Tag Archives: Truth

Alistair Begg – Priests and Kings Unto God

Alistair Begg

Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord.

Zechariah 3:1

In Joshua the high priest we see a picture of each and every child of God, who has been brought near by the blood of Christ and has been taught to minister in holy things and enter into that which is within the veil. Jesus has made us priests and kings unto God, and even here upon earth we exercise the priesthood of consecrated living and hallowed service.

But this high priest is said to be “standing before the angel of the LORD,” that is, standing to minister. This should be the perpetual position of every true believer.

Every place is now God’s temple, and His people can serve Him just as truly at work as in His house. They should always be ministering, offering the spiritual sacrifice of prayer and praise, and presenting themselves “a living sacrifice.”1

But notice where Joshua stands to minister-it is before the angel of Jehovah. It is only through a mediator that we poor, defiled ones can ever become priests to God.

I present what I have before the messenger, the angel of the covenant, the Lord Jesus; and through Him my prayers find acceptance wrapped up in His prayers; my praises become sweet as they are bound up with bundles of fragrant spices from Christ’s own garden.

If I can bring Him nothing but my tears, He will put them with His own tears in His own bottle, for He once wept; if I can bring Him nothing but my groans and sighs, He will accept these as an acceptable sacrifice, for He once was broken in heart and sighed heavily in spirit. I myself, standing in Him, am accepted in the Beloved; and all my polluted works, though in themselves only objects of divine displeasure, are so received that God smells a sweet savor. He is content, and I am blessed. Consider, then, the position of the Christian-“a priest . . . standing before the angel of the LORD.”

1 Romans 12:1

 

Charles Spurgeon – A woman’s memorial

CharlesSpurgeon

“Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.” Matthew 26:13.

Suggested Further Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:26-31

The evangelists are of course the historians of the time of Christ; but what strange historians they are! They leave out just that which worldly ones would write, and they record just that which the worldly would have passed over. What historian would have thought of recording the story of the widow and her two mites? Would a Hume or a Smollet have spared half a page for such an incident? Or think you that even a Macaulay could have found it in his pen to write down a story of an eccentric woman, who broke an alabaster box of precious ointment upon the head of Jesus? But so it is. Jesus values things, not by their glare and glitter, but by their intrinsic value. He bids his historians store up, not the things which shall dazzle men, but those which shall instruct and teach them in their spirits. Christ values a matter, not by its exterior, but by the motive which dictated it, by the love which shines from it. O singular historian! You have passed by much that Herod did; you tell us little of the glories of his temple; you tell us little of Pilate, and that little not to his credit; you treat with neglect the battles that are passing over the face of the earth; the grandeur of Caesar does not entice you from your simple story. But you continue to tell these little things, and wise are you in so doing, for truly these little things, when put into the scales of wisdom, weigh more than those monstrous bubbles of which the world delights to read.

For meditation: God usually bypasses those who look great to the world and in their own eyes; he desires people who are after his own heart, however inconspicuous they are in the world’s sight (1 Samuel 16:7; Luke 3:1-2).

Sermon no. 286

27 November (1859)

 

John MacArthur – Bearing the Reproach of Christ

John MacArthur

Moses considered “the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen” (Heb. 11:26-27).

How could Moses, who lived 1,500 years before Christ, bear His reproach? Christ is the Greek form of the Hebrew title Messiah, the Anointed One. Many Old Testament personalities were spoken of as being anointed for special service to the Lord. Some have suggested that Moses was thinking of himself as a type of messiah, for he delivered his people from the Egyptian bondage. They would translate verse 26 as, “Considering the reproach of his own messiahship as God’s deliverer.”

However, it seems best to see this verse as a reference to Jesus Himself, the future great Deliverer. We don’t know how much knowledge Moses had of Jesus, but certainly it was more than Abraham, of whom Jesus said, “Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad” (John 8:56).

The Messiah has always been identified with His people. When they suffer for righteousness’ sake, they suffer in His place. That’s why David said, “The reproaches of those who reproach Thee have fallen on me” (Ps. 69:9). Speaking from a New Testament perspective, Paul made a similar statement: “I bear on my body the brand-marks of Jesus” (Gal. 6:17).

There’s also a sense in which Christ suffers with His people. When Jesus confronted Paul, who was heavily persecuting the church, He said, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? . . . I am Jesus whom you are persecuting” (Acts 9:4-5).

Moses chose to turn his back on Pharaoh’s household and identify with God’s people because he knew that suffering for Christ was far better than enjoying the riches of Egypt. At some point in time you too will be persecuted for Christ’s sake (2 Tim. 3:12), so be prepared. When that time comes, follow Moses’ example of faith and courage, knowing that God will be your shield and your reward (cf. Gen. 15:1).

Suggestions for Prayer:

Follow the examples of the apostles by thanking God for the privilege of bearing a small portion of the reproach that the world aims at Christ (Acts 5:27-41).

For Further Study:

Memorize Psalm 27:1 as a source of encouragement when facing difficulty.

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Saved From Trouble

dr_bright

“Yes, the Lord hears the good man when he calls to Him for help, and saves him out of all his troubles” (Psalm 34:17).

You and I have one of the greatest privileges ever known to mankind – that of calling on God with the assurance that He will hear and answer us.

No trouble we face today will be too great for us to bring God, who has promised to save us out of all our troubles.

True, He suggests certain conditions that must be met for such praying to be effective, but these conditions are not grievous. They are attainable by “whosoever will.”

One of these conditions is referred to by the psalmist, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psalm 66:18, KJV). According to God’s Word, that means I must not even allow wrong feelings and critical attitudes against others to fester in my heart and mind, but rather I must confess them the moment they arise and then trust God for the forgiveness He promises.

Another condition is suggested in the well-known verse on revival: “If my people…will humble themselves, and pray…” (2 Chronicles 7:14, KJV). Even before that time of intercession with the Lord, I must be sure to humble myself, to recognize God as my Lord and Master, and His Holy Spirit as one who sits and rules and reigns on the throne of my life.

As a result, God will produce in my life those qualities of the supernatural life.

Bible Reading: Psalm 35:1-9

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Confession and humbling will precede prayer in my life this day, so that I may be sure God hears and will answer

Presidential Prayer Team; C.P. – When God Whispers

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October 2, 2004, Laura Hatch went missing. Her family, friends and church searched and prayed. The night of October 9, Sha Nohr, the mom of one of Laura’s friends, dreamed of a wooded area. The next morning, with insistent urges heard by her spirit to “keep going,” she found Laura down a deep ravine, her car hidden in undergrowth. Despite no food and water and multiple injuries, Laura survived.

Thanks be to God, who put into the heart of Titus the same earnest care I have for you.

II Corinthians 8:16

A similar thing happened to Paul. The Holy Spirit dissuaded him and his missionary team from going to Asia and Bithynia, but in Troas, Paul had a dream of a Macedonian man requesting his help. Paul and his men went immediately and preached, resulting in many conversions, and after getting in trouble for delivering a girl from a demon, he testified to the whole city of Philippi.

What Christian hasn’t been going about their day when a name popped into their mind? Do not get too busy to follow God-given urges. He puts thoughts into your heart like He did for Sha Nohr – thoughts that can save lives. When you’re concerned for the country, pray…and remember to thank the Lord for all the times He moved someone else’s spirit on your behalf.

Recommended Reading: I John 3:11-24

Greg Laurie – Every Fiber of Your Being

greglaurie

“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” —Mark 12:30

I find it interesting that Jesus said, ” ‘And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ ” This statement reveals that God is not simply looking for some emotional, gooey kind of love. He is looking for a complete, true love.

You see, some people only love the Lord with all of their soul or with all of their emotion, but they don’t love Him with all of their minds. Other people love God with all of their minds, but they neglect the emotional side of loving the Lord.

Jesus is saying, “I want a love that possesses an emotional, intellectual, and physical backbone.” Jesus desires a love that draws from every fiber of your being—inside and out. Any other kind of love is no love at all.

For example, let’s say you have the greatest physique with bulging biceps, protruding pecs, and rippling abs. In essence, you stand as an incredible specimen of humanity, because you sculpted your body day in and day out at the gym.

But what good is all of that muscle if you have heart disease? You may look good on the outside, but if your heart is diseased and sickened, your physique will not do you one bit of good.

In the same way, if you are attending church, reading your Bible, and praying, but your heart is spiritually diseased with a lack of love for God, you will face a similar dynamic.

Through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God expressed His love for us from every fiber of His being. The very least we can do is to love Him back with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength.

 

Charles Stanley – The Patience of God

Charles Stanley

2 Peter 3:3-9

More than likely, you heard the gospel several times before you trusted Jesus as your Savior. Sometimes even though we know the truth, we decide to continue with our life as it is. Why does the Lord tolerate this deliberate sin?

Patience is an attribute of God; it can be seen through His goodness in withholding punishment from those involved in long-term sin. He has a motivation and purpose for His patience. God places a high value on us as His created beings. He waits patiently because He desires to see each one of us come to a saving knowledge of His Son Jesus Christ. That is His primary purpose.

The Father’s secondary reasons for being patient apply to us as believers. He understands our innate carnality and the sinful tendencies that result from it. He also recognizes our weakness and imma- turity in the Christian life. We have much to learn once we are saved, and God does not expect us to know everything at once.

We can, however, abuse God’s patience by misinterpreting it (Ps. 50:21). Have you ever done something you knew was wrong? Sometimes when nothing happens as a result of a particular sin, we think God has overlooked it. We may decide to continue in that behavior, which further abuses the Lord’s patience. But God is very clear that He will not strive with us forever (103:9). That is to say, we cannot continue in our disobedience consequence-free. Has God been convicting you of a sin that you are ignoring? Confess (agree with Him that it is wrong), repent (turn away from the sin), and thank Him for His patience with you.

 

 

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – What Is the Nature of Faith?

Ravi Z

What is the nature of faith? Is faith the sort of thing that is like an impenetrable fortress? Is it a sense of absolute certainty, as is found in mathematical formulae, with consistent and guaranteed results? Or is the nature of faith like the feeling one gets when barely hanging on—fingers fatigued, sweaty, and slowly slipping off of whatever prop, cliff, or ledge that holds one from falling into the abyss of disbelief?

I wonder about the nature of faith as I encounter so many different perspectives and experiences with faith. After profound loss, for example, many individuals suffer what is described as a ‘crisis of faith.’ All that seemed a sure foundation before the loss crumbles under the weight of crisis. For others, faith seems a swinging pendulum that vacillates between certainty and doubt. The poet Emily Dickinson wrote that “we both believe and disbelieve a hundred times an Hour…”.(1) Still for others faith is a constant assurance, a sense of strength and repose regardless of the assaults to it.

Of course, to ask about the nature of faith is to inquire about the nature of trust and belief. As such, it is not simply a conversation among religious adherents, but a real question over which humans wrestle whether they acknowledge it explicitly or not. We make decisions each and every day about whether or not we will trust the bus driver and the bus to get us to work. We make decisions to trust other drivers on the highway that they will keep their vehicles under control and not careen into our lane of traffic. We make decisions to trust individuals—spouses, children, friends, employers. The exercise of trust is a basic requirement for relationships and for living in this world.

This is why it is so interesting to me that talk of ‘faith’ is often relegated to the margin that is religious discourse. To have ‘faith’ or ‘trust’ or ‘belief’ in scientific studies is simply assumed because science has become the standard by which truth is measured. And yet, even scientists exercise ‘faith’ in a relationship to a tradition of knowledge. Assumptions, assured findings from the past, and the methods of science all become a part of the relationship between faith and knowledge. Sometimes, even this relationship comes under testing when what were once considered ‘true’ results are called into question by new assumptions and new data.(2) Relationships are dynamic; going through ebbs and flows, ups and downs, changes and stasis. As such, it seems a complete category mistake to speak of faith and certainty in the same sentence-even in the realm of science. As author Philip Yancey asserts about the necessary uncertainty of faith, “Doubt always coexists with faith, for in the presence of certainty who would need faith at all?”(3)

It is reasonable, then, to wonder aloud about the nature of faith. One ought to be wary of arriving at a simple definition. For C.S. Lewis, one of the great spokesmen on behalf of the Christianity, the nature of faith was complicated and something that was not easily understood. In his heart-wrenching memoir, A Grief Observed, Lewis writes: “You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you. It is easy to say you believe a rope to be strong and sound as long as you are merely using it to cord a box.”(4) I believe Lewis articulates a profound dynamic of faith—one never really knows what it is until it is tested. Yet, once tested the true nature of one’s faith is revealed-even when it is revealed to be wanting. In these times, we can reflect honestly about that in which we’ve placed our trust and whether the subject or object of trust is warranted.

Yet, even here where one’s faith might be revealed for what it is and what it is not, there is room for growth and for hope. Philip Yancey reflects that,

“What gives me hope, though, is that Jesus worked with whatever grain of faith a person might muster. He did, after all honor the faith of everyone who asked, from the bold centurion to doubting Thomas to the distraught father who cried, ‘I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief!’”(5)

The true nature of faith is inextricably bound to relationship. As such, it is subject to all of the intricacies and complexities of relationship. At times unshakable and strong, and at other times revealed to be flabby and weak, the nature of faith is dynamic. But entering into a relationship of trust with the God revealed in Jesus of Nazareth assures me that despite the complexities, and despite my often small offering of faith, I am welcomed into a relationship anyway. And as my faith is tested, its true nature is progressively revealed.

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

(1) From a letter to Otis Lord, April 30, 1882; Thomas H. Johnson, ed., The Letters of Emily Dickinson (Cambridge: Belknap, 1958), 728.

(2) As is seen in the recent studies that showed a new gauge for cholesterol was flawed. Cardiologists learned that a new online calculator meant to help them determine a patient’s suitability for cholesterol treatment was flawed, doubling the estimated risk of heart attack or stroke for the average patient. See Gina Kolata, “Flawed gauge for cholesterol risk poses new challenge,” NY Times, November 18, 2013.

(3) Philip Yancey, Reaching for the Invisible God: What Do We Expect to Find? (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000), 41.

(4) C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed (New York: HarperCollins ebooks, 2009), loc 326-329.

(5) Philip Yancey, Reaching for the Invisible God: What Do We Expect to Find, 40.

 

 

Alistair Begg – With All Your Might

Alistair Begg

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might.

Ecclesiastes 9:10

Whatever your hand finds to do” refers to works that are possible. There are many things that our heart finds to do that we will never do. It is good for it to be in our heart; but if we would be eminently useful, we must not be content with forming schemes in our heart and talking of them; we must practically carry out “whatever your hand finds to do.”

One good deed is worth more than a thousand brilliant theories. Let us not wait for large opportunities or for a different kind of work, but just do the things we “find to do” day by day.

We have no other time in which to live. The past is gone; the future has not arrived; we will never have any time but now. So do not wait until your experience has ripened into maturity before you attempt to serve God.

Endeavor now to bring forth fruit. Serve God now, but be careful about the way in which you perform what you find to do-“do it with your might.”

Do it promptly; do not fritter away your life in thinking of what you intend to do tomorrow as if that could repay today’s laziness.

No one ever served God by doing things tomorrow. If we honor Christ and are blessed, it is by the things that we do today.

Whatever you do for Christ, throw your whole soul into it. Do not give Christ a little halfhearted labor, done as a matter of course every now and then; but when you serve Him, do it with heart and soul and strength.

But where is the power of a Christian? It is not in himself, for he is perfect weakness. His power lies in the Lord of Hosts. Let us then seek His help; let us proceed with prayer and faith, and when we have done what our “hand finds to do,” let us wait upon the Lord for His blessing. What we do in this way will be well done and will not fail in its effect.

Charles Spurgeon – Preaching! Man’s privilege and God’s power!

CharlesSpurgeon

“For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.” Mark 6:20.

Suggested Further Reading: James 1:19-25.

If you would hear the word to profit, you must hear it obediently. You must hear it as James and John did, when the master said “Follow me,” and they left their nets and their boats and they followed him. You must do the word as well as hear it, yielding up your hearts to its sway, being willing to walk in the road which it maps, to follow the path which it lays before you. Hearing it obediently, you must also hear it personally for yourselves, not for others, but for yourselves alone. You must be as Zaccheus, who was in the sycamore tree, and the Master said, “Zaccheus, make haste and come down; for today I must abide at thy house.” The word will never bless you till it comes home directly to yourself. You must be as Mary, who when the Master spoke to her she did not know his voice, till he said unto her, “Mary”, and she said, “Rabboni.” There must be an individual hearing of the truth, and a reception of it for yourself in your own heart. Then, too, you must hear the truth penitently. You must be as that Mary, who when she listened to the word, must needs go and wash the feet of Jesus with her tears, and wipe them with the hairs of her head. There must be tears for your many sins, a true confession of your guilt before God. But above all you must hear it believingly. The word must not be unto you as mere sound, but as matter of fact. You must be as Lydia, whose heart the Lord opened; or as the trembling gaoler, who believed on the Lord Jesus with all his house and was baptized immediately. You must be as the thief, who could pray, “Lord, remember me,” and who could believe the precious promise given, “Today shalt thou be with me in Paradise.”

For meditation: To want to hear the preaching of God’s Word and to enjoy hearing it are good things as far as they go, but by themselves they do not go far enough (Ezekiel 33:30-32).

Sermon no. 347

26 November (Preached 25 November 1860)

 

 

John MacArthur – Rejecting the World’s Passing Pleasures

John MacArthur

“By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin” (Heb. 11:24-25).

For forty years Moses enjoyed the best of everything Egypt had to offer: formidable wealth, culture, education, and prestige (Acts 7:22). Yet he never forgot God’s promises toward his own people, Israel.

Then, “when he was approaching the age of forty, it entered his mind to visit his brethren, the sons of Israel. And when he saw one of them being treated unjustly, he defended him and took vengeance for the oppressed by striking down the Egyptian. And he supposed that his brethren understood that God was granting them deliverance through him; but they did not understand” (vv. 23-25).

Somehow Moses knew he was to deliver his people from Egyptian oppression. Although it would be another forty years before he was fully prepared for the task, by faith he forsook the pleasures and prestige of Egypt and endured ill-treatment with God’s chosen people.

Humanly speaking, Moses made a costly choice. He seemed to be sacrificing everything for nothing. But the opposite was much more the case since Moses considered “the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the [greater] reward” (Heb. 11:26).

Sometimes obedience to Christ seems very costly, especially when evil people prosper while many who faithfully serve God suffer poverty and affliction. Asaph the psalmist struggled with the same issue: “Behold, these are the wicked; and always at ease, they have increased in wealth. Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure” (Ps. 73:12-13).

But be assured that the eternal rewards of Christ far outweigh the passing pleasures of sin. The wicked have only judgment and hell to look forward to; you have glory and heaven. So always choose obedience, and trust God to guide your choices, just as He did with Moses.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Praise God that the righteous will one day be fully rewarded.

Seek God’s grace to be obedient when you’re faced with difficult choices.

For Further Study:

Read Stephen’s account of Moses in Acts 7:20-39.

 

Joyce Meyer – Don’t Stay Angry

Joyce meyer

Cease from anger and forsake wrath; fret not yourself—it tends only to evildoing.

—Psalm 37:8

The Word tells us another way to resist temptation: “When angry, do not sin; do not ever let your wrath (your exasperation, your fury or indignation) last until the sun goes down. Leave no [such] room or foothold for the devil [give no opportunity to him]” (Ephesians 4:26–27).

Paul said that we should forgive people to keep Satan from gaining an advantage over us (See 2 Corinthians 2:10–11). If someone offends you, get over it quickly so you won’t leave open a door for the devil. It is a sin to hold anger and bitterness, so never go to sleep mad. If you forgive everyone before you fall asleep, freedom from wrong attitudes in your heart will help you start your day right the next morning.

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Calm in the Storm

dr_bright

“Immediately after this, Jesus told His disciples to get into their boat and cross to the other side of the lake while He stayed to get the people started home. Then afterwards He went up into the hills to pray. Night fell, and out on the lake the disciples were in trouble. For the wind had risen and they were fighting heavy seas. About four o’clock in the morning Jesus came to them, walking on the water! They screamed in terror, for they thought He was a ghost. But Jesus immediately spoke to them, reassuring them. ‘Don’t be afraid!’ He said” (Matthew 14:22-27).

I had flown at least a couple of million miles in the last thirty years, but this was the most violent storm I had ever encountered. Vonette and I were on our way from New York City to Washington, when suddenly the airplane began to buck like a wild mustang with its first rider. It felt as though no one was in control. The lightening was constant and for nearly fifteen minutes we seemed to be surrounded by a ball of fire. We had good reason to believe that the plane would soon plummet to earth.

The disciples had shouted to the Lord, “Save us, we’re sinking!” In the same manner, Vonette and I began to pray.

Then, as we called upon God, our petitions turned to praise and thanksgiving. We were reminded of the biblical storm and we prayed, “Oh Lord, You have not lost Your power over nature. We ask You to still the storm and to save us, though we’re ready to meet with You if need be. If You have something yet for us to do in this life, we ask You not to allow the enemy to destroy us and all these other passengers.”

Almost immediately the turbulence stopped. The plane was righted, and we continued on our course, though we discovered later that the plane had been severely damaged.

One of the greatest blessings to come from this experience was the indescribable peace that enveloped us as we considered that at any moment we could plummet to earth and our lives could be snuffed out. I asked the Lord why the disciples were so fearful during the storm while Vonette and I had such peace and confidence that He was in control. The answer was that the fruit if the Spirit is love, joy, peace, etc, and the disciples had not yet been filled with the Spirit at the time of their Galilean storm experience. Later they went to their martyrs’ deaths with the same peace that God gives to all who place their faith and trust in Him.

Bible Reading: John 6:16-21

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: The mighty power which Jesus demonstrated when He walked this earth centuries ago still abides in Him, and He abides in me. Therefore, I shall claim supernatural miraculous power whenever the occasion demands

Presidential Prayer Team; J.K. – Creation Shouts

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Well-known journalist and television commentator Charles Krauthammer was asked if he was an atheist or an agnostic. He responded that being an atheist was not a possibility; the world’s complexity could only lead you to believe in the mystery of it all. But his next statement exemplified today’s verse: Krauthammer would not accept that the “mystery” was capitalized and spelled G-O-D.

For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him.

Romans 1:21

Why is that? Do people see their achievements as something only they could’ve done? Do they reject the idea of a “higher power” because they don’t want to be held accountable? No matter what man thinks, God is God and has the right to be worshipped. His creation shouts Creator, and man’s God-given abilities to observe, understand and interpret gives evidence that you can not only know that God is…but you can know who He is.

Dear one, pray that the truth of God will be your testimony. The vacuum in man screams to be filled, and that void will be replaced with something more. Intercede for the people and leaders of this nation that they will know the Lord and give Him thanks and praise for all He is and all He does.

Recommended Reading: Psalm 145:3-13

 

 

Max Lucado – If Only…

Max Lucado

Maybe your past isn’t much to brag about. Maybe you’ve seen evil and you have to make a choice. Do you rise above the past and make a difference? Or do you remain controlled by the past and make excuses?

Many choose the convalescent homes of the heart. Healthy bodies. Sharp minds. But retired dreams.  Lean closely and you’ll hear  “If only…”  The white flag of the heart. “If only.” Maybe you’ve used those words. Maybe you have every right to use them.  Perhaps you were hearing the ten count before you even got into the ring.

Let me show you where to turn. Go to John’s gospel and read Jesus’ words in John 3:6, “Human life comes from human parents, but spiritual life comes from one Spirit.”

Your parents have given you genes, but God gives you grace. God is willing to give you what your family didn’t.

From When God Whispers Your Name

Charles Stanley – Developing Patience

Charles Stanley

Galatians 5:22-25

We have all kinds of excuses for why we are not patient: stress, ill health, other peoples’ mistakes, running late, or simply having a bad day. But impatience can cause us to make poor decisions, hurt others, or damage relationships.

God wants something far better for us. He knows that patience helps us to stay in His will—where His favor rests upon us. We achieve strong, loving, lasting relationships when we are willing to wait for others to change. In so doing, we also become happier ourselves.

How do we develop this attribute? First, we must view our lives as God does and recognize difficulties as disguised opportunities to learn patience. We must leave behind the mistaken assumption that success in the Christian life means an absence of problems. God’s purpose is not to provide us with ease, comfort, and pleasure but rather to grow us up into Christlikeness. Patience is one of those “grown-up” qualities we’re to have.

Second, we have a personal responsibility to pursue the quality of patience and train ourselves in it. We must learn to resist our bad habits, wrong thinking, and negative behavior patterns from the past. Practice responding with kindness and love, even if the other person is unjustly accusing you.

It takes time, energy, and effort to change our thinking and our responses. Fortunately, we don’t do this alone—the Holy Spirit is committed to producing this fruit in our lives with our cooperation. See difficulty as God does, and then respond patiently.

 

 

Our Daily Bread — Spiritual Plagiarism

Our Daily Bread

John 1:1-18

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. —John 1:14

When I teach English composition, I require students to write in class. I know that in-class writing is their own work, so in this way I become familiar with each student’s writing voice and am able to detect if they “borrow” a bit too heavily from another writer. Students are surprised to learn that their writing voice—which includes what they say as well as how they say it—is as distinctive as their speaking voice. Just as the words we speak come from our hearts, so do the words we write. They reveal who we are.

We become familiar with God’s voice in much the same way. By reading what He has written, we learn who He is and how He expresses Himself. Satan, however, tries to make himself sound like God (2 Cor. 11:14). By using God’s words in a slightly altered fashion, he comes up with convincing arguments for things that are untrue. For example, by convincing people to do things that simulate godliness, such as trusting in an outward regimen of self-discipline rather than Christ’s death for salvation (Col. 2:23), Satan has led many astray.

God went to extremes to make sure we’d recognize His voice. He not only gave us His Word, He gave us the Word made flesh—Jesus (John 1:14)—so that we will not be easily deceived or misled. —Julie Ackerman Link

Instill within my heart, dear Lord,

A deep desire to know Your Word,

I want to learn to hear Your voice

That I may make Your will my choice. —D. DeHaan

Your Word is very pure; therefore Your servant loves it. —Psalm 119:140

Bible in a year: Ezekiel 24-26; 1 Peter 2

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Truth on Its Head

Ravi Z

G.K. Chesterton took the word “prolific” to a level that, as a writer, simply makes me feel tired. In his lifetime, Chesterton authored over 100 books and contributed to 200 others. He penned hundreds of poems, five plays, five novels, and some 200 short stories, including the popular Father Brown detective series. He wrote over 4000 newspaper essays, including 30 years worth of weekly columns for The Illustrated London News, and 13 years of weekly columns for The Daily News.  He also edited his own newspaper, G.K.’s Weekly.

As one can easily imagine after such an inventory, G.K. Chesterton was always writing—wherever he found himself, and with whatever he could find to write on. So, in the tearoom he scribbled on napkins. On the train, in front of a bank teller, or in the middle of a lecture, he was known to jot hurriedly in a notebook, or even on the cuff of his sleeve.

Chesterton’s eccentric approach to writing, in fact, matched his eccentric approach to life in general. His public image was one out of a Shakespearean comedy. If he were not recognized in the streets of London by the flowing black cape and the wide brimmed top hat he always wore, he was given away instantly by the clamoring of the swordstick he always carried—for nothing more than the romantic notion that he might one day find himself caught up in some adventure where defending himself might become necessary.

He rarely knew, from hour to hour, where he was or where he was supposed to be, what appointment he was to be keeping, or lecture he was to be giving. The story is often told of the time he telegraphed his wife with the note, “Am at Market Harborough. Where ought I to be?” His faithful wife, Frances, wired back, “Home,” knowing it would be most promising for all involved if she could physically point him in the right direction. Chesterton seemed to live out one of his own clever paradoxes: “One can sometimes do good by being the right person in the wrong place.”

In fact, paradox, in more ways than one, is an ample word for G.K. Chesterton. It was one of his favorite things to point out, stir up, and call to mind. He described paradox as “truth standing on its head to gain attention,” and often evoked such jestering truisms throughout his dialog. With declarations bizarre enough to escape defensive mindsets, but with a substance that could blow holes in fortresses of skepticism, G.K. Chesterton, as absentminded as he may have appeared to be, challenged the world to think. With humility, wonder, and genius, Chesterton taught us, in the words of Father Brown, that often it isn’t that we can’t see the solution; it’s that we can’t see the problem.

In his disarming manner, such that even his opponents regarded him with affection, Chesterton exposed the inconsistencies of the modern mindset, the unfounded and unnoticed dogmatism of the unbeliever, and the misguided guidance of the cults of comfort and progress. He marveled that religious liberty now meant that we were no longer allowed to mention the subject, and that “there are those who hate Christianity and call their hatred an all-embracing love for all religions.” To the convicted agnostic he said, “We don’t know enough about the unknown to know that it is unknowable.” To the social Darwinist he said, “It is absurd for the Evolutionist to complain that it is unthinkable for an admittedly unthinkable God to make everything out of nothing, and then pretend that it is more thinkable that nothing should turn itself into everything.”

And to all who would listen, Chesterton devotedly pled the case for Christ: “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.”

To everyone his life affected, and continues to affect, G.K. Chesterton, with and without words, made a boisterous point about delighting in life to the fullest; life that is fullest, first and foremost, because there is someone to thank for making it full. He writes:

You say grace before meals.

All right.

But I say grace before the play and the opera,

And grace before the concert and the pantomime,

And grace before I open a book,

And grace before sketching, painting,

swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing;

And grace before I dip the pen in the ink.

Chesterton was a man alive with the gusto of resurrection, the marvel of truth, and the thankful foresight of a coming King among us.

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

Alistair Begg – Liberty from Captivity

Alistair Begg

. . . To proclaim liberty to the captives.

Luke 4:18

No one but Jesus can give deliverance to captives. Real liberty comes from Him alone. It is a liberty rightly granted; for the Son, who is Heir of all things, has a right to make men free.

The saints honor the justice of God, which now secures their salvation. It is a liberty that has been dearly purchased. Christ reveals it by His power, but He bought it by His blood. He makes you free, but it is by His own bonds.

You go clear because He bore your burden for you: You are set at liberty because He has suffered in your place.

Although the purchase price was great, Jesus gives it freely. He asks nothing of us as a preparation for this liberty. He finds us sitting in sackcloth and ashes and invites us to wear the fitting garment of freedom; He saves us just as we are and without any help from us.

When Jesus sets us free, the liberty is perpetually enjoyed; no chains can bind again. Let the Master say to me, “Captive, I have delivered you,” and it is done forever.

Satan may plot to enslave us, but if the Lord is on our side, whom shall we fear? The world, with its temptations, may seek to ensnare us, but He who is for us is mightier than all those who are against us. The movements of our own deceitful hearts may harass and annoy us, but He who has begun the good work in us will bring it to completion in the end. The enemies of God and the antagonists of man may gather their forces together and come with concentrated fury against us, but if God acquits, who is he that condemns?

The eagle that flies to its rocky perch and afterwards soars above the clouds is no more free than the soul delivered by Christ. If we are no longer under the law but free from its curse, let our liberty be practically displayed as we serve God with gratitude and delight. “I am your servant; the son of your maidservant. You have loosed my bonds.”1

1 Psalm 116:16

Charles Spurgeon – Comfort for the desponding

CharlesSpurgeon

“Oh that I were as in months past.” Job 29:2

Suggested Further Reading: Galatians 4:11-20

There is such a thing, my dear friends, as your getting into a terribly bad condition through the ministry that you attend. Can it be expected that men should grow in grace when they are never watered with the streams that make glad the city of our God? Can they be supposed to grow strong in the Lord Jesus, when they do not feed on spiritual food? We know some who grumble, Sabbath after Sabbath, and say they can’t hear such and such a minister. Why don’t you buy an ear-trumpet then? Ah! But I mean, that I can’t hear him to my soul’s profit. Then do not go to hear him, if you have tried for a long while and don’t get any profit. I always think that a man who grumbles as he goes out of chapel ought not to be pitied, but whipped, for he can stay away if he likes, and go where he will be pleased. There are plenty of places where the sheep may feed in their own manner; and everyone is bound to go where he gets the pasture most suited to his soul. But you are not bound to run away directly your minister dies, as many of you did before you came here. You should not run away from the ship directly the storm comes, and the captain is gone, and you find her not exactly sea-worthy; stand by her, begin caulking her, God will send you a captain, there will be fine weather by and by, and all will be right. But very frequently a bad minister starves God’s people into walking skeletons, so that you can tell all their bones; and who wonders that they starve out their minister, when they get no nourishment from his ministrations.

For meditation: God provides leaders to build up his people so that they can go on to build up one another (Ephesians 4:11-12). The absence of the leader will show whether the flock can stand on their own feet in the Lord (Philippians 1:27; Colossians 2:5).

Sermon no. 51

25 November (1855)