Tag Archives: Scripture

Max Lucado – God’s Faithfulness

 

Life has many unanswered questions, but be settled about God’s faithfulness to you! Romans 8:32 declares, If God “did not spare his own Son but gave him for us all,” will he not also give you all you need for a Promised Land life? God’s Word is sure!

And 2 Timothy 3:16-17 is the reminder that Scripture is powerful and a useful weapon against any stronghold. “All Scripture is God-breathed…useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

I invite you to join me in a Scripture Memory Challenge. Let’s memorize together the verses in 2 Timothy 3:16-17!  I’ll show you how easy it is at GloryDaysToday.com.

(watch the video for Max’s tips on scripture memorization 🙂

Charles Stanley – The Need for Friendship

 

2 Timothy 4:9-22

Independence is a prized attribute in our culture, but biblically, it isn’t a worthy aspiration. Nowhere in Scripture will you find the erroneous quote, “God helps those who help themselves.” The very fact that the Lord formed the church—a community of believers—should tell us that He did not create people for self-sufficiency or isolation.

When we place faith in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit indwells us so we can have a fulfilling relationship with the Lord and satisfying friendships with one another. In God’s design, a close, committed biblical friendship between two believers serves to build both toward Christlikeness. Over and over in Scripture, we find evidence of God’s followers relying upon a close friend or confidante for support. Paul, in particular, spoke freely and often of his dependence upon dear companions and encouraged others to form intimate partnerships as well (2 Tim. 2:22).

It’s interesting to me that our modern culture seems to be headed in the opposite direction. The farther we drift from God, the more pervasive our self-sufficient attitude becomes. Neighbors treat each other with suspicion instead of congeniality, and that mindset has even invaded the church. We’re hesitant to give to others, which in turn makes us reluctant to receive.

Scripture tells us to love one another, bear our brothers’ burdens, and confess our sins to fellow believers (John 13:34; Gal. 6:2; James 5:16). In other words, we’re to give ourselves away to others and receive from them in return. That’s how church members can encourage one another to Christlikeness.

Bible in One Year:Song of Solomon 1-4

Charles Stanley – The Foundation of Unwavering Faith

 

Hebrews 13:8

In our ever-changing world, families move, friendships drift, allegiances shift, and technology advances by quantum leaps. If we seek security in people, possessions, or positions, we’re doomed to be disappointed.

Yet we all need somewhere to turn during the storms of life. The one true anchor for our soul is Jesus Christ, who Scripture assures us will not change. To find comfort in Him, we must learn who He is, what He does, and how He works. Today we will explore a few details about His life and character.

John 1:1 reveals that Jesus was Deity from the beginning. Fully God and fully man, He was born of a virgin, lived 33 years on Earth, was crucified despite His innocence, and rose after three days. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life—the Christ, the Son of the Living God (John 14:6; Matt. 16:16-17). Our Lord fulfilled countless prophesies in the Old Testament, such as Isaiah 53. Like us, Jesus has feelings—He wept for hurting people and felt angry when people misused the temple. Most importantly, His resurrection defeated death, and He still lives today.

God’s character never varies. Of course, as situations change, He acts accordingly. But the merciful, loving, compassionate, and holy Jesus we know in Scripture is the same Messiah we can cling to today.

Where do you turn in trying times? Difficult circumstances are inevitable. Prepare yourself for them by learning who Jesus is—He’s the only true shelter and rock that will not change. What a wonderful Savior!

Bible in One Year: Proverbs 19-21

Charles Stanley – The Living Word

 

Hebrews 4:12-13

The Bible is the most amazing book ever written. God used human beings to record His thoughts and words in writing so that others could know Him (2 Peter 1:20-21). The One who spoke the universe into existence still speaks just as powerfully through the pages of the Bible that you hold in your hands.

At the moment of salvation, believers receive the Holy Spirit, and the lines of communication with the Lord are established. Then, whenever the Scriptures are read, children of God can hear His voice, and the Spirit enables them to understand and put into practice what they have heard.

The Bible is not just a good book with comforting verses but is effective, always accomplishing the purpose for which God sends it (Isa. 55:10-11). Scripture is active and alive and “performs its work in [those] who believe” (1 Thess. 2:13). The Word of God has the power to change our lives if we will believe Him and do what He says.

God uses Scripture to transform us from the inside out. His Word has the quality of a sword that cuts through our hearts and judges thoughts and intentions, delivering light to the darkness hiding in our souls. This Book tells us not only who God is, but also who we are.

Sometimes life’s concerns can deafen our “spiritual ears.” Before reading Scripture, ask God to help you hear and understand what He’s saying. As you believe and obey, your spiritual hearing will become more acute, and your time in the Word will be an intimate conversation with the Lord.

Bible in One Year: Proverbs 16-18

John MacArthur – Gazing into the Perfect Law

 

“One who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man shall be blessed in what he does” (James 1:25).

God blesses you when you obey His Word.

James 1:21-24 contrasts hearers of the Word and doers of the Word. Hearers don’t respond to Scripture or benefit from its truths—though they may study it in depth. Doers receive it in humility and obey its commands. James 1:25 adds that they are blessed in what they do. That means there is blessing in the very act of obedience.

James calls Scripture “the perfect law, the law of liberty” (v. 25). It is “law” because it’s God’s obligatory behavioral code. Grace doesn’t eliminate God’s moral law—it gives us the spiritual resources to obey it, and forgiveness when we fail. That’s how Jesus fulfills the law in us (cf. Matt. 5:17).

Scripture is “the perfect law” because it is complete, sufficient, comprehensive, and without error. Through it God meets every need and fulfills every desire of the human heart. In addition, it is “the law of liberty.” That may sound paradoxical because we tend to think of law and freedom as opposites. But as you look intently into the Word, the Holy Spirit enables you to apply its principles to your life, thereby freeing you from the guilt and bondage of sin, and enabling you to live to God’s glory. That’s true freedom!

“Look intently” translates a Greek word that pictures bending down to examine something with care and precision. Stooping implies humility and a desire to see clearly what Scripture reveals about your own spiritual condition. It’s an attitude as well as an action.

As you study Scripture, let this be your underlying attitude: “Lord, as I gaze intently into your Word, reveal the things in my life that need to be changed. Then grant me the grace to make those changes so I can live more fully to your glory.”

Suggestions for Prayer

Memorize Psalm 139:23-24 and make it your sincere prayer.

For Further Study

Read Hebrews 4:12-13.

  • To what is God’s Word compared?
  • What effect does the Word have on those who are exposed to it?

John MacArthur – Being a Doer of the Word

 

“Prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves” (James 1:22).

A doer of the Word obeys what Scripture says.

Effective Bible study is built on three key questions: What does the Bible say? What does it mean? How does it apply to my life? Each of those questions is important, but applying the Word must always be the highest goal. Knowledge without application is useless.

Both the Old and New Testaments emphasize the importance of applying Scripture. For example, just prior to leading the Israelites into the Promised Land, Joshua received this message from God: “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success” (Josh. 1:8). That’s a command to be a doer of the Word—one who receives, studies, and understands Scripture, then applies it to every aspect of his or her life. That was the key to Joshua’s amazing success.

James 1:22 is a New Testament counterpart to Joshua 1:8 and is directed to every believer: “Prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.” It’s not enough to hear the Word; you must also do what it says.

The phrase “doer of the word” doesn’t refer to the person who obeys periodically, but the one who habitually and characteristically obeys. It’s one thing to run in a race; it’s something else to be a runner. It’s one thing to teach a class; it’s something else to be a teacher. Runners are known for running; teachers are known for teaching—it’s characteristic of their lives. Similarly, doers of the Word are known for their obedience to biblical truth.

Never be content to be a hearer of the Word only, but prove yourself a doer in the Christian life. Your claim to love Christ will mean something only if you obey what He says.

Suggestions for Prayer

Memorize Joshua 1:8 and pray regularly that God will make you a faithful doer of the Word.

For Further Study

Read Psalm 1.

  • What are the benefits of delighting in God’s law?
  • How does the psalmist characterize those who reject righteousness?

Cathe Laurie – Like a Girl

Cathe Laurie – Like a Girl – When did doing something “like a girl” become an insult?

Thousands of years before the women’s liberation movement, or anyone ever heard of Gloria Steinem, the ancient biblical stories in Scripture never stereotyped or portrayed women as weak. Yes, we know that the average woman is weaker physically than men, but they are not weaker spiritually, mentally, or emotionally. Think of Deborah, Jael, Esther, or Ruth. Think of Mary (any one of the Marys will do), Martha, Priscilla, or Philip’s four daughters.

This past year, the highest rated commercial shown during the Super Bowl wasn’t one by Go-Daddy or Budweiser. It was a commercial that asked the question, “What would it look like to do something ‘like a girl’?” Several young people were filmed doing the first thing that came to mind when asked to “run like a girl, throw like a girl, fight like a girl.” It wasn’t too surprising when they jogged daintily in place, or flailed their bent wrists in a lame fight, or awkwardly flung their arm to throw an imaginary ball. All of them deliberately looked silly, weak, distracted.

Look at the heroic women in Scripture—their examples of integrity, bravery, and wit. Read the gripping story in Exodus of Moses’ mother, Jochebed; his sister, Miriam; and the Jewish midwives Shiphrah and Puah (their names forever recorded for us to honor).

Exodus 1:17 tells us that because the midwives feared God, they refused to obey the king’s orders. They were women who would stand to defy the commands of Pharaoh of Egypt and save a son, who would rescue a nation, which would bring us our Messiah, who would save the world. Because they feared God, they were strong mentally, spiritually, and emotionally.

It is worth noting that Pharaoh’s decree was, “If the baby is a boy, kill him; if it is a girl, let her live” (Exodus 1:16 NLT). In his eyes, letting every daughter live would never be a threat to his kingdom. He had no concept of female bravery or empathy. Little did he know that to fight like a girl, stand like a girl, think like a girl, would be the beginning of the undoing of the might of his Egypt.

To fight the good fight and run the race set before us—whether we are in the kitchen, in the classroom, in the boardroom, in the courtroom, or in the mission field—means we are not insignificant, nor an afterthought in the mind of God. My dear sisters, mothers, and daughters: Pharaoh may have misjudged women, but let’s not misjudge ourselves.

Let every daughter live, and run, and fight, and love, and live like the girl God made you to be! Don’t think the Bible is about men, for men, while women stand by in cute outfits and cheer. It is about women as well, and the part we have to play in this great unfolding drama.

These words from the great apostle Paul were written to Timothy, a young man who first learned the Scriptures—not at his father’s knee, but on the lap of his mother, Eunice, and his grandmother, Lois: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7–8).

Remember, Israel’s first deliverer was not a man in flowing robes and a long beard. It was a slave woman, a mother named Jochebed, in average clothing, shedding tears, and showing miraculous courage.

Today, the world, the church, and the family need the influence of women who will fear and obey God above all.

Charles Stanley – The Impact of Prayer

 

1 Thessalonians 5:17-18

When something’s on our mind, we are wise to consult Scripture or trusted spiritual mentors. God has also given His children the privilege of prayer, and He wants us to bring our concerns directly to Him. But believers often have questions about the power and effectiveness of prayer.

Will god’s plans fail if I don’t pray? God is not subservient to us or dependent upon our prayers. The time we invest in speaking with Him involves us in the work He is doing in our lives and in the world, but He will carry on with or without us. Laboring alongside the Lord is a blessing.

Does my prayer (or lack thereof) impact god’s work? I believe Scripture indicates the answer to this question is both yes and no, depending upon the situation. There are times when God’s purpose is set. He is in control and has determined the best course. In the Old Testament, He often revealed what He would do and then brought those events to pass.

In other cases, we “do not have because [we] do not ask” (James 4:2). There are some good things that God holds back until we extend prayerful hands to receive them. But He is a loving Father, who also pours out blessings that we wouldn’t even think to request.

Believer’s prayers have tremendous impact, particularly on their own faith and life. Do you understand what an awesome privilege it is to kneel before the all-powerful Father and know that He listens and will respond? God loves being good to His children and answering their prayers.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – He Protects Worshipers

 

“He protects all those who love Him, but destroys the wicked” (Psalm 145:20).

Throughout Scripture one is reminded over and over again that when a person obeys Him, God blesses that person. And when a person – or a nation – disobeys Him, God disciplines, just as a loving father disciplines his disobedient child because he loves him, not because of his wrath or any evil intent.

The Israelites, though warned many times that if they disobeyed God He would destroy them, finally had to be destroyed – after numerous warnings and disciplinings (including grievous plagues) – because of their disobedience (Deuteronomy, chapters 8 and 28; Amos, chapter 4). God still disciplines men and nations. It is a sobering thing to disobey God.

Someone has said, “We do not break God’s laws, but God’s laws break us.” If we obey them, we are blessed. If we disobey them, we must suffer the consequences.

Scripture suggests that what applies to individuals and to nations also applies to Christian movements or organizations such as the one with which I have the privilege of serving our Lord. So long as I and the now more than 16,000 full-time and associate staff members continue to obey God, His hand of blessing will remain upon our worldwide efforts. If we disobey Him, He will not only withhold His blessings, but will discipline us as individuals and as a movement.

I pray daily that each one of us may determine to obey God implicitly.

Bible Reading: Psalm 45:14-17

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  Recognizing that the laws of God in the spiritual realm are just as inviolate as the laws of the physical realm, and that God blesses those who obey Him and disciplines those who are disobedient, with the enabling of the Holy Spirit I will seek to express my love for God by living a life of faith and obedience for His glory.

Greg Laurie – The Greatest Stories Ever Told

 

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.—2 Timothy 3:16

Martin Luther said, “The Bible is alive, it speaks to me; it has feet, it runs after me; it has hands, it lays hold of me.”

The Bible is the most amazing book ever written. It is literally God’s message to us. Technically speaking, the Bible is not one book, but it is actually sixty-six books, written over a 1,500-year span by forty different authors. From kings to peasants, from philosophers to fisherman, from poets to statesmen, each of them were inspired to write down its words.

In fact, the apostle Peter wrote, “Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding, or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God” (2 Peter 1:20–21). And 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” A better translation of “inspired by God” would be “breathed by God.”

In the pages of the Scriptures, we find the greatest stories ever told. I don’t mean the once-upon-a-time variety, and I don’t mean fairy tales or fables or myths. These stories in the Scriptures are documented historical events. However, the Bible is not merely a historical book, although it is that. The Bible is not just history; it is His story. And you know what? It is your story, too. Because as you look at some of the Bible’s stories, you will find yourself in them.

We read the Bible to know God, and we also read it to get a better understanding of God’s plan for our lives.

Charles Stanley – Listening With Purpose

1 Samuel 3:1-10

Yesterday we learned about hearing the Word with eagerness and attentiveness. Now, let’s think about approaching the Bible purposefully, expectantly, and prayerfully.

Christians study the Scriptures not just individually but also corporately to learn more about God. Underlying this simple concept is a big challenge. To gain biblical knowledge with purpose means deciding in our heart to obey what we hear (Ps. 119:33). And to do so expectantly means believing that the Lord is going to speak to us (25:4). Sermons, Bible study lessons, and quiet times on our own should be a part of our life. God uses these to build us up, strengthen us, or offer us comfort—so listening to Him is worthwhile. And obedience is the only proper response to this kind of personal attention.

Approaching the reading of Scripture prayerfully prepares our hearts to listen and ushers in an attitude of purpose and expectancy. Today’s passage tells the story of young Samuel’s first encounter with God. The priest Eli gives the boy valuable advice—that when the Lord calls, he should say, “Speak, LORD, for Your servant is listening” (v. 9). Pray those simple words with conviction before you open your Bible, and you will hear God more clearly.

If you want to experience God working in your life, come to Scripture with a prayerful, expectant, purpose-filled attitude. Mourners are comforted. The weary gain strength. Those convicted of their sin repent and know peace. Recognize what a gift God’s Word is.

Charles Stanley – How to Listen to God’s Word

Nehemiah 8

How is it that two people can sit in the same pew, hear the same sermon about the same portion of Scripture, and walk away with two different reactions? One is joyful and the other is unaffected. I think the reason is that some people do not know how to listen to the Word of God.

Nehemiah 8 is an amazing scene of God’s people coming together to hear His Word. Remember that they didn’t have individual copies of Scripture to read. For generations, the events of Genesis through Deuteronomy were passed down from parent to child. Moreover, the people had been in captivity for many years. This was the first time most of them heard the Word read. Imagine their excitement as they listened attentively for the Lord to speak to them.

The Israelites were hungry for God’s Word. Are you? Do you listen eagerly and with an expectant mind and heart? The length of a person’s attention span is directly related to the intensity of his hunger for something. If you crave to know more of God, then your mind is going to be fastened on what He’s saying through your pastor or your personal reading. And the reality is that nothing in the world matters as much as what the Lord has to say.

So many things clamor for our focus but few truly deserve it. The Lord is worthy of nothing less than our undivided attention. He has something to say to every person. So whoever listens to God’s Word with an open heart and alert mind will receive from Him.

Charles Stanley – WHEN TEMPTATION KNOCKS

 

What makes a person successful at resisting temptation? I believe the best way to discover how to overcome temptation is to look to the One who dealt with every temptation successfully and consistently. The writer of Hebrews wrote of Christ: “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15).

Since Jesus successfully overcame temptation, we would do well to study His strategy for dealing with it. Unfortunately, we have only one clear passage of Scripture describing Christ’s encounter with temptation. We know from the passage in Hebrews cited above that He was tempted more often than this, but the Holy Spirit chose not to include these in the gospels.

Strangely enough, Jesus’ approach is so straightforward and simple that many believers tend to overlook it entirely. Others, after hearing it, make the most ridiculous excuses as to why they can’t follow His example.

What was His strategy? After 40 days of fasting in the desert, Jesus used Scripture—and only Scripture—to resist Satan’s temptation (Matt. 4:1-11). This is hard for me to comprehend. The Son of God—the One who knows all things and has the power to do all things, the One whose words we study, memorize, and meditate on—never made an original comment during the entire interaction.

He never drew on His own wit. He never relied on His own power. He simply responded with the truth of God’s Word. That’s all it took. Nothing fancy. Just the plain truth directed at the deception behind each of Satan’s requests. Jesus verbally confronted Satan with the truth, and eventually Satan gave up and left.

To effectively combat the onslaughts of the enemy, you need an arsenal of verses on the tip of your tongue—verses so familiar, they come to mind without any conscious effort on your part.

There are four primary reasons why a well-chosen passage or verse of Scripture is so effective against temptation.

First of all, God’s Word exposes the sinfulness of what you are being tempted to do. One of Satan’s subtle snares is to convince you that sin is really not so bad after all. God’s Word allows you to see things for what they really are.

A second reason the Word of God is so effective against temptation is that you gain God’s viewpoint through it. Since many temptations carry a strong emotional punch, you tend to get caught up in your feelings. Once you identify with the feelings temptation evokes, it becomes increasingly difficult to respond correctly. The truth of Scripture allows you to separate yourself just far enough mentally to deal with it successfully.

Another reason for turning to God’s Word in times of temptation is what one pastor calls “the principle of displacement“.1 This principle is based on the premise that it is impossible not to think about a seductive topic unless you turn your attention elsewhere. When you turn your thoughts to the Word of God during temptation, you do just that (Phil. 4:8).

If you don’t shift your attention away from the temptation, you may begin some form of mental dialogue: I really shouldn’t. But I haven’t done this in a long time. I am really going to hate myself later. Why not? I’ve already blown it. I’ll do it just this once, and tomorrow I’ll start over. When you allow these little discussions to begin, you’re sunk. The longer you talk, the more time the temptation has to settle into your emotions and will.

The fourth reason the Word of God is so effective against temptation is that you are expressing faith when you turn your attention to His Word. You are saying, “I believe God is able to get me through this; I believe He is mightier than the power of sin, my flesh, and Satan himself.” Nothing moves God like the active faith of His people.

To effectively combat the onslaughts of the enemy, you need an arsenal of verses on the tip of your tongue—verses so familiar, they come to mind without any conscious effort on your part. If you have to dig them up from the caverns of your memory, they will do you no good. There isn’t time for that in the midst of temptation.

Begin memorizing Scriptures that address the area that troubles you the most. Quote them audibly when you are tempted. When you speak the truth out loud, it’s as if you have taken a stand with God against the enemy. When I do this, I often feel a sense of courage and conviction sweeping over me. Remember, if the perfect, sinless, sovereign Son of God relied on Scripture to pull Him through, what hope do you have without it?

Adapted from “Winning the War Within: Facing Trials, Temptations and Inner Struggles by Charles F. Stanley, 1988.

 

  1. Bud Palmberg, “Private Sins of Public Ministry,” Leadership magazine (Winter 1988)

 

John MacArthur –Unlimited Prayer

 

“Men ought always to pray” (Luke 18:1, KJV).

Prayer should never be limited to certain times, places, or circumstances.

As a child I was taught to pray with my head bowed, eyes closed, and hands folded. Even as a young man I thought that was the only acceptable mode of prayer.

In my seminary days I sang in a quartet that traveled to various churches throughout the United States. The first time I traveled with them we had a prayer meeting in the car, and the driver prayed with his eyes open. All of us were glad he did, but I wondered if God really heard his prayer.

I have since learned that praying with my eyes closed is a helpful way to avoid distractions, but it isn’t mandated in Scripture—nor are most of the other limitations people often place on prayer. For example, some people want to limit prayer to a certain posture, but Scripture tells of people praying while standing, sitting, kneeling, looking upward, bowing down, and lifting up their hands.

Some try to limit prayer to certain times of the day, such as morning or evening. But in the Bible people prayed at all times: morning, evening, three times a day, before meals, after meals, at bedtime, at midnight, day and night, in their youth, in their old age, when troubled, and when joyous.

Similarly, Scripture places no limits on the place or circumstances of prayer. It tells of people praying in a cave, in a closet, in a garden, on a mountainside, by a river, by the sea, in the street, in the Temple, in bed, at home, in the stomach of a fish, in battle, on a housetop, in a prison, in the wilderness, and on a cross.

The point is clear: there is no specific correct mode or kind of prayer, and prayer isn’t limited by your location or circumstances. You are to pray always. That includes any kind of prayer, on any subject, and at any time of the day or night.

Suggestions for Prayer;  Make a list of your current plans, thoughts, and concerns. Have you made each of them a matter of prayer? Commit yourself to sharing every aspect of your life with God.

For Further Study; Read Psalm 136. Note how the Lord is intimately involved in the lives of His people.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – The End Will Come

 

“And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it, and then, finally, the end will come” (Matthew 24:14).

I applaud every effort to warn Christians and nonbelievers to be ready for our Lord’s return, as Scripture clearly teaches that He will come again and has delayed His return in order that more people might have a chance to hear the gospel. To this end, we must give priority to taking the gospel to all men everywhere throughout the world.

However, we dare not wrongly interpret the Scriptures, as so many in previous generations have done, resulting in a lack of concern for the souls of men and a failure to correct the evils of society.

God expects us as His children to be His representatives here on earth. We are to love with His love, sharing the message of salvation with all who will listen and helping to meet the needs of widows, orphans and prisoners in His name.

True believers in previous generations have always been at the forefront of moral and social reforms as well as being active in evangelism. Child labor laws, women’s suffrage and abolition of slavery, for example, grew out of a mighty spiritual awakening that swept England through the ministry of John Wesley, George Whitefield and their colleagues.

We in our generation must be no less concerned about injustice wherever we find it. The most important way to solve our social ills, however, is to change the hearts of men by introducing them to our Lord Jesus Christ. Our priority commitment as Christians must be to disciple and evangelize in obedience to our Lord’s command.

Then we should instruct new believers that “loving our neighbors as ourselves” includes helping them where they hurt. But remember, the Lord cares more about the soul than He does about the body. The body will soon perish but the soul will live forever.

Bible Reading: Matthew 24:7-13

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will keep my priorities straight – first sharing the good news of salvation to as many as possible, but at the same time demonstrating love and compassion to widows, orphans, prisoners and all who are in need, in obedience to our Lord’s command.

Charles Stanley – Praying in a Crisis

Read | James 5:13-18

Scripture says that “the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16 NKJV). Effective—that is exactly what we want our prayers to be, especially in a crisis. When we meet God’s requirements, we can be confident that He’ll not only hear our concerns but will also act on them in accordance with His purposes.

Requirement #1—Fervent prayer. Motivated by a deeply burdened heart, fervent prayers are filled with passion and a strong sense of personal helplessness. They also have a narrow focus on some specific difficulty about which we care deeply. Scripture calls this type of prayer “laboring earnestly” (Col. 4:12).

Requirement #2—Righteousness. As soon as we place our trust in the Savior, we become rightly related to God as His children. At that moment, we are permanently sealed with the Holy Spirit and are declared righteous forever because of our position in Jesus Christ (Phil. 3:9). While salvation is by faith rather than by deeds (Eph. 2:8-9), genuine faith will result in an obedient lifestyle and good works (James 2:26). If we willingly and knowingly engage in sin, then we are not living righteously and our prayers will not be effective.

When the Lord hears an impassioned prayer, He knows who is praying. If it is a righteous person whose life reflects God’s ways, Scripture promises the Holy Spirit will begin His divine work.

God responds with great power to the prayers of even one righteous person. That person can be you!

Night Light – Decisions, Decisions

 

“The head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” 1 Corinthians 11:3

Among the most controversial Scriptures are those relating to a wife’s obligation to “submit” to a husband’s leadership. This principle offends many women. Furthermore, it places power in the hands of men who sometimes misuse it. And yet, there it is, time and again: “The husband is head of the wife.” Those words can’t be brushed aside by those who rely on Scripture as their infallible guide. But what does this “headship” really mean?

The Bible makes it clear that the husband is to be the leader in his home, yet he has no right to run roughshod over the opinions and feelings of his wife. He is to love her as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25) and to serve her unselfishly and compassionately. A man should include his wife in making mutually satisfying decisions, always working to incorporate her perspectives and seeking compromise when possible. In situations where they simply cannot find common ground, Scripture gives the man the prerogative—and responsibility—to choose and lead. Yet in this case, he must be more sensitive and considerate than ever, bearing in mind that he will ultimately answer to God not only for his choices, but for his treatment of his wife.

Just between us…

  • (husband) How would you rate my leadership as your husband?
  • Does our decision‐making process fit the biblical model? (wife)
  • How do you feel about your role as “leader in the home”?
  • (husband) Am I sensitive to your feelings regarding decisions?

Heavenly Father, in Your divine plan for marriage You have asked the husband to lead and the wife to submit, and we want so much to obey You. We come humbly now, asking for Your wisdom and help to do so. Amen.
From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson

Charles Stanley – Making Decisions God’s Way

Psalm 119:103-105

Have you ever chosen a certain path, only to find yourself regretting that decision later? Life consists of a series of choices, some as small as what to eat for dinner, and others with eternal impact.

Facing these crossroads can seem overwhelming, but Scripture offers guidelines to give us confidence and direction. Therefore, when decisions are imminent, we should keep the following in mind:

First, God promises wisdom to His children who ask with faith (James 1:5-6). Remember, His Spirit resides within believers and is available for guidance. Too many Christians try to weigh the pros and cons themselves, and they miss out on the magnificent help from the all-knowing One.

Second, we should delve into the Bible, asking God to open our eyes to His truth and His way. The Lord promises that His Word never returns void (Isa. 55:11). And if we memorize and meditate on Scripture, He will bring the truth to our minds at the appropriate time.

Third, we are wise to be aware of our mental state as we approach decisions. The acronym “H.A.L.T.” stands for hungry, angry, lonely, and tired—four states in which we will likely make poor choices. When considering options, it is well worth waiting until a better time.

Our choices determine our direction, so consider carefully how you make decisions. Scripture is clear that we see dimly (1 Cor. 13:12); God alone views the whole picture. It is vital, therefore, to rely upon His wisdom, truth, and direction every time we select an option before us.

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Creation Story

 

Someone once told me that the most comforting premise of the Christian imagination was, for her, the assurance of a beginning. Her Hindu upbringing had been far less clear. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…” These very first words of Scripture boldly proclaim that we are not lost and wandering in a cosmic circle of time and accident, isolated from any meaning beyond the name or reputation we manage to carve for ourselves. At the heart of the Christian imagination is one who stood at the foundation of the world, and with love, beauty, and wisdom, caused life and history to begin.

For the Christian, this comforting premise is deepened by the image of creation as the cooperative work of a relational, trinitarian God. The account of creation in the Gospel of John runs parallel to the creation accounts of the book of Genesis, except that John makes it clear that the Father was not acting alone. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.”(1) Paul similarly describes the Son’s vital role in creation to the Colossians, referring to Jesus Christ as “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”(2)

The New Testament writers unapologetically affirm the Old Testament understanding of creation’s dependence upon the maker of heaven and earth. But they add to this affirmation the admission that all creation—from the beginning until now—is further seen through the light of Jesus Christ. Christ is the Word of God, existing with God at the beginning. He is the one who called forth the heavens, the one who holds all things together, the one who sustains the universe by his word even now. Here also, like the Son, the Spirit is affirmed in Scripture as present at the beginning and sustaining of all creation: “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all their host by the breath of his mouth.”(3) In the words of Jürgen Moltmann, creation remains a beautiful, collaborative gift: “Creation exists in the Spirit, is molded by the Son, and is created by the Father. It is therefore from God, through God, and in God.”(4)

For someone like my friend, this rightly signals so much more than simply another religion’s means of dealing with the philosophical question of origin. We are given the world via the hands of a good, imaginative, relational creator. In fact, the work of creation is the very overflowing of the divine relationship. Out of an image of the fullness of life in the Trinity, creation is affirmed not as emerging from any lack or need in God, but from God’s loving, good abundance. It is for this reason that creation is affirmed as good throughout Scripture: as the creative overflow of a divine fellowship, creation bears the very image of its creator. It is why Augustine argued that there is a trace of the Trinity in every creature.

Out of this loving abundance, Father, Son, and Spirit have bound themselves to the world from the very beginning. Leaving this mark, making humanity in their image, the divine communion of Father, Son, and Spirit presents an image of the very community God intended for the world, a communion God continues to call us further into, even as Christ works to restore the way.

This is indeed a comforting premise. It is a creation story that reaches from the beginning of time and continues in even the smallest moment of our present day. The goodness of God can be seen in the daily activities of an immense and amazing world. Into this picture of God’s creation, the Christian imagination sees a world called to participate in its origin story, to “taste and see that the Lord is good,” to delight in God as maker of all things, and so join in the fellowship of a creative Trinity. Today and from the beginning, we are neither alone nor without purpose; we were made and we are being remade by the Father, Son, and Spirit, the maker of heaven and earth.

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

(1) John 1:1-4.

(2) Colossians 1:15-17.

(3) Psalm 33:6.

(4) Jürgen Moltmann as quoted in Donald McKim, Introducing the Reformed Faith (Louisville: John Knox Press, 2001), 40.

Our Daily Bread — Love Letter

 

READ: Psalm 119:97-104

Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day. —Psalm 119:97

Each morning when I reach my office, I have one simple habit—check all my emails. Most of the time, I’ll work through them in a perfunctory fashion. There are some emails, however, that I’m eager to open. You guessed it—those from loved ones.

Someone has said that the Bible is God’s love letter to us. But perhaps on some days, like me, you just don’t feel like opening it and your heart doesn’t resonate with the words of the psalmist: “Oh, how I love Your law!” (Ps. 119:97). The Scriptures are “Your commandments” (v.98), “Yourtestimonies” (v.99), “Your precepts” (v.100), “Your word” (v.101, emphasis added).

A question by Thomas Manton (1620–1677), once a lecturer at Westminster Abbey, still holds relevance for us today. He asked: “Who is the author of Scripture? God. . . . What is the end of Scripture? God. Why was the Scripture written, but that we might everlastingly enjoy the blessed God?”

It is said of some people that the more you know them the less you admire them; but the reverse is true of God. Familiarity with the Word of God, or rather the God of the Word, breeds affection, and affection seeks yet greater familiarity.

As you open your Bible, remember that God—the One who loves you the most—has a message for you. —Poh Fang Chia

Oh, may I love Thy precious Word,
May I explore the mine,
May I its fragrant flowers glean,
May light upon me shine! —Hodder

Knowing the Bible helps us know the God of the Bible.

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

Insight

The author of Psalm 119 (the longest psalm in the Bible) is not named. Some scholars say it was penned by Ezra, whose devotion to God’s Word is well-attested (Ezra 7:10; Neh. 8:1-9). Others say David composed it. Despite being scorned and ridiculed for trusting the Scriptures (vv.22-23,31,42,46,78), the psalmist did not waver but remained fully committed to them. In today’s passage, the psalmist affirms his deep love for God’s law (v.97) and testifies how constant meditation on it has made him wiser than his enemies (v.98), his teachers (v.99), and the older (wiser) men of his day (v.100). God’s Word provides wisdom and perspective for living.