Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Bible in One Year: October 5

 Bible in One Year: Isaiah 23-25; Philippians 1

The Nature of Degeneration / Oswald Chambers

 

The Nature of Degeneration

Just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned… ROMANS 5:12

The Bible does not say that God punished the human race for one man’s sin, but that the nature of sin, namely, my claim to my right to myself, entered into the human race through one man. But it also says that another Man took upon Himself the sin of the human race and put it away— an infinitely more profound revelation (see Hebrews 9:26 ). The nature of sin is not immorality and wrongdoing, but the nature of self-realization which leads us to say, “I am my own god.” This nature may exhibit itself in proper morality or in improper immorality, but it always has a common basis— my claim to my right to myself. When our Lord faced either people with all the forces of evil in them, or people who were clean-living, moral, and upright, He paid no attention to the moral degradation of one, nor any attention to the moral attainment of the other. He looked at something we do not see, namely, the nature of man (see John 2:25).

Sin is something I am born with and cannot touch— only God touches sin through redemption. It is through the Cross of Christ that God redeemed the entire human race from the possibility of damnation through the heredity of sin. God nowhere holds a person responsible for having the heredity of sin, and does not condemn anyone because of it. Condemnation comes when I realize that Jesus Christ came to deliver me from this heredity of sin, and yet I refuse to let Him do so. From that moment I begin to get the seal of damnation. “This is the condemnation [and the critical moment], that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light…” (John 3:19).

Bible in One Year: Isaiah 23-25; Philippians 1

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

God engineers circumstances to see what we will do. Will we be the children of our Father in heaven, or will we go back again to the meaner, common-sense attitude? Will we stake all and stand true to Him? "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." The crown of life means I shall see that my Lord has got the victory after all, even in me.

Looking for Fruit / Charles Stanley

 Looking for Fruit

Galatians 5:16-26

As believers, we all want the fruit of the Spirit, but how can we know if we truly have it? Even unbelievers can display these qualities when conditions are positive. This nine-fold fruit of the Spirit is not what we do, but who we are, and it is primarily on display in Christians when circumstances are unfavorable. Two characteristics help us recognize these traits in our lives.

Fruitful believers are not controlled by their environment. Everyone experiences trials and pain, but those who are filled with the Spirit do not lose His fruit because of their situations. They keep their joy even when difficulties overwhelm. If someone speaks harshly, they respond with kindness. Because the Holy Spirit is in control, He is free to produce His fruit no matter what the circumstances are. Even though such believers may feel pain, anger, or a desire for revenge, they choose to trust the Lord to protect them and direct the outcome.  

Fruitful Christians recover quickly after a fall. These believers are not perfect, but they are sensitive to the Spirit's conviction and are quick to return to the Lord in repentance. In fact, they are actually grateful for the correction and praise God, not only for revealing their weakness but also for drawing them back to obedience.

No one produces these amazing qualities in himself. Trying harder to be godly will never work. Character transformation occurs when we submit to God, giving Him complete control of our lives. Only then will the Spirit be free to produce fruit that remains even in the deepest, darkest storms.

Have You Died to Your Old Ways? / Adrian Rogers

 Have You Died to Your Old Ways? 

Romans 6:1-2 

Sermon: 1736 – Start Right—Believer’s Baptism 

Pray Over This 

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” 

Romans 6:1-2 

Ponder This 

Baptism speaks about what God did for you when He saved you. When we get saved, we die to sin. That’s the old way; being saved means dying to the old way. There was a teenage boy who lived in West Palm Beach. He gave his heart to Jesus Christ, and when he did, that teenage boy died. His name was Adrian Rogers. The old Adrian died. When did he die? He died not as a teenage boy, but he died 2000 years ago when Jesus died on that cross, because His death had my name on it. He took my sins, carried them to the cross, and was hung up there for me. He suffered, bled, and died in agony for me. He bore my sins in His body on the cross. He paid my sin debt in full. When He died, through faith, I died with Him. 

  • How have you experienced a death to your old way of living through Jesus?
  • Why is this a requirement for every follower of Jesus?

Practice This 

Make a list of things that you have died to or need to die to now from your old way of living. Ask God for the power through His Spirit to die to those old-way things that remain.

Grieving and Grateful / ODB

 

What Is the Purpose of Troubles? / Chuck Swindoll

 What Is the Purpose of Troubles?

When the inevitable troubles of various kinds come, remember the second truth about them—they have a purpose. We’re not just tossed into the crowd and left to fend for ourselves as God runs the world from a distance. The various troubles that occur are all part of His plan. When we accept this, we can view them as opportunities for growth.

Notice what James says: “When troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy” (1:2). A trial is a faith test that exercises your endurance, not to break you but to strengthen you (see verse 3). So James says to let that endurance grow (verse 4).

Don’t look for an escape hatch. Instead, lean into God’s plan and learn from the trial. Let it water your roots so you can grow deeper in your relationship with Him.

As I’ve looked back over the decades of my life, I’ve learned the value of yesterday’s pain. Our trials are where the most important lessons are learned. Sometimes we learn from our own failures or through difficult situations we ourselves have caused. Often we grow from falling prey to others’ poor choices or circumstances beyond our control. When we value the lessons learned through our trials, they will help us to become mature. They all have a purpose. They are all part of our loving heavenly Father’s plan to conform us to the image of His Son.

Recognizing that troubles have a purpose is much better than always asking, “Why did this happen? Why me? Why now?” Instead, we can ask much more fruitful questions: “What can I learn from this about God’s grace? About the love of His Son? About the comfort of the Holy Spirit? What important truth is God teaching me at this point in my journey?”

When we shift our focus from “why” to “what,” we can begin to face the inevitable troubles of life as opportunities for growth and great joy.

Wisdom from the Psalms / October 5

 Psalm 119:105

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
 
Nick and Davy thought it would be fun to explore deeper in the cave. When they saw their chance, they separated from the rest of their class and headed down a corridor that was roped off. They walked on through twisting and turning shafts until they were no longer sure how to get back. They stood in total darkness, feeling the cavern close in around them. Just as they verged on panic, Davy looked down and noticed a fine, dim glow. Phosphorescent stone was embedded in the cave floor, and it cast off a dull shine. By following the path of light, the boys made it back to the safety of the well-lit shafts.
 
Darkness can close in around us quickly in this world today. It seems to be getting darker all the time. However, we are recipients of the light that cannot be put out and will never fade away. The Word of God will guide us through even the darkest times, and He will be close by to comfort us in time of trouble. Rely upon the light of the Lord.
 
Prayer: Light my way, dear God, and keep me from stumbling down the wrong path. Keep me from my own folly. Amen.

The Gold Standard / David Jeremiah

 

The Gold Standard

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
John 14:6 

In our modern world, two words have become increasingly prominent in our cultural conversation: disinformation and misinformation, with only a shade of difference between the two. They both share a common element: deviating from the truth. Since social media has allowed every individual to have a public and potentially influential voice, discerning what is true and what isn’t has become increasingly challenging.

Recommended Reading:
Psalm 119: 160
Sometimes even the most well-intentioned err when it comes to truth. Anglican scholar N. T. Wright, author of scores of books on the Bible and theology, has humorously said, “I’m sure about 25 percent of what I say is wrong. I just don’t know which 25 percent!” When we search for the truth, we must pursue an upward trajectory that ends with Jesus Christ and His Word. We begin with rumor and hearsay, progress to trusted sources and authorities, and measure it all against the One who said, “I am... the truth.”

In your own pursuit of truth, make sure to measure everything against the gold standard for truth: Christ and His Word.

The Word of God is perfect; it is precious and pure; it is truth itself.
Martin Luther

Are You Opening God’s Word? / Senior Living

Are You Opening God’s Word?

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. - Hebrews 4:12

A minister was out one day visiting the home of one of his church members. The lady of the house welcomed him in, and began trying to impress him with how devout her family was by pointing out the large Bible on the bookshelf.

“We have a real reverence and respect for God’s Word in this house,” she told the minister. And as she was talking, her five-year-old son walked in the room, overhearing part of the conversation.

He interrupted, saying, “Mommy, I didn’t know that book was God’s. We should probably just send it back to Him because we never read it anyway.”

So many Bibles in homes these days serve no other purpose than to sit on the shelf and collect dust. Few people really read God’s Word. And even worse, many mistakenly believe that having a Bible on the shelf accounts for some kind of spirituality.

An unopened Bible is as useless as no Bible at all. So be sure to open God’s Word regularly. It won’t transform your life just sitting on the shelf!

Prayer Challenge:

Ask God to help you stay consistent in His Word so it can transform your life.

Questions for Thought:

How often do you think you honestly open your Bible?

What can you do to become more consistent in reading God’s Word?


 

Spirit-Filled Boldness / Alistair Begg

 

Spirit-Filled Boldness

But if you are afraid to go down, 
go down to the camp with Purah your servant. 
And you shall hear what they say, 
and afterward your hands shall be strengthened 
to go down against the camp.

It is always easier to hang back in fear than to move forward in faith: easier, but never better.

Gideon knew a lot about fear and the hesitation it birthed. He hesitated when God’s angel called him to lead Israel (Judges 6:13, 15). He hesitated when Israel’s enemies gathered to oppose him (v 36-40). And, it seems, he hesitated again the night before the battle in which God had promised victory (7:9-10). And into this fear and hesitancy, God spoke. Notice God’s grace and patience with Gideon as He says, “But if you are afraid…” and encourages him to take his servant down to the camp with him. This is a sensitive way to address Gideon’s fear. It recognizes that, humanly speaking, there was great reason to be afraid! He was about to go into battle against an opponent whose soldiers outnumbered his by tens of thousands. God didn’t rebuke him for his fear; instead, He gave him a reason to be confident.

Like Gideon, we need such kind words from our Lord. We are often slow to remember that we can cast all our cares on Him (1 Peter 5:7). We can lay down all of our burdens and fears at His feet. We’re permitted to come to Him and say that we don’t know what to do. And His response is always filled with grace and sensitivity towards us.

What makes this story even more beautiful is Gideon’s response to God’s gentle suggestion. During his discreet visit to the enemy camp, he overhears two men discussing a dream, which one soldier interprets as meaning that they will fall under “the sword of Gideon” because “God has given into his hand Midian and all the camp” (Judges 7:14). When Gideon hears that and realizes that God has indeed gone before him to do what is impossible for him to do alone, what does he do? “He worshiped” (v 15). There’s such wealth contained in that response. Facing impossible odds but assured of God’s promise, this fearful, fragile, unlikely leader poured out his heart in praise, and then utilized his God-given courage to rally his troops. His boldness came from a private, secret moment between him and the Lord. 

There’s a difference between personality-driven schemes for manipulating people and genuine, Spirit-filled boldness. One is produced on a purely human plane and is apt to crumble; the other can be discovered only as we humble ourselves before God, acknowledge our inadequacy, and remember His sufficiency. That is a firm place on which to take our stand. The antidote to fear isn’t to think more highly of yourself, as so many claim. It’s to think more highly of God. It’s to trust in God’s enablement, which can grant you a holy, humble boldness beyond compare.

What are you fearful of right now? In what way are you tempted to hang back even though God is calling you to walk forward in obedience? Bring your fears to God. Ask Him to show you His ability to do what you cannot. Then trust Him, worship Him, and obey Him.

Joshua 1:1-11

The Way of Salvation / Spurgeon

 

The Way of Salvation

Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved.

Mr. MacDonald asked the inhabitants of the island of St. Kilda how a man must be saved. An old man replied, “We will be saved if we repent and forsake our sins and turn to God.” “Yes,” said a middle-aged woman, “and with a true heart too.” “Yes,” rejoined a third, “and with prayer”; and a fourth added, “It must be the prayer of the heart.” “And we must be diligent too,” said a fifth, “in keeping the commandments.” When each of them made their contribution, feeling that a very decent creed had been made up, they all looked and listened for the preacher's approval, but they had aroused his deepest pity.

The secular mind always maps out for itself a way in which self can work and become great, but the Lord's way is quite the reverse. Believing and being baptized are not matters of merit to be gloried in—they are so simple that boasting is excluded. It may be that the reader is unsaved—what is the reason? Do you think the way of salvation as laid down in the text is dubious? How can that be when God has pledged His own word for its certainty? Do you think it too easy? Why, then, do you not obey it?

Those who neglect it are without excuse. To believe is simply to trust, to depend, to rely upon Christ Jesus. To be baptized is to submit to the ordinance that our Lord fulfilled at Jordan, to which the converted ones submitted at Pentecost, to which the jailer yielded obedience on the very night of his conversion. The outward sign does not save, but it portrays our death, burial, and resurrection with Jesus and, like the Lord's Supper, is not to be neglected. Reader, do you believe in Jesus? Then, dear friend, dismiss your fears—you will be saved. Are you still an unbeliever? Then remember there is only one door, and if you will not enter by it you will perish in your sins.

Science and Religion / Billy Graham

 

Science and Religion

The fact of the matter is that science and faith complement each other, and there is no conflict between true science and true religion. Together they give the best foundation for wholesome faith and courage for daily living. When Galileo, the father of modern science, discovered that the earth revolved, instead of the sun moving around the earth, certain religious leaders were greatly disturbed, for they held another theory. But eventually they were reconciled. 

Since that day we have happily found that true science is compatible with a deep religious faith. So Christianity is what we might term: supra-scientific. There are highways beyond science that lead to truth. Christ Jesus was the Master of spiritual truth, and He imparts these truths to us—as we work out a working relationship with Him.

Daily Prayer

Thank You, Father, for the revelation of Your love when You gave Your beloved Son to die for me. Nothing science will ever discover will surpass this divine miracle!

“he reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him.”

‭‭Daniel‬ ‭2:22‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Daily Blessings / October 5

 Daily Blessings

“Why should any living man complain when punished for his sins?” - Lam 3:39

We must not understand by the word “punished,” anything of a vindictive nature. God never punishes the sins of his elect penally; that is, not as he punishes the sins of the reprobate. The eternal covenant forbids this. “Fury is not in me, says the Lord.” The elect are accepted in Jesus, are pardoned in him, are complete in him. This is their eternal and unalterable covenant standing—the fruit and effect of their everlasting union with the Son of God. But though this forbids punishment in its strictly penal sense, it by no means excludes chastisement. Thus we are not to understand by the word “punishment” in the text the infliction of God’s righteous wrath, that foretaste of eternal damnation with which, sometimes even in this life, he visits the ungodly; but it signifies that chastisement which is the privilege of the heir, and distinguishes him from the bastard. It is under this chastisement, then, that the living man is brought to complain, and he will often see in the afflictions that befall him the rod of the Lord as the chastisement of sin. When he thus sees light in God’s light, he may justly say, “WHY should any living man complain when punished for his sins?” Are they not chastisements, not punishments; the rod of a father’s correction, not the vindictive stroke of offended justice?

Perhaps his property is lost through unlooked-for circumstances, or the roguery of others; and he is brought down from comparative affluence to be a poor man. When he can see that this is a chastisement for his pride and carnality in former days, he is able to put his mouth in the dust. Or if the Lord afflicts him in his body so that he shall scarcely enjoy a day’s health, when he sees and feels how he abused his health and strength when he possessed them, and at the same time perceives from how many hurtful snares his bodily affliction instrumentally preserves him, he is able at times to bear it meekly and patiently.

He may also have serious afflictions in his family, or find, like David, “his house not so with God” as he could wish; but when he sees that a sickly wife or disobedient children are but so many strokes of chastisement, and far lighter than his sins demand, when he sees that they come from the hand of love, and not from eternal wrath, that they are the stripes of a Father, not the vindictive strokes of an angry judge, he feels then that love is mingled with chastisement, and his spirit is meekened, and his heart softened, and he is brought down to say, “Why should any living man complain?”

Now, until a man gets there he cannot but complain. Until he is brought spiritually to see that all his afflictions, griefs, and sorrows are chastisements and not punishments, and is able to receive them as the stripes of love, he must and he will complain. But, generally speaking, before the Lord lifts up the light of his countenance upon him, before he gives him a sense of peace in his conscience, he will bring him “to accept,” as the Scripture speaks (Lev. 26:41), “of the punishment of his iniquity.” He will thus receive these strokes of chastisement with a subdued spirit; he will confess that they are justly deserved; and his obstinacy and rebelliousness being in a measure broken, he will lie as a poor and needy supplicant at the foot of the cross.

The Gospel Is for Everyone / Greg Laurie

 The Gospel Is for Everyone

“After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands.” (Revelation 7:9 NLT)

When you’re about to drive somewhere, you get into your car, start it, put it in gear, and you’re on your way. You don’t keep turning the ignition again and again once the car has started.

In the same way, the Day of Pentecost was like an explosion that set the Church in motion. It was a one-time event, but there are many things we can learn as followers of Jesus from what happened on this important day.

Acts 2 tells us that “on the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability” (verses 1–4 NLT).

We never read of the phenomena that happened on the Day of Pentecost happening again, such as the mighty rushing wind and the flames of fire on the heads of the apostles. These were special, one-off occurrences.

People from around the world were gathered in Jerusalem, representing many languages. And then the outpouring of the Spirit took place on the Day of Pentecost. Everyone heard God glorified in their language.

The people there were just like us. They had no earthly power, no money, no political authority, and no status. But they had Jesus, and Jesus had them. And God was about to change the world with this group of 120 people who had gathered together in His name.

What happened on the Day of Pentecost serves as a reminder that the gospel is for all people, tribes, and languages. The gospel is for everyone.

Bible in One Year: October 5

  Bible in One Year:   Isaiah 23-25; Philippians 1