,2).

Bible Reading: II Corinthians 5:17-21

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  By faith I will claim my right to holiness and, on the basis of Christ’s finished work on the cross in our behalf, I will encourage others to do the same.

Charles Spurgeon – Tender words of terrible apprehension

CharlesSpurgeon

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

Suggested Further Reading: Ezekiel 8:5-18

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

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

Sermon no. 344

4 November (1860)

Charles Stanley – God’s Empowering Presence

Charles Stanley

Jeremiah 1:6-10  

When did you last feel the presence of God in your life? I don’t mean a merely intellectual recognition that He is with you, for He is everywhere. Rather, when did you last recognize in your heart that the Lord is personally, intimately abiding in you?

If you are like many believers, it may have been a while since you really felt His presence. Too many people go about their lives without a genuine sense of God’s closeness. What a tragedy!

Repeatedly in Scripture, we see that whenever God calls someone into His service, He first reminds the person of His enduring presence. We see this in the stories of Moses (Ex. 3:11-12), Joshua (Josh. 1:1-9), Gideon (Judg. 6:12), and Jeremiah (Jer. 1:6-8), to name just a few. These men discovered, as we can, that the awareness of God’s presence energizes us for our work.

Why does God repeatedly assure His followers of His presence? He does so because we need to be reminded of the reason for our confidence. Each time God calls a servant into action, He essentially says, “You can be strong and courageous because I am with you. Victory isn’t about your abilities, your strength, your skill, your armor, your gifts, or your dedication; it has to do with My presence. You can be strong because I will be strong in you.”

When Jeremiah trembled at the thought of the difficult ministry ahead of him, the Lord strengthened him with these words: “They will fight against you, but they will not overcome you, for I am with you to deliver you” (Jer. 1:19).

God knows how difficult life can be, and He knows every detail of each struggle you will ever face. As a believer in Christ Jesus, you can trust that your heavenly Father will keep His Word. He is with you right now, and He always will be, as He promises in His Word: “‘I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,’ so that we confidently say, ‘The LORD is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?”’ (Heb. 13:5-6).

Adapted from “The Charles F. Stanley’s Life Principles Bible,” 2008.

Our Daily Bread — Confident Access

Our Daily Bread

Hebrews 4:14-16

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. —Hebrews 4:16

Mont Saint-Michel is a tidal island located about a half-mile off the coast of Normandy, France. For centuries it has been the site of an abbey and monastery that has attracted religious pilgrims. Until the construction of a causeway, it was notorious for its dangerous access that resulted in the death of some pilgrims. At low tide it is encompassed by sand banks, and at high tide it is surrounded by water. Accessing the island was a cause for fear.

Access to God for Old Testament Jews was also a cause for fear. When God thundered on Mt. Sinai, the people feared approaching Him (Ex. 19:10-16). And when access to God was granted through the high priest, specific instructions had to be followed (Lev. 16:1-34). Accidentally touching the ark of the covenant, which represented the holy presence of God, would result in death (see 2 Sam. 6:7-8).

But because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we can now approach God without fear. God’s penalty for sin has been satisfied, and we are invited into God’s presence: “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace” (Heb. 4:16).

Because of Jesus we can come to God through prayer anywhere, anytime. —Dennis Fisher

Then boldly let our faith address

God’s throne of grace and power,

There to obtain delivering grace

In every needy hour. —Watts

Through prayer, we have instant access to our Father.

Bible in a year: Psalms 49-50; Romans 1

Insight

For Jesus to be able to identify with and to save sinful humanity, it was necessary for Him to be fully human. Earlier, the writer of Hebrews affirmed that Jesus was fully “flesh and blood” like us (2:14 NIV). Here in verse 15, he further affirmed that because He has been through suffering and temptation, Jesus knows what it is like when we suffer and are tempted. Jesus is therefore qualified and able to help us (Heb. 2:17-18; 5:1-2). But in order for Him to make propitiation for sins, Jesus had to be “without sin” (v.15, also 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 7:26-27; 1 John 3:5).

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Nothing Against You

dr_bright

“This includes you who were once so far away from God. You were his enemies and hated him and were separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions, yet now He has brought you back as His friends. He has done this through the death on the cross of His own human body, and now as a result Christ has brought you into the very presence of God, and you are standing there before Him with nothing left against you – nothing left that He could ever chide you for” (Colossians 1:21,22).

Have you ever claimed your right to holiness, not by virtue of anything you have done, but on the basis of what Christ has done and is doing for you?

This passage of Scripture explains how holiness is available to every believer. By acknowledging and receiving His gift of eternal life through Christ, we have been brought into the very presence of God. Now we are candidates for the supernatural filling of the Holy Spirit.

After we have claimed our right to holiness, we must confess all our known sins and appropriate, by faith, the fullness of the Holy Spirit, asking Him to give us spiritual insight into the true meaning of God’s Word.

“And so, dear brothers, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living sacrifice, holy – the kind He can accept. When you think of what He has done for you, is this too much to ask? Don’t copy the fashions and customs of this world, but be a new and different person with a fresh newness in all you do and think. Then you will see from your own experience how His ways will really satisfy you” (Romans 12:1,2).

Bible Reading: II Corinthians5:17-21

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  By faith I will claim my right to holiness and, on the basis of Christ’s finished work on the cross in our behalf, I will encourage others to do the same.

 

Joyce Meyer – Honor God’s Voice Above All

Joyce meyer

[Most] blessed is the man who believes in, trusts in, and relies on the Lord, and whose hope and confidence the Lord is.—Jeremiah 17:7

One attitude that welcomes the presence of God into our lives is the attitude that honors Him above everyone and everything else. Our attitudes need to say, “God, no matter what anyone else tells me, no matter what I think myself, no matter what my own plan is, if I clearly hear You say something and I know it’s You, I will honor You—and honor what You say—above everything else.”

Sometimes we give more consideration to what people tell us than to what God says. If we pray diligently and hear from God, and then start asking people around us what they think, we honor their human opinions above God’s. Such an attitude will prevent our being able to consistently hear God’s voice. If we are ever going to develop an ability to hear from God and be led by His Spirit as a way of life, we have to stop listening to so many opinions from so many people and begin trusting the wisdom God deposits in our hearts. There is a time to receive good counsel, but needing the approval of people will keep us out of the will of God.

The devil wants us to think we are not capable of hearing from God, but God’s Word says that is not true. The Holy Spirit dwells inside of us because God wants us to be led by the Spirit in a personal way and to hear His voice for ourselves as He leads and guides us.

In the verse for today, God says we will be blessed when we look to Him. According to Jeremiah 17:5–6, severe consequences come to those who trust in the frailty of mere men and women, but blessed are those who trust in and honor the Lord. Good things happen if we listen to God. He wants to be our strength and we must honor His Word above all else.

God’s word for you today: Hear what others have to say, but listen to God.

 

Joyce Meyer – Honor God’s Voice Above All

Joyce meyer

[Most] blessed is the man who believes in, trusts in, and relies on the Lord, and whose hope and confidence the Lord is.—Jeremiah 17:7

One attitude that welcomes the presence of God into our lives is the attitude that honors Him above everyone and everything else. Our attitudes need to say, “God, no matter what anyone else tells me, no matter what I think myself, no matter what my own plan is, if I clearly hear You say something and I know it’s You, I will honor You—and honor what You say—above everything else.”

Sometimes we give more consideration to what people tell us than to what God says. If we pray diligently and hear from God, and then start asking people around us what they think, we honor their human opinions above God’s. Such an attitude will prevent our being able to consistently hear God’s voice. If we are ever going to develop an ability to hear from God and be led by His Spirit as a way of life, we have to stop listening to so many opinions from so many people and begin trusting the wisdom God deposits in our hearts. There is a time to receive good counsel, but needing the approval of people will keep us out of the will of God.

The devil wants us to think we are not capable of hearing from God, but God’s Word says that is not true. The Holy Spirit dwells inside of us because God wants us to be led by the Spirit in a personal way and to hear His voice for ourselves as He leads and guides us.

In the verse for today, God says we will be blessed when we look to Him. According to Jeremiah 17:5–6, severe consequences come to those who trust in the frailty of mere men and women, but blessed are those who trust in and honor the Lord. Good things happen if we listen to God. He wants to be our strength and we must honor His Word above all else.

God’s word for you today: Hear what others have to say, but listen to God.

Greg Laurie – Prayer Changes Everything

greglaurie

But while Peter was in prison, the church prayed very earnestly for him. —Acts 12:5

I want to tell you a story about a sleepless church that was involved in desperate and deep prayer. They were coming under intense persecution, and they were facing what appeared to be a hopeless situation.

It had been some time since the last attack, which resulted in the martyrdom of Stephen. But God used that for His glory. The problem was that the church tended to hang back a little in Jerusalem and stay in their little holy huddle of sorts. Jesus had told them to go into all the world and preach the gospel, but they weren’t really doing that. But when persecution came, the church spread out. It ultimately resulted in good. They remembered their objective was not to isolate from the culture but to infiltrate the culture.

As Acts chapter 12 opens, Herod is leading a new wave of persecution, and he murders James, the brother of John. Being the consummate politician, Herod saw this pleased his constituents. So he arrested the undisputed leader of the church, Simon Peter. Pretty much everyone looked up to Peter. He was the spiritual leader. And it looked as though Peter would be executed next.

So what did the church do? They unleashed their secret weapon: “While Peter was in prison, the church prayed very earnestly for him” (Acts 12:5). All other doors may have been closed, but one door remained open: the door of prayer—the door into the presence of God. The church prayed, and everything changed.

Prayer is our secret weapon too, and we don’t use it enough. We will try everything else, but how often do we seriously pray? Prayer is frequently the last resort, the only thing left to do after we have exhausted all other options. But the first thing we should do is pray.

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – I Am Not the Christ

Ravi Z

According to the angel who spoke to Elizabeth before her baby was born, the child who was to be named John would be for the world a herald of the Messiah who was coming. “He will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah,” the angel told her.(1)

And so it was. Calling all who would hear to repent and believe, the New Testament writers report that John was to the world what God promised. He was sent to prepare the way for the coming Lord, to prepare hearts to recognize God among them. “Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God,” proclaimed the angel. This John did and continues to do.

It may seem odd to some that this untamed, locust-eating figure of John the Baptist is one of the key figures in celebrating the Christmas season. His wild and probing message continues to cry in urgency, “Are you ready,” and for this, despite the sentimental and domesticated visions of Christmas common to our era, is a cry worthy of the bizarre and jolting doctrine of Incarnation. Are you ready to respond to the fragile infant that came into the world through a manger in Bethlehem? Are you ready to hear him, see him, consume his flesh and blood? Are you ready to recognize God in body among you, the hunter, the king, the great I AM? The testimony of John was essentially tame compared to the mystery of an incarnate God. Repeatedly John insists, “I am not the Christ, but truly and fearfully, there is one who is.”(2)

The Incarnation, this embodied presence of God, bids us not only to remember God’s descent into a dirty stable in Bethlehem, but to keep ourselves awake to the reality of God’s descending upon the thresholds of our lives. As John called the people of Israel, so the Incarnation continues to sound the consequence of this mystery: Keep yourselves clothed in readiness, for God is near.

Yet even John, who was the first to recognize Jesus for who he was, leaping in his own mother’s womb at the arrival of the pregnant Mary, struggled through dark and confusing times, wondering perhaps if God was indeed near. Thrown in jail by Herod, John’s certainty seems to be challenged for the first time. “Go and ask Jesus,” John told his disciples, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” One can almost see the fog coming over the message of light he preached so confidently. “If this man is who I thought he was, why am I in this place?”

With John in mind, it is fitting to note that Dietrich Bonhoeffer once compared our waiting on God to the waiting that is done in a prison cell, “in which one waits and hopes and does various unessential things… but is completely dependent on the fact that the door of freedom has to be opened from the outside.” It is a dramatic metaphor, particularly from one who stood imprisoned himself, chained for standing up to the Nazi’s, waiting for them to deal with him as they would. Bonhoeffer saw clearly something we forget in the midst of a sentimental holiday: the Incarnation is about God breaking through the door that we ourselves cannot open. And in fact, all year round, the Incarnation is our promise that God will come breaking through once again.

I have always wondered if Jesus’s response to John’s question frustrated the prophet behind bars or if it is my own frustration so easily read into his words. Jesus didn’t offer a clear and certain answer for the alone and imprisoned baptizer, but invited John to answer his own question. “Go back and report to John what you hear and see,” Jesus told John’s disciples. “The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.”(3) We are not given John’s response.

Sitting within his quiet cell, perhaps John recounted the conversations he had with Jesus. Perhaps he even heard again the words God had placed on his own lips. “He who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire” (Luke 3:16). God was moving, came the report from outside the prison, though John sat alone and waiting. The question that permeated the prophet’s testimony thus became a question Jesus seemed to ask John himself: Are you ready? Are you ready for a redemptive God who continues to do the unthinkable?

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

(1) Luke 1:17.

(2) See John 1:19-28.

(3) Matthew 11:4-6.

 

Joyce Meyer – The Inner Life

Joyce meyer

The Holy Spirit points out that the way into the [true Holy of] Holies is not yet thrown open as long as the former [the outer portion of the] tabernacle remains a recognized institution and is still standing.

—Hebrews 9:8

The Old Testament tabernacle had three compartments. It consisted of an outer court, a second compartment called the Holy Place, and the Holy of Holies, which was the interior chamber. Only the high priest could go into the Holy of Holies, for it contained the presence of God.

As humans we are tri-part beings with three compartments. We have a body, we have a soul, and we have a spirit. The verse for today states that as long as we continue recognizing the outer portion, which is an analogy of our body and soul, then the way into the Holy of Holies, an analogy of our spirit, is not opened. In simple terms, this means that if we obey and cater to our flesh we will never enjoy and dwell in the presence of God. For example, if I am angry I will not enjoy the presence of God.

Our fleshly parts will always make demands because the flesh is selfish and wants its own way, but we do not have to give in to those demands. We can simply say, “I do not recognize you any longer; you have no authority over me.” As we take this stand against giving in to the demands of the fleshly life, we are honoring God and made able to enjoy His presence. The message for today is easy: “Say no to self and yes to God.” The Bible says that we are dead to sin. Sin is not dead; it will always try to draw us in, but we can say no!

God’s word for you today: Don’t live the life of the flesh by catering to the appetites and impulses of your carnal nature.

 

Greg Laurie – A Glimpse of Glory

greglaurie

We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. —2 Corinthians 5:8–9

What happens to believers when they die? They go straight into the presence of God. The Bible says that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (see 2 Corinthians 5:8). Paul understood this when he said he had “a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better” (Philippians 1:23).

When Stephen was being martyred for his faith, he was given a glimpse of glory. In Acts 7 we read, “But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said, ‘Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!’ ” (verses 55–56). Then we are told in Acts 6:15 that Stephen’s face became as bright “as the face of an angel.” Here he was seeing over to the other side. He radiated God’s glory.

When the great evangelist D. L. Moody was on his deathbed, his last words were, “Is this dying? Why, this is bliss. There is no valley. I have been within the gates. Earth is receding; heaven is opening; God is calling; I must go.” Then Moody breathed his last breath.

It comforts me to think that when my son Christopher left this world, he was carried by angels into God’s presence. I believe that with all of my heart. And I believe that is true of all Christians when their lives on earth come to an end.

When, as a believer, you leave this world, you will be carried by angels into the presence of the Lord and will be there with Him. If we could see how glorious it is, I am sure it would change everything about us.

Joyce Meyer – How to Gain Wisdom

Joyce meyer

If you will turn (repent) and give heed to my reproof, behold, I [Wisdom] will pour out my spirit upon you, I will make my words known to you. (Proverbs 1:23)

We need to pray and obey God’s leading when He speaks to us. Obedience is not to be an occasional event for us; it is to be our way of life. There’s a big difference between people who are willing to obey God daily and those who are willing to obey only to get out of trouble. God certainly shows people how to get out of trouble, but He bestows abundant blessings on those who decide to live wholeheartedly for Him and who make obedience to Him their lifestyle. The only pathway to true peace is obedience to God.

Many people obey God in the big issues, but they aren’t aware that obedience in the little things makes a difference in His plan for their lives. The Bible says plainly that if we are not faithful in the little things, we will never be made rulers over much (see Luke 19:17). There is no reason for God to trust us with a major responsibility if we are not going to be faithful to do the little things He has asked us to do.

I strongly urge you to be obedient to God even in the smallest of things. A sixteenth-century monk called Brother Lawrence was well known for walking continually in the presence of God. He said that he was pleased to pick up a piece of straw from the ground in obedience to God and because he loved Him.

In the verse for today, God says He will make known His words to us if we listen to Him when He corrects us. If we follow His guidance and are pleased to do each little thing He asks of us, then He will open His wisdom to us, and we will have more revelation than we could ever imagine.

God’s word for you today: If you are faithful in little things, God will make you ruler over greater things.

Joyce Meyer – No Matter What

Joyce meyer

For you shall go out [from the spiritual exile caused by sin and evil into the homeland] with joy and be led forth [by your Leader, the Lord Himself, and His word] with peace; the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. —Isaiah 55:12

Peace is not dependent on circumstances. Our peace and joy are found in the Holy Ghost. Jesus said: He who believes in Me [who cleaves to and trusts in and relies on Me] as the Scripture has said, From his innermost being shall flow [continuously] springs and rivers of living water. But He was speaking here of the Spirit, Whom those who believed (trusted, had faith) in Him were afterward to receive (John 7:38–39).

No matter what is going on today, you can drink from your own well of joy through the indwelling presence of God’s Spirit.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – How to Save Your Life

 

“And He said to them all, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for My sake, the same shall save it” (Luke 9:23,24, KJV).

Martin Luther once told the maidens and housewives of Germany that in scrubbing floors and going about their household duties they were accomplishing just as great a work in the sight of heaven as the monks and priests with their penances and holy offices.

In the 15th century, a woman – Margery Baxter – had said the same thing couched in different terms.

“If ye desire to see the true cross of Christ,” she said, “I will show it to you at home in your own house.”

Stretching out her arms, she continued, “This is the true cross of Christ, thou mightest and mayest behold and worship in thine own house. Therefore, it is but vain to run to the church to worship dead crosses.”

Her message was plain: holiness is in our daily service.

Your life and mine are worshiping Christ today to the degree that we practice the presence of God in every minute detail of our lives throughout the day. We are taking up our cross when we shine for Jesus just where we are, obediently serving Him and sharing His good news with others.

If you and I want to save our lives, we do well to lose them in obedient service to the Lord Jesus Christ, allowing His indwelling Holy Spirit to work in us and through us.

Bible Reading: John 12:23-26

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will take up my cross today – shining just where He puts me at this point in my life.

Greg Laurie – Permission Required

 

Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. —Job 1:6

The devil can do nothing in the life of the Christian without God’s permission.

This may come as a surprise, but the devil does have some access to heaven. Periodically the devil is called into the presence of God. We have a behind-the-scenes look at this in the book of Job:

Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. And the LORD said to Satan, “From where do you come?”

So Satan answered the LORD and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.” (Job 1:6–7)

What a perfect description of Satan—just roaming about like a lion, checking everything out, looking for prey.

Then God said, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?” (verse 8).

Loosely paraphrased, the devil said, “Give me a break! Does Job fear You for nothing? He fears you because You have put a hedge of protection around him.”

The devil wanted to attack Job, but he recognized there was protection around God’s servant.

And there is protection around us as well. When the devil comes our way, he has to first get permission from God. He cannot just run through our lives willy-nilly. And know this: Whatever God allows in your life, He allows for a purpose.

Sometimes we wonder why the Lord allows tragedies in our lives. While we can’t answer that, what we do know is this: God will never give us more than we can handle. And when we are tempted, there is always a way out.

Joyce Meyer – Christ Is the Power

 

And God also selected (deliberately chose) what in the world is lowborn and insignificant and branded and treated with contempt, . . . so that no mortal man should [have pretense for glorying and] boast in the presence of God. —1 Corinthians 1:28–29

“But to those who are called, . . . Christ [is] the Power of God and the Wisdom of God” (Corinthians 1:24). When God calls us to do something, He enables us to do it. Remember, God uses inadequate people to do important things because that way He gets the glory.

So if God calls you to do something today that seems too big for you to handle, Christ will give you the power and the wisdom that you need to do it. God has said to each of us, “My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Charles Stanley – How can I endure in my faith during hard times?

 

Zephaniah 3:17

You are God’s masterpiece, and He has given you His Word as a testimony to the love and joy He has for you. Zephaniah 3:17 says, “The LORD your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.”

God rejoices over you and is transforming your life to reflect His goodness to others. He has an awesome plan for your life. You are not yet what you will be when you step into the eternal presence of God (1 Cor. 13:12; 1 John 3:2). Until that time, God is patiently molding and shaping you into the image of His Son. Therefore, you never have a reason to give up (Gal. 6:9). You are not alone! Jesus is with you, cheering you on to victory. He is at your side to strengthen and encourage you. When you fix your eyes on Him and not on your circumstances, you will begin to see life differently. Instead of thinking negatively, the Holy Spirit will teach you to think about the things of God—pure thoughts that honor Jesus Christ.

God also makes it clear that He loves you with an everlasting love and has pledged to never leave or forsake you (Deut. 31:6, 8; John 14:18; Heb. 13:5). He walks with you through disappointment, and when you confess your sins, “He is faithful and righteous to forgive [your] sins and to cleanse [you] from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). He has seen the finished portrait! While on your own you can do nothing, He knows that through Christ you can and will succeed (Phil. 1:6; 4:13). This does not mean that you won’t suffer or feel pain. Jesus endured both, and yet He did not give up. He knew that in order to complete His mission He would have to endure until the end, and He wanted more than anything else to accomplish the Father’s will.

How could He possibly bear the weight of all our sins and still remain victorious? Because He had an eternal perspective (Heb. 12:2). Long before it happened, Jesus saw the Resurrection as a completed fact (Matt. 20:18, 19)—that after three days, He would rise from the grave to walk in victory over sin and death (1 Cor. 15:55–57). You can walk in confidence and triumph because Jesus is your example and His Spirit lives in you. Like colors on an artist’s palette, God can work through every situation in your life—even the one you are facing right now—to bring you closer to Himself (Jer. 29:11–13; Rom. 8:28).

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Clinging to Straw

 

On a routine trip through well-worn streets, I found myself pulled out of the fragmented consciousness of a mind captive to the day’s worries with the jarring lyrics of a song. Up until that point, the song itself was much like the familiar patterns of scenery, an external factor impervious to the siege of my own fears; I was seeing but not seeing, hearing but not really hearing. But then I suddenly took in the artist’s abrupt words: “Hoping to God on high is like clinging to straws while drowning.”(1)

The stark image of clinging to straw cleared everything else from my mind. It also set me thinking about the descriptive words of a friend hours earlier. Encouraging me in the midst of a difficult place, a friend simply reminded me that I was not alone. She was intending to assure me of her friendship and support, but I also knew she was assuring me of the presence of God. “The LORD is near to all who call on him,” declares the psalmist; and I needed to hear it.

There are many who take comfort in the thought that God is among us, comforting our fears, quieting our cries of distress, standing near those who call, moving in lives and history that we might discover the God who is there. As a following of Christ, knowing that he is with me in struggle and darkness is one of the only reasons I don’t completely surrender to my fears and stop moving forward. Knowing that there is a kingdom of grace, beauty, and mystery is the hope I remember when I fear death, my console when I fear uncertainty, the picture that somehow makes sense of a strand of DNA and quiets my fear of being uncared for and alone. I can relate to the resolution of the psalmist in a world of many and distant gods: “But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge” (73:28).

But what good is it if there is a throne but it is empty, a kingdom without a king, a god who is close but like straw?  Who is it who is near us? If god is an impersonal force, or a tyrant, or a distant, semi-interested being, the kingdom is no refuge. If the hope we cling to is like straw that cannot save us from drowning, we have good reason to live in fear, “huddled,” as the musician later described, “afraid if we dance we might die.”

The image that brought my distraction to a grinding halt forced me to think graphically about the hope to which a Christian really clings, that promise that is so often on the mouth of God in Scripture: Do not be afraid, for I am with you.(2) If God on high is merely straw and fairytale, then emptiness is inevitable, fear is certain, and hope is futile, for we are ultimately alone. We all cling futilely to fantasy and drown in delusion. Could there really be one both graceful and near enough to answer the cry of a lonely heart, the fears of an entire nation, the uncertainties of the world around?

Throughout Scripture that very divine vow “I am with you” is made with sovereign confidence, but also in stirring circumstance. Speaking into the fears of exile, God said to the prophet Isaiah, “Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west.” To the apostle Paul who was struggling with uncertainty and weakness, the divine voice encouraged him in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” And Jesus even as he anticipated the nearing cross gave his closest followers a promise that remains comforting today:  “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”(3)

The promise of God’s nearness is one that Christians rightfully utter as encouragement and cling to in joy, in fear, and in sorrow, knowing the face and character of the one who is near. When God assures of with a self-revealing presence, it is more than just a promise of proximity and intimacy. There is a purpose for God’s nearness, the pledge of relationship, the promise of community. It is not an empty or superficial presence, having taken on the things humanity itself to draw intimately near. As the Father reminded the prophet Jeremiah so God attests, the promise of proximity may well be far more profound than we even fathom: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you…Do not be afraid…for I am with you to deliver you” (1:5-8).

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

(1) Dave Matthews Band, “What You Are,” Everyday, 2001.

(2) Genesis 26:24, 2 Chronicles 20:17, Isaiah 43:5, Daniel 10:12, Matthew 1:20, John 14:27, Acts 18:9-10, and Revelation 1:17 among many others.

(3) Isaiah 43:5, Acts 18:9-10, John 14:27.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Nothing Against You

 

“This includes you who were once so far away from God. You were his enemies and hated him and were separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions, yet now He has brought you back as His friends. He has done this through the death on the cross of His own human body, and now as a result Christ has brought you into the very presence of God, and you are standing there before Him with nothing left against you – nothing left that He could ever chide you for” (Colossians 1:21,22).

Have you ever claimed your right to holiness, not by virtue of anything you have done, but on the basis of what Christ has done and is doing for you?

This passage of Scripture explains how holiness is available to every believer. By acknowledging and receiving His gift of eternal life through Christ, we have been brought into the very presence of God. Now we are candidates for the supernatural filling of the Holy Spirit.

After we have claimed our right to holiness, we must confess all our known sins and appropriate, by faith, the fullness of the Holy Spirit, asking Him to give us spiritual insight into the true meaning of God’s Word.

“And so, dear brothers, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living sacrifice, holy – the kind He can accept. When you think of what He has done for you, is this too much to ask? Don’t copy the fashions and customs of this world, but be a new and different person with a fresh newness in all you do and think. Then you will see from your own experience how His ways will really satisfy you” (Romans 12:1,2).

Bible Reading: II Corinthians5:17-21

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  By faith I will claim my right to holiness and, on the basis of Christ’s finished work on the cross in our behalf, I will encourage others to do the same.