Thursday, July 31, 2014

Great Is Thy Faithfulness - Chris Rice


Great is Thy faithfulness

Great is Thy faithfulness,
O God my Father;
There is no shadow
of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not,
Thy compassions,
they fail not;
As Thou hast been,
Thou forever will be.

Refrain:
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning
new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand
hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness,
Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter
and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars
in their courses above
Join with all nature
in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness,
mercy and love.

Refrain

Pardon for sin
and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence
to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and
bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine,
with ten thousand beside!

Refrain > 




Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Wednesday's Answers to Life's Questions: How can I gain wisdom from God?

2 Chronicles 1:8-13
Solomon answered God,
“You have shown great kindness to David my father
and have made me king in his place.
Now, Lord God, let your promise
to my father David be confirmed,
for you have made me king over a people
who are as numerous as the dust of the earth.
Give me wisdom and knowledge,
that I may lead this people,
for who is able to govern this great people of yours?”

God said to Solomon,
“Since this is your heart’s desire
and you have not asked for wealth,
possessions or honor,
nor for the death of your enemies,
and since you have not asked for a long life
but for wisdom and knowledge
to govern my people over whom I have made you king,
therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you.
And I will also give you wealth,
possessions and honor, 
such as no king who was before you ever had
and none after you will have.”

Then Solomon went to Jerusalem
from the high place at Gibeon,
from before the tent of meeting.
And he reigned over Israel.



A growing number of people in our world fail to seek God for His wisdom. Instead, they strive to satisfy their passions and desires without regard for their futures or the consequences of their decisions.

This is a dangerous way to live spiritually. When we try to live apart from the counsel of God's wisdom, we suffer disillusionment, fear, doubt, worry, and frustration. Our lives fall apart when we do not involve the Savior in our decisions.

The wisest approach to life's challenges is to seek God for His plan, direction, and spiritual insight. But how can we do that? The next time you face a challenge or an important decision, seek God's wisdom by doing the following:

Seek Him—If you want to know the Father's heart on a given issue, or when you have to make a difficult decision, ask Him. Take time to pray. In your times of prayer, don't do all the talking. Listen for God's still, small voice whispering His words of guidance and encouragement to you.

Meditate on God's Word—You will gain insight into the Father's mind and heart by studying Scripture and meditating on its truth. Difficult decisions become easier to make when He is the One guiding you.
Obey the principles of Scripture—When you set your heart on obeying God, He will teach you how to apply His truth to your life. Then you will know the way of wisdom.

Observe the faithfulness of God—The Lord has never failed to keep a single promise He has made. The Bible is full of testimonies that celebrate His goodness and love. Learn to claim His promises as you read His Word.

Heed godly counsel—God can use a pastor or trusted Christian friend to help you see beyond your weaknesses. Don't hesitate to share your needs and fears with those who love the Lord.

Associate with wise people—Choose your friends wisely. Include the Lord in every relationship, and you will establish a strong, godly base of counselors to support you in making wise decisions.

Because God loves us, we have no need to worry about the future. He has a plan, not only for our lives, but also for every problem we face. Oswald Chambers said, "All our fret and worry is caused by calculating without God." Take time today to renew your trust in God and His ability to provide the wisdom you need.








~ pg 848 ~
The Charles F. Stanley
Life Principles Daily Bible
Biblical Principles for Each Day of the Year

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Gospel Opportunities in Evil Days

July 17 | Taken from this message by Adrian Rogers ~ Love Worth Finding Ministry


Is there anybody who would deny that these are evil days?

We are up against the organized, mobilized, demonized forces of hell and it comes in every way. Sometimes it is a frontal attack. Sometimes it is very subtle. If you don’t know there is a war raging today, you are deaf, dumb and blind to spiritual things.

But, even though there is a war waging, there has never been a greater opportunity to preach the gospel of Jesus than right now. There is more hunger for the gospel than ever before.

You say, Pastor Rogers I thought you said things were getting bad. They are. Well, is the world getting better or worse? Yes. As the night grows darker, the saints glow brighter, the hungers more intense, and the people who are looking, waiting, and wondering are finding the answer in Christ. 

Read more daily treasures




Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Wednesday's Answers to Life's Questions: How does my relationship with the Lord affect what and how I hear from Him?

Psalm 79:13
Then we your people,
the sheep of your pasture,
will praise you forever;
from generation to generation
we will proclaim your praise.


Our relationship with God—the most important aspect of our lives—affect greatly what we hear when we pray and listen. The only message an unbeliever will ever hear from God is he is a sinner who needs Jesus as his Savior. Until that person knows Christ as his personal Messiah, he will not hear God speak on any subject other than salvation.

In the life of a believer, that speaker/hearer relationship has two main features.

First, we are saved. When by faith we receive Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, the Bible says we are born again. God takes us from the kingdom of darkness and places us into the kingdom of light. We become His children. Our salvation experience begins our relationship with Him.

Second, we are identified with Him. Our salvation takes care of our eternal security while, while our identification takes care of our daily walk of victory. By identification, I mean Christ's life is now mine and mine is His. "It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me" (Gal. 2:20). What happened to Christ at Calvary also happened to me. Christ was crucified; I was crucified. Christ was buried; I was buried. Christ was raised; I was raised.

One who is safe and secure in the love of God and sustained by His Grace now feels as if He is not distant. He now listens to Someone who loves him enough to bring him into a close, personal relationship—and that makes all the difference. We no longer come to Him, groping and pleading, wondering whether He accepts us.

Through my identification with Him, 
I come gladly and boldly, 
knowing I am accepted, 
not by my behavior, 
but because of my belief in Him 
and in what he has already accomplished. 
Therefore, I can approach Him with confidence 
and great assurance.


Jesus is now my personal, faithful, and merciful High Priest. He is my Father with whom I enjoy intimate communication. I no longer have to stand on the perimeter, squinting into the distance for a glimpse of His presence. Jesus has paid the price of my relationship with God through His shed blood so that now I am a full member of His own family, sitting daily before Him, totally secure in my sonship.


{For this I praise God and give thanks!!}


~ pg 858 ~
The Charles F. Stanley
Life Principles Daily Bible
Biblical Principles for Each Day of the Year



Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Holy Spirit is a Person

July 18 | Taken from this message by Adrian Rogers

Ephesians 5:18 commands us to “be filled with the Spirit.” The Holy Spirit is not a substance or a thing – the Holy Spirit is a person.

When asked about the Messiah, Jesus said, “I am He” (John 4:26). If you saw me wearing a blue tie, you wouldn’t say, “It wore a blue tie.” You would say, “He had on a blue tie.”

Don’t de-personalize the Holy Spirit. Don’t think of being filled with the Spirit as if you are some kind of a vessel and the Holy Spirit is some kind of a liquid. Or don’t think of yourself as a battery and the Holy Spirit as an electrical charge.

The Spirit is a person and you are a temple. First Corinthians 6:19 says, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?”

To be filled with the Holy Spirit simply means, Lord I am committed to You.



Monday, July 21, 2014

Filled with the Holy Spirit ~ and ~ the Signature of the Spirit

July 16 | Taken from this message by Adrian Rogers

Ephesians 5:18-21 says, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.”

When you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you are controlled by the Holy Spirit – your walk, your talk – everything is changed by the Holy Spirit of God.

Our verse today tells us not to become drunk with wine. Well, how does someone get drunk? He drinks. How does he stay drunk? He has to keep drinking. And that is the problem with many Christians who are Spirit-filled – they have become sober.

We need to continually depend upon the Holy Spirit by faith.

------------------------- More about the Holy Spirit -------------------------

The Signature of the Spirit
By Dr. Charles Stanley......................................................from my Sunday email devotional

Walking in the Spirit involves moment-by-moment sensitivity to the Holy Spirit’s guidance. But is there an objective standard by which we can measure the vitality of our relationship with Him?

Yes, there is. Fruit is the telling sign. It is not simply one mark of a Spirit-filled life; it is the preeminent mark—the public testimony to a believer’s sensitivity to and dependency on the Holy Spirit.

Those who walk in the Spirit possess the following nine virtues: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23). I believe there’s a reason Paul simply listed these virtues and moved on. They aren’t goals to pursue. Why? The fruit of the Spirit was never intended to be a demonstration of our dedication and resolve. Instead, it’s the evidence of our dependency on and sensitivity to the promptings of the Spirit.

How else can we characterize believers who walk in the Spirit? The closer you get to them, the better they look. They radiate integrity and trustworthiness. They don’t rely on personality, intimidation, or trumped-up enthusiasm to win you over. They accept themselves as they are and accept you as well. They’re the people you want to be like because of the depth of their character. 

We’re not talking about perfection. They still have the flesh to contend with. They can be as unkind and insensitive as anybody else. But when they realize their sin, they are quick to apologize. They are aware that, through the power of the Holy Spirit, they can rise above their sinful desires. Tuning in to His presence results in spiritual fruit that remains even during difficult times.

Unconditional love in a marriage or friendship shines brightest in the midst of our differences; in a similar way, the fruit of the Spirit demonstrates its divine source when circumstances and relationships take a turn for the worse. Then it becomes most apparent that the source of the Christian’s abiding character is something that lies deep within. When all the crutches and props are kicked away, and the believer is still standing, no one can argue that his uniqueness was simply a by-product of his environment.

Spirit-filled believers don’t win every battle. Doubt, temptation, hurt, and disappointment trip them up from time to time. But they don’t dwell on their missteps. They refocus their attention on the big picture, acknowledging the truth that their peace is from the Lord. Then they move on. They know “the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace” (Rom. 8:6).
The fruit of the Spirit is just that: fruit produced by God. When we abide in Christ and allow Him to live His life through us, the result is character that endures despite the chaos of life.

The fruit of the Spirit includes:
Love—for those who do not love in return.
Joy—in the midst of painful circumstances.
Peace—when something you were counting on doesn’t come through.
Patience—when things aren’t going fast enough for you.
Kindness—toward those who treat you unkindly.
Goodness—toward those who have been intentionally insensitive to you.
Faithfulness—when friends have proven unfaithful.
Gentleness—toward those who have handled you roughly.
Self-control—in the midst of intense temptation.

It is not uncommon for the Spirit’s fruit to take us by surprise. I have seen this happen many times, especially in the lives of new believers. When we shift our focus from self to the Holy Spirit, He can work freely in our lives. The results are uncharacteristic character, true change, and fruit that remains (John 15:16).

That is the nature of fruit. We don’t produce it; we discover it. As you begin walking in the Spirit, you will finish a debate with your kids and realize you didn’t raise your voice. You will walk away from a heated conversation and think, Wow, I didn’t lose my temper. You will be asked to go somewhere you have no business going, and you will hear yourself saying, “No, thank you.”

Eventually you will overhear someone make a comment to the effect of, “I don’t know what’s gotten into him, but he’s really different.” And you will realize that person is right, though not because you set out to change. Transformation will happen only when you surrender to the promptings of the Spirit. Remember, fruit is not something you work to attain. 
It’s something that can take you by surprise as the Holy Spirit produces it in your life.

Adapted from “The Wonderful Spirit-Filled Life” (1992).








Sunday, July 20, 2014

Marks of Maturity


May I ask you a question? Are you a growing Christian? Are you moving toward maturity? You can be young only once, but you can be immature for a long time. Many churches have people who’ve been born again but cease to grow. 

I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father. I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known Him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one. (1 John 2:13-14)

John mentions children, young men, and fathers. He’s talking about coming from childhood to adulthood, growing into maturity. 

What are the marks of maturity? Not just spiritual health—a child can be spiritually healthy yet still be a child. Not giftedness. Samson was mightily gifted, but he was immature. Even the gifted Corinthian church, Paul had to confront: “So that ye come behind in no gift…” (1 Corinthians 1:7) but he said, “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:1).
Your heart can be right with God, filled with the Holy Spirit, but still immature.
Maturity is Christ-likeness. “Till we all come…unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13). “…teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus” (Colossians 1:28). Perfect doesn’t mean sinless; it means mature.

Maturity is a lifelong process, not a hundred-yard dash. No one is instantly mature. If you want to grow a squash, it will take you 40 days. An oak will take you 40 years. 

Whatever your age, no one is saved full grown. Thank God for baby Christians, but baby Christians have to grow up. In one sense, a church is a maternity ward. But some stay in the maternity ward far too long. 

Moving from milk bottles to mighty battles, baby Christians should become workers and warriors. “I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.” When you begin to grow, you’re no longer being served but a servant, a worker, a warrior. The Word of God has made you strong. Don’t let Satan have his way because he’s fighting an army of children. Is the devil afraid of you? Young men are strong; they’ve overcome the wicked one. Are you a threat to Satan’s kingdom? Does the Word of God abide in you? From there you move into the wisdom of adulthood. “I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known Him that is from the beginning.” An adult has come to mature wisdom; he knows, he understands. He’s been with the Lord so long, his life begins to manifest the likeness of God. If you’re a woman or a young person, this applies to you, too. 

A father has children. Have you reproduced? Will you bring spiritual children to Jesus’ feet? A father imparts wisdom to his spiritual children to help them to grow in grace.
How do we grow from childhood to adolescence to maturity?

Growth requires time

You will not instantly be mature. There are no shortcuts. Remain steadfast, and you will grow.

Growth requires nourishment

“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby;” (1 Peter 2:2). Feed daily on the Word of God. That’s where your strength lies. Saturate your heart and life with the Word.

Growth requires discipline and exercise

“But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil,” (Hebrews 5:14). We have so many flabby Christians because Sunday after Sunday they sit, soak, and sour. Find something in your church to do. Help in a ball club, the dining hall, in a class, in the jail ministry. Don’t sit like a turtle on a log. Serve. 

Are you a growing Christian? There’s a battle to fight, work to be done. I want you to become a spiritual father, reminding others of God. I want you to grow so much with God that you begin to look like Him and act like Him.



from Love Worth Finding Ministry (Adrian Rogers)
www.lwf.org


Grumbling or Grateful?


BIBLE MEDITATION:
“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name.” Psalm 100:4

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
One day a preacher was riding on a train. He saw a well-dressed man and magnificently dressed woman with expensive jewelry. The woman was complaining about everything—the train ride, the weather, the news, the food, the service. 

The preacher decided to engage this couple in a conversation. He asked the man what kind of business he was in and the man told him. Then he asked, “And what does your wife do?” 

The man replied, “Oh, she’s in the manufacturing business. She manufactures her own unhappiness.” 

You know, there are a lot of people like that today. They manufacture their own misery because they fail to be grateful. Only Christ can turn our lives around and stir up a grateful heart within us.

ACTION POINT:
Go through the alphabet and thank the Lord for something beginning with each letter and choose to be grateful. 



email from Love Worth Finding Ministries (Adrian Rogers) 7/19/2014


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Life Principle #1 Our intimacy with God...


Life Principle #1: Our intimacy with God - His Highest Priority for Our Lives - Determines the Impact of Our Lives.

GENESIS 1:26
One of our greatest needs is to know we are loved. Each of us has to feel certain, deep down in our hearts, that someone loves us, cares for us, and had our best interest at heart.

That is how God designed us. He wants us to know He loves us with a passionate intensity too deep for words.

God created human beings with fellowship in mindfirst with Himself, then with others. But we cannot fully love one another until we have ourselves experienced the love of God. We experience His love when we willingly surrender to His call to be our Savior, Lord, and Friend.

There are at least three reasons God seeks our surrender.

  • He loves us and desires our fellowship and worship.
As long as we hold something back from God, we cannot know Him completely or fully experience His love. When we surrender to Him, we get all of Him.
  • He wants our service for Him to be effective and fruitful.
The more we know and love Jesus, the more effective our service will be. The closer we draw to God, the more impact our lives will have. The more energetically we nurture our relationship with the Lord, the greater the positive mark we will leave behind.
  • He waits for the freedom to bless us.
God is omnipotent, but He will not violate His own principles. He draws us to Himself so we can experience His love and forgiveness. He asks for our willing surrender so He can give us the best blessings He has to offer.

So why do we resist? With all this in mind, why does anyone resist surrendering to God!

Pride is the key reason most people resist surrender. They think they know better than God and that they can handle their lives better than He can, so they keep Him at a distance.

Others do no surrender because they fear what God will do (or not do) for them. They think that if they give Him control. He'll make them do exactly what will make them most miserable.

Still others refuse to surrender to Christ because they believe Satan's lie, which tells them God is judgmental and will punish them for their mistakes.

All of this is completely false! God always has our best in mind. He will refuse us no good thing when we gladly submit to His will (Rom. 8:32). He tells us, " 'I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope' " (Jer. 29:11).

It only makes sense to surrender to God, because when we do, we grow close to Him - His highest priority for us - and we begin to have an impact on our world.

Fulfill you destiny. Anne Graham Lotz once told an interviewer about the many trials she had faced in previous years, including her parents' serious illnesses and her son's battle with cancer. She finally came to the point where all she wanted was Jesus. "Just give me Jesus," she declared.

Anne realized that if she had a personal intimate relationship with the Savior of this universe, then whatever problems she faced, He would face them with her. He would bring sweet resolve and peace to her heart.

Is this the cry of your heart? Do you want to know the Savior and live in the fullness of His blessing each day?  You can. David wrote, "They who seek the LORD shall not be in want of any good thing" (Ps. 34:10).

When you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, He not only forgave you but also make you into a new creature. You were no longer standing at a distance from God but then were able to draw near to Him.

If you have drifted in your devotions to the Savior and feel as though you grow more distant each day in your relationship to Him, they pray He will draw you near once more. He knows your weaknesses, and if you will tell Him you want Him to take control of your life, He will come to you in a mighty way and bring hope and light to your situation, no matter how dark and hopeless it may feel (Isa. 55:6-7).




Spirit of Order

Daily Devotional for July 18, 2014
They [locusts] do not jostle one another; each marches in his path.  Joel 2:8

Locusts always keep their rank, and although their number is legion, they do not crowd upon each other, so as to throw their columns into confusion. This remarkable fact in natural history shows how thoroughly the Lord has infused the spirit of order into His universe, since the smallest animate creatures are as much controlled by it as are the rolling spheres or the angelic throng. It would be wise for believers to be ruled by the same influence in all their spiritual life.
In their Christian graces no one virtue should usurp the sphere of another or feed off the rest for its own support. Affection must not smother honesty, courage must not elbow weakness out of the field, modesty must not jostle energy, and patience must not slaughter resolution. So also with our duties. One must not interfere with another; public usefulness must not injure private piety; church work must not push family worship into a corner. It is wrong to offer God one duty stained with the blood of another. Each thing is beautiful in its season, but not otherwise.
The same rule applies to our personal position. We must take care to know our place, take it, and keep to it. We must minister as the Spirit has given us ability, and not intrude upon our fellow servant's domain. Our Lord Jesus taught us not to covet the high places, but to be willing to be the least among our brothers and sisters. Let us say no to an envious, ambitious spirit; let us feel the force of the Master's command and do as He bids us, keeping in step with the rest of the company. Tonight let us see whether we are keeping the unity of the Spirit in the bonds of peace, and let our prayer be that in all the churches of the Lord Jesus peace and order may prevail.




Friday, July 18, 2014

Doubting Our Salvation

email devotion for July 18, 2014 from Love Worth Finding

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that you may know that you have eternal life.” 1 John 5:13

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
A woman told the great evangelist Dwight L. Moody, “I’ve been saved twenty-five years, and I’ve never had one single doubt.”

He responded, “Madam, I doubt you’ve been saved.”

That would be like a couple saying they’ve been married 50 years and never had an argument. I’d say, “I doubt you’ve been married.”

We all have doubts. You see, doubt is to your spirit what pain is to your body. It is a signal that something is wrong. And just as you seek to find a remedy for your pain, you should seek to find a remedy for your doubts. Jesus is your remedy. Get into His Word and know the assurance of your salvation. It’s not you, it’s Jesus that makes it possible.

ACTION POINT:
Are you doubting your salvation? Then run to Jesus.

Soak yourself in these truths from God’s Word:

Romans 10:13 ~ For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Ephesians 2:1-10 ~ Made Alive in Christ
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Titus 3:5 ~ he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,

Love Worth Finding Ministry also invites you to read “You Can Be Sure” at lwf.org