Tag Archives: The Bible

Greg Laurie – Fun . . . at First

 

It was by faith that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin. —Hebrews 11:24–25

There can be an initial excitement when we sin. Of course, it doesn’t last long. The Bible says that Moses “chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:25, emphasis added). The Bible also says “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).

When you get away with something and nothing happens, there is an initial euphoria. You think, They lied to me—it’s actually fun. It will be fun . . . at first. It would be exciting to jump off the Empire State Building . . . until you hit the ground. The same is true of sin. It is pleasurable for a time.

The first time you get away with whatever it is you shouldn’t have done, you think, This is pretty cool. I can be a Christian and still do all of this stuff too. You believe you are getting away with it and that you can actually have the best of both worlds. You’ve convinced yourself that you can live a double life. You might even say that you feel good about it. But your feelings can mislead you. And it will all come crashing down.

Sometimes when God doesn’t bust us straightaway for our stupidity, we think we can always get away with it. When we don’t reap the immediate consequences of a sin, we might even, in our warped thinking, rationalize what we are doing. Yet Ecclesiastes 8:11 says, “Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.” Don’t confuse God’s grace with His permission, and even worse, His blessing.

Sin will blind you, and then it will find you. Your sin will find you out.

Joyce Meyer – Listen Carefully

 

And He said to them, Be careful what you are hearing. The measure [of thought and study] you give [to the truth you hear] will be the measure [of virtue and knowledge] that comes back to you the more [besides] will be given to you who hear. – Mark 4:24

The Bible says that in the latter days many false prophets will rise up and tell people what their itching ears want to hear. People will search for one teacher after another who will tell them something pleasing and gratifying. To suit their own desires, they will turn away from hearing the Truth and will wander off into listening to myths and man-made fiction (see 2 Timothy 4:3–4). They will turn to methods that may be called “spiritual,” but are not safe in God’s Kingdom. They are “spiritual,” but they come from the wrong spirit!

Never before have we seen such an influx of psychics vying for a ready ear. Television shows feature mediums who claim to communicate with people who have died. These people are actually communicating with familiar spirits who tell half-truths about the past and lies about the future. This is strictly forbidden in Scripture (see Leviticus 19:31). God says He will set His face against anyone who turns to mediums and spiritists (see Leviticus 20: 6–7), yet Christians still read horoscopes and consult psychics—then wonder why they live in confusion and don’t have peace.

We must realize that it is wrong to seek guidance for our lives through anything other than God Himself. In fact, our seeking guidance through other sources offends Him. No one who does so will have the peaceful, joy-filled, blessed life God intended.

If you have been involved in activity of this kind, I urge you to thoroughly repent; ask God to forgive you; and turn away completely from such practices. God alone has all the answers you need, so go to Him and let Him give you the guidance and encouragement you need.

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

Greg Laurie – Is Your Life Like a Decaf Low-Fat Latte?

 

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”—2 Corinthians 5:10

Did you know that Christians will be judged one day?

Don’t panic, this is not a judgment about whether or not we get into heaven. This is about the rewards you will receive.

Luke 14:14 says, “Then at the resurrection of the godly, God will reward you for inviting those who could not repay you” (NLT). And in Revelation 22:12, Jesus said, “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work (NKJV).

What exactly will be judged?

The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:10, “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” The “bad” spoken of is not something that is ethically or morally evil. The word for “bad” means “evil of another kind.” Another way to translate it is “good-for-nothingness.” Worthlessness. The wasting of one’s time, energy, and life. Are you wasting your life on nothingness?

It’s like a coke that has lost its carbonation. Or a decaf, low-fat latte. Why bother?

The quality of every man’s work will be tested: “Take particular care in picking your building materials. Eventually there is going to be an inspection. If your work passes inspection, fine; if it doesn’t, your part of the building will be torn out and started over. But you won’t be torn out; you’ll survive—but just barely” (1 Corinthians 3:12–15 MSG).

At the judgment seat of Christ, each of us will have to give an account of what we did with the life, gifts, and calling that God gave to us. So what are you not doing that you should be doing?

Let’s use the gifts, talents, and resources that God has given us to do His work while we still have the opportunity.

Max Lucado – Get Over Yourself

Proverbs 16:5 says, “The Lord despises pride.” So, get over yourself!

An elementary boy came home from tryouts for the school play. “Mommy, mommy” he announced, “I got a part. I’ve been chosen to sit in the audience and clap and cheer.” When you have a chance to clap and cheer, do you take it? If you do, your head is starting to fit your hat size.

Demanding respect is like chasing a butterfly. Chase it, and you’ll never catch it. Sit still, and it may light on your shoulder. The Bible says in Proverbs 27:2, “Don’t praise yourself. Let someone else do it.” Does your self-esteem need attention? You need only pause at the base of the cross and be reminded of this: The maker of the stars would rather die for you than live without you. And that’s a fact!

From Traveling Light

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.

Joyce Meyer – Faith as a Channel, Not a Source

 

My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth. Psalm 121:2

We need to know about faith. Faith is a wonderful thing. The Bible says that without faith it is impossible to please God (see Hebrews 11:6 KJV). The reason it is so important and so vital is because it is the means through which we receive from God all the good things He wants to provide us. That is why the Lord trains His people in faith. He wants them to get their eyes on Him and learn to believe Him so He can do for and through them what He wants done in the earth. The same is true of prayer, praise, meditation, Bible study, confession, spiritual warfare, and all the other precepts we have been hearing about and engaging in.

But in all our spiritual activity, we must be careful that we don’t start worshiping—adhering to, trusting in and relying on—these things instead of the Lord Himself. It is possible to worship our prayer time, our Bible study, our confession, our meditation, our praise, our good works. It is possible to develop faith in our faith rather than faith in our God. It is almost frightening because there is such a fine line between the two. But the thing we must remember is that as good as all these things are, they are only channels to receiving from the Lord.

Greg Laurie – Moving Hearts

 

Then the king said to me, “What do you request?” So I prayed to the God of heaven.—Nehemiah 2:4

Did you know the Lord can move the heart of a king? Or a prime minister? Or a president? The Bible says, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes” (Proverbs 21:1).

The Bible tells the story of Nehemiah, who was cupbearer to the king of Persia. A cupbearer tasted all of the king’s food in case someone was trying to poison him. But in reality, Nehemiah was more than that. Being in such close proximity to the king, the cupbearer would end up being a counselor to the king. So the position of cupbearer became one of great influence. And someone in that situation wouldn’t have wanted to do anything to jeopardize it.

Nehemiah, however, was a Jew. He had heard about how the walls of Jerusalem lay in ruins, and his heart went out to his fellow Jews. He thought that perhaps God had put him where he was to do something good for his people. Yet to approach the king and incur his disfavor could cost him his life.

As Nehemiah pondered all this, it made him sad. The king noticed this one day and asked Nehemiah why he was depressed, so Nehemiah explained what was bothering him. Then the king said, “What do you request?”

I love what happened next: “So I [Nehemiah] prayed to the God of heaven” (Nehemiah 2:4). No doubt it was one of those prayers on the fly, the kind you pray when you’re suddenly summoned to the boss’s or principal’s office. Nehemiah prayed, and the Lord moved the king’s heart.

We need to pray for those who are in authority over us. Pray that God would help them make the right decisions and guide and lead their steps.

Greg Laurie – The Perfect Book

 

The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.—Psalm 19:7

Do you ever go back and look at your old yearbooks from high school and wonder, What was I thinking? The hairstyles are always entertaining. Remember when mullets were popular? What was the fascination with mullets?

Even as styles change and our culture changes, the Word of God never does. The Bible is never out of date.

The psalmist David declared, “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple” (Psalm 19:7). The phrase “the law of the Lord” is a Hebrew term used to define the Scriptures. It’s a word that speaks of the perfection of the Scriptures. The verse could be translated, “The Word of God is whole; it is complete” or “The Word of God is efficient.”

We are told in 2 Timothy 3:16–17, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” We know that God’s Word is sufficient. It is infallible. The original autographs, the first copies, were without error.

Not long ago I was watching a pastor being interviewed on a news show. He was being pressed on what the Bible says about some issues that aren’t popular in our culture today. The interviewer asked, “Don’t you think it’s time for us to drag the Bible kicking and screaming into the twenty-first century?”

I thought, Oh my. That is the whole problem: we’ve ignored the Bible. The Bible never goes out of date. The news goes out of date—quickly—but never the Word of God. The Word of God is an adequate book. It is a sufficient book. And it is a perfect book.

Joyce Meyer – How to Win the Battle

 

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.- Ephesians 6:14–15 NIV

The Bible says that if we meet our battles with peace and respond to the upsets in life with peace, we will experience victory. It’s a paradox; it doesn’t make any sense. How can we win if we stop fighting?

My husband used to make me mad because he would not fight with me. I was upset and angry, and I wanted him to say just one thing so I could rail on and on. But when Dave saw that I was just looking for an argument, he would be quiet and tell me, “I am not going to fight with you.” Sometimes he would even get in the car and leave for a while, infuriating me even more, but I could not fight with someone who would not fight back.

Moses told the Israelites not to fight when they found the Red Sea facing them on one side and the Egyptian army chasing them on the other. They became frightened, and he told them, Fear not; stand still (firm, confident, undismayed) and see the salvation of the Lord which He will work for you today. For the Egyptians you have seen today you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace and remain at rest (Exodus 14:13–14).

Notice that Moses told the Israelites to “hold [their] peace and remain at rest.” Why? They were at war, and it was necessary for them to respond with peace in order to win the battle. God would fight for them if they would show their confidence in Him by being peaceful. If you hold on to your peace, He will do the same for you.

Trust in Him Are you fighting a battle when you should be holding your peace? Choose to stop fighting and trust God to fight for you. That is how to win a battle.

Greg Laurie – The Question of the Ages

 

While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?”—Matthew 22:41–42

Without question, Jesus Christ is the most controversial figure who has ever lived. He is loved, worshiped, and followed by some. He is hated, despised, and rejected by others. He is disregarded and ignored by most. But it always will come down to Jesus.

Who is Jesus? Two thousand years ago, Christ Himself asked the question: “What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?” (Matthew 22:42). And to this very day, people are still confused about the answer. Maybe there has never been a time when more people profess faith in Jesus yet at the same time have no clue as to who He really is.

Many will speak with respect about Christ. They will say things like, “I believe that Jesus was a great prophet” or “I believe that Jesus was a messenger sent from God” or “I believe that Jesus was the best of all men.”

Yet the Bible teaches that Jesus Christ was the unique Son of God, not a man becoming God. He was God becoming a man. The Bible teaches that Jesus is the second member of the Trinity. And it also teaches that He was supernaturally conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary. He was not merely a good teacher but the greatest teacher—God in human form.

The Bible teaches that Christ was physically crucified and that He bodily rose from the dead. The Bible also teaches that Jesus was not one god among many but is the only God, equal with the Father and above all others. That is why the death of Jesus, and the death of Jesus alone, meets the righteous requirements of God.

Jesus never became God. He always was God. He walked among us as an ordinary looking man, yet He was God incarnate.

 

Greg Laurie – The First Step to Joyful Living

 

Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.—Philippians 2:2

Conventional wisdom says that you must always look out for number one and do whatever it takes to succeed. But that is not how the kingdom of God works.

Paul wrote to the believers in Philippi, “Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose” (Philippians 2:1–2).

The Message puts it this way: “Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.”

This goes against conventional wisdom about how we are to succeed in life, but this is what the Bible says. Some people may say, “I don’t know what planet you’re from, but that won’t work in my situation. You don’t know what it’s like in the world that I have to live in.”

What we are talking about is the way that a Christian should live. The Bible says the first step to joyful living is to put the needs of others before yourself. Paul said, “Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too” (Philippians 2:4).

That seems like a recipe for disaster and failure in today’s culture. But here’s what the Bible says: “So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor” (1 Peter 5:6).

If you want to be a happy person, then you cannot be a self-absorbed person, because a self-absorbed person will be a miserable person.

Ravi Zacharias Ministry –  Is the Bible Sexist?

 

There is a widespread belief around about the Bible that it is some kind of powerful patriarchal conspiracy which has been used to oppress women. As a female speaker I find that this question is frequently asked: “How can you as a woman promote such a sexist book? The church has tried to keep women down!” As a Christian, I believe I need to be sensitive to the issues which underlie such an emotive question. While it may indeed seem to be the case that women have been discriminated against by religion, the Bible itself deserves closer examination on the subject. How is it that many of the greatest Jewish and Christian pioneers have been women? What does the Bible really say about this subject?(1)

Throughout the Bible there are numerous positive images of women and stories that involve women. In the Old Testament women share the image of God at creation. At the end of time at the Second Coming of Jesus, the church is represented as the bride of Christ. All the way through from beginning to end, the Bible includes the feminine as an integral part of the Judeo-Christian tradition. While it is true that the Bible is written over a long period of time into specific cultures and that some of these contexts did not give equal social advantages to women, it would not be true to say that the message of the Bible is sexist or discriminatory against women.

In the New Testament, there are quite a number of significant events involving women, particularly considering the conservative cultural attitudes of the context into which it was written. This context is demonstrated by a simple statement in John’s Gospel in the famous encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well. There is a telling little sentence in 4:27 which sheds a great deal of light on just how radical the Bible is in affirming women. The disciples come across Jesus during his conversation with the woman and we are told they “were surprised to find him talking with a woman.” This is the context of Jesus’s ministry and yet he goes against these cultural trends time and time again.

He does this firstly by having female disciples. In a culture where the idea of women travelling around with a group of men, or having the status of disciple was seriously questionable, Jesus has a number of women who are included in his travelling circle who also contributed financially to the needs of the group. In fact, when Jesus is told that his mother and brothers are waiting outside to see him, he points to his disciples and says, “Here are my mother and brothers.” This statement is unthinkable unless there were women among his disciples. In the Middle Eastern culture of the 1st century, it would be unspeakably offensive to point to male disciples and use female imagery to describe them. The group of disciples referred to must have included some women.

We also see Jesus teaching women in the New Testament. In Luke 10:38, we read of Mary who sits at the feet of Jesus and engages in theological study, much to her sister’s chagrin. This phrase “to sit at the feet of” is the same formulation as Acts 22:3 where Paul describes his training under Gamaliel. The clear implication here is that Mary is affirmed as worthy of a Rabbi’s theological instruction; indeed, it is interesting that later on in John’s Gospel we read of Martha, Mary’s sister, who is the first to be taught one of the most astounding theological statements of the New Testament. Jesus says to her, “‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live even though he dies.” In contrast to the cultural norms of the time, Jesus made a habit of revealing great theological truths to women. The first person who discovers Christ’s true identity in John’s Gospel is the Samaritan woman at the well. We must not underestimate how radical this is: Jesus was turning cultural taboos on their heads by teaching women and allowing women to be his disciples.

In reality, it is clear that women played a full and vibrant role in the ministry of Jesus, both as examples within his teaching and as recipients of it. While this may seem absolutely right and proper in our 21st century context we must remember how radical this was in first century Palestine. Jesus intentionally affirmed and included women. We see a continuation of this in the early church, from Lydia and Tabitha to Philip’s daughters, where women undertook various roles. While it is true to say that there are two particular passages in Paul’s writings which seem to go against all of this, by commanding some women to be silent and forbidding others from teaching, these must be read and interpreted in the context of the rest of the Bible. Paul himself gives guidelines for women when they publicly prophecy and mentions women who do teach like Priscilla.

When we come to the text of the Bible with the issue of sexism in mind, we must be clear that while God is predominantly spoken of with male imagery and ultimately is incarnated in the man Jesus, this is not to say that women are undermined or undervalued. Some female imagery is used of God, and Jesus constantly affirms the value of women, teaching them and interacting with them as human beings. Both male and female are created in the image of God and both are so precious that Christ comes to the earth to redeem both male and female with his blood shed on the Cross.

Amy Orr-Ewing is director of programmes for the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics and UK director for Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Oxford, England.

(1) A version of this article was first published in Idea Magazine, Jul/Aug 2005. See also Is the Bible Intolerant? by Amy Orr-Ewing (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2006).

Joyce Meyer – Give God Your All

 

Praise the LORD, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases . . . —Psalm 103:1–3 NIV

The tiny word “all” is used 5,675 times in the Bible, give or take a few depending on which translation you are reading. It is a small word that means a great deal, and yet we pay so little attention to it. If we read a scripture that has the word all in it and ignore the “all,” it changes the entire context of the scripture. The word all takes us into infinity. Where does “all” stop? How far does it go and what does it include?

Jesus is the Lord of all. Our Al-mighty God, all-sufficient Savior, all blessings flow from Him, and He is all that we need. We frequently say that God is our all, but have we ever stopped to truly understand the impact of that one little word? “All” leaves nothing outside of God’s control.

God knows all things (see John 21:17)! Don’t miss the “all” in that statement. He knows the end from the beginning, so He must know everything in the middle. He also has all power, all authority; all things are under His feet, and He fills everything everywhere with Himself (see Matt. 28:18 and Eph. 1:21–23). He sees all, hears all, and is everywhere all the time. If these things are true, then why do we still worry and become anxious? Why do we get emotionally upset when we have a problem or things are not going our way? It must be because we truly don’t believe He has all power, knows all things, and loves us with all of the love that exists in the universe.

How many of our sins does He forgive? Does He forgive some, most, or all? The Bible says that He forgives them all and continually cleanses us from all unrighteousness. It is one of those “all and forever-now” things. God did not put our sins off to the side so He could glance over at them occasionally; He has removed them completely (see Ps. 103:12).

Trust in Him “All” leaves nothing outside of God’s control, so turn all your problems and worries over to Him. Give Him your all, and you can trust that He will be your all in all.

Greg Laurie – The Why of Divine Election

 

For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. —Romans 8:29

It’s a funny thing to me how people will argue about divine election. They will argue endlessly about whom God chooses, about whom God doesn’t choose, and about how to know whether you are chosen by God. But very few talk about why someone is chosen.

So why are we chosen? The Bible says that God chose us to be conformed into the image of His own dear Son. God works all things together for good to ultimately make us like Jesus. Now, what is going to make us like Jesus might be adversity. It might be hardship. It might be suffering. And it also might be blessing in abundance. But it is all in God’s hands, and I have to trust Him for the outcome.

I don’t know what is coming in life, and sometimes it might not make a lot of sense to me. But God promised that it will be a good work. He has also promised in Romans 8:28 that He will work all things “together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” But let’s not forget the verse that follows it: “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren” (verse 29).

So He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. God will finish it, and one day, we will be perfect. Will it be on earth? Absolutely not. It only will be when we get to heaven. In the meantime, I am just thankful that I am chosen. And if you have asked Christ to come into your life, then you can rest in that confidence as well.

Our Daily Bread — Oranges Or Milk?

Our Daily Bread

Hebrews 5:5-14

Solid food belongs to those who are of full age. —Hebrews 5:14

When I told my young daughter that a 3-month-old baby boy was coming to our house for a visit, she was delighted. With a child’s sense of hospitality, she suggested that we share some of our food with the baby; she thought he might enjoy a juicy orange from the bowl on our kitchen counter. I explained that the baby could drink only milk, but that he might like oranges when he was older.

The Bible uses a similar concept to describe a believer’s need for spiritual food. The basic truths of Scripture are like milk—they help new Christians thrive and grow (1 Peter 2:2-3). In contrast, “Solid food belongs to those who are of full age” (Heb. 5:14). Believers who have had time to digest and understand the basics can move on to investigate other biblical concepts and begin to teach others these truths. The rewards of spiritual maturity are discernment (v.14), godly wisdom (1 Cor. 2:6), and the ability to communicate God’s truth to others (Heb. 5:12).

Like a loving parent, God wants us to grow spiritually. He knows that feeding only on spiritual milk is not in our best interest. He wants us to move on so we can enjoy the taste of solid food. —Jennifer Benson Schuldt

Dear Lord, please deepen my understanding

of Your Word. Let Your Holy Spirit guide

me and enlighten my heart as I pursue Your

truth so that I might walk in Your ways.

Spiritual growth occurs when faith is cultivated.

Bible in a year: Jeremiah 43-45; Hebrews 5

Insight

Today’s passage encourages readers toward maturity in Christ. Far from urging detailed knowledge of difficult Bible passages or in-depth understanding of doctrine, the writer says that “full age” is characterized by something straightforward and practical. It is being able “to discern both good and evil” (v.14).

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – You Are Indwelt by God Himself!

dr_bright

“Haven’t you yet learned that your body is the home of the Holy Spirit God gave you, and that He lives within you? Your own body does not belong to you” (1 Corinthians 6:19).

The Bible teaches that there is one God manifested in three persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – and that God lives within everyone who has received Christ.

One of the most important truths I have learned as a Christian is that this omnipotent, holy, righteous, loving, triune God – our heavenly Father, our risen Savior and Holy Spirit, Creator of heaven and earth – comes to dwell within sinful man at the moment he receives Christ! And, through Christ’s blood, sinful man is made righteous at the moment of the new birth!

Meditate with me upon what this means. When you fully grasp that the God of love, grace, wisdom, power and majesty dwells within you waiting to release His matchless love and mighty power is absolutely awesome.

You are His temple, and if you invite Him to, He will actually walk around in your body, think with your mind, love with your heart, speak with your lips and continue to seek and save the lost, for whom He gave His life 2,000 years ago. Incredible! Incomprehensible to our finite minds, this truth is so clearly emphasized in the Word of God and demonstrated in the lives of all who trust and obey Him that there can be no doubt. If you have received Christ, God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – now indwells you and your body has become His temple.

Bible Reading: Acts 2:37-40

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will begin every day by acknowledging that my body is a temple of God. I will invite the Lord Jesus Christ to walk around in my body, think with my mind, love with my heart, speak with my lips and continue to seek and save the lost through me. I will invite the Holy Spirit to empower and enable me to live a holy, supernatural life and be a fruitful witness of God’s love and grace – that my life will bring praise, honor, worship and glory to God the Father.

Our Daily Bread — Timely Words

Our Daily Bread

Proverbs 25:11-15

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. —Proverbs 25:11

You may have heard the adage, “Timing is everything.” According to the Bible, good timing applies to our words and speech too. Think of a time when God used you to bring a timely word to refresh someone, or when you wanted to speak, but it was wiser for you to remain silent.

The Bible says that there is an appropriate time to speak (Eccl. 3:7). Solomon compared properly timed and well-spoken words with golden apples in a silver setting—beautiful, valuable, and carefully crafted (Prov. 25:11-12). Knowing the right time to speak is beneficial for both the speaker and hearer, whether they are words of love, encouragement, or rebuke. Keeping silent also has its place and time. When tempted to deride, belittle, or slander a neighbor, Solomon said that it is wise to hold our tongue, recognizing the appropriate time for silence (11:12-13). When talkativeness or anger tempts us to sin against God or another human being, resistance comes by being slow to speak (10:19; James 1:19).

It’s often hard to know what to say and when to say it. The Spirit will help us to be discerning. He will help us use the right words at the right time and in the right manner, for the good of others and for His honor. —Marvin Williams

Heavenly Father, thank You for using others to

speak words of encouragement and challenge to

  1. Help me to be wise in how and when my words

or my silence may be helpful to someone else.

Timely words are works of art.

Bible in a year: Isaiah 41-42; 1 Thessalonians 1

Insight

Hebrew poetry (such as psalms and proverbs) differs greatly from Western poetry. Where Western poetry often depends upon rhyme and meter to artistically tell its tale, Hebrew poetry is dependent upon linguistic devices to paint the picture of the ideas it is seeking to convey. One such device, synonymous parallelism, is found in verse 15. Here, the idea of the first half of the verse is reinforced through a reworded repetition of that idea in the second half of the verse. Another common poetic device is found in verses 11-14, where analogies (notice the word like) form the word-pictures that carry the meaning.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – The Supernatural Power of God’s Love

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“For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38,39, KJV).

More than anything else, I was drawn to Christ because of His love for me. The Bible says that Christ proved His supernatural love for us by coming “to die for us while we were still sinners.”

Because of that great love, which draws me to Him and causes me to want to please Him and to love Him in return, I learned how to love supernaturally. In more than 30 years of counseling thousands of people about interpersonal conflicts, I do not know of a single problem that could not have been resolved if those involved had been willing to accept and respond to God’s love for them, and to love others as an act of the will by faith, as God commands.

Such a statement may sound simplistic and exaggerated, yet I make it after carefully reviewing in my mind all kinds of conflicts between husbands and wives, parents and children, neighbors, friends and enemies.

Think of it! Christ’s forgiveness is so great and compassionate that He will not allow anything or anyone to condemn us or separate us from His supernatural love. Even though He is “holy, blameless, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens,” He still loves and cleanses us from all unrighteousness. He gives us absolute assurance that nothing can ever “separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Bible Reading: Romans 8:32-37

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I determine to express my gratitude to God for His great love for me by loving Him in return and by loving by faith everyone with whom I have contact today. With the help of the Holy Spirit, I will demonstrate that love by gracious acts of the will.

Greg Laurie – Homing Instinct   

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We are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. —Philippians 3:20

An old chorus begins, “This world is not my home, I’m just a passin’ through.” That is literally true. The Bible says that when you put your faith in Jesus Christ, you become a citizen of heaven because that is your real home.

That is why we find ourselves with a deep-down longing for something this earth can never deliver. And that is also why we always will be a bit out of tune with this world and all it celebrates. Have you noticed? Sometimes the world will parade its toys and its so-called pleasures before you, and you’ll find yourself saying, deep down in your spirit, “That just leaves me cold. That is not what I desire. That is not what I want at all.” As followers of Jesus, we’ve tasted much, much better things than these.

  1. S. Lewis described this longing with these words: “There have been times when I think we do not desire heaven; but more often I find myself wondering whether, in our heart of hearts, we have ever desired anything else.” He went on to say of heaven, “It is the secret signature of each soul, the incommunicable and unappeasable want.”

I liken it to a homing instinct that God has placed inside some of His creatures. We all know that some animals have a mysterious ability to migrate or travel great distances to very specific locations. It’s like a natural GPS system that God has placed inside them.

One of these days we’ll be going home too — home to a place we’ve never been. Heaven is more real to me than it has ever been because of those who are already there. My son Christopher is there, as is my mom, and the father who adopted me. Friends I have known through the years are on the other side now, and so are many familiar faces from our church.

Don’t get me wrong: There is much wonder, beauty, joy, and fulfillment in this life God has given us on earth. But what makes all these things even better is the sure knowledge that the best is yet to come.

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