Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Don’t Talk; Connect / Chuck Swindoll

 Don’t Talk; Connect

An old aphorism states, “’Tis better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak up and remove all doubt.” I can personally vouch for this straightforward advice. In fact, it has solid biblical support. The book of Proverbs warns against this overlooked verbal danger: verbosity.

  1. Verbosity

The wise of heart will receive commands,
But a babbling fool will be ruined. (10:8)

When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable,
But he who restrains his lips is wise. (10:19)

He who restrains his words has knowledge,
And he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.
Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise;
When he closes his lips, he is considered prudent. (17:27–28)

Verbosity is the habit of talking too much while saying too little. People who are verbose usually feel compelled to comment on anything and everything, either because they fear silence or sincerely believe that meaningless talk is better than none at all. So these people fill blessed silence with inane talk. They interrupt without hesitation. They speak first and think later . . . if at all! And for all their talking, they remain hard of hearing.

A number of years ago I discovered that it’s virtually impossible to learn anything while I’m talking. That’s undoubtedly true of everyone. So, rather than fill a conversational void with needless chatter, use the time you have with others to listen well in order to understand more about them. Ask open-ended questions until you find a topic that excites them. More often than not, the conversation will take a meaningful turn as they describe their field of interest and explain why they find it exciting. As they let you into their world, you have an opportunity to learn and gain insight into a realm of that person’s expertise. When the time has passed, you haven’t merely talked; you’ve connected.

We used this week to consider several poor uses for the tongue. I hope our examination of these five unpleasant examples will encourage you to exercise more control over that powerful muscle in your mouth. Next week we’ll focus on some correct, healthy uses of the tongue. Frankly, I’m ready for the positive.


Joy in Sorrow / Billy Graham

 

Joy in Sorrow

At some time in life all of us feel the loneliness of sorrow. Mary and Martha were saddened by the death of their brother, Lazarus, and Martha said to Jesus, “If you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Theirs was a loneliness of sorrow. The shortest verse in the Bible tells us that at the tomb of Lazarus “Jesus wept.” He enters into our sorrows. 

When we come to Jesus Christ, He does not promise to exempt us from trouble or sorrow. Tears will come, but deep inside there will be a joy that is difficult to explain to you. It is a joy from God—produced by the Holy Spirit. In the midst of trials and agony and tears which come to us all, a supernatural power is given out, producing joy.

Daily Prayer

Your comfort in times of sorrow, loving Lord Jesus, enfolds me, giving light and hope in my darkness.

“On the day I called, You answered me; You made me bold with strength in my soul.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭138:3‬

Cushion of the Sea / Streams

 Cushion of the Sea


And the peace of God, which transcends all our powers of thought, will be a garrison to guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus - Phil 4:7

There is what is called the “cushion of the sea.” Down beneath the surface that is agitated by storms, and driven about with winds, there is a part of the sea that is never stirred. When we dredge the bottom and bring up the remains of animal and vegetable life we find that they give evidence of not having been disturbed in the least, for hundreds and thousands of years. The peace of God is that eternal calm which, like the cushion of the sea, lies far too deep down to be reached by any external trouble and disturbance; and he who enters into the presence of God, becomes partaker of that undisturbed and undisturbable calm.—Dr. A. T. Pierson

When winds are raging o’er the upper ocean,  
And billows wild contend with angry roar,  
’Tis said, far down beneath the wild commotion,  
That peaceful stillness reigneth evermore.  

Far, far beneath, the noise of tempest dieth,  
And silver waves chime ever peacefully,  
And no rude storm, how fierce soe’er it flieth,  
Disturbs the Sabbath of that deeper sea.  

So to the heart that knows Thy love, O Purest,  
There is a temple sacred evermore,  
And all the babble of life’s angry voices  
Dies in hushed silence at its peaceful door.  

Far, far away, the roar of passion dieth,  
And loving thoughts rise calm and peacefully,  
And no rude storm, how fierce soe’er it flieth,  
Disturbs the soul that dwells, O Lord, in Thee.  
—Harriet Beecher Stowe

“The Pilgrim they laid in a large upper chamber, facing the sun-rising. The name of the chamber was Peace.” —Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress

October 20 / Daily Blessings

 Daily Blessings

“Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” - 2 Tim 2:3

“You therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” 2 Timothy 2:3

How is the Christian soldier made? By going to chapel, by reading the Bible, by singing hymns, by talking about religion? Just as much as the veteran warrior is made by merely living the barracks. He must go into the battle and fight hand to hand with Satan and the flesh; he must endure cruel wounds given by both outward and inward foes; he must lie upon the cold ground of desolation and desertion; he must rush up the breach when called to storm the castles of sin and evil, and never “yield or abandon the field,” but press on determined to win the day, or die. In these battles of the Lord, in due time he learns how to handle his weapons, how to call upon God in supplication and prayer, to trust in Jesus Christ with all his heart, to beat back Satan, to crucify self, and live a life of faith in the Son of God.

Religion is not a matter of theory or of doctrine—it is to be in the thick of the battle, fighting with the enemy hand to hand, foot to foot, shoulder to shoulder. This actual, not sham, warfare makes the Christian soldier hardy, strengthens the muscles of his arm, gives him skill to wield his weapons, and power sometimes to put his enemies to flight. Thus it “works endurance,” makes him a veteran, so that he is no longer a raw recruit, but one able to fight the Lord’s battles and “to endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” What then have been your best friends? Your trials. Where have you learned your best lessons? In the school of temptation. What has made you look to Jesus? A sense of your sin and misery. Why have you hung upon the word of promise? Because you had nothing else to hang upon.

Thus, could you look at the results, you would see this, that trials and temptations produced upon your spirit these two effects; that they tried your faith, and that sometimes to the uttermost, so that in the trial it seemed as if all your faith were gone; and yet they have wrought patience, they have made you endure. Why have you not long ago given up all religion? Have your trials made you disposed to give it up? They have made you hold all the faster by it. Have your temptations induced you to let it go as a matter of little consequence? Why, you never had more real religion than when you were tried whether you had any; and never held faith with a tighter grasp than when Satan was pulling it all away. The strongest believers are not the men of doctrine, but the men of experience; not the boasters, but the fighters; not the parade officers in all the millinery of spotless regimentals, but the tattered, soiled, wounded, half-dead soldiers that give and take no quarter from sin or Satan.

Remember Your Name / Max Lucado

 

Remember Your Name

Click below to listen to today's devotional

We face the identical temptation that Mordecai and Esther faced as recorded in the book of Esther. Our society permits all beliefs except an exclusive one. The incontestable value of Western culture is tolerance. Ironically, the champions of tolerance are intolerant of a religion like Christianity that adheres to one Savior and one solution to the human problem.

In such moments God’s message to us is clear: remember your name. Friend, you are the presence of Jesus in this world. You are an eternal being, destined for an eternal home. A citizen of heaven. Secured by Christ for eternity. The devil can’t touch you. The world can’t possess you. What people think about you matters not one whit. You belong to your heavenly Father – you remember that.


Living in a Faithless World / Max Lucado

 

Living in a Faithless World

Click below to listen to today's devotional

Early in the Book of Esther we read these words: “Esther had not revealed her nationality and family background because Mordecai had forbidden her to do so” (Esther 2:10). The polytheistic Persians did not require their conquered peoples to give up their gods but they had to worship the Persian gods too. The Jews were to worship Jehovah God only. So, the question of Psalm 137:4 is the question of the book of Esther. “How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?” How does a person of faith live in a faithless world?

Mordecai and Esther initially created a world of hidden identity. You know, the compulsion to hide our identity as children of God affects us all. At work, at school, or in the bowling league. But at some point, each of us has to figure out who we are and what that identity means for our lives.


Tuesday, October 19, 2021

The Unheeded Secret / Oswald Chambers

 

The Unheeded Secret

Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world." JOHN 18:36

The great enemy of the Lord Jesus Christ today is the idea of practical work that has no basis in the New Testament but comes from the systems of the world. This work insists upon endless energy and activities, but no private life with God. The emphasis is put on the wrong thing. Jesus said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation….For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:20-21). It is a hidden, obscure thing. An active Christian worker too often lives to be seen by others, while it is the innermost, personal area that reveals the power of a person’s life.

We must get rid of the plague of the spirit of this religious age in which we live. In our Lord’s life there was none of the pressure and the rushing of tremendous activity that we regard so highly today, and a disciple is to be like His Master. The central point of the kingdom of Jesus Christ is a personal relationship with Him, not public usefulness to others.

It is not the practical activities that are the strength of this Bible Training College— its entire strength lies in the fact that here you are immersed in the truths of God to soak in them before Him. You have no idea of where or how God is going to engineer your future circumstances, and no knowledge of what stress and strain is going to be placed on you either at home or abroad. And if you waste your time in overactivity, instead of being immersed in the great fundamental truths of God’s redemption, then you will snap when the stress and strain do come. But if this time of soaking before God is being spent in getting rooted and grounded in Him, which may appear to be impractical, then you will remain true to Him whatever happens.

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

The great point of Abraham’s faith in God was that he was prepared to do anything for God.

Obedience or Preference / Charles Stanley

 Obedience or Preference

Matthew 26:36-42

Every believer must choose whether he will live by the principle of obedience or follow his preferences. When a person commits to doing the Lord’s will, then every situation and decision is sifted through the standard of "God said it, so I’m going to do it—and that’s the end of it." He may complain, weep, or try to argue. But in the end he will be obedient, no matter what.

I recall being invited years ago to interview with a church in Atlanta. During the entire road trip, I told the Lord that I didn’t want to move. I fussed and carried on a good while, but I knew Atlanta would be my new home. I didn’t like the idea, but the alternative was unimaginable: there are few things more unpleasant than living with the nagging anxiety that you missed out on something good.

The Lord certainly understands our need to question, cry out, and petition Him for the strength to do what He asks. Hebrews 4:15 tells us that we have a high priest who can sympathize with us. Jesus wasn’t excited or happy about the cross. He grieved over the coming separation from His Father. Nevertheless, He was committed to following God’s will (Matt. 26:39). No one took Christ’s life from Him; He laid it down (John 10:18).

Our lives are about fulfilling God’s purpose. Many people miss His awesome plan for them because they choose to follow their preferences. Obedience is sometimes hard, but the struggle and sacrifice are worth it. There is joy and peace for the believer who pleases the Lord and lives by His principles.


Satan’s Chief Way to Fool You / Adrian Rogers

 Satan’s Chief Way to Fool You

Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:4-5

 The devil isn’t against religion. In fact, he uses religion to damn and doom souls. The first temptation in the Garden of Eden was not for Eve to be ungodly but to be more godly. He said, “Do this and you’ll be like God.” It wasn’t a temptation to fall down, away from God; it was a temptation to step up, toward God—but with one catch: do it the devil’s way. Very interesting. See how clever the devil is?

The devil is the master liar of all liars, and the best lies sound the most like the truth. Every good lie has some truth in it. If it didn’t, we’d reject it out of hand. So the devil takes a lie and cloaks it in enough truth that we’ll take the bait. Satan’s lies have just enough worm curled around the sharp hook of deception that we say, “Okay, I’ll bite.”

Which is more dangerous—a clock five hours wrong or five minutes wrong? You answer: “The one five hours wrong.” No—if it’s five hours off, you say, “Hey, that’s wrong! Somebody tell me what time it is.” But five minutes? Those could make you miss your plane.

Proverbs 4:23 tells you to guard your mind. Keep it with all diligence. “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God” (1 John 4:1). This is a decade of demons. Hell is having a holiday, as we draw closer to the end of an age. God will never deceive you. Jesus said, “I am the way, the Truth and the life” (John 14:6).

Equal to the Greatest Christian / Alistair Begg

 

Equal to the Greatest Christian 

Infants in Christ. 

1 Corinthians 3:1

Are you mourning, believer, because your spiritual life is so weak, because your faith is so small, your love so feeble?

Cheer up because you have reason to be grateful. Remember that in some things you are equal to the greatest and most mature Christian.

  • You are as much purchased with blood as he is.

  • You are just as much an adopted child of God as any other believer. An infant is as truly a child of its parents as is the full-grown man. You are as completely justified, for your justification is not a matter of degree: Your little faith has made you clean every bit.

  • You have as much right to the precious things of the covenant as the most advanced believers, for your right to covenant mercies does not lie in your growth but in the covenant itself; and your faith in Jesus is not the measure but the token of your inheritance in Him.

  • You are as rich as the richest—if not in enjoyment, yet in real possession. The smallest star that gleams is set in heaven; the faintest ray of light has affinity with the sun. In the family register of heaven, the small and the great are written with the same pen.

  • You are as dear to your Father’s heart as the greatest in the family. Jesus is very tender toward you.

You are like the faintly burning wick; a rougher spirit would say, “Put out that useless flame; it fills the room with an offensive odor!” But the feeble wick He will not quench. You are like a bruised reed, and any less tender hand than that of the Chief Musician would tread upon you or throw you away; but He will never break the bruised reed. So instead of being downcast by reason of what you are, you should rejoice in Christ. Am I but small and feeble in the vast company of believers? Yet in Christ I am made to sit in heavenly places. Am I poor in faith? Yet in Jesus I am heir of all things. I do not need to boast or elevate myself; even as an infant in Christ I will rejoice in the Lord and glory in the God of my salvation.

When to Sacrifice / ODB

 

The Heavenly City / David Jeremiah

The Heavenly City

Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
Revelation 21:2 
 
In the ancient world, Babylon had its hanging gardens, Jerusalem had its glorious temple, and China had its Forbidden City. In the modern world, Venice has her canals, and Rome has her Vatican City. And in literature, the Celestial City was the goal in The Pilgrim’s Progress, and Oz was the destination in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Recommended Reading:
Revelation 3: 12
But no city—ancient, modern, or fictional—is like the Bible’s New Jerusalem. This is the city the apostle John saw descending from heaven to be the eternal destination and home for the people of God. Its radiance and splendor are like nothing ever seen on earth—something befitting the glory of heaven. Indeed, the city is lighted by the glory of God and the lamp of the Lamb of God (Revelation 21:23). It is a city of purity in which those made pure by the blood of the Lamb will dwell for eternity.

If you haven’t already, take time to read Revelation 21 and meditate on the home that awaits you—if you belong to Christ by faith.

To properly envision Heaven, we must remove from our eyes the distorted lenses of death and the Curse.
Matthew Henry

 

Blessed Are Peacemakers / Billy Graham

 

Blessed Are Peacemakers

In a materialistic world which has tried to sever diplomatic relations with God, we have nowhere to retreat except within ourselves. We are like turtles in a traffic jam—the best we can do is to pull our heads into our shells and shut our eyes. But that’s a good way to get the life crushed out of us, as any dead turtle can attest. 

Man’s conflict with man has been but an expression on the human level of his conflict with God. Until man finds an armistice with God, he cannot know peace with his fellowman. If we are to be peacemakers, we first must make our peace with God.

Daily Prayer

In Jesus’ name, I have found peace with You, Father. My soul praises Your holy name.

“In peace I will both lie down and sleep, For You alone, O Lord, make me to dwell in safety.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭4:8‬ 

An Appointment in Joppa / Greg Laurie

 An Appointment in Joppa

“Now send men to Joppa, and send for Simon whose surname is Peter” (Acts 10:5 NKJV).

The ancient city of Joppa has been sacked and rebuilt more times than almost any city in ancient Israel. The Egyptians, Phoenicians, Persians, and Greeks all have ruled it. Herod was in control of it at one point, as were the Romans and the Crusaders. Even Napoleon’s armies ruled over Joppa at one time. So did Alexander the Great. 

Joppa was the place where Jonah boarded a ship to avoid having to go to Nineveh. And it’s also in Joppa where a biblical story about Simon Peter unfolds.

Peter was staying at the home of Simon the Tanner in Joppa, where he was praying on the rooftop one day. It was about lunchtime, and he had a vision of a giant sheet being lowered from Heaven. On this sheet were things that a good Jewish person was forbidden to eat.

Then Peter heard a voice say, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat” (Acts 10:13 NKJV).

But Peter replied, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean” (verse 14 NKJV).

Yet God said, “What God has cleansed you must not call common” (verse 15 NKJV).

In Caesarea, there was a Roman named Cornelius who believed in the God of Israel. He didn’t embrace the false gods of Rome. Although he didn’t know Jesus yet, he was seeking God.

So an angel of the Lord appeared to Cornelius and told him to send for Simon Peter, who would tell him what he needed to know.

Peter, after his vision, came downstairs to find Cornelius’s men waiting for him. Peter went with them, and it resulted in the conversion of Cornelius.

Joppa is where God spoke to people to leave their comfort zones and take the gospel to people they didn’t necessarily want to share it with. Are you willing to leave your comfort zone and do the same?

Don’t Talk; Connect / Chuck Swindoll

  Don’t Talk; Connect by Pastor Chuck Swindoll Scriptures:  Proverbs 17:27–28 An old aphorism states, “’Tis better to remain silent and be t...