Tag Archives: righteousness

Joyce Meyer – Look to the Future for Your Reward

 

For the time being no discipline brings joy, but seems grievous and painful; but afterwards it yields peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it [a harvest of fruit which consists in righteousness—in conformity to God’s will in purpose, thought, and action, resulting in right living and right standing with God]. – Hebrews 12:11

We should look to the future, determine what we want to see happen, and then discipline ourselves in order that we may have it. We must not buy into the lie that we should only live for the moment or that the present is all we have. We also have a future to consider, and we need to begin to live with an eye toward “after ward,” toward the “later on” times. We have to begin to care just as much or more about later on than we care about right now.

If you want to be thinner when the time comes to wear your swimsuit in June, you need to start eating healthily and exercising before summer arrives. If you want to be able to afford a new car next year, you need to work toward getting out of debt right now. If you dream of living in a nice, clean, orderly home, you have to clear out the clutter and clean it up!

Discipline may not be pleasant for your flesh while you’re doing it, but it will give you a tremendous sense of satisfaction in your soul—the satisfaction that comes from knowing you are making good choices. If you will pay the price to be disciplined now, you will enjoy rewards later. If you don’t pay the price now to do what is right, then you’ll suffer the consequences of an undisciplined life later. You can pay now or you can pay later, but at some point, we all reap the harvest of the choices we’ve made. We can’t simply wish our lives were different; we have to press through laziness, fleshly desires, and bad attitudes and refuse to give up on the discipline that will yield good fruit later on. If there is something you want to see happen in your future, start disciplining yourself toward it now, and later on you will enjoy the fruit of it.

Trust in HimGod’s Word in Hebrews 12:11 says “no discipline brings joy . . . but afterwards . . .” If you discipline yourself now, you can trust that He’ll bring you great reward afterward.

 

Charles Spurgeon – Hatred without cause

 

“They hated me without a cause.” John 15:25

Suggested Further Reading: 1 Peter 4:12-19

Take care, if the world does hate you, that it hates you without a cause. If the world is to oppose you, it is of no use making the world oppose you. This world is bitter enough, without my putting vinegar in it. Some people seem to fancy the world will persecute them; therefore, they put themselves into a fighting posture, as if they invited persecutions. Now, I do not see any good in doing that. Do not try and make other people dislike you. Really, the opposition some people meet with is not for righteousness’ sake, but for their own sin’s sake, or their own nasty temper’s sake. Many a Christian lives in a house—a Christian servant girl perhaps; she says she is persecuted for righteousness’ sake. But she is of a bad disposition; she sometimes speaks sharp, and then her mistress reproves her. That is not being persecuted for righteousness’ sake. There is another, a merchant in the city, perhaps; he is not looked upon with much esteem. He says he is persecuted for righteousness’ sake; whereas, it is because he did not keep a bargain some time ago. Another man says he is persecuted for righteousness’ sake; but he goes about assuming authority over everybody, and now and then persons turn round and reproach him. Look to it, Christian people, that if you are persecuted, it is for righteousness’ sake; for if you get any persecution yourself you must keep it yourself. The persecutions you bring on yourself for your own sins, Christ has nothing to do with them; they are chastisements on you. They hated Christ without a cause; then fear not to be hated. They hated Christ without a cause; then court not to be hated, and give the world no cause for it.

For meditation: The apostle Paul knew what suffering for Christ’s sake really means (2 Corinthians 11:23-27). It was something he avoided when he could appeal to the law, (Acts 22:25-29) and he did not pretend to be persecuted when he brought trouble upon himself (Acts 23:1-5).

Sermon no. 89
29 June (1856)

Joyce Meyer – Be Happy Even if You Are Suffering

 

But even in case you should suffer for the sake of righteousness,[you are] blessed ( happy, to be envied). Do not dread or be afraid of their threats, nor be disturbed [by their opposition]. 1 Peter 3:14

According to this scripture, you can be happy even if you are suffering, as long as you are suffering for the sake of righteousness. Why? Because God is just, and even though you are being persecuted for doing the right thing, in the end you will win, because when you sow right seeds you will reap a good harvest.

What sense would it make for the Bible to say you are to be envied when you are persecuted unless you had a huge reward coming? Justice means everything wrong is made right. When you suffer for doing the right thing, God will give you double for your trouble (see Isaiah 61:7) because God always blesses those who do the right thing.

Power Thought: God’s reward is greater than any suffering I will endure for a season.

Alistair Begg – Hate Sin

 

You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness. Psalm 45:7

“Be angry and do not sin.”1 There can hardly be goodness in a man if he is not angered by sin; he who loves truth must hate every false way. How our Lord Jesus hated it when the temptation came! Three times it assailed Him in different forms, but He responded with, “Be gone, Satan.” He hated it in others, no less fervently by showing His hatred often more in tears of pity than in words of rebuke; yet what language could be more stern, more Elijah-like, than such words as, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense you make long prayers.”

He hated wickedness so much that He bled to wound it to the heart; He died that it might die; He was buried that He might bury it in His tomb; and He rose that He might forever trample it beneath His feet. Christ is in the Gospel, and that Gospel is opposed to wickedness in every shape. Wickedness arrays itself in fine clothes and imitates the language of holiness; but the precepts of Jesus, like His famous scourge of small cords, chase it out of the temple and will not tolerate it in the church.

So, too, in the heart where Jesus reigns, what a war is waged between Christ and Satan! And when our Redeemer shall come to be our Judge, those thundering words, “Depart from me, you cursed” that are, indeed, but a prolongation of His life-teaching concerning sin shall manifest His abhorrence of iniquity. As warm as His love is to sinners, so hot is His hatred of sin; as perfect as is His righteousness, so complete shall be the destruction of every form of wickedness. Glorious champion of right, and destroyer of wrong, for this cause God has anointed You with the oil of gladness above Your fellows.

1) Ephesians 4:26

Devotional material is taken from “Morning and Evening,” written by C.H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg.

Greg Laurie – Influencers

 

And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. —James 2:23

Abraham is introduced to us in the book of Genesis as a great man of God, and James describes him as “the friend of God” (James 2:23). It’s a unique description and a wonderful one at that.

One day the Lord came to His friend Abraham and said that He wanted Abraham to follow Him. He also told Abraham to make a clean break with his family and others. The family of Abraham was pagan and worshiped false gods. But Abraham was especially attached to certain members of his family—specifically to his nephew Lot. So Abraham obeyed God, but only partially. Abraham took Lot with him and then began to reap the consequences.

The people you choose to surround yourself with and have as your friends is really significant. These people either will build you up spiritually, or they will tear you down spiritually. All too often we make friends with the wrong people, and it negatively affects us.

What kind of influence do your friends have on you right now? Think about the people you hang out with, the people you text throughout the day, and the people you talk to on the phone or get together with for lunch or hang out with on the weekends. Are they building you up spiritually, or are they dragging you down?

At the same time, what kind of friend are you? Are you building up others spiritually, or are you dragging them down? The Bible addresses this in 2 Timothy 2:22: “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”

Those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart—is that a description of your friends right now? And is that a description of you?

John MacArthur – Three Kinds of Persecution

 

“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me” (Matt. 5:10-11).

When you speak out for Christ, you can expect harassment, insults, and slander.

Jesus mentioned three broad categories of suffering that Christians will experience. The first is persecution. “Persecuted” (Matt. 5:10) and “persecute” (v. 11) both come from the same Greek root meaning “to pursue” or “chase away.” Over time it came to mean “to harass” or “treat in an evil manner.” Verse 10 literally reads, “Blessed are those who have been allowing themselves to be persecuted.” You are blessed when people harass you for your Christian stance and you willingly accept it for the sake of your Lord.

The second form of suffering is “insults” (v. 11), which translates a Greek word that means “to reproach,” “revile,” or “heap insults upon.” It speaks of verbal abuse—attacking someone with vicious and mocking words. It is used in Matthew 27:44 of the mockery Christ endured at His crucifixion. It happened to Him and it will happen to His followers as well.

The final category Jesus mentioned is slander—people telling lies about you. That’s perhaps the hardest form of suffering to endure because our effectiveness for the Lord is directly related to our personal purity and integrity. Someone’s trying to destroy the reputation you worked a lifetime to establish is a difficult trial indeed!

If you’re going through a time of suffering for righteousness’ sake, take heart: the Lord went through it too and He understands how difficult it can be. He knows your heart and will minister His super-abounding grace to you. Rejoice that you are worthy of suffering for Him and that the kingdom of heaven is yours.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Pray for those who treat you unkindly, asking God to forgive them and grant them His grace.
  • Pray that you might always treat others with honesty and fairness.

For Further Study

Throughout history God Himself has endured much mocking and slander. Read 2 Peter 3:3-9, then answer these questions:

  • What motivates mockers?
  • What do they deny?
  • Why doesn’t God judge them on the spot?

John MacArthur – Evaluating Your Righteousness

 

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Matt. 5:6).

Your relationship with God is the measure of your righteousness.

Righteousness means “to be right with God.” When you hunger and thirst for righteousness, you passionately desire an ongoing and ever-maturing relationship with God Himself.

Righteousness begins with salvation and continues in sanctification. Only after you abandon all self- righteousness and hunger for salvation, will you be cleansed from sin and made righteous in Christ. Then you embark on a lifelong process of becoming as righteous as Christ—a process that will culminate when you are in His presence fully glorified (Rom. 8:29-30; 1 John 3:2). There’s always need for improvement in this life (Phil. 3:12-14), but satisfaction comes in communing with Christ and growing in His grace.

You can know if you’re hungering and thirsting for righteousness by asking yourself some simple questions. First, are you dissatisfied with your sin? Self- satisfaction is impossible if you are aware of your sin and grieve when you fall short of God’s holy standard.

Second, do external things satisfy your longings? A hungry man isn’t satisfied until he eats. A thirsty man isn’t satisfied until he drinks. When you hunger and thirst after righteousness, only God’s righteousness can satisfy you.

Third, do you have an appetite for God’s Word? Hungry people don’t need to be told to eat. It’s instinctive! Spiritual hunger will drive you to feed on the Word to learn what God says about increasing in righteousness.

Fourth, are you content amid difficulties? A hungry soul is content despite the pain it goes through because it sees every trial as a means by which God is teaching greater righteousness. If you react with anger or resentment when things go wrong, you’re seeking superficial happiness.

Finally, are your hunger and thirst unconditional? The rich young ruler in Matthew 19 knew there was a void in his life but was unwilling to give up his possessions. His hunger was conditional.

Christ will fully satisfy every longing of your heart, yet you will also constantly desire more of His righteousness. That’s the blessed paradox of hungering and thirsting after righteousness.

Suggestions for Prayer;  Read Psalm 112 as a hymn of praise to God.

For Further Study; Read the following verses, noting how God satisfies those who trust in Him: Psalm 34:10; 107:9; Isaiah 55:1-3; John 4:14; 6:35.

John MacArthur – How’s Your Spiritual Appetite?

 

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Matt. 5:6).

Your appetite for righteousness should equal your appetite for food and water.

David was a man after God’s own heart. In Psalm 63:1 he writes, “O God, Thou art my God; I shall seek Thee earnestly; my soul thirsts for Thee, my flesh yearns for Thee, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” He communed with God and knew the blessings of His sufficiency: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. . . . He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness. . . . Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me” (Ps. 23:1-4). He endured unjust persecution for the Lord’s sake: “Zeal for Thy house has consumed me, and the reproaches of those who reproach Thee have fallen on me” (Ps. 69:9).

David’s zeal for God illustrates what Jesus meant when He said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness” (Matt. 5:6). The words translated “hunger” and “thirst” speak of intense desire. They are present participles, which imply continuous action. The idea is paradoxical: the believer’s continuous and intense desire for righteousness is continually satisfied by Christ.

J.N. Darby, an early leader of the Plymouth Brethren movement, said, “To be hungry is not enough; I must be really starving to know what is in [God’s] heart towards me. When the prodigal son was hungry he went to feed upon husks, but when he was starving, he turned to his father” (quoted in Martyn Lloyd-Jones’s Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, vol. 1, p. 81). When you have that kind of desperation, only God can satisfy it!

Does your desire for righteousness drive you to Christ for satisfaction? I pray that the words of the psalmist will be yours as well: “As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness” (Ps. 17:15, KJV).

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask God to use the events of today to increase your hunger and thirst for righteousness. Look to Him in all things, knowing that He alone can satisfy.

For Further Study

Read Philippians 3:1-14.

  • What does it mean to place confidence in the flesh?
  • How did Paul define true righteousness?

John MacArthur – Happiness Is . . .

 

“Blessed are the poor in spirit . . . those who mourn . . .the gentle . . . those who hunger and thirst for righteousness . . . the merciful . . . the pure in heart . . . the peacemakers . . . [and] those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness” (Matt. 5:3-10).

By the world’s standards, Christ’s definition of happiness is shocking and contradictory!

A quiz in a popular magazine characterized happy people as those who enjoy other people but aren’t self-sacrificing, who refuse to participate in negative feelings or emotions, and who have a sense of accomplishment based on their own self-sufficiency.

But Jesus described happy people quite differently. In fact, He characterized them as spiritual beggars who realize they have no resources in themselves. He said they are meek rather than proud, mournful over their sin, self- sacrificing, and willing to endure persecution to reconcile men to God.

By the world’s standards, that sounds more like misery than happiness! But the people of the world don’t understand that what is often thought of as misery is actually the key to happiness.

Follow the Lord’s progression of thought: true happiness begins with being poor in spirit (v. 3). That means you have a right attitude toward sin, and that leads you to mourn over it (v. 4). Mourning over sin produces a meekness that leads to hungering and thirsting for righteousness (vv. 5-6), which results in mercy, purity of heart, and a peaceable spirit (vv. 7-9)—attitudes that bring true happiness.

When you display those attitudes you can expect to be insulted, persecuted, and unjustly accused (vv. 10-11) because your life will be an irritating rebuke to worldly people. But despite the persecution, you can “rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great” (v. 12).

You are one of God’s lights in a sin-darkened world (v. 14), and while most people will reject Christ, others will be drawn to Him by the testimony of your life. Be faithful to Him today so He can use you that way.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Thank God for the grace enabling you to have Beatitude attitudes.
  • Ask Him to make you a bright light in someone’s life today.

For Further Study

Read 1 Peter 2:19-23.

  • How did Jesus respond to persecution?
  • How should you respond?

 

John MacArthur –Relying on God’s Character

 

“Alas, O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments. . . . righteousness belongs to Thee. . . . To the Lord our God belong compassion and forgiveness” (Dan. 9:4, 7, 9).

God’s attributes authenticate your prayers.

Prior to the Babylonian Captivity God had warned His people not to adopt the idolatrous ways of their captors. Their gods were idols that could neither hear nor deliver them from distress (Isa. 46:6-7).

In marked contrast, our God loves us and delivers us from evil. When we confess our sins and intercede for others, He hears and responds. In Isaiah 45:21-22 He says, “There is no other God besides Me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none except Me. Turn to Me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.”

In his prayer Daniel mentions several attributes of God that have a direct bearing on answered prayer. In verse 4 he calls Him “the great and awesome God.” That speaks of His power and majesty. You can pray with confidence because God is powerful enough to change your circumstances when it serves His purposes.

God’s faithfulness is reflected in the phrase “who keeps His covenant” (v. 4). He always keeps His promises. He made a covenant with Israel that if they repented He would forgive them (Deut. 30:1-3). He promised never to forsake them (Deut. 31:6; cf. Heb. 13:5).

God’s love is seen in His acts of mercy toward those who love Him (v. 4). His justice and holiness are inherent in the phrase “righteousness belongs to Thee” (v. 7). God’s actions are always loving and righteousness. He never makes a mistake (Gen. 18:25).

Verse 9 mentions two final attributes: compassion and forgiveness. Compassion is a synonym for mercy. Forgiveness means He pardons your wrongdoings by canceling the penalty sin has charged to your account. He reconciles you to Himself in sweet communion.

What a gracious God we serve! Rejoice in His love and lean on His promises. He will never fail you.

Suggestions for Prayer; Praise God for His attributes of power, majesty, faithfulness, love, holiness, compassion, and forgiveness.

For Further Study; Read Isaiah 44 which contains a stern warning for Israel to avoid the idolatry of Babylon during the Babylonian Captivity.

  • What promises did God make to Israel?
  • How did God characterize idolaters?

John MacArthur – Cultivating the Fruit of Righteousness

 

“Having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:11).

Bearing spiritual fruit is the acid test of a true believer.

After facing life-threatening situations, people often say, “I saw my entire life flash before my eyes.” That’s the picture we get in Philippians 1:11.

“The fruit of righteousness” refers to what is produced in you as you operate in love, pursue excellence, and maintain your integrity. It includes every attitude and action consistent with God’s standard of what is right.

“Having been filled” speaks of something that happened in the past with continuing results. At your salvation the seed of righteousness was planted within you. It bears righteous fruit throughout your lifetime. On the day of Christ that fruit will confirm your salvation.

Fruitfulness has always been the acid test of true salvation. Jesus said, “If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine” (John 8:31). When John the Baptist admonished his followers to “bring forth fruits in keeping with repentance” (Luke 3:8), he was speaking of good deeds (vv. 10-14). Paul said we are God’s workmanship, “created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10) John said that all who profess Christ should live as He lived (cf. 1 John 2:6).

Bearing spiritual fruit is not something you can achieve on your own. It “comes through Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:11). Jesus Himself said, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:4-5).

You were redeemed to glorify God through righteous deeds. Make that your priority today.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Psalm 71 is a psalm of praise to God for His righteousness and faithful provisions. Read it and meditate on its truths. Then praise God for His righteousness toward you.
  • Ask for opportunities to demonstrate righteousness to others today.

For Further Study

Read Proverbs 11:1-9, 15:8-9, and 21:2-3, noting the characteristics and benefits of righteousness.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Hunger and Thirst

 

“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6, KJV).

Do you hunger and thirst after righteousness, for the fullness and power of the Holy Spirit in your life? If so, you can claim that fullness and power right now by faith.

“The great difference between present-day Christianity and that of which we read in these letters (New Testament epistles),” declared J.B. Phillips in his introduction to the Letters to Young churches, “is that to us it is primarily a performance; to them it was a real experience.

“We are apt to reduce the Christian religion to a code, or, at best, a rule of heart and life. To these men it is quite plainly the invasion of their lives by a new quality of life altogether. They do not hesitate to describe this as Christ living in them.”

The disciples were used of God to change the course of history. As Christian homemakers, students, businessmen and professionals, we have that same potential and privilege today.

The amazing fact that Jesus Christ lives in us and expresses His love through us is one of the most important truths in the Word of God. The standards of the Christian life are so high and so impossible to achieve, according to the Word of God, that only one person has been able to succeed. That person is Jesus Christ.

When we receive Christ into our lives, we experience a new birth and are also indwelt by the Holy Spirit. From that point on, everything we need – including wisdom, love, power – to be men and women of God and fruitful witnesses for Christ is available to us simply by faith, by claiming this power in accordance with God’s promise.

Bible Reading: Romans 10:6-10

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: “Dear Lord, create within me a hunger and thirst after righteousness that is greater than my hunger and thirst for meat and drink for my physical body. By faith I claim the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit to enable me to live a victorious, fruitful life to the glory of God and to share this good news of the Spirit-filled life with everyone who will listen.”

Alistair Begg – The Value of Righteousness

 

The Lord is our righteousness.  Jeremiah 23:6

 

It will always give a Christian the greatest calm, quiet, ease, and peace to think of the perfect righteousness of Christ.

How often are the saints of God downcast and sad! I do not think they ought to be. I do not think they would be if they could always see their perfection in Christ. There are some who are always talking about corruption and the depravity of the heart and the innate evil of the soul. This is quite true, but why not go a little further and remember that we are perfect in Christ Jesus.

It is no wonder that those who are dwelling upon their own corruption should wear such downcast looks; but surely if we call to mind “Christ Jesus, whom God made . . . our righteousness,”1 we shall be of good cheer. What though distresses afflict me, though Satan assault me, though there may be many things to be experienced before I get to heaven, those are done for me in the covenant of divine grace; there is nothing wanting in my Lord–Christ has done it all. On the cross He said, “It is finished!” and if it be finished, then am I complete in Him and can rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory, “not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith.”2

You will not find on this side of heaven a holier people than those who receive into their hearts the doctrine of Christ’s righteousness. When the believer says, “I live on Christ alone; I rest on Him solely for salvation; and I believe that, however unworthy, I am still saved in Jesus,” then there rises up as a motive of gratitude this thought: “Shall I not live to Christ? Shall I not love Him and serve Him, seeing that I am saved by His merits?” “The love of Christ controls us,”3 “that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.”4 If saved by imputed righteousness, we shall greatly value imparted righteousness.

Only be sure you have the sail up. Do not miss the gale for want of preparation for it. Seek help from God, that you may be more earnest in duty when made more strong in faith, that you may be more constant in prayer when you have more liberty at the throne, that you may be more holy in your conversation while you live more closely with Christ.

1) 1 Corinthians 1:30   2) Philippians 3:9    3) 2 Corinthians 5:14    4) 2 Corinthians 5:15

Today’s Bible Reading

The family reading plan for January 31, 2015
* Genesis 32
Mark 3

Devotional material is taken from “Morning and Evening,” written by C.H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg.

John MacArthur – Matching Your Practice to Your Position

 

God chose us “that we should be holy and blameless before Him” (Eph. 1:4).

The challenge of Christian living is to increasingly match your practice to your position.

God chose you in Christ to make you holy and blameless in His sight. To be “holy” is to be separated from sin and devoted to righteousness. To be “blameless” is to be pure without spot or blemish—like Jesus, the Lamb of God (1 Pet. 1:19).

Ephesians 1:4 is a positional statement. That is, Paul describes how God views us “in Christ.” He sees us as holy and blameless because Christ our Savior is holy and blameless. His purity is credited to our spiritual bank account. That’s because God made Christ “who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21).

Despite our exalted position in God’s sight, our practice often falls far short of His holy standard. Therefore the challenge of Christian living is to increasingly match our practice to our position, realizing that sinless perfection won’t come until we are in heaven fully glorified (Rom. 8:23).

How do you meet that challenge? By prayer, Bible study, and yielding your life to the Spirit’s control. Commit yourself to those priorities today as you seek to fulfill the great purpose to which you’ve been called: “good works, which God prepared beforehand, that you should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10).

Suggestions for Prayer; Thank God that He does not expect you to earn your own righteousness but has provided it in His Son.

Ask His Spirit to search your heart and reveal any sin that might hinder your growth in holiness. Confess that sin and take any steps necessary to eliminate it from your life.

For Further Study; Read Philippians 1:9-11.

What ingredients must be added to Christian love to produce sincerity and blamelessness?

What is the primary source of those ingredients (see Ps. 119:97-105)?

What specific steps are you going to take to add or increase those ingredients in your life?

John MacArthur – The Lover of Righteousness

 

“‘Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever, and the righteous scepter is the scepter of His kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy companions'” (Heb. 1:8-9).

As the eternal God and King, Christ loves righteousness and hates lawlessness.

In these days it’s difficult for us as Christians to be totally supportive of our governmental leaders when we see so much of what God calls righteous compromised or ridiculed. But the King of kings—Christ Himself—is the only leader who has a perfectly right attitude toward righteousness.

Christ rules from an eternal throne, and He rules eternity as God and King. The scepter He holds is symbolic of His rule, particularly as a rule of righteousness.

But there’s more to it than that: He just doesn’t act righteously; He loves righteousness itself. How often have we obeyed without joy, expressing an attitude of willing condescension? But Jesus gives us a different model.

James 1:17 says, “Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow.” True righteousness never varies from what is true, just, and good. And 1 John 1:5 says, “God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.” God is total light and total righteousness. Everything Jesus did resulted from His love of righteousness.

Because Christ loves righteousness, He hates lawlessness. Since He loves what is right, He must hate what is wrong. The two are inseparable—one cannot exist without the other. You cannot truly love righteousness and also like sin. When there is true love for God, there will also be true love for righteousness and total hatred of sin.

The more you and I become conformed to Jesus Christ, the more we will love righteousness. Our attitudes toward righteousness and sin will ultimately reveal how closely we are conformed to Christ. Check out your attitudes and actions. How are you doing?

Suggestion for Prayer; Like the psalmist, ask God to show you any hurtful way in you (Ps. 139:24).

For Further Study; Read Psalm 119 and note how many times the psalmist makes reference to either his love for God’s law or righteousness.

Presidential Prayer Team; H.L.M.- Exalt Righteousness

 

Susan Schriver recently initiated a petition for a major toy store chain to remove a line of toys that glorifies drug dealers. This Florida mom admonished the store for selling dolls that held a detachable sack of cash and a bag of drugs. Schriver was a guest on the Today Show and stated that “anything to do with drugs” should not be sold in a toy store. Her petition obtained signatures from more than 9,000 supporters and the company eventually pulled the toys off their shelves and their website.

Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice.

I Samuel 15:22

Proverbs 14:34 says, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” When you put your faith in Christ, you received a new nature – one of holiness and righteousness. As you depend more upon the power of the Holy Spirit, His righteousness flows out of you through your words and actions. That positions you to be able to express your moral beliefs in ways that can make a practical and noticeable difference in the society in which you live.

Ask God to help you separate the unrighteous morals of culture and exchange them for godly ways. Pray the same for Christians across this nation so God’s foundation of righteousness will be restored in America.

Recommended Reading: Ephesians 4:17-28

Max Lucado – Just Call Him Jesus

Max Lucado

God’s plan for humanity…it was crafted in the halls of heaven and carried out on the plains of earth. Only holiness could have imagined it. Only divinity could have enacted it. Only righteousness could have endured it.

When God chose to reveal himself, he did so through a human body. The hand that touched the leper had dirt under its nails. The feet upon which the women wept were calloused and dusty. And his tears—oh, don’t miss His tears. They came from a heart as broken as yours or mine has ever been.

So people came to him! Not one person was reluctant to approach him for fear of being rejected. Remember that the next time you find yourself amazed at your own failures! Or the next time you hear a lifeless liturgy. Remember. It’s man who creates the distance. It’s Jesus who builds the bridge!

From In the Manger

John MacArthur – Rebuking the World

John MacArthur

“By faith Noah . . . condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith” (Heb 11:7).

Your actions and words should rebuke our godless society.

Genesis 6:5 says, “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Before moving in judgment against the most evil and corrupt society in history, God appointed Noah to build an ark, which became a symbol of life and salvation to all who believed God. For those who disbelieved, it represented impending death and judgment.

Concurrent with constructing the ark, Noah preached about coming judgment. Peter called him “a preacher of righteousness” (2 Pet. 2:5), and every board he cut and nail he drove in was a living illustration of the urgency of his message.

God’s warning was stern and His message horrifying, but His patience and mercy prevailed for 120 years. As Peter said, “The patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark” (1 Pet. 3:20). The people had ample warning of judgment, but they chose to disregard Noah’s message.

As sad as the account of Noah’s day is, perhaps the greatest tragedy is that man’s attitude toward God hasn’t changed since then. Jesus said, “The coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. For as in those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking, they were marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away, so shall the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matt. 24:37-39).

Like Noah, you are to proclaim righteousness to an evil and perverse generation by your works and your life. Be faithful to do so even if people don’t want to listen. After 120 years of diligent work and faithful preaching by Noah, only eight people entered the ark. But God’s purposes were accomplished and the human race was preserved.

Suggestions for Prayer; Sometimes you’ll encounter people who scoff at God’s judgment and mock your testimony. Don’t be discouraged. Pray for them and be available to minister to them whenever possible.

For Further Study; Read 2 Peter 3. What effect should the prospect of future judgment have on your present behavior?

Presidential Prayer Team; J.K.- Nothing Greater!

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Ballots will be tallied; votes will be counted. Election Day results in winners and losers and the nation will reap the consequences. It is up to you to cast your vote for men and women who will stand for righteousness…those who understand right from wrong and will base decisions on those principles.

And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.

Genesis 15:6

Believing what the Lord has to say in His Word – the greatest influence for good – and then obeying Him will forever have His blessing. At one point when Abram was asked to do a most difficult thing, he was ready to obey because He believed that God would provide. In another time, it was Phinehas who knew what the Lord expected of His people and stood up and intervened for Him. In each case, their belief in God “was counted to him as righteousness.” (Psalm 106:30-31)

Choose your leaders wisely. Pray intently that you may know which are best to serve under God’s guidance no matter the pressure to do otherwise. Live your life in the same manner…looking to God, believing His Word will lead you in every decision you make. Then it will be counted to you as righteousness. There can be nothing greater!

Recommended Reading: Romans 4:13-5:1

John MacArthur – Training in Righteousness

John MacArthur

“All Scripture is . . . profitable for . . . training in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16).

God’s Word nourishes your spiritual life.

We conclude our study of the character and benefits of God’s Word by focusing on the benefit that ties all the others together: training in righteousness. Everything the Word accomplishes in you through teaching, reproof, and correction is aimed at increasing your righteousness so you’ll “be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:17, NIV).

“Training” refers to training or educating a child. The New Testament also uses the term to speak of chastening, which is another important element in both child rearing and spiritual growth (Heb. 12:5-11). The idea is that from spiritual infancy to maturity, Scripture trains and educates believers in godly living.

Scripture is your spiritual nourishment. Jesus said, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). Peter exhorted us to be like newborn babes, longing “for the pure milk of the word, that by it [we] may grow in respect to salvation” (1 Pet. 2:2).

You should crave the Word just like a baby craves milk. But Peter prefaced that statement with an exhortation to put “aside all malice and all guile and hypocrisy and envy and all slander” (v. 1). That’s the prerequisite. James taught the same principle: “Putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word” (James 1:21). Attempting to feast on Scripture without confessing your sin is like attempting to eat a meal while wearing a muzzle.

Either the Word will keep you from sin or sin will keep you from the Word. Deal with sin immediately so it doesn’t spoil your appetite for God’s Word. And even if you know the Bible well, be regularly refreshed by its power and reminded of its truths. That’s the key to enjoying spiritual health and victory.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Thank God for the nourishment His Word provides.
  • Seek His wisdom and grace in dealing with personal sin. Don’t ignore it, for it will diminish your desire for biblical truth.

For Further Study

Read Philippians 3:1 and 2 Peter 1:12-15.

  • What did Paul and Peter say about the importance of being reminded of biblical truths you’ve already learned?
  • Do you follow that advice?