II Timothy 3:16 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:”
A Merry Heart
Proverbs 17:22 “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.”
A man walking along a California beach was deep in prayer. All of a sudden he said out loud, “Lord, grant me one wish.” Suddenly the sky clouded above his head, and in a booming voice the Lord said, “Because you have TRIED to be faithful to me in all ways, I will grant you one wish.” The man said, “Build a bridge to Hawaii so I can drive over anytime I want to.”
The Lord said, “Your request is very materialistic. Think of the logistics of that kind of undertaking. The supports required to reach the bottom of the Pacific! The concrete and steel it would take! I can do it, but it is hard for me to justify your desire for worldly things. Take a little more time and think of another wish, a wish you think would honor and glorify me.”
The man thought about it for a long time. Finally he said, “Lord, I wish that I could understand women. I want to know how they feel inside, what they are thinking when they give me the silent treatment, why they cry, what they mean when they say ‘nothing,’ and how I can make a woman truly happy.”
After a few minutes God said, “You want two or four lanes on that bridge?”
“The Bible is a book beyond all books as a river is above and beyond a rivulet. The Bible is a book beyond all books as the sun is above and beyond a candle in brightness. The Bible is a book beyond all books as the wings of an eagle is above and beyond the wings of a sparrow. It is supernatural in origin, eternal in duration, inexpressible in value, immeasurable in influence, infinite in scope, divine in authorship, human in penmanship, regenerative in power, infallible in authority, universal in interest, personal in application, and inspired in totality. This is the Book that has walked more paths, traveled more highways, knocked at more doors and spoken to more people in their mother tongue than in any other book this world has ever known or will know.” – RG Lee
Exodus 16:15b And Moses said unto them, “This is the bread which the LORD hath given you to eat.”
The Power of the Gospel
“I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” – By Dr. Paul Chappell
The Word of God has the power to transform the lives of people that nothing else does. When we substitute the opinions and philosophies of man for the gospel message, we lose the power that makes a difference in the lives of others. Our commitment must be to faithfully proclaim the truth, no matter how out of step with society it seems to be. The world in Paul’s day was certainly not welcoming of the gospel, but he preached it without hesitation and without shame.
Charles Spurgeon said, “Take a maxim of Socrates or of Plato, and inquire whether a nation or a tribe has ever been transformed by it from barbarism to culture. A maxim of a philosopher may have measurably influenced a man in some right direction; but who has ever heard of a man’s whole character being transformed by any observation of Confucius or Socrates? I confess, I never have.
Human teachings are barren. But within the Gospel there is a divine life, and that life makes all the difference. The human can never rival the divine, for it lacks the life-fire.”
The devil tempts us to update the message and take out the parts that are offensive to the hearer. God calls us to be faithful to proclaim the truth. This is the only message that changes lives. It will not be well-received by all, but there will be those who hear and respond when the gospel is given. (Romans 1:14–16)
Today’s Growth Principle: Never give up the powerful weapon of the gospel as your tool to win the world to Christ.
Power of Prayer
Devotion has a religious signification. The root of devotion is to devote to a sacred use. So that devotion in its true sense has to do with religious worship. It stands intimately connected with true prayer. Devotion is the particular frame of mind found in one entirely devoted to God. It is the spirit of reverence, of awe, of godly fear. It is a state of heart which appears before God in prayer and worship. It is foreign to everything like lightness of spirit, and is opposed to levity and noise and bluster. Devotion dwells in the realm of quietness and is still before God. It is serious, thoughtful, meditative.
Devotion belongs to the inner life and lives in the closet, but also appears in the public services of the sanctuary. It is a part of the very spirit of true worship, and is of the nature of the spirit of prayer.
Devotion belongs to the devout man, whose thoughts and feelings are devoted to God. Such a man has a mind given up wholly to religion, and possesses a strong affection for God and an ardent love for His house. Cornelius was “a devout man, one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed always.” “Devout men carried Stephen to his burial.” “One Ananias, a devout man, according to the law,” was sent unto Saul when he was blind, to tell him what the Lord would have him do. God can wonderfully use such men, for devout men are His chosen agents in carrying forward His plans.
Prayer promotes the spirit of devotion, while devotion is favorable to the best praying. Devotion furthers prayer and helps to drive prayer home to the object which it seeks. Prayer thrives in the atmosphere of true devotion. It is easy to pray when in the spirit of devotion. The attitude of mind and the state of heart implied in devotion make prayer effectual in reaching the throne of grace. God dwells where the spirit of devotion resides. All the graces of the Spirit are nourished and grow well in the environment created by devotion. Indeed, these graces grow nowhere else but here. The absence of a devotional spirit means death to the graces born in a renewed heart. True worship finds congeniality in the atmosphere made by a spirit of devotion. While prayer is helpful to devotion, at the same time devotion reacts on prayer, and helps us to pray.
Excerpt from E.M. Bounds book The Essentials of Prayer chapter 3 Prayer and Devotion.
More than Conquerors
Romans 8:37 “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”
Salvation is Through Christ
A preacher was called to the bedside of a man who was seriously ill. After a few words of greeting, the minister asked, “My friend, are you prepared to meet God if you don’t recover from this sickness?” “I think so,” was the reply, “I’ve always given generously to worthy causes, and I’ve been a good father and a faithful husband.” “But my dear friend, that will never get you to Heaven!” “Oh, but I have many other good works to my credit,” protested the man. The preacher realized he needed to puncture the balloon of this sinner’s self-righteousness, so he changed his line of questioning. “Tell me,” he said. “What do you think people do there?” “Well, they’re occupied with the things of God, and I guess they sing a lot!” “Ah,” said the preacher, “I’m glad you mentioned that.” Opening his Bible to Revelation 5, he pointed out that the song of the redeemed was all about Jesus and His wondrous atonement. “Notice, there’s not one word about the saint’s accomplishments,” explained the minister. “Nothing you’ve told me fits into this picture. You’ve talked about what you have done, but the inhabitants of Glory speak only of what Christ has done!” Suddenly the man saw the folly of trusting in his own goodness. Looking to the Lord for salvation, he found peace in believing. When he died, his greatest comfort was found in these words: “Unto him that loveth us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood” (Rev. 1:5).