Tag Archives: spirituality

Presidential Prayer Team – Sword or Scalpel

 

Words of great leaders have brought healing and hope to nations, such as Winston Churchill’s, “Sure I am of this, that you have only to endure to conquer.” Words also bring discouragement, death and destruction. Words can be sharp like swords, wounding the hearts of the people you are speaking to or about, but they can also be sharp like a surgeon’s knife, cutting out the bad tissue to enable healing.

There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 12:18

Hebrews 4:12 says “the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword.” People often rebel at the truth because it can mean letting go of something valued, or involve making changes difficult to implement. Many doctrines abound; usually the most pleasant are the most popular.

Yield to God’s Word, though it may be uncomfortable. Allow Him to work in you, from the inside out until the adjustments you need to make become less difficult. Speak words in agreement with His. And pray for your national leaders, that their words will unite, build up and strengthen this country, not divide it or tear it down.

Recommended Reading: Hebrews 4:11-16

Greg Laurie – The Sovereignty of God

 

Your regulations remain true to this day, for everything serves your plans—Psalm 119:91

Luke’s gospel tells the story of ten men with leprosy who were in need of a touch from Jesus. Leprosy was incurable. They asked Jesus for a healing, and He extended it to them. But out of the ten, only one returned to give Him thanks. We read that “One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, ‘Praise God!’ He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done . . .” (Luke 17:15).

Earlier he had prayed loudly for a healing, and then he was loud with his praise. I love the fact that the original language uses two words from which get our English word “megaphone.” The man was loud in thanking Jesus for what He had done for him.

As Christians, we should give thanks to God because we recognize that He is in control of all circumstances surrounding our lives. As Proverbs 16:9 reminds us, “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.”

God is sovereign, which means that God is able to do what He pleases with whomever He chooses whenever He wishes. The prophet Jeremiah said, “I know, Lord, that our lives are not our own. We are not able to plan our own course” (Jeremiah 10:23). And we read in Proverbs 20:24, “The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?” That is the sovereignty of God.

But what about when bad things happen? Is God still in control? Yes. And the Bible tells us that despite the bad things that happen, which many times are inexplicable, God can work all things together for good to those that love Him (see Romans 8:28). As the psalmist wrote, “Everything serves [His] plans” (119:91).

Max Lucado – Know Your Strengths

 

When you teach, do people listen? When you lead, do people follow? Identify your strengths, and —this is important—major in them.  Singing for others would give me wonderful satisfaction. The problem is, it wouldn’t give the same satisfaction to my audience.  I’m what you might call a prison singer—I never have the key, and I’m always behind a few bars.

Paul gives good advice in Romans 12:3: “Have a sane estimate of your capabilities.”

Be aware of your strengths. Take a few irons out of the fire so one can get hot. Failing to focus on our strengths may prevent us from accomplishing the unique task God has called us to do. We cannot meet every need in the world. But some of us try. In the end, we run out of fuel. So, have a sane estimate of your abilities—and stick to them.

Charles Stanley – Dressed for the Battle

 

Ephesians 6:13-18

Each morning it’s wise to dress for the day’s weather or activities. The same is true spiritually, yet many believers leave home unprepared.

God has graciously provided the needed equipment for any challenges. First, we strap on the belt of truth. Like the leather apron that covered a Roman soldier’s abdomen, the truth of who we are in Christ—namely, saints with supernatural power from God’s indwelling Spirit—protects us.

Next, when we’re tempted to live by anger, fear, or dissatisfaction, the breastplate of righteousness can deflect such “arrows,” enabling us to respond in a godly manner.

Third, sandals of peace help us to remain standing, firmly planted in God’s peaceful will. Roman battle sandals usually had thick, spiked soles so soldiers could anchor themselves as they fought.

Then faith, offering Christ’s protection against anything Satan throws, is compared to a door-sized Roman shield. Faith is also what brought us salvation—when we exchanged our old thought patterns for new ways of thinking. Consequently, with salvation’s helmet, we put on the mind of Christ, which gives us discernment and wisdom.

And finally, we take up the sword of the Spirit so that we can combat Satan’s lies with Scripture’s truth.

We cannot know precisely what we’ll face each day, but Scripture warns us that there is a battle raging in the spiritual realm. Don’t venture out until your are dressed for the fight. Before rising, let your first prayer include step-by-step application of God’s armor.

 

Our Daily Bread — Grandpa Snucked Out

 

Psalm 16

My heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will rest in hope. —Psalm 16:9

My cousin Ken fought a courageous 4-year battle with cancer. In his final days, his wife, three children, and several grandchildren were in and out of his room, spending time with him and sharing special goodbyes. When everyone was out of the room for a moment, he slipped into eternity. After the family realized that he was gone, one young granddaughter sweetly remarked, “Grandpa snucked out.” One moment the Lord was with Ken here on earth; the next moment Ken’s spirit was with the Lord in heaven.

Psalm 16 was a favorite psalm of Ken’s that he had requested to be read at his memorial service. He agreed with the psalmist David who said that there was no treasure more valuable than a personal relationship with God (vv.2,5). With the Lord as his refuge, David also knew that the grave does not rob believers of life. He said, “You will not leave my soul in Sheol [the grave]” (v.10). Neither Ken nor anyone else who knows Jesus as Savior will be abandoned in death.

Because of Jesus’ own death and resurrection, we too will rise one day (Acts 2:25-28; 1 Cor. 15:20-22). And we will find that “at [God’s] right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Ps. 16:11). —Anne Cetas

“In the Beloved” accepted am I,

Risen, ascended, and seated on high;

Saved from all sin through His infinite grace,

I am accorded in heaven a place. —Martin

 

God is our treasure now, and being with Him in heaven will bring pleasures forever.

Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening

 

Morning “Thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy

habitation.” / Psalm 91:9

The Israelites in the wilderness were continually exposed to change. Whenever the pillar stayed its motion, the tents were pitched; but tomorrow, ere the morning sun had risen, the trumpet sounded, the ark was in motion, and the fiery, cloudy pillar was leading the way through the narrow defiles of the mountain, up the hill side, or along the arid waste of the wilderness. They had scarcely time to rest a little before they heard the sound of “Away! this is not your rest; you must still be onward journeying towards Canaan!” They were never long in one place. Even wells and palm trees could not detain them. Yet they had an abiding home in their God, his cloudy pillar was their roof-tree, and its flame by night their household fire. They must go onward from place to place, continually changing, never having time to settle, and to say, “Now we are secure; in this place we shall dwell.” “Yet,” says Moses, “though we are always changing, Lord, thou hast been our dwelling-place throughout all generations.” The Christian knows no change with regard to God. He may be rich today and poor to-morrow; he may be sickly today and well to-morrow; he may be in happiness today, to-morrow he may be distressed–but there is no change with regard to his relationship to God. If he loved me yesterday, he loves me today. My unmoving mansion of rest is my blessed Lord. Let prospects be blighted; let hopes be blasted; let joy be withered; let mildews destroy everything; I have lost nothing of what I have in God. He is “my strong habitation whereunto I can continually resort.” I am a pilgrim in the world, but at home in my God. In the earth I wander, but in God I dwell in a quiet habitation.

 

Evening “Whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” / Micah 5:2

The Lord Jesus had goings forth for his people as their representative before the throne, long before they appeared upon the stage of time. It was “from everlasting” that he signed the compact with his Father, that he would pay blood for blood, suffering for suffering, agony for agony, and death for death, in the behalf of his people; it was “from everlasting” that he gave himself up without a murmuring word. That from the crown of his head to the sole of his foot he might sweat great drops of blood, that he might be spit upon, pierced, mocked, rent asunder, and crushed beneath the pains of death. His goings forth as our Surety were from everlasting. Pause, my soul, and wonder! Thou hast goings forth in the person of Jesus “from everlasting.” Not only when thou wast born into the world did Christ love thee, but his delights were with the sons of men before there were any sons of men. Often did he think of them; from everlasting to everlasting he had set his affection upon them. What! my soul, has he been so long about thy salvation, and will not he accomplish it? Has he from everlasting been going forth to save me, and will he lose me now? What! Has he carried me in his hand, as his precious jewel, and will he now let me slip from between his fingers? Did he choose me before the mountains were brought forth, or the channels of the deep were digged, and will he reject me now? Impossible! I am sure he would not have loved me so long if he had not been a changeless Lover. If he could grow weary of me, he would have been tired of me long before now. If he had not loved me with a love as deep as hell, and as strong as death, he would have turned from me long ago. Oh, joy above all joys, to know that I am his everlasting and inalienable inheritance, given to him by his Father or ever the earth was! Everlasting love shall be the pillow for my head this night.

John MacArthur – Attaining Spiritual Stability

 

“Strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience” (Col. 1:11).

An alarming number of Christians seem to lack spiritual stability. Many are “carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming” (Eph. 4:14). Others lack moral purity. Many are driven by their emotions rather than sound thinking. Increasingly, therapists and psychologists are replacing pastors and biblical teachers as the heroes of the faith. While we still proclaim a sovereign, all- powerful God, our conduct often belies our creed.

Despite our inconsistences, the power for spiritual stability is ours in Christ as we allow the knowledge of His will to control our lives. Paul describes the working of that power in Colossians 1:11. There the Greek words translated “strengthened” and “power” speak of inherent power that gives one the ability to do something.

The phrase “according to” indicates that the power for spiritual stability is proportional to God’s abundant supply–and it is inexhaustible! The literal Greek says you are being “empowered with all power according to the might of His glory.” That thought is akin to Philippians 2:12-13, where Paul says that the power for working out your salvation comes from God, who is at work in you to will and to work for His good pleasure.

In Colossians 1:11 the result of God’s enabling is “the attaining of all steadfastness and patience.” “Steadfastness” speaks of endurance regarding people; “patience” speaks of endurance regarding things or circumstances. When you are steadfast and patient, you are spiritually stable. Your responses are biblical, thoughtful, and calculated; not worldly, emotional, or uncontrolled. You bear up under trials because you understand God’s purposes and trust His promises.

Paul said, “Be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might” (Eph. 6:10). That is possible when you trust God and rely on the infinite power that is yours in Christ.

Suggestions for Prayer: Perhaps you know someone who is struggling with spiritual instability. Pray for him or her and ask God to use you as a source of encouragement.

For Further Study: Psalm 18 is a psalm of victory that David wrote after God delivered him from Saul. Read it, then answer these questions:

What characteristics of God did David mention?

How might those characteristics apply to situations you are facing?

Joyce Meyer – Be Filled With the Truth

 

Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him; I will set him on high, because he knows and understands My name [has a personal knowledge of My mercy, love, and kindness—trusts and relies on Me, knowing I will never forsake him, no, never]. —Psalm 91:14

Don’t let the devil have your thoughts first thing in the morning. Begin early to get your day started right. As soon as you wake up, tell the Lord you love Him. Tell Him you need Him and are depending on Him. Read His Word and confess His promises as you prepare for the day.

Listen to teaching tapes while you are driving to work. Fill yourself with knowledge of God’s truth. Don’t talk yourself into a disaster before the day even begins. Instead say, “I am the righteousness of God in Christ; because He is with me today, I will rejoice in all things.”

 

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.

Presidential Prayer Team – Cruelty and Compassion

 

A pitiful sight often seen on the streets of New York City in the late 1800s was a woman they called the “Witch of Wall Street.” Hetty Green was always dressed in a tattered black dress and appeared to be homeless. She ate mostly oatmeal and lived in a decrepit flat with no hot water or heat. She and her son suffered a wide range of preventable physical ailments due to a lack of basic medical care.

A man who is kind benefits himself, but a cruel man hurts himself. Proverbs 11:17

But Hetty was no pauper. She was, in her day, the richest woman in the world…a shrewd Wall Street investor worth $2 billion in today’s money. Yet she was utterly miserable and cruel to everyone around her, and died after suffering several strokes brought on by irrational anger.

Your impact as a Christian is not determined by how many – or how few – resources you have. Of much greater importance: a servant’s heart, and a commitment to honor the Lord with everything. Today, America is in dire need of more leaders dedicated to giving, not getting. As you lift them up, pray also that God will help you set the standard in your own neighborhood for kindness and compassion.

Recommended Reading: Mark 10:17-27

Greg Laurie – Real Faith

 

After preaching the Good News in Derbe and making many disciples, Paul and Barnabas returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch of Pisidia, where they strengthened the believers. They encouraged them to continue in the faith, reminding them that we must suffer many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God—Acts 14:21–22

If your faith cannot make it through adversity, then, with all respect, I would have to say that it isn’t real faith. The faith that cannot be tested is the faith that cannot be trusted. Real faith gets stronger through hardship, not weaker. It becomes more resilient; it doesn’t fall apart.

In Acts 14, we read that Paul and Barnabas encouraged the believers “to continue in the faith, reminding them that we must suffer many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God” (verse 22).

Notice that Paul and Barnabas encouraged them to continue in the faith—not in the feeling. Emotions come and go. There are times when you feel God’s presence, and then there are times when you don’t. So what do you do then? You press on, because “the just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17). Whether we feel God’s presence today or we don’t, that is okay. We are to press on, because this is a walk of faith. Don’t worry about emotions. Don’t focus on emotions that fluctuate. Remember that God is with you, and one day you will join Him in glory.

A. B. Simpson wrote, “Once it was the blessing, now it is the Lord; once it was the feeling, now it is His Word. Once His gifts I wanted, now the Giver own; once I sought for healing, now Himself alone.”

When you are a young Christian, you want the blessing. But as you grow, you just want God. That is a mark of maturity. We need to continue in the faith when the skies are blue and also when they are filled with clouds. We must press on when our health is good and also when it is not what it used to be. Because we know in that final day it will all be worth it.

Charles Stanley – An Unseen Battle

 

Ephesians 6:10-12

Satan does exist—our broken society testifies to his reality. Those who ignore him do so at their own peril. This is also true of Christians, because we are all at war against him. Spiritual warfare is personal; Satan crafts specific attacks for each individual. Though he cannot steal a believer’s spirit from God, he can and does harass us physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Every ambush and frontal attack is meant to defeat our witness so we can’t live a victorious Christ-centered life.

Our foe is not omniscient, but he is crafty. He observes our strong and weak points to determine the best areas for attack. As soon as his quarry becomes comfortable and least expects trouble, the Adversary springs a trap. Among his most deceptive tactics is hiding behind familiar faces in order to misguide our fury. For example, he may tempt a husband to make an unwise financial decision that angers the wife and leaves her feeling insecure. But the husband is not her enemy—he needs her love and forgiveness. The enemy is always Satan and his legion of demons.

The first rule of warfare is to know one’s enemy, and thanks to Scripture, we can. The Bible also contains an important assurance: “Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

The combined forces of hell cannot equal the supernatural power of a single believer. We have Christ living within us—the same Christ who was triumphant on the cross and whose final victory over Satan is prophesied in Revelation. Through Him, we can conquer Satan and win our unseen battles.

 

Our Daily Bread — Giving Thanks

 

John 11:32-44

Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.” —John 11:41

A tragedy left a family with a void that nothing could fill. A toddler chasing a cat wandered into the road and was run over by a delivery truck. A 4-year-old watched in shocked silence as her parents cradled the lifeless body of her little sister. For years, the cold emptiness of that moment encased the family in sadness. Feelings were frozen. The only comfort was numbness. Relief was unimaginable.

Author Ann Voskamp was the 4-year-old, and the sorrow surrounding her sister’s death formed her view of life and God. The world she grew up in had little concept of grace. Joy was an idea that had no basis in reality.

As a young mother, Voskamp set out to discover the elusive thing the Bible calls joy. The words for joy and grace come from the Greek word chairo, which she found out is at the center of the Greek word for thanksgiving. Could it be that simple? she wondered. To test her discovery, Voskamp decided to give thanks for 1,000 gifts she already had. She started slowly but soon gratefulness was flowing freely.

Just as Jesus gave thanks before, not after, raising Lazarus from the dead (John 11:41), Voskamp discovered that giving thanks brought to life feelings of joy that had died along with her sister. Joy comes from thanksgiving. —Julie Ackerman Link

Lord, I thank You that You have the power

to raise the dead. May the feelings of joy

that arise from our thanksgiving be seeds of

grace to those who are afraid to feel.

 

The joy of living comes from a heart of thanksgiving.

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The Nature of Request

 

I had always wanted to visit India. In the India of my imagination, a myriad of colors, smells, sounds, and people danced together. The air would always be saturated by an atmosphere of mystery. India would never be a place that could be categorized neatly or understood completely; comprehension would slip stealthily around a corner just as I thought I had gotten hold of it.

In reality, India was indeed a land of color, contrast, and mystery. Like a whirling dervish, India spins round and round in constant activity, rarely standing still. One cannot help but feel both overwhelmed and exhilarated by life there.

Despite all the complex, continual motion, one constant became apparent to me: Hospitality—gracious, open, generous and dignified—is a way of life. People are always around to serve, whether they are paid to do so or not. Someone is there to take your bags from the car, or someone is bringing you a cup of tea just the way you like it. Someone is enticing you to eat more, and someone is sweeping the city streets clean of leaves, dust, or debris with a broom made from a bundle of twigs. There are household servants, and those designated to serve as a result of their caste. Yet, regardless of why someone is serving, there is always someone to serve, someone who through class or training or culture inhabits an ethos of hospitable care. All one need do is ask and it will be done.

It was in India that I learned something about the nature of request. One morning, having spent a good portion of the previous night dealing with what I affectionately came to call my “spicy stomach,” I was languishing for plain, cold cereal and milk—my normal breakfast when at home. Having enjoyed too much fabulous Indian cuisine, I knew I simply couldn’t have any more or my stomach would rebel entirely. Not wanting to offend my hosts or their generous hospitality, I timidly expressed my desire for bland food. “Oh,” she exclaimed, “Why didn’t you ask?” “My husband and I normally eat eggs and toast or cereal for breakfast!”  Instantly, the phrase you do not have because you do not ask came to mind.

In the biblical letter of James, you do not have because you do not ask is used in quite a different context.(1)  The author issues a rebuke against the quarrels and conflicts that rage within human beings. We are jealous of others, we covet them, and so we get into conflicts with others because of our lust and our greed.

But, I had been thinking for quite some time about the nature of request as it relates to prayer. I was wrestling with the nature of prayer as request in the face of so many no’s as answers. The result was that I simply stopped asking. I began to wonder if God was not hospitable to me any longer and would not honor my requests with answers that accorded my needs. Even in my personal relationships, I had stopped asking for fear of rejection or disappointment. I would sit on my hands, as it were, and stew with resentment and anger at all of my unmet needs. And yet I became haunted by this phrase from James: You do not have because you do not ask.

What seemed a tangential connection between the service culture of India, and my own choice to withhold requests from God, actually revealed a powerful reality about the nature of request. Like household servants who are there at my beckon call, there are some things over which we have total control. If there are weeds in the garden, or if we have a broken faucet, we do not request that the weeds go away, we go out and pull the weeds, or fix the faucet.

There are many things, perhaps even most things, however, over which we exercise minimal, direct control. Instead, we have to make a request—a request that may or may not be granted. As one author notes, “The request, while powerful, does not always get us what we have in mind as we make it.  This is true when it is addressed to other human beings and true when it is addressed to God as prayer….It is a great advantage of requesting and prayer that it not be a fail-safe mechanism. For human finitude means that we are all limited in knowledge, in power, in love, and in powers of communication.”(2)

Nevertheless, requests are made and they are powerful because in making them our deepest selves are revealed. We can truly hear what we are asking for. We come to stare at our desires face to face. In so doing, we have the opportunity to see the often complex motivations behind our requests. Furthermore, as we make requests we do so with the knowledge that we cannot always fulfill all that is asked of us, or by us. As we make requests of God and of others, we make them with a tenacious trust in the power of love that grants or withholds.

Prayer is never just asking, nor is it merely a matter of asking for what I want—even as we cling to the hope that that the God of the universe cares for what concerns us. While there is no simple explanation to why some requests are granted and some are not, and while there is mystery surrounding the efficacy of request, there is always the power to ask. We may still not have even when we ask with what appears to be the purest intentions, but we always have the power of request. The way into the meaning of request is to start by making them, just as I learned in India. Perhaps as we do, “The circle of our interests will grow in the largeness of God’s love.”(3) Perhaps as we do, the admonition to ask, seek, and knock will not simply be a formula to get what we want, but an invitation to look into what we ask for, whom we seek, and upon which doors we are knocking.

Margaret Manning is a member of the writing and speaking team at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Seattle, Washington.

(1) See James 4:1-3.

(2) Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God. (San Francisco: Harper Sa

Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening

 

Morning “Salvation is of the Lord.” / Jonah 2:9

Salvation is the work of God. It is he alone who quickens the soul “dead in trespasses and sins,” and it is he also who maintains the soul in its spiritual life. He is both “Alpha and Omega.” “Salvation is of the Lord.” If I am prayerful, God makes me prayerful; if I have graces, they are God’s gifts to me; if I hold on in a consistent life, it is because he upholds me with his hand. I do nothing whatever towards my own preservation, except what God himself first does in me. Whatever I have, all my goodness is of the Lord alone. Wherein I sin, that is my own; but wherein I act rightly, that is of God, wholly and completely. If I have repulsed a spiritual enemy, the Lord’s strength nerved my arm. Do I live before men a consecrated life? It is not I, but Christ who liveth in me. Am I sanctified? I did not cleanse myself: God’s Holy Spirit sanctifies me. Am I weaned from the world? I am weaned by God’s chastisements sanctified to my good. Do I grow in knowledge? The great Instructor teaches me. All my jewels were fashioned by heavenly art. I find in God all that I want; but I find in myself nothing but sin and misery. “He only is my rock and my salvation.” Do I feed on the Word? That Word would be no food for me unless the Lord made it food for my soul, and helped me to feed upon it. Do I live on the manna which comes down from heaven? What is that manna but Jesus Christ himself incarnate, whose body and whose blood I eat and drink? Am I continually receiving fresh increase of strength? Where do I gather my might? My help cometh from heaven’s hills: without Jesus I can do nothing. As a branch cannot bring forth fruit except it abide in the vine, no more can I, except I abide in him. What Jonah learned in the great deep, let me learn this morning in my closet: “Salvation is of the Lord.”

Evening “Behold, if the leprosy have covered all his flesh, he shall pronounce him clean that hath the plague.” / Leviticus 13:13

Strange enough this regulation appears, yet there was wisdom in it, for the throwing out of the disease proved that the constitution was sound. This evening it may be well for us to see the typical teaching of so singular a rule. We, too, are lepers, and may read the law of the leper as applicable to ourselves. When a man sees himself to be altogether lost and ruined, covered all over with the defilement of sin, and in no part free from pollution; when he disclaims all righteousness of his own, and pleads guilty before the Lord, then he is clean through the blood of Jesus, and the grace of God. Hidden, unfelt, unconfessed iniquity is the true leprosy; but when sin is seen and felt, it has received its deathblow, and the Lord looks with eyes of mercy upon the soul afflicted with it. Nothing is more deadly than self-righteousness, or more hopeful than contrition. We must confess that we are “nothing else but sin,” for no confession short of this will be the whole truth; and if the Holy Spirit be at work with us, convincing us of sin, there will be no difficulty about making such an acknowledgment–it will spring spontaneously from our lips. What comfort does the text afford to truly awakened sinners: the very circumstance which so grievously discouraged them is here turned into a sign and symptom of a hopeful state! Stripping comes before clothing; digging out the foundation is the first thing in building–and a thorough sense of sin is one of the earliest works of grace in the heart. O thou poor leprous sinner, utterly destitute of a sound spot, take heart from the text, and come as thou art to Jesus–  “For let our debts be what they may, however great or small,  As soon as we have nought to pay, our Lord forgives us all.  ‘Tis perfect poverty alone that sets the soul at large:  While we can call one mite our own, we have no full discharge.”

John MacArthur – Enjoying a Bountiful Harvest

 

“Bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Col. 1:10).

Every farmer who enjoys a plentiful harvest does so only after diligent effort on his part. He must cultivate the soil, plant the seed, then nurture it to maturity. Each step is thoughtful, disciplined, and orderly.

Similarly, bearing spiritual fruit is not an unthinking or haphazard process. It requires us to be diligent in pursuing the knowledge of God’s will, which is revealed in His Word. That is Paul’s prayer in Colossians 1:9, which he reiterates in verse 10.

The phrase “increasing in the knowledge of God” (v. 10) can be translated, “increasing by the knowledge of God.” Both renderings are acceptable. The first emphasizes the need to grow; the second emphasizes the role that knowledge plays in your spiritual growth.

As your knowledge of God’s Word increases, the Holy Spirit renews your mind and transforms your thinking. As you gaze into the glory of the Lord as revealed in Scripture, you “are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory” (2 Cor. 3:18). You have “put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him” (Col. 3:10).

One of Satan’s ploys to retard spiritual productivity is getting Christians preoccupied with humanistic philosophy and other bankrupt substitutes for God’s truth. That’s why he planted false teachers at Colosse to teach that knowing God’s will is inadequate for true spirituality. Paul refuted that claim by affirming that Christ is the fullness of deity in bodily form (Col. 2:9). In Him are “hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3). He is all you need!

Scripture commands you to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 3:18). Is that characteristic of your life? Are you looking forward to a bountiful spiritual harvest?

Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank God for the privilege of knowing His will and studying His Word.

Prayerfully guard your mind from sinful influences. Saturate it with God’s truth.

For Further Study: Read the following passages, noting the effects of God’s Word:

Psalms 119:9, 105; Acts 20:32; Romans 10:17; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 3:14-17; Hebrews 4:12-13; 1 John 2:14.

Joyce Meyer – God’s Anointing Helps You in Everything You Do

 

…Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit… —Zechariah 4:6

The anointing of the Holy Spirit is one of the most important things in my life and ministry. It ushers me into the presence and the power of God. The anointing manifests in ability, enablement, and strength. The anointing ministers life to me. I feel alive and strong physically when the anointing is flowing, as well as mentally alert.

When we live in peace and harmony, we unleash God’s anointing for more than just ministry. I believe there is an anointing for everything that we are called to do—not just for spiritual things. We can be anointed for cleaning the house, doing laundry, leading a home or business, or being a student. God’s presence makes everything easy and enjoyable.

What other kinds of things may we expect to be anointed for? I believe a woman can go to the grocery store and be anointed by God to shop for her family’s groceries if she will exercise her faith to release the anointing.

I believe there is an anointed sleep we can enjoy when we go to bed at night. However, if a person lies in bed and thinks of some situation that is full of strife, he or she is not likely to sleep well due to fretful dreams or tossing and turning all night.

I believe there is an anointing to go to your workplace and enjoy being there. The anointing will also help you do your job with ease. Again, if you have strife with your boss or with other employees, the anointing will be blocked. Whether the strife is open or hidden within your heart, the effect is the same.

So, keep strife out so that you can live by the anointing. God has given the anointing to you to help you in all you do. Stay peaceful and calm; be quick to forgive, slow to anger, patient, and kind. Protect the anointing in your life, and sow good seeds by helping others do the same. In so doing, you will reap a harvest in your own time of need.

Trust in Him: Think of a time when you have felt God’s Spirit on you—when time has flown by as you enjoyed what you were doing and did it with ease. Everything you do can feel just li

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Great and Mighty Things

 

“Call unto Me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not” (Jeremiah 33:3, KJV).

How long has it been since you have prayed for great and mighty things – for the glory and praise of God?

I find in God’s Word at least six excellent reasons you and I should pray for “great and mighty things”: to glorify God; to communicate with God; for fellowship with God; because of Christ’s example; to obtain results; and to provide spiritual nurture.

There is a sense in which I pray without ceasing, talking to God hundreds of times in the course of the day about everything. I pray for wisdom about the numerous decisions I must make, for the salvation of friends and strangers, the healing of the sick and the spiritual and material needs of the Campus Crusade for Christ ministry – as well as for the needs of the various members of the staff and leaders of other Christian organizations and the needs of their ministries.

I pray for the leaders of our nation and for those in authority over us at all levels of government. I even pray about the clothes I wear, on the basis of the people I am to meet – that the way I dress, as well as my words and actions, will bring glory to God.

But there is another sense in which there is a set-apart time each day for prayer – I often kneel quietly before the open Bible and talk with God as I read His Word.

Before I begin to read the Bible, I ask the Holy Spirit, who inspired its writing, to make my reading meaningful. Throughout the reading I often pause to thank God for His loving salvation and provision, to confess the lack in my own life revealed by the Scriptures, to ask Him for the boldness and faith His apostles displayed and to thank Him for new insights into His divine strategy for reaching the world with the gospel.

Bible Reading: Jeremiah 33:4-8

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Today I will call unto God, expecting Him to show me great and mighty things beyond anything I have ever experienced, for His glory and for the blessing of those about me, that they may know that God does supernatural things in response to the faith and obedience of His children.

Presidential Prayer Team – Feel the Weight

 

How much does water weigh? When you dive under it, you feel no weight of it. But fill a tub with water and balance it on your head and the burden will soon make you weary. The same can be said of sin.

Doing wrong is like a joke to a fool, but wisdom is pleasure to a man of understanding.

The ones who have been led into sin and continue in it are deceived and hardened by it until they become cocky in their disregard of others and make a mockery of sin. They rarely will see the wrong in what they do and are not weighed down by it. Proverbs 10:23

But if you begin to be aware of what sin is and what it is doing in your life, you will experience a weight that becomes ponderous and burdensome. Wisdom and understanding come to the person who understands their sin and its consequence. You can delight in knowing that Christ took your sin on Himself to give you a cleansed heart.

Beloved, pray that this nation realizes it is under the weight of sin. It is not a joke and there are consequences. Ask God to reveal His truth and revive the hearts of all – leaders and citizens alike.

Recommended Reading: Hebrews 12:14-28

Greg Laurie – Staying Usable

 

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me—2 Corinthians 12: 9

Do you think having a vision of heaven might make you a little arrogant? Imagine sitting around with a group of people who were talking about where they went for vacation. We went to Hawaii. . . . We went to Tahiti. . . . We went to Italy. . . .

The apostle Paul could say, “I went to heaven.”

“No, no! Where did you go, Paul? Really.”

“Heaven—I went to heaven.”

“Yeah? What was it like?”

“I can’t really explain it. But it was better than where you went.”

So that Paul would not be filled with pride, God allowed adversity into his life to keep him humble and usable. Writing about this experience, Paul said,

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:8–10)

God may allow hardship in the life of a Christian. In Paul’s case, it was “a thorn in the flesh” (see 2 Corinthians 12:7). We don’t know what this thorn in the flesh was, exactly. Whatever it was, Paul asked the Lord to take it away three times, and three times He said, “My grace is all you need.” God allowed this hardship in Paul’s life to keep him usable in His kingdom. And he was very usable.