Tag Archives: The apostle Paul

Charles Stanley – Finding Contentment

 

John 14:1 (NLT)

Too often we let our circumstances determine our attitude. If life is going smoothly, then we feel good about ourselves. But when it gets hard, our mood drops. However, we don’t have to live this way. Like the apostle Paul, we can learn and practice the secret of being content.

Contentment means accepting things the way they are—in other words, not wanting anything to be more or different. This requires developing an “I can through Christ” attitude. It means learning to allow God’s power to come into our weakness so we can accept and adapt to changing circumstances. When we respond to life with that kind of thinking, we move beyond living by feelings to living by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7).

Submission and trust are needed for such a lifestyle. First, we must surrender our will to God’s: In every situation, we are to yield what we want and then accept whatever He allows. Our desire to control events is replaced by reliance on Him. This option becomes more appealing when we realize that the alternative—fighting against our circumstances—brings anxiety and distress. The second step is to trust God to oversee our specific situation. If we believe He is working out His perfect plan for us, then we will experience the joy that comes from trusting Him. Contentment will be ours.

Paul submitted his life to God and trusted Him. He faced insults, rejection, and many difficult trials but was still content. When we surrender control to the Lord and believe He has our best interest at heart, we will experience contentment, too. Who has control in your life?

Bible in One Year: Nahum 1-3

Max Lucado – A Deposit of Power

 

Many Christians view their conversion something like a car wash. You go in a filthy clunker, and you come out with your sins washed away—a cleansed clunker. But conversion is more than a removal of sin. It is a deposit of power! It is as if a brand-new Ferrari engine was mounted in your frame. God removed the old motor that was caked, cracked, and broken with rebellion and evil; and he replaced it with a humming, roaring version of himself.

The Apostle Paul described it as being “a new creation, old things have passed away; behold all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). You are fully equipped. Do you need more energy? You have it. More kindness? It’s yours.

Hebrews 13:21 promises that God will equip you with all you need for doing His will. Just press the gas pedal. God has given you everything you need for living a godly life!

From Glory Days

 

Max Lucado – A New Name

Show a man his failures without Jesus, and the result will be found in the roadside gutter. Give a man religion without reminding him of his filth, and the result will be arrogance in a three-piece suit. But get the two in the same heart—get sin to meet Savior and Savior to meet sin—and the result just might be another Pharisee turned preacher who sets the world on fire.
Saul to Paul. The apostle Paul never took a course in missions. He never read a book on church growth. He was just inspired by the Holy Spirit and punch-drunk on the love that makes the impossible possible: salvation. He called on Jesus’ name—and His name only. He got a new name and, even more, a new life. May the same happen again.
From The Applause of Heaven

Charles Stanley – Conquering Fear

 

Psalm 63:1-11

Each of us will experience moments of apprehension. Denial or trying to hide from it will do no good. When you feel fear begin to rise in you, ask yourself the following questions: Where does it come from? (You know it isn’t from God.) Has God ever failed me in the past? Does He promise to meet all of my needs? Does He keep His promises?

If we read the Bible, we’ll find countless stories of God’s faithfulness. For example, the apostle Paul lived through hardship, persecution, pain, and all kinds of terrible circumstances, yet he was able to make the bold declaration that God weaves it all together for the good of His followers (Romans 8:28). This testifies to the fact that for those who trust in Him, God turns every difficulty, loss, and separation into something good.

Whatever we read in Scripture—whether a story about Abraham, David, Job, Isaiah, Jonah, John, Paul, or others—we see God’s constant love and care for His people. His Word is a lamp that will give us clear guidance when circumstances are bleak. It offers the best direction we will ever find. When we meditate upon it, pray over it, grapple with it, and incorporate it into our life, His light chases away the darkness. The psalms, in particular, are helpful in dealing with fear.

God, the sovereign ruler of this universe, is in control of your life. Don’t make the mistake of thinking He isn’t, simply because He does not operate according to your will and schedule. If you read your Bible and meditate on it, you will find genuine strength in His promises.

Bible in One Year: Jeremiah 1-3

Joyce Meyer – Be Careful What You Think

 

But his delight and desire are in the law of the Lord, and on His law (the precepts, the instructions, the teachings of God) he habitually meditates (ponders and studies) by day and by night. And he shall be like a tree firmly planted [and tended] by the streams of water, ready to bring forth its fruit in its season; its leaf also shall not fade or wither; and everything he does shall prosper I and come to maturity]. Psalm 1:2-3

Your word have I laid up in my heart, that I might not sin against You…I will meditate on Your precepts and have respect to Your ways [the paths of life marked out by Your law]. Psalm 119:11, 15

In the early days of computers, they used to say, “Garbage in, garbage out.” That was a way of explaining that the computer only worked with the data put into the machine. If we wanted different results, we needed to put in different information.

When it comes to computers, most people have no trouble grasping that concept, but when it comes to their minds, they don’t seem to get it. Or perhaps they don’t want to get it. So many things demand their attention and beg for their focus. They’re not just sinful things. The apostle Paul said that although everything was lawful for him, not everything was helpful (see l Corinthians 6:12).

If you are going to win the battle of the mind and defeat your enemy, where you focus your attention is crucial. The more you meditate on God’s Word, the stronger you’ll become and the more easily you’ll win the victories.

Too many Christians don’t realize the difference between meditating on the Bible and reading the Bible. They like to think that whenever they read God’s Word, they’re absorbing the deep things of God. Too often people will read a chapter of the Bible, and when they get to the last verse, they have little idea of what they’ve read. Those who meditate on Gods Word are those who think and think seriously about what they’re reading.

They may not put it in these words, but they are saying, “God, speak to me. Teach me. As I ponder Your Word, reveal its depth to me.”

In today’s scripture, I quoted from Psalm 1. This psalm begins by defining the person who is blessed, and then points out the right actions of that person. The psalmist wrote that those who meditate and do it day and night are like productive trees…and everything they do shall prosper.

The psalmist made it quite clear that meditating on and thinking about God’s Word brings results. As you ponder who God is and what He’s saying to you, you’ll grow. It’s really that simple. Another way to put it is to say that whatever you focus on, you become. If you read about and allow your mind to focus on God’s love and power, that’s what operates in you.

The apostle Paul says it beautifully in Philippians 4:8: …”Whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them].”

It’s sad, but most Christians don’t put much effort into their study of the Word_ They go to hear others teach and preach, and they may listen to sermon tapes and read the Bible occasionally, but they’re not dedicated to making God’s Word a major part of their lives.

Be careful what you think about. The more you think about good things, the better your life will seem. The more you think about Jesus Christ and the principles He taught, the more you become like Jesus and the stronger you grow And as you grow, you win the battle for your mind.

Lord God, help me think about the things that honor You. Fill my life with a hunger for more of You and Your Word so that in everything I may prosper. I ask this through Jesus Christ. Amen.

Greg Laurie – The Company You Keep

 

It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you.”—1 Corinthians 5:12–13

When I’m around nonbelievers, I don’t expect them to behave like believers. I don’t hold them to the standards of Christians. But sometimes Christians will get really uptight around nonbelievers. They used a cuss word. They said something that is contrary to my faith.

I am not saying that we should condone everything that nonbelievers say or do. But I am saying that we should love them, be kind to them, and engage them as much as we can. We want to build a bridge to nonbelievers.

The apostle Paul told the believers at Corinth, “When I wrote to you before, I told you not to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin. But I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that” (1 Corinthians 5:9–10).

If we break off all communication with nonbelievers, then how will they ever become believers? So we do want to have relationships with people who don’t know the Lord. The goal is to win them to Christ.

But there are certain people whom the Bible says we are not to associate with. Paul said, “You are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people” (verse 11).

The apostle was talking about those who claim to be Christians but are engaged in sexual sin, are drunkards, or are involved in the other things that he mentioned. Paul was saying, “Don’t hang out with those people. In fact, don’t even have lunch with them.” Why? Because they will drag you down spiritually.

Charles Stanley – Understanding Anxiety

 

2 Timothy 1:7

Throughout scripture, the lord gives us evidence that many people deal with anxiety—even those considered pillars of faith. For example, we can deduce that the apostle Paul must have felt fear, since God instructed Him not to be afraid “any longer” (Acts 18:9).

The fact that fear is common, however, does not mean it is from the Lord (2 Timothy 1:7). Of course, certain situations—like hearing a loud noise when we are alone—will trigger a frightened response. But God doesn’t want us to live with ongoing anxiety.

Common worries include the fear of death, poverty, illness, old age, criticism, and the loss of a loved one or something cherished. Why do we find it so hard to let go of our concerns, even when God clearly states, “Do not fear” (Luke 12:7)? The reason is that worry can become deeply ingrained in the way we think. Sometimes we have unhealthy thought patterns that stem from feelings of inadequacy, a sense of guilt, or a mistaken view of the Lord. It’s not uncommon for insecurity in childhood to develop into a lack of confidence later on. Life experiences can be another factor. For instance, a person who has lost a parent suddenly in a car accident is likely to struggle with worry.

Regardless of the cause, anxiety will take our eyes off our omnipotent, loving heavenly Father and focus our attention on our circumstances. No wonder God repeatedly reminds us not to fear—He wants His children to feel secure in His capability and trustworthiness.

Greg Laurie – What Will You Be Remembered For?

 

“‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ‘Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.'” —Revelation 14:13

What is heaven like? What will we do when we get there? The Bible has answers to all of that.

1. Heaven is a place of rejoicing.

“Blessed are the dead . . .”

As much as we may miss our loved ones who have gone before us to heaven, we need to know that they are in pure bliss. The apostle Paul died and went to heaven and was brought back to life. Paul said he longed to go there—because it is “far better” (Philippians 1:23).

Adrian Rogers, who is now in heaven, once wrote, “Consider the artistry that God has put into Heaven.” In his commentary on Revelation he wrote these words, “The God who sculpted the wings of the butterfly, blended the hues of the rainbow, and painted the meadows with daffodils is the same who made Heaven.”

2. Heaven is a place of rest.

“That they may rest from their labors . . .”

We will have a permanent rest from our labors in heaven. The curse will be gone, and we will no longer have to work “by the sweat of our brow” (Genesis 3:19), but we will still be busy for the Lord! Our work is not over when we leave this earth; it continues in heaven and on the new earth.

3. Heaven is a place of reward.

“And their works follow them.”

You cannot work your way into heaven, for it is a gift of God to each of us. However, the Bible teaches that “faith without works is dead” (James 2:20).

Your “works will follow you.” One day, in your memorial service, no one will care about how successful you were in business or how much money you had. People will talk about your character, your merciful acts, and love for others. Make sure you have some “good works” to follow you to that day.

So let’s press forward—continuing to serve the Lord during our short time here on earth, knowing that eternity will be a time of rejoicing, rest, and reward!

John MacArthur – Inheriting the Earth

 

“Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matt. 5:5).

Someday God will reverse the curse and return the earth to His people.

God said to Adam and Eve, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Gen. 1:28). But their sin cost them their sovereignty and brought a curse upon the earth (Gen. 3:17-18).

The apostle Paul said, “The anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God . . . in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption” (Rom. 8:19-21). Someday that curse will be reversed and God’s people will once again inherit the earth.

The Greek word translated “inherit” (Matt. 5:5) means “to receive an allotted portion.” The earth is the allotted portion of believers, who will reign with the Lord when He comes in His kingdom (Rev. 20:6). That’s an emphatic promise in Matthew 5:5, which literally reads, “Blessed are the gentle, for only they shall inherit the earth.”

Many Jewish people of Christ’s day thought the kingdom belonged to the strong, proud, and defiant. But Jesus said the earth will belong to the gentle, meek, and humble. Proud, self-righteous people don’t qualify (cf. Luke 1:46- 53). Jesus said, “Unless you are converted and become [humble and submissive] like children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:3).

As a recipient of God’s promises, you should be thrilled knowing that you will inherit the earth and reign with Christ in His earthly kingdom. Be encouraged to know that even when evil people and godless nations seem to prosper, God is in complete control and will someday establish His righteous kingdom on earth.

Rejoice in that assurance, and seek to be all He wants you to be until that great day.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Thank God that all of creation will someday be freed from sin’s corrupting influences.
  • Praise Him for His mighty power, which will bring it all to pass.

For Further Study

Read 1 Corinthians 6:1-8.

  • What issue did Paul address?
  • How does the future reign of Christians apply to that issue?

 

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The Scandal of the Cross

 

There is a striking verse in the New Testament, in which the apostle Paul refers to the cross of Jesus Christ as foolishness to the Greek and a stumbling block to the Jew. One can readily understand why he would say that. After all, to the Greek mind, sophistication, philosophy, and learning were exalted pursuits. How could one crucified possibly spell knowledge?

To the Jewish mind, on the other hand, there was a cry and a longing to be free. In their history, they had been attacked by numerous powers and often humiliated by occupying forces. Whether it was the Assyrians or the Babylonians or the Romans, Jerusalem had been repeatedly plundered and its people left homeless. What would the Hebrew have wanted more than someone who could take up their cause and altogether repel the enemy? How could a Messiah who was crucified possibly be of any help?

To the Greek, the cross was foolishness. To the Jew, it was a stumbling block. What is it about the cross of Christ that so roundly defies everything that power relishes? Crucifixion was humiliating. It was so humiliating that the Romans who specialized in the art of torture assured their own citizenry that a Roman could never be crucified. But not only was it humiliating, it was excruciating. In fact, the very word “excruciating” comes from two Latin words: ex cruciatus, or out of the cross. Crucifixion was the defining word for pain.

Does that not give us pause in this season now before us? Think of it: humiliation and agony. This was the path Jesus chose with which to reach out for you and for me. You see, this thing we call sin, but which we so tragically minimize, breaks the grandeur for which we were created. It brings indignity to our essence and pain to our existence. It separates us from God.

On the way to the cross two thousand years ago, Jesus took the ultimate indignity and the ultimate pain to bring us back to the dignity of a relationship with God and the healing of our souls. Will you remember that this was done for you and receive his gift?

You will then discover that it is sin that is foolishness. Our greatest weakness is not an enemy from without but one from within. It is our own weak wills that cause us to stumble. But Jesus Christ frees us from the foolishness of sin and the weakness of our selves.

This is the very reason the apostle Paul went on to say that he preached Jesus Christ as one crucified, which was both the power of God and the wisdom of God. Come to the cross in these days given for our contemplation and find out his power and his wisdom.

Ravi Zacharias is founder and chairman of the board of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Cheer Up; He Has Overcome

 

“I have told you all this so that you will have peace of heart and mind. Here on earth you will have many sorrows and trials; but cheer up, for I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

I know of few promises in all the Word of God that offer more assurance and encouragement than this one.

The apostle Paul was an aggressive soldier of God who carried the gospel far and wide throughout the known world. He was greatly used of God to expand the territorial borders of Christendom. All that Paul did, he did in the name of Christ and through the power and control of the Holy Spirit.

But there was great opposition to Paul’s ministry. Consequently, he always seemed to be in the center of spiritual warfare. He knew his enemies, Satan and the world system, and their subtle, deceiving devices.

Throughout his Christian life, he suffered various kinds of persecutions, including stonings, beatings and imprisonment. In spite of such harsh persecution, Paul could write, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, rejoice” (Philipians 4:4, NAS).

It was during Paul’s imprisonment in Rome, about 61 or 62 A.D., that he wrote to the church at Ephesus. The theme of his letter is supernatural living, and he talks about the Christian’s spiritual warfare. He tells us that the battle we fight is against Satan and the spiritual forces of wickedness, not against other people.

The apostle Paul experienced the supernatural peace of heart and mind which Jesus promised, a promise which we too can claim, in times of difficulty, testing and even persecution.

Bible Reading: John 16:25-32

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  Today I will claim the peace of heart and mind which Jesus promised to all who trust and obey Him. Deliberately and faithfully I will seek to put on the whole armor of God so that I will be fully prepared to withstand the wiles of the enemy and thus live a supernatural life for the glory of God.

Greg Laurie – Why Pray?

 

Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. —Ephesians 6:18

To be a growing Christian, you must have a prayer life. And what is prayer? Simply put, it is communicating with and listening to God.

There isn’t one method or one posture for prayer that is more legitimate than another. The main thing is to pray. Writing to the believers in Ephesus, the apostle Paul said, “Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere” (Ephesians 6:18).

You can pray publicly. You can pray privately. You can pray verbally. You can pray silently. You can pray while you’re kneeling, standing, sitting, lying down, or even while you’re driving (but keep your eyes open). You can lift your eyes to heaven and pray, or you can close your eyes and bow your head and pray. You can pray in any position at any time in any place.

As we look in the pages of the Bible, we see Daniel praying in a lion’s den, David praying in a field, and Peter praying while he walked on the water—and while he was in the water. Jonah prayed from the belly of a whale. So surely God will hear your prayer wherever you are. The main thing is that you are always praying.

The apostle Paul told the Thessalonian Christians, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16–18). That means we should pray in the morning. We should pray in the afternoon. We should pray in the evening. We should pray when we rise. We should pray before we go to bed at night. We are to constantly pray and bring our needs before God. There is no substitute for prayer.

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – No Longer Under Law

 

“So there is now no condemnation awaiting those who belong to Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).

What an exciting fact! We are no longer under the law. We have been liberated from the bondage of trying to please God through our self-effort.

What is our motivation under grace? Under law our motivation was fear, and desire for reward and blessing; under grace, our basic motivation is an expression of gratitude – an inward appreciation and response to God’s love and grace.

Why do we do what we do as Christians? We should respond because we, like the apostle Paul, are constrained by the love of Christ. We live for the glory of God. You will remember that the apostle Paul had been beaten, imprisoned, shipwrecked, starved, buffeted, criticized and condemned, yet he said, “The love of Christ constrains me.”

Even if there were no rewards for those who live godly lives and obey our Savior, the reward of knowing Him as our God and Father, being forgiven of sin and cleansed from all guilt, is more than just enough; it is unfathomable. We can know Him, love Him, worship Him and serve Him by faith – here and now!

A young man I know is writing a book on how to become rich in the kingdom of God. He is basing his theme on the rewards that will be his by winning souls. “I want to be rich in heaven,” he says.

That may be a worthwhile goal, but it is not mine. Mine is gratitude and love. I love Him because He first loved me – died for me, liberated me, set me free.

Bible Reading: Romans 8:2-6

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  I will sing praises and give thanks in my heart to the Lord upon every remembrance of the liberty and grace that is mine in Christ Jesus, and I will tell everyone who will listen that we are no longer in bondage to sin, for Christ has set us free.

 

Charles Stanley – The Making of an Encourager

Read | 2 Corinthians 1:3-7

People love encouragers, and the Lord intends for each of His children to be one. An encourager is able to stand beside someone else to give hope and the motivation to persevere through difficult times. We are not born with this ability fully developed, but we can follow several essential steps to become capable of supporting and empathizing with a hurting friend.

First, we must be willing to experience pain. The apostle Paul was an encourager; in verse 4 of today’s passage, he urges us to reach out to others with the “comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” To experience comfort and have it flow through us, we must suffer some heartache. There’s power in the touch of a person who has been in the valley. Someone who experiences pain does not offer empty words, but hope.

Second, we need to learn the principles that are available to us in our suffering. If we can view our heartache as a class in God’s university, where our enrollment will produce a degree in encouragement, much of the sting will dissipate. The Lord teaches us to place our trust in Him alone, and then we can pass that wisdom on to others.

The most effective encouragers are those who say, “There was nothing I could do but cry out to God. Let me tell you what the Lord did in response.” If we try to escape pain, we will miss out on the principles that can be learned only from suffering; then we cannot be useful to others. Our loving Father builds encouragers from the material of a life willing to be broken.

Greg Laurie – The Pursuit That Will Leave You Empty

 

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be . . . lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.—2 Timothy 3:1–2, 4

Has there ever been a more pleasure-mad culture than ours today? It seems that we can’t be entertained enough. We have continuous media coming our way with constant imagery and sounds, all things that are supposed to bring us pleasure.

In fact, some people would say, “For me, life means living for pleasure. You know, it’s all about having a good time. It’s all about the weekend. It’s all about the next party. It’s all about the next thrill in life.”

That philosophy is nothing new. The apostle Paul’s contemporary, the emperor Nero, believed that the purpose of life was to live as an unbridled beast in pleasure, passion, and parties. And that is exactly how he lived.

There also was a Greek philosophical group at that time who called themselves the Epicureans. Basically, these were people who lived for pleasure. And we still have people like this today. In fact, the Bible tells us that one of the signs of the last days is that people will be “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:4). What a waste to live this way, because the Bible says that “she who lives in pleasure is dead while she lives” (1 Timothy 5:6).

The apostle Paul said, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).

Joy Davidman, the wife of C. S. Lewis, said, “Living for your own pleasure is the least pleasurable thing a man can do. If his neighbors don’t kill him in disgust he will die slowly of boredom and powerlessness.”

What do you live for? What gets your blood pumping? What would you say is the greatest passion of your life? Only the person who can say, “To live is Christ” can also say, “To die is gain.”

 

Charles Stanley – How does the renewing of my mind set me free?

Romans 12:1-2

How does the Word of God teach us the truth that sets us free? The original Greek in Romans 12 helps explain the process.

The apostle Paul tells us, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom. 12:2).

Another way of saying it is, “Stop allowing the world to shape you into its mold.” The meaning of the phrase is further deepened in the Greek. He used words that mean, “Stop assuming an outward appearance and lifestyle that is inconsistent with your inner being.”

Now that Jesus Christ lives within you, it is incompatible with your true identity to allow the world to influence you into old behaviors. You have been freed from those old thought patterns, insecurities, inadequacies, and inferiorities, and freed to become a fruitful, Spirit-filled child of God.

Paul tells us to “be transformed,” a Greek word from which the English word metamorphosis is derived. The believer is to have a metamorphosis by making his outward appearance and lifestyle consistent with who is within him and what he has become internally.

This metamorphosis comes by the renewing of our minds—when we replace old, erroneous thought patterns with the truth we find in God’s Word. And when truth becomes a part of your thinking, you become a free man or woman, a free saint, a free child of God fully apprised and confident of your position, personage, and possessions in Christ

 

Related Resources

Related Audio

How The Truth Can Set You Free

How does God renew your mind in order to set me free? (Listen to How The Truth Can Set You Free, Part 10.)

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – He is Faithful

 

“Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for He is faithful that promised)” (Hebrews 10:23, KJV).

When we share our faith with others – hopefully a natural part of our daily walk, though we need not “preach a sermon” to share – we can remain steadfast in that profession of our faith, not wavering as we consider all He has done for us.

Why is that possible?

Simply this: He is faithful that promised.

The writer of Hebrews, presumably the apostle Paul, knew that the believers had been suffering persecution and there might be a tendency or temptation to become weak in their faith. Even serious doubts might have crept in. So Paul is seeking to guard against any kind of apostasy.

He wants to be sure the people are not shaken by their trials or by the arguments of their enemies. So he exhorts them in unmistakable terms.

Paul’s reasoning to the people about faithfulness was this: Since God is so faithful to us, His children, we ought to be faithful to Him. Further, the fact that He is faithful should be an encouragement to us. We are dependant upon Him for grace to hold fast the profession of our faith.

All that God has promised, He will perform. He is faithful.

Bible Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:4-9

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will state in positive, confident terms what God has done for me, knowing that He is the faithful One who will do all He has promised. With this assurance, I can draw open His faithfulness to live supernaturally.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – He Will Preserve Me

 

“And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto His heavenly kingdom; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen” (2 Timothy 4:18, KJV).

Do you and I have that same kind of confidence in God?

Note that the apostle Paul did not mention the word deathhere, for earlier verses in this chapter reveal that he expected to die – and he was ready. But he was assured that God would keep Paul from apostasy, and from displaying an improper spirit at the time of his death.

In the same way, we can ask the Lord today, in faith believing, for that inner peace we need to face up to all that He allows to happen in our lives. His perfect peace is sufficient for every testing and trial and trouble and temptation.

By keeping us from every evil work, He likewise enables us to reach His heavenly kingdom.

An appropriate time for praise to God is when a person knows he is about to be brought to heaven, and Paul introduces such a doxology here: “to whom be glory for ever and ever.”

The truth is clear: we are protected on every side, and even at death we can sing the doxology, for we are about to meet the altogether lovely One in His heavenly home. To remain in constant fellowship with our heavenly Father will maintain a spirit of joy, love and peace in our lives that nothing can shake.

Bible Reading: Psalm 3:1-6

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Like the apostle Paul, I will confidently expect God to protect me from every evil work and enable me to live the supernatural life for His glory.

Charles Stanley – Our Helper in Prayer

Charles Stanley

Romans 8:26-27

Christians need the Holy Spirit’s help in prayer. At times in our journey of faith, we’ll find that we cannot . . .

  • Find the right words
  • Discern God’s will
  • Recognize what He is doing, or
  • Grasp the complexity of a situation.

Periods of struggle in prayer are normal for believers. Few of us are as eloquent as the psalmist David—especially when we are confused, distressed, or weary. So let’s look at two biblical examples of prayer in challenging situations.

First, notice that in today’s reading, the apostle Paul admits to feeling weak in his prayer life. His well-known request was for God to remove a “thorn in the flesh” (2 Cor. 12:7). Paul pleaded desperately—and probably with great effort—for relief. With the Spirit’s help, he came to understand the Lord’s call to endure in spite of pain.

A second example is Jesus Christ’s agonized prayer the night before His crucifixion. Although He was committed to doing His Father’s will, He dreaded the immeasurable spiritual suffering that lay ahead. Crying out to God from Gethsemane, the Savior uttered this urgent sentence: “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will” (Matt. 26:39).

God knew we’d need help in prayer. With our limited human perspective, we cannot know all aspects of the situations facing us. But the Holy Spirit understands our needs and burdens—as well as the big picture. He carries our requests to God even when we can’t adequately express them.

Greg Laurie – Temporary Unknowns   

greglaurie

We see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. —1 Corinthians 13:12

The Bible tells us that one day, in heaven, we will know as we are known (see 1 Corinthians 13:12).

For the time being, I don’t have a complete knowledge of life beyond this life. The fact of the matter is, there’s so much about the person of God, His ways, and His dwelling place that I don’t know. But one day in a new body, I will see Him face-to-face, and all of my questions will be answered.

The apostle Paul had a remarkable experience in which he died and then was revived (see Acts 14:19-20). This wasn’t a near-death experience; Paul literally died. But he didn’t write a book about it or go on the talk show circuit. He basically said, “I was caught up into the third heaven and heard things that I can’t even describe to you, but it was paradise” (see 2 Corinthians 12:2). That’s all he would say.

It does appear, however, that we will recognize one another in heaven. After all, when Moses and Elijah met with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration, the disciples recognized them immediately. So you might ask, “How will I know you if I’m looking for you?” Well, look for the guy with the full head of brand-new hair. That will be me.

Yes, someday very soon we will be with the Lord. And though we don’t know a great deal about heaven now, we can be sure its reality will exceed our wildest dreams. We will see the Lord, and we will see one another. And all of the mysteries will be solved.

Today’s devotional is an excerpt from Every Day with Jesus by Greg Laurie, 2013