Tag Archives: Truth

Alistair Begg – Remember Me

 

Do this in remembrance of me.  1 Corinthians 11:24

It appears that Christians may forget Christ! There would be no need for this loving exhortation if there were not a fearful possibility that our memories might prove treacherous. Nor is this an empty notion: It is, sadly too well confirmed in our experience, not as a possibility, but as a lamentable fact. It appears almost impossible that those who have been redeemed by the blood of the dying Lamb and loved with an everlasting love by the eternal Son of God could forget that gracious Savior; but if startling to the ear, sadly it is too apparent to the eye to allow us to deny the crime. Forget Him who never forgot us! Forget Him who poured His blood out for our sins! Forget Him who loved us even to death! Can it be possible? Yes, it is not only possible, but conscience confesses that it is too sadly a fault with all of us that we treat Him as a stranger, like an overnight guest. Instead of Him being a permanent resident in our memories, we treat Him as a visitor. The cross where one would expect that memory would linger and disinterest would be an unknown intruder is desecrated by the feet of forgetfulness.

Doesn’t your conscience say that this is true? Don’t you find yourselves forgetful of Jesus? Some other love steals away your heart, and you are unmindful of Him upon whom your affection ought to be set. Some earthly business engrosses your attention when you ought to be fixed steadily upon the cross. It is the incessant turmoil of the world, the constant attraction of earthly things, that takes the soul away from Christ. While memory works to preserve a poisonous weed, it allows the rose of Sharon to wither. Let us charge ourselves to tie a heavenly forget-me-not around our hearts for Jesus our Beloved, and whatever else we let slip, let us hold tight to Him.

Charles Spurgeon – David’s dying prayer

 

“Let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen.” Psalm 72:19

Suggested Further Reading: Isaiah 6:1-8

Is there not one among you that can win a laurel wreath? Have I not one true Christian heart here that is set for work and labour? Have I not one man that will devote himself for God and for his truth? Henry Martyn! Thou art dead; and is thy mantle buried with thee? Brainerd, thou sleepest with thy fathers; and is thy spirit dead too, and shall there never be another Brainerd? Knibb, thou hast ascended to thy God; and is there nowhere another Knibb? Williams, thy martyred blood still crieth from the ground; and is there nowhere another Williams? What! Not among this dense mass of young and burning spirits? Is there not one that can say in his heart, “Here am I, send me”? “This hour, being saved by God’s grace, I give myself up to him, to go wherever he shall be pleased to send me, to testify his gospel in foreign lands”? What! Are there no Pauls now? Have we none who will be apostles for the Lord of hosts? I think I see one who, putting his lips together, makes this silent resolve—“By God’s grace I this day devote myself to him; through trouble and through trial I will be his, if he will help me; for missionary work or for anything else I give up my all to God; and if I may die as Williams did, and wear the blood-red crown of martyrdom, I will be proud; and if I may live to serve my Master, like a Brainerd, and die at last worn out, here I am, do but have me, Master; give me the honour of leading the forlorn hope, of leading the vanguard of Christianity; here I am, send me.”

For meditation: The earth is going to be filled with the knowledge of the glory of God (Habakkuk 2:14). Every believer has a contribution to make towards that goal, big or small. Are you playing your part?

Sermon no. 129

26 April (1857)

John MacArthur – Paying the Price of Righteousness

 

“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness” (Matt. 5:10).

Unlike many today who try to make the gospel palatable for reluctant sinners, Jesus made it clear that following Him had its price. Rather than acceptance, fame, prestige, and prosperity, you can expect rejection and persecution. That’s not a popular approach to evangelism, but it’s honest. Also it insures that no one will try to enter the kingdom on the wrong basis.

Jesus wanted His hearers to count the cost of discipleship. He knew that many of them would be disowned by their families and excommunicated from the Jewish synagogues. Many would suffer persecution or martyrdom at the hands of the Roman government. They needed to count the cost!

Persecution did come to those early Christians. The Emperor Nero smeared many of them with pitch, crucified them, and then burned them to light his garden parties. He condemned Christians for refusing to worship him as a god, and blamed them for the burning of Rome in [sc]A.D. 64. Christians were accused of cannibalism because Jesus said, “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him” (John 6:56). They were said to be revolutionaries because they believed that God would one day destroy the earth.

The world’s animosity toward Christians hasn’t changed. You might not face the severe persecutions the first- century believers faced, but you will be persecuted (Phil. 1:29). Even new Christians often face difficulties. If they refuses to join their former friends in sinful activities, they might be rejected. If they work for a dishonest boss who expects them to participate in or condone his evil practices, they might be fired or have to quit their jobs. That might bring extreme financial hardship to their families.

God won’t always shield you from persecution, but He will honor your integrity and give you strength to endure any trial that comes your way. Praise Him for His all- sufficient grace!

Suggestions for Prayer:

Pray for those you know who are suffering hardship for Christ’s sake.

Ask God for the wisdom and strength to face persecution with integrity and unwavering faith.

For Further Study:

Read James 1:2-4 and 1 Peter 5:10.

What purpose does suffering serve?

How should you respond to suffering?

Joyce Meyer – Just Obey

 

But the natural, nonspiritual man does not accept or welcome or admit into his heart the gifts and teachings and revelations of the Spirit of God, for they are folly (meaningless nonsense) to him; and he is incapable of knowing them (of progressively recognizing, understanding, and becoming better acquainted with them) because they are spiritually discerned and estimated and appreciated.—1 Corinthians 2:14

Many non-Christians don’t really understand the gospel. This isn’t a new thing that is unique to our day. When Paul wrote to the Corinthians, he pointed out that the Greeks thought it was foolish. And to the natural mind, it is. God sent Jesus, the sinless One, to earth for the express purpose of dying for wicked, sinful people. To unbelievers that is foolish. The natural man cannot understand the power of the gospel—it can only be “spiritually discerned.”

This is just as true in daily living. Sometimes God speaks to us, and if we try to explain it to people who don’t know Jesus, it doesn’t make sense. For example, I remember one couple that went to Africa as missionaries. They had no ­denomination or large church behind them, providing support. They sold everything they owned, including their wedding rings.

“Their wedding rings?” a skeptical relative asked. “You mean God wouldn’t provide for you, so you had to do it yourself?”

The wife smiled. “No, I think we had to decide if comfort and having things like everyone else was more important than serving Jesus.” The couple never doubted they were doing the right thing, but it never made sense to the skeptical relative.

It is difficult for many people to hear God speak and to obey without question. But Jesus did just that—and not only on the cross. John 4 relates the story of Jesus and the Samar­itan woman at the well. What most modern readers don’t get is the introduction to the story: “It was necessary for Him to go through Samaria” (John 4:4). Jesus had been in Jerusalem, and He wanted to go north to Galilee. The country of the Samaritans was in between, but Jesus didn’t have to take the route that passed that way. He could have taken another route and avoided going through Samaria. Most Jews avoided going through Samaria because they hated the Samaritans for mixing and marrying with people from other nations.

But Jesus went to Samaria, even though it wasn’t what we would have called the normal or reasonable thing to do. He went because there was a woman—and eventually a whole village—that needed to hear the message that only He could deliver.

The natural people—those whose minds have not been enlightened by the Holy Spirit—scoff at us. What we do doesn’t always make sense to them. But then, who says our actions have to make sense? The biblical principle is that the natural or carnal mind doesn’t understand spiritual things. Too often, a thought comes to us that we push aside, saying, This doesn’t make any sense, and we actually ignore divine guidance. It’s true, of course, that the devil can flood our minds with wild thoughts, but if we pray and open ourselves to the Spirit, we soon know the difference.

Consider the story of Peter who had fished all night and caught nothing. Jesus, a carpenter, came along and told him, a professional fisherman, “Put out into the deep [water], and lower your nets for a haul” (Luke 5:4).

Peter reasoned with Jesus, reminding Him that they had worked all night and caught nothing. But to his credit, Peter, exhausted from a long and unsuccessful night’s work, heard the Lord. I’ll say it again, Peter heard the Lord and said, “But on the ground of Your word, I will lower the nets [again]” (v. 5). And Peter was not disappointed. They caught so many fish that the nets almost broke.

This is an important principle of obedience that we must grasp: obey instead of reasoning. Or as one of my friends calls it, “The Nevertheless Principle.” She says that sometimes she feels God leading her to do things that don’t always make a lot of sense. When she hears herself expressing that sentiment, she quickly adds, “Nevertheless.” Then she obeys.

That is really all God asks of us: to obey instead of ­reasoning.

Wise and wonderful God, sometimes things don’t make sense to me, but nevertheless, I want to be in Your will. Help me to develop spiritual discernment, and don’t let me miss a divine opportunity to serve You. Teach me to trust You more, and help me to obey You quickly instead of trying to reason things out. Thank You for hearing me today. Amen.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – No Darkness in Him

 

“This is the message God has given us to pass on to you: That God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. So if we say we are His friends, but go on living in spiritual darkness and sin, we are lying. But if we are living in the light of God’s presence, just as Christ does, then we have wonderful fellowship and joy with each other, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from every sin” (1 John 1:5-7).

One of the first passages of Scripture that I memorized as a new Christian was the first chapter of 1 John. This passage has been a beacon to me through the years as a simple reminder that in God is light and the only reason that I do not live perpetually in that light is because at times I deliberately sin.

Steve had lost his joy and enthusiasm for Christ, and as a new Christian was perplexed. He could not understand what had happened to him. As we counseled together, it became apparent that he had allowed some of his old natural habit patterns to creep back into his life.

I suggested that he make a list of all the things that were wrong in his life and confess them to the Lord in accordance with 1 John 1:9. A few days later, with joyful enthusiasm he came to share with me how his heart had been kindled afresh with the love of God as he was now walking in the light as God is in the light, having wonderful fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

How does one walk in the light? Do not tolerate unconfessed sin. Meditate upon the Word of God. Spend time in prayer talking to God and letting Him talk to you. Share your faith in Christ with others. Obey the commandments of God.

Are you walking in the light as God is in the light? Are you experiencing the joy of the Lord? Are you constrained by the love of Christ to share Him with others?

Bible Reading: I John 1:6-10

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:  I shall always seek to walk in the light as God is in the light in order that I may experience wonderful fellowship with my Lord. When I find myself walking in darkness, I shall pause to confess my sins and by faith claim God’s forgiveness and cleansing so that I may be restored to once again walk in the light with God.

Presidential Prayer Team; P.G. – Gratitude Journaling

 

Professor Robert Emmons of the University of California-Davis may be the world’s leading expert on the science of gratitude. He calls the practice of writing “grace thoughts” good for both mind and body. When you are aware of even the simplest of things to be thankful for, you see better what is going on around you, often bringing new reference to difficult life situations. Sixteen years ago, television host Oprah Winfrey began such a journal. Through it, she says, she developed a deeper relationship with God – and found hope instead of reasons to worry.

For great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Psalm 117:2

Perhaps you have regarded some of King David’s psalms as lines from his own gratitude journal. He frequently tells you of the Lord’s unfailing promises and of His unconditional love. He reminds himself and you of the provisions Jehovah has made for him over and over again. The faithfulness of a God like that provided David with hope – hope that he acknowledged back to the Lord in prayer and song.

Today, find five things, just five, to be grateful for. Then praise the Lord for His goodness and the hope He has given…not only to you, but also to the nation.

Recommended Reading: Psalm 103:1-13

Greg Laurie – Behind the Scenes

 

And the Syrians had gone out on raids, and had brought back captive a young girl from the land of Israel. She waited on Naaman’s wife. Then she said to her mistress, “If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his leprosy.” —2 Kings 5:2–3

Nehemiah was the cupbearer to King Artaxerxes of Babylon, which meant that he was in close proximity to the king at all times. A cupbearer would drink what the king was about to drink. If it was poisonous, then that was the end of his job—and his life for that matter. But the cupbearer was more than someone who simply tasted what the king drank. He often would become an advisor to the king, someone who influenced him. It was a very prestigious position in the palace. A cupbearer would have lived in affluence and influence.

But Nehemiah, like Esther, was a Jew. He knew that the walls of Jerusalem had been burned down and were lying in rubble, and he couldn’t take it anymore. So he used his position and leveraged it, asking the king to allow him to go and rebuild the walls. He could have lost his life by asking such a thing. But he did what he could by working behind the scenes.

Then there was the obscure Jewish girl who influenced her unbelieving master, Naaman, to seek out Elisha, the prophet of Israel, to find a healing for his leprosy. She was just a girl, effectively a maid, who served Naaman’s wife. Naaman was like a General MacArthur and General Eisenhower all rolled into one. He was a famous military figure. But he had leprosy. So she told Naaman’s wife about Elisha: “If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his leprosy” (2 Kings 5:3). Naaman made the journey to Israel, and indeed he was healed.

This reminds us that God always has his representatives. He always has his people working behind the scenes. Will you make yourself available to Him today?

Max Lucado – God Calls the Shots

 

Every time Satan sets out to score for evil, he ends up scoring a point for good.  Consider Paul.  Satan hoped prison would silence his pulpit, and it did, but it also unleashed his pen.  The letters to the Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians were all written in a jail cell.

Satan is the Colonel Klink of the Bible.  Remember Klink? He was the fall guy for Hogan on the television series, Hogan’s Heroes. Klink supposedly ran a German POW camp during World War 2. Those inside the camp, however, knew better. They knew who really ran the camp:  the prisoners. They listened to Klink’s calls and read his mail. They even gave Klink ideas, all the while using him for their own cause.

Over and over the Bible makes it clear who really runs the earth. Satan may strut and prance, but it is God who calls the shots.

Charles Stanley – Personal Holiness

 

Hebrews 9:11-14

If you were to randomly walk up to a man on the street and ask him if he is going to heaven, he would very likely tell you yes. If you asked why, he would probably list the good things he has done. Unbelievers and even many churchgoers cannot understand why their works are insufficient for redemption. In fact, many people do not recognize their need for redemption at all.

The man on the street assumes that if he is a faithful husband and caring father who doesn’t cheat his friends or slack off at work, then he is good enough to “make the cut” for eternal life. He doesn’t recognize himself as a sinner, nor does he realize sin has separated him from holy God. He thinks he can earn a place in heaven through his own actions.

The trap for unbelievers—and, sadly, for many believers as well—is that they fail to recognize the Lord is the only one who can do something about man’s sinful condition. Most of us look pretty good in our own eyes because, using others as a standard for comparison, we can always find someone whose lifestyle or misdeeds makes us look better. But when held up against God’s perfect holiness, every one of us is lacking.

The Savior died for the sins of mankind and rose again so that each person who was unclean could be holy, as God is holy. The disciple John explained how sin is washed away from the believer: “The blood of Jesus [God’s] Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). Good works mean nothing unless they are the result of a clean spirit. We can have personal holiness only by receiving the Lord Jesus Christ and His gift of salvation.

Our Daily Bread — Tough To Love

 

Acts 13:13-23

Now for a time of about forty years [God] put up with their ways in the wilderness. —Acts 13:18

Years ago I was a camp counselor for some rebellious boys. I found it challenging to deal with their behavior. They would mistreat the animals at the petting zoo and occasionally fight among themselves. So I adopted a calm and firm approach to leading them. And although they often exasperated me, I always made sure their physical needs were taken care of.

Even though I had a kind and loving exterior, I often felt on the inside that I was just “putting up with them.” That caused me to prayerfully reflect on how a loving heavenly Father provides for His rebellious children. In telling the story of the Israelites during the exodus, Paul said, “For a time of about forty years [God] put up with their ways in the wilderness” (Acts 13:18). In Greek “put up with” most likely means to patiently provide for people’s needs despite an ungrateful response.

Some people may not react favorably to our efforts to show care and concern. When this happens, it may help to remember that God is patient with us. And He has given us His Spirit to help us respond with love to those who are hard to love or who are ungrateful (Gal. 5:22-23).

Give us Your patience, Lord, for anyone in our lives who is difficult to love. —Dennis Fisher

I want the love that sweetly bears

Whate’er my Father’s hand may choose to send;

I want the love that patiently endures

The wrongs that come from enemy or friend. —Anon.

Be as patient with others as God has been with you.

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Is Our Future Determined or Free?

 

Questions of freedom and destiny have been raised in every generation. Do we exercise choice, or has everything already been decided? Is our future determined or free? The resultant mental gymnastics leave many feeling confused and others feeling disappointed. Christians insist that nothing takes God by surprise. On the other hand, Christians throughout the ages reject the kind of fatalism that is seen in some parts of the world.

The problem with the question as it is presented is that it is not nearly difficult enough. In order to truly appreciate the magnitude of what we are discussing, we must first deal with an even greater question. And it is this: Imagine if I were able to stop time right now. What would you be thinking? What would you be feeling? The answer is nothing.

In the absence of time, we cannot think or feel or do. Everything is frozen. People sometimes complain that I speak too quickly—the problem being that there is not sufficient time for them to think about what has been said. I always try to cheer myself by saying that at least something has been said for them to think about! But it is a fair criticism because in the absence of sufficient time we cannot think things through. In the absence of time altogether, however, we cannot even begin to think, as there is literally no time to think in.

The Christian understanding is that we live and have our existence in a space-time continuum. “[We] belong to eternity stranded in time,” observes Michael Card.(1) This also means that before God created there was no time; in other words, time is not co-eternal with God. But Christians also attest that God was a thinking, feeling, doing Being even before God created. Can you imagine a Being who is able to think in the absence of time? Of course not, but the God Christians profess not only exists outside of time, God can think and act in the absence of time.

Just reading this may be enough to make us feel overwhelmed. And so it should. Whenever we think about the person of God, we should rightly feel that we have come across something truly awesome. And maybe this is part of the problem. We are not faced with a logical contradiction here. Rather, we are faced with the reality of what it means for God to exist, for God to be God. You and I are only able to think in time, and thus, God confronts us with choices: “Choose this day whom you will serve,” “choose life” and so on (Joshua 24:15; Deuteronomy 30:19). But God, as Christians believe, who is outside of time, sees all of history stretched out before Him. The problem comes, therefore, when the attempt is made to confine God within time. But this needn’t be the case. For Christians, a proper understanding of the tension drives us back both to God’s divine nature and to our knees, acknowledging how wonderful God is.

This understanding also helps Christians with the issue of eternal life. Many people when confronted with the idea of eternity find the idea frightening, tedious, or absurd. What could one possibly do with all of that time? Once again, the dilemma arises because we are captive both to the passage of time and too small a view of who God actually is. People also then ask: if God truly knows all things, then why did God create knowing that we would experience pain in a fallen world? But here Christians attest that God did not create the world and then think of a plan to rescue it. The book of Revelation depicts that the Lamb was slain before the foundations of the world were laid. This does not mean that the crucifixion took place in our space-time history before creation (there was no space-history for it to take place in). What it does mean is that even before God created, God also knew the cost—the suffering of his own Son—to redeem creation and unite us with the Father. God didn’t count that cost too great—and hence Christians sing of God’s amazing grace.

Let me conclude with the following. The Christian God is big enough to be able to say, “I know the plans I have for you… plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). There is no hope without a secure future, and the future is frightening in the absence of hope. Only God is big enough to bring these two things together—hope and a future—and this is what God has done for us.

Michael Ramsden is European director of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in the United Kingdom.

(1) Lyrics from “Joy in the Journey” by Michael Card, 1986.

Alistair Begg – Come Away

 

Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away.  Song of Songs 2:10

I hear the voice of my Beloved! He speaks to me! Fair weather is smiling upon the face of the earth, and He does not want me to be spiritually asleep while nature is all around me awaking from her winter’s rest. He bids me “Arise,” as well He might, for I have been lying long enough among the weeds of worldliness. He is risen, and I am risen in Him; so why should I still cleave to the dust? From lower loves, desires, pursuits, and aspirations, I want to rise to Him.

He calls me by the sweet title “my love” and counts me “beautiful”; this is a good argument for my rising. If He has exalted me and thinks me fair, how can I linger in the tents of wickedness and make my friends in the wrong company? He bids me “Come away”; further and further from everything selfish, groveling, worldly, sinful, He calls me; yes, from the outwardly religious world that doesn’t know Him and has no sympathy with the mystery of godliness. “Come away” has no harsh sound to my ear, and what is there to hold me in this wilderness of vanity and sin?

My Lord, I want desperately to come away, but I am held among the thorns and cannot escape from them as I wish. I would, if it were possible, close my eyes and ears and heart to sin. You call me to Yourself by saying, “Come away,” and this is indeed a melodious call. To come to You is to come home from exile, to reach the shore out of the raging storm, to finally rest after hard labor, to reach the goal of my desires and the summit of my wishes.

But, Lord, how can a stone rise; how can a lump of clay come away from the horrible pit? Please raise me; draw me by Your grace. Send Your Holy Spirit to kindle sacred flames of love in my heart, and I will continue to rise until one day I will leave life and time behind me and come away indeed.

Charles Spurgeon – The cry of the heathen

 

“And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over unto Macedonia, and help us.” Acts 16:9

Suggested Further Reading: 2 Corinthians 8:1-15

There is no fear of any one becoming improvidently liberal. You need not be frightened that anyone here will give a thousand pounds this morning. We provide ample accommodation for those who feel inclined to do so. If anyone should be overtaken with such an enormous fit of generosity, we will register and remember it. But I fear there are no people like Barnabas now. Barnabas brought all he had, and put it into the treasury. “My dear friend, do not do that; do not be so rash.” Ah! he will not do that; there is no necessity for you to advise him. But I do say again, if Christianity were truly in our hearts; if we were what we professed to be; the men of generosity whom we meet with now and hold up as very paragons and patterns would cease to be wonders, for they would be as plentiful as leaves upon the trees. We demand of no man that he should beggar himself; but we do demand of every man who makes a profession that he is a Christian, that he should give his fair proportion, and not be content with giving as much to the cause of God as his own servant. We must have it that the man who is rich must give richly. We know the widow’s mite is precious, but the widow’s mite has been an enormously great loss to us. That widow’s mite has lost Jesus Christ many a thousand pounds. It is a very good thing in itself; but people with thousands a year talk of giving a widow’s mite. What a wicked application of what never can apply to them. No; in our proportion we must serve our God.

For meditation: We are instructed to give in proportion (2 Corinthians 8:12), in pleasure (2 Corinthians 9:7) and in privacy (Matthew 6:2-4). How do you calculate how much you should be giving to God’s work each week? In prayer?

Sermon no. 189

25 April (1858)

John MacArthur – Messengers of Peace

 

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matt. 5:9).

When Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matt. 5:9), He was referring to a special group of people whom God called to restore the peace that was forfeited because of sin. They may not be politicians, statesmen, diplomats, kings, presidents, or Nobel Prize winners, but they hold the key to true and lasting peace.

As a Christian, you are among that select group of peacemakers. As such you have two primary responsibilities. The first is to help others make peace with God. There is no greater privilege. The best way to do that is to preach the gospel of peace with clarity so people understand their alienation from God and seek reconciliation. Romans 10:15 says, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring glad tidings of good things!” The early church preached peace through Christ, and that is your privilege as well.

Your second responsibility is to help reconcile believers to one another. That’s a very important issue to God. He won’t accept worship from those who are at odds with each other. They must first deal with the conflict (Matt. 5:23-24). That is especially true within a family. Peter warned husbands to treat their wives properly so their prayers wouldn’t be hindered (1 Pet. 3:7).

Peacemakers don’t avoid spiritual conflicts–they speak the truth in love and allow the Spirit to minister through them to bring reconciliation. If you see someone who is alienated from God, you are to present him or her with the gospel of peace. If you see two Christians fighting, you are to do everything you can to help them resolve their differences in a righteous manner.

Of course to be an effective peacemaker you must maintain your own peace with God. Sin in your life will disrupt peace and prevent you from dispensing God’s peace to others. Therefore continually guard your heart and confess your sin so that God can use you as His peacemaker.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Pray for those close to you who don’t know Christ. Take every opportunity to tell them of God’s peace.

For Further Study:

Read 2 Corinthians 5:17-21.

How did Paul describe the ministry of reconciliation?

What was Christ’s role in reconciling man to God?

Joyce Meyer – Yearnings in the Night

 

My soul yearns for You [O Lord] in the night, yes, my spirit within me seeks You earnestly.—Isaiah 26:9

Nothing can satisfy your longing for God except communion and fellowship with Him. The apostle John wrote, “And the world passesaway and disappears, and with it the forbidden cravings (the passionate desires, the lust) of it; but he whodoes the will of God and carries out His purposes in his life abides (remains) forever” (1 John 2:17).

The world makes it easy for you to fill your ears with all kinds of things that drown out the voice of God and push Him far into the background of your life. However, the day comes for every person when only God remains. Everything else in life eventually passes away; when it does, God will still be there. Seek God earnestly tonight and He will abide in you.

 

Presidential Prayer Team; C.P. – Up Close and Personal

 

Many people today say they believe in God. Current politically-correct philosophy says to believe anything you want, but don’t impose your beliefs on others. But following Christ isn’t just a set of values and beliefs. Asking a Christian to not tell others about Jesus is like asking grandparents to not talk about their grandchildren!

You shall be my people, and I will be your God. Ezekiel 36:28

According to Romans 8, those who are in Christ and are following after the Spirit belong to God’s family. The greatest commandment isn’t about do’s and don’ts, it’s to love the Lord with all your heart, soul and mind (Matthew 22:37). Think about what it is to love God with your mind, your emotions and everything that makes you a unique person. It’s a marvelous thing that creator God wants you to love Him like that. He doesn’t want a mere head nod His way. He wants an intimate loving relationship. He is an up close and personal God.

Today, acknowledge His presence. Worship Him. Thank Him for His love and remind yourself that God loves you and is very aware of all your concerns. Cast your cares on Him for He cares for you (I Peter 5:7). Then passionately bring the needs of this nation before Him.

Recommended Reading: Romans 8:1-12

Greg Laurie – For Just Such a Time

 

“For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” —Esther 4:14

I love the story of Esther because in some ways, it reminds me of a fairy tale, except it is true. Esther was a beautiful Jewish girl who was plucked from obscurity, won a beauty contest, and became the queen of the kingdom. Then there was a wicked man named Haman, who hatched a plot to have all of the Jews put to death. It was Esther’s uncle, Mordecai, who came to her and described the plight of her fellow Jews, saying, “For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14).

Esther was the queen who saved a nation. She used her influence with the king, the plot was averted, and the people were saved. Then, in perfect poetic justice, Haman, the guy who hatched the plot, ended up hanging on the very gallows he had erected for others. She was there behind the scenes. Esther could have said, “I don’t want to jeopardize my position. No one will ever find out I am a Jew. I am going to be careful and play it safe.” But instead, she put everything on the line.

Who knows that God has not put you where you are right now for such a time as this? You may be the only Christian in your family or the only believer in your neighborhood. You may be the only follower of Jesus Christ in your workplace or in your classroom. Like Esther, will you stand up for such a time as this? Will you use your influence where you can, when you can?

Max Lucado – Give Him a Pretzel

 

Years ago I was traveling with my daughter, Jenna.  When I realized she and I weren’t seated together,  I asked the fellow sitting next to her to swap seats with me.  Surely he’ll understand, I thought.  He didn’t.  I was left separated from my 12 year old on a long transatlantic flight.

I began plotting how I’d trip him if he dared walk to the restroom during the flight. I turned to intimidate him with a snarl and saw, much to my surprise, Jenna offering him a pretzel. What?  My daughter was fraternizing with the enemy! As if the pretzel were an olive branch, he accepted her gift and they both leaned their seats back and dozed off.

I learned the lesson God had used my daughter to teach me. All of us are here by grace and, at some point, all of us have to share some grace. So the next time you find yourself next to a questionable character, don’t give him a hard time—give him a pretzel!

Charles Stanley – Christ’s Blood: The Necessity

 

Romans 3:21-26

Romans 3 communicates the very heart of Scripture. Apart from the cross of Christ and His atoning death, no one can be declared righteous.

In other words, there is only one way to become a child of God—through the blood of the Savior (John 14:6). Good works and right living will not earn the Lord’s favor, because every person inevitably sins, and a sinner cannot enter the presence of holy God. The shedding of Christ’s blood on the world’s behalf made it possible for anyone to be cleansed of sin and have a relationship with the Creator. The only requirement is trusting Jesus as Savior.

For God to be just, He must remain true to His own principles. His holiness dictated that “the soul who sins will die” (Ezek. 18:4). The penalty for sin—namely, death—had to be paid in a way that was acceptable to God. He explained through Moses why a blood sacrifice was required: “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement” (Lev. 17:11). A life must be given for a life to be spared.

On that basis, the heavenly Father provided a perfectly sinless sacrifice for all mankind. The only way God’s justice could be satisfied and His holiness could be maintained was for Jesus Christ to take our guilt and sin upon Himself and die in our place.

When we say that there is only one way to the Father, we mean that a person must believe Jesus Christ died as a perfect sacrifice. To trust in anything else is to ignore God’s holiness and the admonition of His Word (Acts 4:12).

Our Daily Bread — Faithful To The Finish

 

Hebrews 12:1-4

Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. —Hebrews 12:1

After running 32 kilometers (20 miles) of the Salomon Kielder Marathon in Great Britain, a runner dropped out and rode a bus to a wooded area near the finish line. Then, he re-entered the race and claimed third prize. When officials questioned him, he stated that he stopped running because he was tired.

Many of us can relate to the exhaustion of a worn-out athlete as we run the race of the Christian faith. The book of Hebrews encourages us to “run with endurance the race that is set before us” (12:1). Running with endurance requires that we lay aside the sin that stands in our way and shed the weights that hold us back. We may even have to press on through persecution (2 Tim. 3:12).

To prevent weariness and discouragement in our souls (Heb. 12:3), the Bible urges us to focus on Christ. When we pay more attention to Him than to our struggles, we will notice Him running alongside us—supporting us when we stumble (2 Cor. 12:9) and encouraging us with His example (1 Peter 2:21-24). Keeping our eyes on “the author and finisher of our faith” (Heb. 12:2) will help us stay close to the source of our strength and remain faithful to the finish. —Jennifer Benson Schuldt

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,

Look full in His wonderful face;

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim

In the light of His glory and grace.

—H. H. Lemmel. © Renewal 1950. H. H. Lemmel

We can finish strong when we focus on Christ.