Tag Archives: Truth

Alistair Begg – The Way for the New Year

Alistair Begg

The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.”

Luke 3:4

The voice crying in the wilderness demanded a way for the Lord, a way prepared, and a way prepared in the wilderness. I would be attentive to the Master’s proclamation and give Him a road into my heart, cast up by gracious operations, through the desert of my nature. The four directions in the text2 must have my serious attention.

Every valley must be exalted. Low and groveling thoughts of God must be given up; doubting and despairing must be removed; and self-seeking and carnal delights must be forsaken. Across these deep valleys a glorious causeway of grace must be raised.

Every mountain and hill shall be laid low. Proud creature-sufficiency, and boastful self-righteousness, must be leveled, to make a highway for the King of kings. Divine fellowship is never promised to haughty, high-minded sinners. The Lord has respect to the lowly and visits the contrite in heart, but the lofty are an abomination unto Him. My soul, beseech the Holy Spirit to set you right in this respect.

The crooked shall be made straight. The wavering heart must have a straight path of decision for God and holiness marked out for it. Double-minded men are strangers to the God of truth. My soul, take heed that in everything you are honest and true, as in the sight of the heart-searching God.

The rough places shall be made smooth. Stumbling-blocks of sin must be removed, and thorns and briers of rebellion must be uprooted. So great a visitor must not find miry ways and stony places when He comes to honor His favored ones with His company. Oh, that this evening the Lord may find in my heart a highway made ready by His grace, that He may make a triumphal progress through the utmost bounds of my soul, from the beginning of this year even to the end of it.

2 Isaiah 40

 

 

 

Charles Spurgeon – The immutability of Christ

CharlesSpurgeon

“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” Hebrews 13:8

Suggested Further Reading: Hebrews 1:5-13

It is well that there is one person who is the same. It is well that there is one stable rock amidst the changing billows of this sea of life; for how many and how grievous have been the changes of last year? How many of you who commenced in affluence, have by the panic, which has shaken nations, been reduced almost to poverty? How many of you, who in strong health marched into this place on the first Sabbath of last year, have had to come tottering here, feeling that the breath of man is in his nostrils, and wherein is he to be accounted of? Many of you came to this hall with a numerous family, leaning upon the arm of a choice and much loved friend. Alas! for love, if that were all, and nought beside, O earth! For you have buried those you loved the best. Some of you have come here childless, or widows, or fatherless, still weeping your recent affliction. Changes have taken place in your estate that have made your heart full of misery. Your cups of sweetness have been dashed with draughts of gall; your golden harvests have had tares cast into the midst of them, and you have had to reap the noxious weed along with the precious grain. Your much fine gold has become dim, and your glory has departed; the sweet feelings at the commencement of last year became bitter ones at the end. Your raptures and your ecstasies were turned into depression and forebodings. Alas! for our changes, and hallelujah to him that has no change.

For meditation: Change is part and parcel of everything in a fallen creation (Genesis 3:16-19). The Lord Jesus Christ is not part of creation, not even the very first part, but is Lord over all creation and not subject to any change. In him God’s children can look forward to glorious liberty from creation’s present bondage to decay (Romans 8:21-23).

Sermon no. 170

3 January (1858)

John MacArthur – Blessing the God of Blessings

John MacArthur

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us” (Eph. 1:3).

Paul’s brief doxology identifies God the Father as the ultimate recipient and source of blessing–the One to whom blessing is ascribed and the One who bestows blessings on those who love Him.

“Blessed” translates the Greek word euloge[ma]o, from which we get eulogy. To bless or eulogize God is to praise Him for His mighty works and holy character.

That should be the response of your heart just as it has been the response of believers throughout the ages. The psalmist said “Blessed be God, who has not turned away my prayer” (Ps. 66:20); and “blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who alone works wonders” (Ps. 72:18). Peter said, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Pet. 1:3).

When the situation is reversed and God blesses us, it isn’t with praise, for apart from Him there is nothing praiseworthy about us. Instead, He gives us undeserved benefits through His many deeds of kindness. Scripture identifies Him as the source of every good thing (James 1:17), who works all things together for our good and His glory (Rom. 8:28).

That is but a sampling of the many blessings He lavishes on us in His Son, Christ Jesus. It’s a marvelous cycle: God blesses us with deeds of kindness; we bless Him with words of praise.

Beware of the sin of thanklessness. Recognize God’s blessings in your life and let them fill your heart and lips

Suggestions for Prayer:

Identify ten specific blessings that God has granted to you in recent days and praise Him for each one.

Ask Him to make you more aware of and thankful for His goodness in your life.

Always be ready to seek forgiveness when you take His blessings for granted.

For Further Study:

Read Psalm 103

What blessings does David mention?

How do they apply to your life?

Joyce Meyer – Keep in Touch with God

Joyce meyer

Blessed (happy, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable) is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly [following their advice, their plans and purposes] . . . But his delight and desire are in the law of the Lord, and on His law (the precepts, the instructions, the teachings of God) he habitually meditates (ponders and studies) by day and by night.—Psalm 1:1–2

Keep in touch with God today; stay tuned to His voice. You may have a plan for the day, but God may lead you in a totally different direction if you are sensitive to the Holy Ghost. Be brave enough to flow with what you feel in your heart God wants you to do.

Today is going to be a good day. Listen for the voice of God to lead you. Be determined to walk in the Spirit and stay in the flow of God’s leading today.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Abundant Life for the Asking

dr_bright

“The thief’s purpose is to steal, kill and destroy. My purpose is to give life in all its fullness” (John 10:10).

For me, the Christian life is an exciting, joy-filled adventure. It has been that way through more than 30 years of walking with the Lord. If you are not already experiencing such a life, it can be the same for you today, tomorrow and the rest of your days, no matter what the circumstances.

Jesus promised the full and abundant life for all those who walk in faith and obedience. His “exceeding great and precious promises” include every kind of provision for you – spiritual, emotional, material.

You start by getting to know God – who He is, what He is like and the benefits we enjoy when we belong to Him. Your view of God influences all the rest of your relationships. Scripture says the righteous shall live by faith. Faith must focus on an object, and the object in which we have our faith is God and His inspired Word.

But how do we acquire that kind of faith? “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ” (Romans 10:17, NAS). It is as simple as that. You are building up your storehouse of faith every time you read the Word of God, every time you hear the Word of God and every time you memorize the Word of God.

Our view of God determines the quality and degree of our faith. A small view of God results in a small faith. Great faith is the result of a correct biblical view of God – recognizing Him as great, mighty, all-wise and worthy of our trust.

Our view of God as sovereign, holy, loving, righteous, just and compassionate produces these same qualities in our lives. If we view Him as a God of love and forgiveness, we are prompted to love and forgive others also.

Bible Reading: John 7:36-39

Today’s Action Point: Through the enabling of the Holy Spirit, I determine to begin practicing the presence of God in my life – every moment of the day. I will begin by meditating on His attributes through storing portions of His Word in my heart and mind. As a result, by faith I expect to experience and share with my family friends the full and abundant life which Jesus promised to all who are His.

 

Presidential Prayer Team; J.K. – The World’s Priests

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Today’s verse says you “ought always to pray.” The word for “ought” appears no less than 100 times in the New Testament. To the Greeks, it meant a forced compulsion defined by the situation. But Jesus’ explanation revealed that the directive has a much greater implication.

He told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.

Luke 18:1

It is God’s will that you pray…it is a loving, creative, purposeful will. Its intentions for you promise only hope and a bright future. It is in prayer and in the study of His Word that you are privileged to know Him and His will more.

Charles Spurgeon believed that the Lord’s people are the world’s priests. As such, you can be an intercessor for the needs of those in your midst…the weak who fall into sin or who despair in difficult circumstances, the strong who may grow presumptuous, the sick and the poor. In a world full of idols, wickedness, and people deprived of salvation, the opportunity to pray is constant

Make knowing the Lord your priority in 2014. Study His Word. Intercede for President Obama and the nation’s leaders…that they may know God’s will and do it. Diligently pray and do not lose heart.

Recommended Reading: Psalm 116:1-6, 12-14 

 

Greg Laurie – Surrender at Gethsemane

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He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch.” —Mark 14:34

Have you ever felt lonely? Have you ever felt as though your friends and family had abandoned you? Have you ever felt like you were misunderstood? Have you ever had a hard time understanding or submitting to the will of God for your life? If so, then you have an idea of what the Lord Jesus went through when He agonized at Gethsemane.

Hebrews tells us, “This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it” (4:15-16 NLT).

The Bible tells us that Jesus was “a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief ” (Isaiah

53:3, NLT). But the sorrow He experienced in Gethsemane on the night before His crucifixion seemed to be the culmination of all the sorrow He had ever known — and would accelerate to a climax the following day. The ultimate triumph that was to take place at Calvary was first accomplished beneath the gnarled, old olive trees of Gethsemane.

It’s interesting that the very word Gethsemane means “olive press.” Olives were pressed there to make oil, and truly, Jesus was being pressed from all sides that He might bring life to us. I don’t think we can even begin to fathom what He was going through. Isaiah 53:5 says that He was crushed for our iniquities.

But look at what that crushing and bruising accomplished. It brought about your salvation and mine. Because of what Jesus went through at Gethsemane, and ultimately at the cross, we can call upon His name. Though it was an unfathomably painful, horrific transition, it was necessary for the ultimate goal of what was accomplished.

Maybe you are at a crisis point in your life right now — a personal Gethsemane, if you will. You have your will; you know what you want. Yet you can sense that God’s will is different. Would you let the Lord choose for you? Would you be willing to say, “Lord, I am submitting my will to Yours. Not my will, but Yours be done”? You will never, never regret making that decision.

Max Lucado – To Be Seen

Max Lucado

If we’re not looking up at God, we’re looking inward at ourselves and outward at each other. The result? Quarreling families. Restless leaders. Fence-building. No trespassing signs.

If we see only ourselves, our tombstones will have the same epitaph Paul used to describe enemies of Christ:  “Their god is their own appetite, they glory in their shame, and this world is the limit of their horizon” (Philippians 3:19).

It’s why God came near.  To be seen. It’s why those who saw Him were never the same. Christianity, in its purest form, is nothing more than seeing Jesus. And Christian service is nothing more than imitating Him whom we see. The Bible says, “Unless a man is born again, He cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).

God came near. There is no truth more worthy of your time.

From God Came Near

Charles Stanley – Discovering Life’s Purpose

Charles Stanley

Ephesians 2:8-10

Those who know and follow God’s direction will experience spiritual peace, joy, and contentment. To discover our life’s purpose, the first step—which makes all the other steps possible—is to receive Jesus Christ as our personal Savior. In other words, we must be saved.

Our part in salvation is to acknowledge we are sinners—to admit to God that we’ve lived in rebellion against Him because we wanted our own way (Rom. 3:23). Professing our belief that Jesus’ death on the cross fully paid our sin debt, we ask God’s forgiveness.

Recognizing Jesus as personal Savior and Lord, we commit our life to Him (Rom. 10:9; Gal. 2:20; 1 John 1:9). Since He is now in charge, our orders and direction will come from Him. Having become part of God’s family, we have His Spirit to help us discover and carry out our Father’s plan.

God’s purpose for His children includes sanctification, stewardship, and service. Sanctification describes continual growth in holiness. The Holy Spirit, with our cooperation, will transform our character to be more like the Lord’s. Stewardship means managing—according to God’s priorities—the time, talents, and treasure He has given us. And service for the kingdom is to mark our life, as it marked the life of Jesus (Matt. 20:28). We serve our Father by obediently ministering to others.

As we each seek the Lord’s specific plan for us, we can be confident that it will include character transformation, investment of our resources for His kingdom, and ministry to others.

 

Our Daily Bread — No Appetite

Our Daily Bread

Nehemiah 8:1-12

As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby. —1 Peter 2:2

When I was battling a bad cold recently, I lost my appetite. I could go through an entire day without eating much food. Water would suffice. But I knew I couldn’t survive long on water alone. I needed to regain my appetite because my body needed nourishment.

When the people of Israel came back from exile in Babylon, their spiritual appetite was weak. They had departed from God and His ways. To get the people back to spiritual health, Nehemiah organized a Bible seminar, and Ezra was the teacher.

Ezra read from the book of the law of Moses from morning until midday, feeding the people with the truth of God (Neh. 8:3). And the people listened attentively. In fact, their appetite for God’s Word was so stirred that the family leaders and the priests and Levites met with Ezra the following day to study the law in greater detail because they wanted to understand it (v.13).

When we feel estranged from God or spiritually weak, we can find spiritual nourishment from God’s Word. “As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2). Ask God to give you a renewed desire for relationship with Him, and begin feeding your heart, soul, and mind with His Word. —Poh Fang Chia

Break Thou the Bread of life, dear Lord, to me,

As Thou didst break the loaves beside the sea;

Beyond the sacred page I seek Thee, Lord,

My spirit pants for Thee, O living Word. —Lathbury

Feeding on God’s Word keeps us strong and healthy in the Lord.

Bible in a year: Genesis 4-6; Matthew 2

 

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Salvation Through Silence

Ravi Z

Before coming to the narrative of Christ’s birth, there is a dramatic conversation which takes place between a priest called Zechariah and the angel Gabriel. One day Zechariah was serving in the temple when the angel Gabriel appeared to him.(1) Zechariah was very afraid but Gabriel spoke to him saying, ‘Do not be afraid. Your prayer has been heard.’ Gabriel continued to tell Zechariah that he and his wife would have a son and they were to name him John. Ultimately, John would be the one to prepare people for the Lord Jesus.

Instead of rejoicing over the news brought to him from Gabriel, Zechariah objects, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” Gabriel responds by explaining to Zechariah precisely to whom he is speaking and also cites the authority on which he bears this news:

“I am Gabriel and I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.”

One only needs to read the first chapter of Luke’s Gospel to find out that this promise from the Lord was fulfilled. Elizabeth and Zechariah have a baby boy and they name him John. It is only after the naming of John that Zechariah is able to speak again.

 

There are many aspects of this story that are remarkable. First is the context in which the story takes place: the people of Israel, of whom Zechariah and Elizabeth were a part, have not heard from God for a period of roughly 400 years! When Gabriel appears to Zechariah, it is highly likely that this is the first time Zechariah has heard from God in such a way.

To make theological matters even more complicated for Zechariah, Gabriel’s second statement, after telling him to not be afraid, is ‘Your prayer has been heard.’ There is deep irony in this statement primarily because of the theological background leading up to this conversation. For all of Zechariah’s life, he had never heard God’s voice like this. The very act of God speaking to him would seem preposterous. Therefore, it is understandable why Zechariah questions Gabriel. Zechariah and his people have prayed to God, many for their entire lives, and they have never heard anything. How could Zechariah be sure this was truly a message from the Lord? This encounter undoubtedly marked a watershed moment, not only for Zechariah, but for God’s people and the entire world. God would speak now and man would be silent.

God’s silence is often a challenge to belief. One point I glean from the early part of this story is that God’s silence does not necessarily imply that God is inactive. In Israel’s case, God had been silent for years, yet in this angelic encounter, nearly the first words of instruction from the Lord are, ‘Your prayer has been heard.’ For those of us who are immersed in the urgency of the digital world, we would do well to heed the implicit lesson of patience found in this story. God had been silent for a long time, but God was listening. There are times in our lives in which we do not hear God’s voice. Gabriel’s words tell us that although we might not hear God speaking, God is still listening.

After Zechariah objects to the seemingly audacious promise given from the Lord, Gabriel points out that it is not on his own authority that he speaks, but God’s. Implicit in Gabriel’s statement is the reality that God is bringing help to Israel, not because of what Zechariah or Elizabeth have done, but rather because of who God is. Historically speaking, God was the one who helped, rescued, and saved Israel countless times. The people of Israel knew this history well and they also knew why God had reached down and helped them. This much was clear in the mind of Israel:  God’s salvation came only because of God’s character. God’s saving power came, not because of humanity’s effort, but because of God’s nature to save.

Gabriel then tells Zechariah that he will be silent. This is what strikes me most about the story: Gabriel appears to Zechariah in a time during which the people of Israel had not heard from God in years. The Lord speaks to Zechariah and tells him that God will act and fulfill his promise, but while He does so, Zechariah will be silent.

Generally I have viewed the silence of Zechariah as a punishment for not believing in God, and I think that this is true. But I also see this act of silence pointing to something deeper than one man receiving a punishment from God for not believing in Him, and here’s why: The people of Israel knew that God had helped them, they knew why God had helped them and they also had learnt how God had worked in history. Over time they had realized that God’s grace and salvation would be worked out through quietness and trust. Israel’s strength lay not in activity and being busy, but in silence. This was how God worked.

Zechariah’s silence is a symbol of God’s salvation. John’s life was spent concentrated on preparing people for Christ, the means by which people could be saved. But before John came, the Lord visited his father through Gabriel, telling Zechariah that He had heard his prayer, and was going to rescue his people not in a flurry of human activity, but in a way in which people could only watch him work and hear him speak. Perhaps one of the vital lessons we can learn from the Christmas story is to prioritize silence before God. At the very least, being quiet will remind us of a greater time, one of the greatest in history, when God spoke and humankind was there only to watch and listen.

Nathan Betts is a member of the speaking team at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Toronto, Canada.

(1) See Luke 1.

Alistair Begg – Renew Your Strength Through God

Alistair Begg

Let the peoples renew their strength.

Isaiah 41:1

All things on earth need to be renewed. No created thing continues by itself. “You renew the face of the ground,”1 was the psalmist’s utterance.

Even the trees, which wear not themselves with care, nor shorten their lives with labor, must drink of the rain of heaven and draw from the hidden treasures of the soil. The cedars of Lebanon, which God has planted, only live because day by day they are full of sap freshly drawn from the earth. Neither can man’s life be sustained without renewal from God. As it is necessary to repair the body by the frequent meal, so we must repair the soul by feeding upon the Book of God, or by listening to the preached Word, or by the soul-fattening table of the ordinances.

How depressed are our graces when means are neglected! What poor starving souls they are who live without the diligent use of the Word of God and secret prayer! If our piety can live without God it is not of divine creating; it is but a dream; for if God had begotten it, it would wait upon Him as the flowers wait upon the dew.

Without constant restoration we are not ready for the perpetual assaults of hell, or the stern afflictions of heaven, or even for the strife within. When the whirlwind shall be loosed, woe to the tree that has not sucked up fresh sap and grasped the rock with many inter-twisted roots.

When tempests arise, woe to the mariners that have not strengthened their mast, nor cast their anchor, nor sought the haven. If we suffer the good to grow weaker, the evil will surely gather strength and struggle desperately for the mastery over us; and as a result a painful desolation and a lamentable disgrace may follow. Let us draw near to the footstool of divine mercy in humble entreaty, and we shall realize the fulfillment of the promise, “They who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength.”2

1 Psalm 104:30

2 Isaiah 40:31

 

John MacArthur – Experiencing God’s Peace

John MacArthur

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph. 1:2)

Throughout history mankind has sought peace through military alliances, balances of power, and leagues of nations. Yet lasting peace still remains an elusive dream. Even during times of relative peace, nations struggle with internal strife and crime.

The Bible says that man on his own cannot know peace because he is alienated from its source. But we need not despair. True peace is immediately available from God our Father (the God of peace–Rom. 15:33), and the Lord Jesus Christ (the Prince of Peace–Isa. 9:6). It’s a gift of God’s grace to those who love and obey Jesus Christ.

The New Testament so clearly teaches the inextricable link between God’s grace and peace that “Grace to you and peace” became a common greeting in the early church. Grace is God’s great kindness toward those who are undeserving of His favor but who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ. It is the fountain and peace is the stream. As recipients of His grace, we have peace with God (Rom. 5:1)–we are reconciled to Him through faith in His Son and we will never experience His wrath. We also have the peace of God (Phil. 4:7)–the Spirit’s way of assuring us that God is in control even in the midst of difficult circumstances. That’s why Paul calls it the peace that surpasses all comprehension (Phil. 4:7).

The world’s peace is relative and fleeting because it is grounded in circumstances. God’s peace is absolute and eternal because it is grounded in His grace. Does God’s peace reign in your heart, or have you allowed sin or difficult circumstances to diminish your devotion to Christ?

Suggestions for Prayer:

Thank God that you have peace with Him through faith in Jesus Christ.

Ask the Spirit to reveal any sin that might be hindering God’s peace from ruling in your heart. Be prepared to respond in confession and repentance.

Ask for opportunities to demonstrate God’s peace to others today.

For Further Study:

Read Philippians 4:6-7

What is God’s antidote for anxiety?

How does God’s peace affect a believer’s heart and mind?

Joyce Meyer – Talk About the Good Stuff

Joyce meyer

But I tell you, on the day of judgment men will have to give account for every idle (inoperative, nonworking) word they speak.—Matthew 12:36

It seems to me that we talk about how we feel more than practically anything else. We feel good or bad, happy or sad, excited or discouraged, and a thousand other things. The inventory of the various ways we feel is almost endless. Feelings are ever-changing, usually without notification.

These feelings don’t need our permission to fluctuate; they merely seem to do as they please for no specific reason we can identify. We have all experienced going to bed feeling just fine physically and emotionally, only to wake up the next morning feeling tired and irritable. “Why? Why do I feel this way?” we ask ourselves, and then we usually begin to tell anyone who will listen how we feel. It is interesting to note that we tend to talk a lot more about our negative feelings than we do our positive ones.

If I wake up feeling energetic and excited about the day, I rarely announce it to everyone I come in contact with; however, if I feel tired and discouraged, I want to tell everyone. It has taken me years to learn that talking about how I feel increases the intensity of those feelings.

So it seems to me that we should keep quiet about the negative feelings and talk about the positive ones.

You can always tell God how you feel and ask for His help and strength, but talking about negative feelings just to be talking does no good at all. If negative feelings persist, asking for prayer or seeking advice based on biblical truth is a good thing, but once again I want to stress that talking just to be talking is useless.

If we have to wait to see how we feel before we know if we can enjoy the day, then we are giving feelings control over us. But if we are willing to make right choices regardless of how we feel, God will always be faithful to give us the strength to do so.

Trust in Him: How are you feeling? If your feelings are positive, tell someone. If they are negative, tell God, and trust Him to work things out. Regardless of how you feel, choose to enjoy your day!

 

 

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – You Can Know the Spirit’s Fullness

dr_bright

“Be filled…with the Holy Spirit and controlled by Him” (Ephesians 5:18).

An enthusiastic, attractive couple traveled from their home in Chicago to Arrowhead Springs to share with me an idea about which they were very excited.

“We heard one of your filmed lectures on ‘How to Be Filled With the Holy Spirit.’ Our lives have been dramatically changed as a result of what you shared,” they said. “We have come all this way to encourage you to go on nationwide television and tell Christians how they can know the fullness and power of the Holy Spirit and experience His revolutionary impact in and through their lives.”

I am humbly grateful to God for the privilege of sharing these great truths concerning the Holy Spirit with tens of millions of people throughout the world, often with the same dramatic results experienced by this remarkable couple.

The disciples were with Jesus for more than three years. They heard Him teach as no man had ever taught. They saw Him perform miracles such as no man had ever performed – raising the dead, restoring sight to the blind and cleansing lepers. Though they were exposed to the most godly life ever lived on earth, during Jesus’ time of crisis, Judas betrayed Him, Peter denied Him and all the others deserted Him.

Jesus knew His disciples were fruitless, quarreling, ambitious, self-centered men, so – on the eve of His crucifixion – He told them, “It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I go, I will send Him to you…He will guide you into all the truth…He shall glorify Me; for He shall take of Mine, and shall disclose it to you” (John 16:7,13,14 NAS).

Bible Reading: Galatians 5:5, 16-18, 22, 23, 25

Today’s Action Point: Today I will receive by faith the power of the Holy Spirit in order to live a supernatural life and be a supernatural witness. I will continue to study the scriptural reference and various books concerning the Holy Spirit, so that I will better understand His role in my life.

 

Presidential Prayer Team; J.R. – Witness Preparation

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If you are called to a courtroom as a witness, all you have to do is tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, right? Actually, there’s more to it than that. Good lawyers know to properly prepare their witnesses for trial because, even when speaking sincerely, witnesses can be discredited by opposing counsel. So before entering the courtroom, witnesses are usually educated about the legal process, informed about questions they might be asked, and often engaged in practice sessions.

Prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.

I Peter 3:15

How do you defend your faith to those who want to know the reason for your hope? “You ask me how I know He lives,” say the words of a great old hymn, “He lives within my heart.” That’s true, but your testimony must go deeper than that. You must be prepared.

Why not make the commitment today to become a great “defender of the faith” in 2014? Start by setting a goal of reading through the Bible this year. And as you pray for your nation’s leaders, ask God to help them understand that the reason for America’s hope is found in His Holy Word.

Recommended Reading: Psalm 119:1-12

 

Greg Laurie – Sent to Minister

greglaurie

Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation? —Hebrews 1:14

Do each of us have a guardian angel? I can’t say for sure, but I do know this: Angels are involved in the lives of Christians here on earth. The Bible says, “The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them” (Psalm 34:7). We also read that angels are “ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation” (Hebrews 1:14). So the Bible teaches that we have angels around us as Christians.

Jesus also made an interesting statement when He was speaking about children: “Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 18:10). So perhaps children have guardian angels. I do think children need guardian angels. You have to always keep your eye on them — especially when they’re young. But whatever the case, angels are involved in our lives.

When you had that close call, it may have been an angel who intervened. Or when something stopped you suddenly, keeping you out of harm’s way, maybe it was an angel. But we are to properly give glory to God for His protection because we aren’t supposed to pray to angels or even thank angels. They are there to do the work of God, like God’s secret agents, and we are to give the glory to God for what happens.

But what about when the accident does take place? What about when the plane does go down? Where was the angel then? I’ll tell you where the angel was: escorting the believer into God’s presence.

When things happen, when life ends suddenly, it doesn’t seem logical to us. But God is still in control. And the angels did their job, guiding us, protecting us, and finally taking us to glory.

 

Max Lucado – Face to Face With Our Past

Max Lucado

All of us at one time or another come face to face with our past. And it’s always an awkward encounter.  When our sins catch up with us we can do one of two things: run or wrestle.

Many choose to run. They brush it off with a shrug of rationalization. “I was a victim of circumstances.”  Or, “It was his fault.” The problem with this escape is it’s no escape at all. It’s only a shallow camouflage.

The best way to deal with our past is to roll up our sleeves, and face it head on. No more buck-passing or scapegoating.  No more glossing over or covering up.  No more games.

We need a confrontation with our Master, eyeball to eyeball, and be reminded that left alone we fall. If you wonder if you’ve gone too long to change, take courage. No man is too bad for God!

From God Came Near

Charles Stanley – God’s Plan for Our Life

Charles Stanley

1 Peter 2:9-12

As we search to discover God’s plan for our lives, we should consider three things:

1. Glorifying God. We are commanded to let our light shine before men so we will bear spiritual fruit that glorifies the Lord. As our life increasingly follows the pattern of the Savior’s, our thoughts and responses will bring Jesus praise and point other people to Him.

2. Conforming to Christ’s likeness. In considering any decision, we should ask ourselves, Will this help me become more like Jesus or tempt me in my weaker areas and cause me to turn away from Him? If we submit our minds and emotions to the Lord, His Spirit will build Jesus’ character qualities into our life. As we rely on the Holy Spirit, He will help us make wise decisions and guide us safely past temptation.

3. Following the Lord’s will. When deciding how to proceed, it’s wise to ask, Is this in line with God’s known will? Throughout the Scriptures, the heavenly Father has revealed what pleases Him. His commands are clear regarding the way born-again believers should live. Our home, business, and community life are to function according to His will.

Wherever you are, don’t let yourself be pressured into actions or decisions that would be displeasing to God. Train yourself to stop and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal whether each choice will bring God glory, help to develop Christ’s character in you, and keep you in the center of God’s plan and purpose. Wait on Him, and do not step ahead until you have an answer.

 

Our Daily Bread — 31 Days Of Thanks

Our Daily Bread

Psalm 136:1-16,26

Oh, give thanks to the Lord of lords! —Psalm 136:3

January, according to many US calendars, is National Thank You Month. This, of course, is easily transferable everywhere, so perhaps it should be Global Thank You Month.

In order to make the best use of this celebration of gratitude, let’s begin by seeing what Scripture says about thankfulness.

One place to start is Psalm 136, which begins and ends with the words, “Oh, give thanks” (vv.1,26). Again and again in this chapter we are reminded of a single, overriding reason to bestow our gratitude on our great God: “His mercy endures forever.” We could spend the whole month learning about gratitude from Psalm 136.

The psalmist reminds us of God’s “great wonders” (v.4). He tells us of God’s creative work brought on by His wisdom (v.5). He moves on to rehearse the great exodus of His people (vv.10-22). As we think through these pictures of creation and deliverance found in Psalm 136, we can easily find something to thank God for every day of this Thank You Month.

What better way to start off a new year than to concentrate on conveying gratitude to our Lord! “Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever” (v.1). —Dave Branon

How good it is to thank the Lord,

And praise to Thee, Most High, accord,

To show Thy love with morning light,

And tell Thy faithfulness each night! —Psalter

When you think of all that’s good, give thanks to God.

Bible in a year: Genesis 1-3; Matthew 1