Jesus was punished for our sins because he became our substitute. You see, man's sin and God's mercy together created a problem that only God Himself could solve. God longs to be merciful. He longs to forgive. But at the same time, justice is the very foundation of His throne, and God cannot do anything on any other basis but that of perfect justice. He cannot compromise his own justice to forgive
God brought His judgement upon Jesus, for us. Now, what is our part of the exchange, our rebellion and all its evil consequences that came upon Jesus? And what phrase or word can we use to describe that which God has made available to us on the basis of the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus on the cross?
The common basic guilt of the human race is rebellion. It's not that we've all committed certain specific sins like murder, adultery, or stealing. There may be many fine people by human standards who've never committed sins like that. But the one thing we've all done is we've all turned to our own way. But the Lord saved us!
Isaiah 53 verses 4, 5, and 6, are the very heart of the prophetic message about Jesus Christ. It says: "Surely he,". The Hebrew wording is such that all the emphasis is placed on the "he." ‑ "Surely he." In other words look away from yourself. There is no solution to your problems in yourself. Don't dwell on your problem, don't bend and bow beneath the burden of your guilt and all your problems.
Isaiah 53 gives with amazing accuracy the details of his death. It says "he was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death," but the remarkable fact is that in the original Hebrew the word wicked is in the plural but the word rich is singular. True enough in the record of the gospels, Jesus was crucified with the two thieves, the two wicked men, but then his tomb was the
Isaiah 53 emphasizes that the sufferings of Jesus on the cross so vividly described there were substitutionary ‑ it was not for his own sake. There's a form of speech in the Hebrew language here used which particularly emphasizes the "he". It places all the emphasizes on the "he,"‑ "He took all our infirmities," "he was pierced for transgressions, he was crushed for iniquities; the punishment that
What was the ultimate purpose for which Jesus became the Son of Man ‑ and why could God's purpose only be fulfilled in this way? Even the closest disciples of Jesus failed to understand this purpose until after his death and resurrection. Nevertheless, the whole plan of God was unfolded in amazing detail and accuracy by the prophet Isaiah 700 years before it was actually fulfilled in history.
Jesus was the Son of Man, but also the Son of God. It portrays a unique combination of humanity with divinity. In Luke, chapter 3, Jesus is traced right back to the ‘Son of Adam, the Son of God’. He was the representative of the whole human race. He became totally identified with all humanity, not merely with his own Jewish people.
Jesus called Himself the Son of Man. The Bible shows an interesting paradox of the Son of Man representing frailty and weakness and yet being the one who the Jewish people looked for to as the one who would restore the kingdom to Israel and become the ruler of all nations. Now that we are united with Christ by faith, we also identify with these two aspects of Him, the Son of Man.
Have you ever stopped to consider what title Jesus used most often of Himself? It was not Savior, or Messiah, or Son of God ‑ but ‑ Son of Man. Isn't that remarkable? Actually, this title occurs about 80 times in the gospels. This phrase or title, Son of Man, has a background in the Old Testament scriptures. It's found in the book of Daniel, chapter 7, verses 13 and 14. This chapter records a...
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is essential to the Christian faith. Because it’s so vital, this series of devotionals will help you to understand more clearly the full significance of the death of Jesus. But in these reflections, Derek doesn’t only share theory. These reflections will help you to enter more fully into all that Jesus obtained for you by His death.
We're all going to have to answer to God one day for our lives ‑ what we've done, the way we've lived. But there are only two possible categories that our actions will fall into ‑ either good or bad. So don't be deceived. Don't think there's moral neutrality in the way you live. There is no moral neutrality. Everything you and I do is either good or bad and we're going to answer to God for it.
If we love the Father, we will not love this present world order. If we love this present world order, we cannot say we love the Father. They are mutually exclusive. Every one of those pairs of opposites that we have looked at is mutually exclusive. That's characteristic of God's moral categories.
One clear‑cut opposition that's all the way through this epistle of John is between sin and righteousness. John says in one part of it, "All unrighteousness is sin." It's like if you want to know what is crooked, the best way is simply to point out what is straight. And then you say, "Anything that deviates from what is straight is crooked." It doesn't matter whether it deviates 10 degrees or 15
A friend of mine who's a fellow preacher, was once asked, "Do you believe in the new morality?" And he paused for a moment and thought carefully and then he said, "Well, if you can think of one new sin I could believe in the new morality." So let's look at some of these clear‑cut opposites in God's categorization as they're illustrated in the First Epistle of John. First John, chapter 1, verse 5
In Hebrews 10, verses 35 through 39, the writer gives a very solemn warning. in that warning there are just two possibilities, and only two. We go on believing to salvation or preservation; or we shrink back to destruction. And everyone who's become a believer is then in that category ‑ either to go on believing to full salvation or to shrink back to destruction.
We have seen how God makes a distinction between the one who believes, and he who does not believe. Let’s give thanks to God for His grace of saving faith, because there's a dividing line between salvation and condemnation. I want to apply now this principle of belief versus unbelief in a simple, practical area of daily life ‑ that is marriage.
God thinks in certain categories. The basic, spiritual category, I believe, in Scripture, is this: it's faith or unbelief. Now, most people today with the current world outlook don't think in those terms. They say, "He's a nice man," or "He's a clever man," or "He's a sincere man." But they're not talking in terms of faith or unbelief. But that I believe is God's basic view of the human race.
Today we will take a final look at the importance of Jesus’ resurrection – and what it means for each of us. The third fact about the resurrection is that it is the goal of our Christian living. Probably all of us would agree that we are not more committed to the Lord than Paul was. He was an apostle, he had seen the Lord, he had gifts of the Holy Spirit operating in his life, and he had preached
There will be a revelation of the resurrected, glorified Christ to the believers who are waiting for Him that will be transforming in its power. It will transform those mortal bodies into immortal bodies, those weak bodies into strong bodies, those bodies of humiliation into bodies of glory, those corruptible bodies into incorruptible bodies.
As we have seen yesterday, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is our guarantee that we will share in His resurrection because we are united to Him. In the New Testament, the resurrection of righteous believers is always closely associated with the second coming of Christ. The Greek word parousia is normally used for this second coming. Parousia means literally “presence.”
Today we will take another look at the importance of Jesus’ resurrection – and what it means for each of us. The second thing we need to see is that Christ’s resurrection is the guarantee of our resurrection: “And He [Jesus] is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the pre-eminence” (Colossians 1:18).
Some Christians have the attitude that all we receive through salvation is here and now. But Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:19 that if our expectations are limited only to this life then “we are of all men the most to be pitied. If there is no resurrection, then we are miserable. We have no hope. The grave is our goal. But thank God there is a resurrection!
Lamentations is a tragic book. But it is good for us to make up our minds that there will not be a book of lamentations over our own country. In Lamentations 3 we read: Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I hope in Him!’ The Lord is good to
The course of our lives is determined by that on which our minds are focused. Things may seem to be difficult or going against us outwardly, but we are connected to Jesus. By faith through the Holy Spirit, we have an inward source of life, and we are being continually renewed by this life within us, which is the resurrected, glorified Christ.
Adam was created in the likeness and image of God to show forth God’s likeness to creation and to exercise God’s authority on His behalf. Yet he lost his dominion and became a slave to Satan and sin when he obeyed the devil rather than God. Now, the Lord Jesus Christ has left us with the authority and the responsibility to be the executors of His purposes on earth.
We have a legal, scriptural right to storm the gates of hell, to take them and possess them in the name of Jesus. There is nothing that makes the devil more afraid than the prospect of the saints of God discovering this fact and starting to do it. It is up to us, and it is in our power, to administer the defeat Christ has already inflicted. I believe both heaven and hell are waiting for us to do
The cross is the basis of God’s total provision and the basis of Satan’s total defeat. When we as Christians lose sight of the victory Jesus won for us at Calvary, we can no longer seek and experience the benefits provided by the cross, nor be capable of administering Christ’s defeat to Satan.
Perhaps you have experienced some doubts about God’s love for you. Those doubts will never be fully resolved until you have grasped the full measure of the condition you were in when Christ died for you. The cross is not only the demonstration of God’s love for us. It is also the demonstration of our value and worth to Him. Most people would agree that the value of any item is based upon what
Satan’s greatest weapon against humanity is guilt. Thankfully, Jesus’ victory over guilt was complete— accomplished by His work on the cross. Through the death of Jesus, God provided for two areas of forgiveness to deliver us from our guilt. One has to do with our past guilt; the other, with our future guilt. First, God made provision for the past, all our acts of disobedience were punished in
It is easy to preach Christ as the great Teacher or as the wonderful Healer, but that message alone does not get the job done. We must preach Christ crucified. The cross is the ultimate in weakness. We cannot imagine anything weaker than a man dying in agony on a cross, breathing his last. Most of us want God’s wisdom and strength, but we still want to hold on to our own wisdom and strength as we
What Jesus has done is perfect—but our appropriation of it is progressive. Legally, we inherited everything when we were born again. We became a child of God, an heir of God and a co-heir with Jesus Christ. The entire inheritance is legally ours, but experientially, we do not yet possess it all.
The New Testament presents us with a number of different reasons why nothing must ever be allowed to take the place of the cross. The first aspect of the cross that we must keep central is that it represents one perfect, all-sufficient sacrifice. The one sacrifice of Jesus releases the total abundance of God’s mercy and provision
The result of Paul’s ministry in Corinth was tremendous. The whole city was stirred. Historians estimate that quite early in Corinth’s Christian community, there were probably twenty-five thousand believers. What made the difference? The message: Jesus Christ crucified.
I have to tell you, reluctantly, faith will be tested. Untested faith is of no value in the sight of God. There is only one way to learn endurance in your walk of faith, and that is by enduring. But if we endure, and when we come through the testing of our faith successfully, we will fulfil what we have been created for. Our lives will bring praise, honour and glory to our Lord Jesus Christ.
Faith relates us to Jesus. In the original languages of both Greek and Hebrew, faith is not primarily a doctrinal issue. It is a matter of character. We have it all wrong in our evangelical thinking. We tend to talk about faith as an intellectual embracing of certain doctrines. However, faith is primarily a matter of character.
In 2 Corinthians 5:7, Paul says, ‘We walk by faith, not by sight.’ Notice that these are alternatives. When we see, we do not need to believe. We only need to believe when we do not see. We are walking by what we believe.
Hope is very important because every true Christian should be an optimist. If someone is a pessimist, actually it is a denial of their faith. I define hope this way: A confident expectation of good based on the Word of God. Every one of us who is a true believer has a confident expectation of good. No matter what happens in this life, we are going to be with Jesus forever.
It‘s fairly common for us to say, ‘I have great faith in my doctor,’ or, ‘I have faith in a political party,’ or faith in something else. It is legitimate to talk about placing confidence in that way. But it is not the scriptural way to use the word faith. In the Bible faith is always based on the Word of God.
People may ask for a definition of what righteousness is. In many ways, it is like asking to know what crooked is. To answer that question, I would simply show you a straight line. Anything that deviates from that straight line is crooked. It may deviate by one degree or it may deviate by ninety degrees, but it is still crooked. In the same way, all unrighteousness is sin.
Most people are too busy. I’m busy, but I’m not too busy . Did you know that it isn’t spiritual to be too busy? It may impress people, but it’s not spiritual. God only made you one person, and you’ll never do two persons’ jobs satisfactorily, no matter how hard you try. I read a little article by Jamie Buckingham in his church bulletin about his decision to give up doing the ‘urgent’’ in order to
Faith is received as a gift but it’s matured by walking in steps of obedience. Romans 4 speaks about the steps of the faith of our father Abraham. One thing that has become very clear to me is that faith is not a static condition. It’s not sitting on a church pew and saying, ‘I’ve got it.’ Faith is a walk in which one step follows another. Abraham is called the father of all of us who believe – if
The mark that makes us God’s is not speaking in tongues, nor is it working miracles, nor is it preaching tremendous sermons. It’s having the Spirit of Christ. If I were to ask myself what the Spirit of Christ was like, I would have to say it was a meek spirit, it was a humble spirit, it was a gentle spirit. It certainly was not arrogant, self-assertive, or self-pleasing. And that, I believe, is
If you want to follow Christ, the first thing you’ve got to do is deny yourself. You have to say, ‘No!’ You cannot be a self-pleaser and a Christ pleaser. It’s impossible.
If I’m a Christian, my first motive is not to get away with as much as I can legally get away with, my first motive is to please Jesus Christ in all that I do. The spirit of this age is, ‘Get what you can for yourself. Let the weak take care of themselves.’ But God says the opposite. It’s not how much you can do, but rather how much you can bear the weakness of others.
Did you know there can be a false repentance, which we call remorse? Let’s consider the example of Esau, described in Hebrews 12. The Greek makes it clear that he was not seeking the place of repentance, but he was seeking the blessing. He was rejected because he found no place—no way—to repent. In this life, people can pass the point where it is possible for them to change.
God has an answer to the desperate needs and pressures of this time. It is His answer for the satanic, ungodly forces that are coming against His people from so many areas. The prophet Joel gives us a brief but comprehensive overview of God’s purposes for His people in these last days. Joel opens with a scene of total disaster and desolation. But God then reveals His remedy in Joel 2:12.
Esther is a beautiful pattern for us today. God is looking for men and for women like Esther who realize the critical nature of our situation and turn to God with their fellow believers in prayer and fasting. Prayer and fasting can still call forth divine intervention on behalf of His people and the critical situation in the world today, just as much as it did in the days of Esther.
In history, many Christians have used Lent as a time for fasting. Fasting is a biblical way for self-humbling, but it can also affect the destiny of cities, nations and empires. Our first example is from the book of Jonah. God called Jonah, the Israelite prophet, to go to Nineveh, a Gentile city and the capital of the Assyrian Empire: On the first day, Jonah started into the city. He...
Paul realized that he had to bring his carnal nature into subjection if he was going to succeed in his divine calling. This leaves every one of us with a question: Which is the master and which is the servant in each of us? Is the body the master and the Spirit just the servant? I will tell you this: your body makes a wonderful servant, but a terrible master!
The extent of what God can do through you does not depend on our thinking or imagining. It depends on His supernatural power being released in us and through you. The key is knowing how to release the power of the Holy Spirit and become channels or instruments through which He can work without hindrance.
Before Jesus entered His public ministry, there were two critical experiences through which He passed. The first was when He was endued with the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit for His ministry. But, Jesus still did not immediately go out and begin to minister. The second experience was forty days of fasting in the desert. If Jesus had to practice fasting for victory, I do not see how...
If you’re prepared to tolerate the devil, you’ll have to tolerate him!
The last three verses of Isaiah 53 give the spiritual significance of what’s happened at the cross, the purpose of God which was accomplished. . . . when you shall make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. Now in order to understand the implication of that, you have to be just aware of the
You say to yourself, ‘I have made a commitment to care for orphans, widows and the poor. Now, what do I do?’ First, assess your abilities—teaching, building, painting, cooking, listening, budgeting—and find a place to offer those talents. It doesn’t matter if you are a ‘one talent’ person (80 percent of us are!). What matters is that you use that talent to bless others and serve those in need.
The key to happiness is not being loved, it is having someone to love. That’s what makes life exciting. You see, selfishness is a key to misery. You can be very spiritual, very committed, and still be pretty miserable. But there are people not very far from you who need your love.
Faith is not complicated, not theology—just be concerned about the people who need you. I really believe this message is the key to releasing revival in Britain. You’ve got thousands of wonderful Christians who just sit in church chairs and sing hymns. What about the people who really need you?
Throughout the Bible, God requires His people to humble themselves before Him. One important feature of all these Scriptures is that the responsibility to humble ourselves is placed upon us. James 4:10 says: Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. (James 4:10 NIV)
Failure to defend the fatherless is in the same category as idolatry and adultery.
We don’t realise how passionately God cares for those who are oppressed. Share His passion!
Some believers never really change their mind. They are still making decisions based on this point of view: ‘If I do this, what will it do for me?’ If someone has truly repented, that is not the way they think. Instead they think, ‘If I do this, will it glorify Jesus?’ How is this in your life?
Faith alone gives life to what we believe and what we do.
Lent is a time of reflection on our relationship with God. These Lent Reflections are a special selection of teachings by Derek Prince to help you prepare for Easter.
The way we categorize things or persons has a tremendous influence on how we relate to them or deal with them. If we categorize them one way, we'll have a negative attitude. If we categorize them another way, we'll have a positive attitude to the same thing or person. Let's suppose I'm white, a Democrat and a Catholic and I meet a man who is black, a Democrat, and a Catholic. If I categorize him
God is giving all of us an opportunity to get ready to be reconciled with God before the judgement comes. Therefore, He calls us not to reject His mercy, but to repent; to submit our own thoughts and to change our mind. But because people don't see God's judgment immediately manifested, they think God is not going to judge and they can safely go on in evil. But that is a complete misunderstanding
Earlier, we talked about two apparent opposites in God’s character. These opposites, God’s mercy and His severity, or sternness, run all through the Bible. Some people got the idea in the Old Testament God was severe and in the New Testament, He wasn't. That's completely incorrect. In Isaiah 45:21, God says: "There is no other God besides Me, a just God and a Savior." (NKJ)
The psalmist said, "I will sing of the mercy of the Lord forever." But at the same time you must never be blinded to the fact that there is another side to God which is manifested when He sees fit. And that's His severity and His judgment.
If we want to learn to think as God thinks, we will pay attention to the little things and be faithful in it before we even begin to think of the bigger ones. This is also an important inspiration when it comes to our attitude and our testimony to people who do not know Jesus. God's heart desires to save every person
God's has tremendous attention to details. Not even one sparrow falls to the ground without God the Father. Somebody said once, and it's really stayed with me, "God takes time out to attend the sparrow's funeral." We could just drive past the body of a sparrow by the wayside and not think more about it, but God cares even for that little, insignificant sparrow.
God examines the tiniest details of our lives and only when He can pass those, is He prepared to grant us promotion to more important things. I find so few Christians really have grasped this principle, but it is brought out in a very well-known parable, the parable of the talents, which is found in Matthew 25, verses 14 through 29. It shows that God is concerned how we handle little things.
Somebody said once, "Genius is an infinite capacity for taking pains." I think that's God's genius. God has literally an infinite capacity for taking pains. He takes as many pains with the smallest thing in the universe as with the entire universe. Jesus taught this in a practical sense in Luke 16, verse 10, and I'm going to read two different versions because I think each of them brings out an as
What does God want? I wonder if you've ever thought about that. What is the ultimate purpose of everything in the universe? It is God's glory and God's satisfaction. Somebody said once, "A person who does not exist for God's glory has no right to exist at all." I believe that's true. I want to state what I believe is God's first and ultimate objective, and it is, His own glory and satisfaction.
In the following days, I'm going to explain certain specific areas of our thinking that need to change in order to align our thoughts with God. In other words, I'm going to consider what is included in that great, all‑embracing concept of our thoughts. How can we classify our thoughts? What are the different kinds of thoughts or ways that we can learn from the Word of God?
God wants to produce in us an eternal kind of goodness, primarily a moral goodness, something that will stand the test of eternity, something that will not fade and wither at the end of this life. He is always working in your life and in mine for results that are eternal. We have to bear that in mind. Many times we pass through troubles and problems and situations and we say, "God, I don't...
God has invited us to have fellowship with Him, but we have also seen the huge gap between His thoughts and our thoughts. The first step to align our thoughts with Him, is through repentance. In connection with this process, I want to introduce you to another important Biblical word which is the word, "meditation." I want to suggest to you that meditation actually means, in the Bible, learning to
Paul says there are two categories of things that come into our lives ‑ the temporary and the eternal. And he says, "God is working in us His eternal purposes but only as long as we look, not at the things which are seen, the temporal, but at the things which are not seen, the eternal." So, where we focus our gaze makes all the difference on how God is able to deal with us. Only if we keep our
God’s first priority is the coming of His Kingdom. This is exemplified by the Lord’s Prayer. In Matthew 6, verses 9 and 10, Jesus told His disciples how to pray. He set them a pattern of prayer. Before any of our own personal ambitions or needs, we are to put God's kingdom‑ the coming of God's kingdom, as priority number one for this earth and especially for God's servants on this earth. That's
There can be no forgiveness of sins without repentance, that is without our changing our minds and the way that we think. After his resurrection, Jesus told His disciples in Luke 24:47, repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in His Name to all nations beginning at Jerusalem. And then on the Day of Pentecost, in Acts 2, in verse 38, when the convicted but unconverted multitude said to
Repentance means literally "to change your mind," that is "to change the way you think." And all through the New Testament, this is stated as the primary requirement for reconciliation with God. There is no way for man, with all his different ways and thoughts to be reconciled with God unless he changes the way he thinks; that is, unless he repents.
We're looking at God's wonderful blessings when we align our thoughts with His thoughts. His promises are beautiful. Still in Isaiah 55, in the next verse, God pictures fruitfulness. He says, "Instead of the thorn bush will grow the pine tree, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow." So, there'll be a change in what's produced. It used to be the thorn bush and the brier, now it will be the
The first priority of God, in all His dealings with the human race and with this world of ours, is to bring God's kingdom into being on earth. And I want to emphasize "on earth," because I think many Christians have got a wrong priority. Their priority is to get to heaven. Well, that's important but I don't believe that's really God's priority. It may be a stage in the process but God's real
Sin, in its essence, is failure to achieve the objectives of creation ‑ first, God's glory, and second, excellence. If you don't see it in that context, you'll always have a very incomplete and superficial concept of what sin is. Let me say that again therefore. Sin is the failure to achieve the two primary objectives of the Creator ‑ first of all, His own glory, and second, excellence. This is
Faith achieves the two purposes which sin failed to achieve. First it gives glory to God. Second, it enables us to achieve God's standard of excellence. What a great power is faith in our life; a power that protects us against the corruption of sin and helps us to pursue God's measure of excellence in all things!
I want to speak about the ongoing results that are produced in our experience when we receive God's Word and let it do its work in our hearts and minds. These are some of the beautiful results that it will produce: in verse 12, God says: "You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, all the trees of the field will clap their hands."
every major stage in creation was followed by divine inspection. God inspected His own work, and only when He was satisfied with its excellence did He continue The principle is, the whole is more than the sum of the parts. Each part was good, but when all parts were brought together in harmony with God's design and God's purpose, the completed whole was more good than each of the individual parts.
Let’s continue with Isaiah 55, the picture that God gives of rain and snow. We need to see that God's Word can come in either way. It can come as rain or it can come as snow. Now rain immediately soaks into the earth, waters it, starts to make it fruitful. But snow lies on the hard surface of the earth and does not immediately do anything for it. In fact, the temperature has to change. The sun has
In the last couple of days, we’ve seen that God invites us to walk with Him. That's a form of fellowship that God desires to have with man‑‑but this means that we have to agree with Him, for the Bible says, "Can two walk together except they be agreed?" To agree means to harmonize, to bring our ways and thoughts into line with God's. The Biblical word for changing our thinking, in this way, is "re
We’ve seen that there's a measureless gap between God's ways and thoughts and ours. How can we bridge that gap? The answer is, God provides the solution. The answers to all our questions and the solutions to all our problems are always found in God's Word. The total direction and destination for our lives are decided by this.
There's no higher objective in living than giving God pleasure. That God may find satisfaction in our lives is the highest objective that we can ever entertain. And when we begin to think along those lines, then we are beginning to cultivate God's ways and God's thoughts. We cannot afford to refer everything first to ourselves ‑ "What's in this for me, what will I get out of this?" The question we
In order to walk with God, we must ‘agree’ with God. Today I'm going to share with you how God has made provision for us to do this. That's what I love about the Bible, it not merely tells us where we're wrong, but it also tells us how we can put things right. Its ultimate thrust is always positive, not negative.
God has a plan from eternity. It's called the good pleasure of His will and it centres around those who become His children through faith in Jesus Christ, but its objective is to the praise of the glory of God's grace. That's true whatever God does: ultimately it's for His glory. And I want to point that out particularly in connection with His grace that we receive through Jesus Christ.
God is unchanging. He does not change and His ways and His thoughts are not going to be modified; they're not going to be adjusted; they're not going to be altered. That leaves only one option for you and me ‑ if we want to agree with God, if we want to bring our ways and our thoughts into line with those of God, what is the only remaining, logical option?
We cannot walk with God unless we learn to harmonize with God in His ways and His thoughts. However, the Bible also makes it clear that by nature, God's ways and thoughts are quite different from ours. God says emphatically, clearly, "My thoughts are not your thoughts; my ways are not your ways. The way you think is not the way I think. Your natural ways," God says to man, "are not in harmony with
Early on in the Old Testament, after all the sad events connected with man's fall, the first great saint of God was Enoch. He is singled out in the New Testament as an outstanding man of God. This is what the Book of Genesis says about Enoch in Genesis 5:21 through 24: "When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. And after he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked...
We have seen that we are invited into fellowship with God. Now one way the Bible describes this fellowship is a phrase that's used a good many times one way or the other, that is, walking with God. Walking together is one common form of fellowship. And we find that as we just walk and get into step and harmonize our thoughts, our fellowship is strengthened and deepened.
The New Testament is, in its essence, an invitation to share fellowship with God and with the apostles. This is stated very clearly at the opening of the First Epistle of John, that is 1 John, chapter 1, verses 1 through 4. The result of entering into this fellowship is fullness of joy and if we stop short of the fellowship, then we do not have the fullness of joy that God wants us to have and
“God gives His best to those who leave the choice to Him.” Are you willing to leave the choice to your Father? These are the words of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). Can you understand that? They do not have to grab the earth; they are going to inherit it. The grabbers will be done away with.
It was characteristic of Jesus that He never wanted anything except what the Father had given. There was no force that could ever take from Jesus what the Father had given. What is true of Him is true, in like measure, of you and me. What the Father has given to you and me is greater than all. Do not get nervous or uptight about the opposition.
I hear so often: “I’ve got a right to this; it’s mine!” That is a natural way to think, but it is not the way to think in the kingdom of God. The only thing you will ultimately keep is what has been given to you from heaven. Why not rest, turn your face toward God, and say, “God, show me what it is your good pleasure to give me”?
If you pursue the temporal riches, if you set your eyes on them and make them your goal, you are going to be sorry. You are going to pierce yourself through with many griefs. I thank God that there is an alternative to pursuing riches. We can seek the kingdom of God and let God add to us what we need, in abundance, because God is not stingy, but generous.
Jesus is Lord of both the eternal and the temporal. He will bless us in both realms, but only if we keep our priorities right. If our priorities are wrong, then we miss the blessing of the Lord, and the Spirit of God is not able to work on us. That is why the apostle Paul encourages us to be more focused on eternal things, then on the temporary. Why? “For our light affliction, which is but for
Most of us are going to go through affliction; we must face that fact. When we come into trouble or affliction, it is very important that we learn to respond in the right way. We must not be distracted from the eternal by problems and troubles, but we must keep our eyes steadfastly fixed on the eternal and unseen.
Romans 10:17 states: “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” The important thing that I want to emphasize is this: not only does faith come by hearing, but unbelief comes by hearing, too. . If you go on hearing it, it will enter into your heart and mind and will eat away your faith just like cancer eats away sound flesh. Cultivate, instead, the practice of right ...
There is a very pertinent statement in Job 12:11: “Does not the ear test words as the tongue tastes food?” We all know that if we put something into our mouth that is bitter or unpleasant, we do not swallow it; we spit it out. What that statement in Job is saying is that our ears need to do the same to what we hear. If we hear something that is bitter, negative, or destructive to our faith, then
All through the Bible, from the Old Testament into the New, the basic requirement for belonging to God’s people is hearing and obeying His voice. We will now consider more of what is involved in hearing God’s voice. Jesus said two things at different times in the Gospels. He said, “Take heed what you hear,” and later on, He said, “Take heed how you hear.” Let us examine these statements and...
We all long for God's blessing, and in order to receive it, we should cultivate the habit to promptly obey God’s voice. Another advice from God's Word in order to receive His blessing is: be prepared to seem foolish in the eyes of other people. Are you prepared to walk that road... and be blessed?
Moses says that the key condition to receive God's blessing is hearing and obeying the voice of God. He says if you do that, “all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you.” You do not need to pursue the blessings; they will pursue you if you cultivate hearing the voice of God.On the other hand, a little further on, in verse 15, he warns that if we fail to hear the voice of the Lord...
In a certain sense, the old Adamic nature is born deaf to the voice of God. It is not natural for the old carnal nature to hear God’s voice. It is something that must be learned and cultivated with care. The world today is full of innumerable voices that blast us, that crowd in upon us, that demand our attention. Yet, in the midst of it all, there is that still, small voice of God, which has...
I observe in the Church today that there are many who are truly born of God but who are not regularly led by God. They know the new birth, but they do not know that continuing relationship with the Holy Spirit that alone can enable them to live as mature sons of God. So, if you want God’s best, you must cultivate an ongoing relationship with the Holy Spirit as a person.
If you want God’s best, it's important to make friends with the Holy Spirit. For many Christians, the Holy Spirit is a kind of theological abstraction. They accept that God the Father is a person, they accept that Jesus Christ is a person, but they have no concept that the Holy Spirit is a person.
God’s ways and God’s thoughts are on the heavenly plane, and our ways and our thoughts are on the earthly plane, far below God’s. But God’s Word brings His ways and His thoughts down from heaven into our lives and hearts, producing the results we need. By nature, our thoughts are not His thoughts. How, then, can we begin to think God’s thoughts?
What a person is thinking about is going to determine the course of his or her life. If you meditate on the right things and live the right kind of life, then you will get the results that God has promised: success and prosperity—God’s best.
If you want God’s best, if you want to make your way prosperous and have good success, these are the three things you must do: think God’s Word, speak God’s Word, and act God’s Word. I put thinking first because if you do not think, you will never fully speak. If you do not think and speak, you will never fully act. The result of doing all three is success—God’s best.
We've seen why it is important to focus on Jesus... if you want God's best. I want to give you one more reason why it is necessary to focus on Jesus. It is a very simple reason, a very practical reason, but a very important one: because the whole gospel - all the good that God has in mind for us - centers on what Jesus has done for us.
If you want God's best for your life, you need to focus on Jesus. We may look at Christians, but they do things that Jesus would not have done. We cannot accept them as our standard of righteousness because they are not God’s standard. To find out God’s standard of righteousness, we must keep our eyes focused on Jesus.
If you want God’s best…. focus on Jesus. He is the beginner and completer of our faith. We probably all realize that Jesus is the beginner, but sometimes we forget the fact that Jesus is also the completer. If we want our faith to be completed, we have to keep on focusing on Jesus.
We’ve read how God thought about the indifference of Esau, who didn’t value his birthright. (See Hebrews 12:15–17) Let us now look at the opposite side, Jacob’s attitude toward what God had to offer. Jacob was a struggler, a wrestler. However, he had one key principle: he wanted God’s best.
Jacob and Esau were twin brothers. Yet, God loved Jacob, but hated Esau. Why? What did God see in Jacob that He approved? and second, What did God see in Esau that He disapproved? I believe this is the key: Jacob appreciated what God had to give, but Esau was indifferent.
How do you feel about the possibility of becoming a partaker of God’s own nature and escaping the corruption that is in this world through evil desires? Does that not appeal to you? God has made full provision for that. He has made it possible for you and me to do that. Everything we need has already been given to us. But the number one requirement is to want it!
In the promises of God’s Word is contained all the provision we are ever going to need. You might say, “Well, if God has given us full provision, where is it?” The answer is that it is all in the promises of God’s Word. As you appropriate those promises, you discover the provision.
God’s wants us to bear fruit, to succeed in every good work, and to please Him in every way. He has also qualified us, or equipped us, to do this. This beautiful prayer by Paul will help you to pray for God's will in your life to be done.
God wants you to have a fruitful life. Therefore, I want to share two important scriptural facts related to being productive, or to bearing fruit. I believe that if you can understand these two facts, they will create in you the faith that you need to be fully productive.
Jesus said: The man who hears God's word and understands it produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Will you be satisfied with thirty times? Do you intend to produce sixty times? Or, are you aiming for God’s best and intending to produce one hundred times?
The theme of our new series devotionals is an incomplete sentence, “If You Want God’s Best….” The introductory word if immediately confronts you with a choice. Do you want God’s best, or do you not? Let me share with you eight things you will need to do if you decide that you really do want God’s best. The kind of life we actually experience will be determined by the inter-play of what...
We are prone to talk about religion in general terms, without realising that the Bible offers us a very speciﬁc deﬁnition of what God accepts as genuine religion. Often God’s use of the term is quite different from ours. God’s deﬁnition is found in James 1:27: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep ...
David was in deep trouble but, as so often, trouble became the source of inspiration to him. The prayer that resulted is a pattern we all need to study. In it, David provides us with four ﬁrm, unvarying reasons for believing God will answer our prayers.
The enemies of God we need to be most concerned about are not those who attack us from without, but those within our own hearts. A young man once confessed to me that he had a problem with lust. “But I rather enjoy it,” he added. “Do you think God will deliver me?” “Deﬁnitely not!” I replied. “God delivers us from our enemies, not from our friends.” We can't afford to be friends with God’s enemies
Some years ago God spoke to me through Psalm 139 about the marvel of the physical body—my own body, in particular. I became concerned that I treat this masterpiece of my body with the care and honour due to it; that I maintain it in the best possible condition to fulﬁl its God-appointed function.
How good to know that God has a purpose for each one of us! David does not say that the Lord will fulﬁl my purpose; he says that the Lord will fulﬁl His purpose for me. There is a great difference—I may have one purpose, God may have another. God does not guarantee that He will fulﬁl my purpose, only that He will fulﬁl His purpose.
We can see God's wisdom and power manifested in countless different aspects of creation. The heavens declare His glory; the oceans manifest His power; the mountains reveal His strength; the snowﬂakes illustrate His wisdom. All these marvels of creation demonstrate to us God’s greatness. But there is one thing they cannot do: They cannot make God available to us.
Many times I see God’s people crying out for His blessing and seeking it earnestly. I can sympathise with that; and yet is it not better to dwell in the place where God has commanded the blessing? Where is that place? It is where brothers dwell together in unity. To “dwell together” is much more than merely coming together for an hour or two on Sunday morning. It means sharing life together.
The psalmist describes three of the most blessed provisions of God for His people: stability, security and rest. The world craves these blessings and seeks them in various ways, but never ﬁnds them in true or abiding form. Yet there is a place where we may ﬁnd all three.
God requires all His people from every nation and every background to be concerned about the peace of one particular city: Jerusalem. For this, there is an important, practical reason. God’s purpose for this age will climax in the setting up of His Kingdom. Each time we pray the familiar words Thy Kingdom come, we are aligning ourselves with this purpose.
The strength of the Church rests on personal relationships, not on meetings or doctrines. What makes God’s people truly one is personal commitment: ﬁrst and foremost, to the Lord Himself; second, to all who are likewise committed to Him. This mortar of personal commitment holds us together even when we disagree on doctrine, or do not meet at the same time or place. It makes us friends and comrades
The Lord’s protection is from this time forth and forever. It extends throughout time and on into eternity. He protects us on each journey that we take through time. Then, when the moment comes for us to step out of time and into eternity, His presence will still be with us. He will see us safely through the narrow gates of death and out into the fullness of eternity.
I once watched a little boy being carried on his father’s arm, and I noticed how tightly he clutched his father’s lapel. After a while, however, he fell asleep and his hand slipped away from the lapel. Yet his father continued to hold him just as securely. The boy’s security did not depend on his holding onto his father, but only on his father keeping hold of him. So is our relationship with God.
The Bible promises not just peace, but great peace. The Hebrew word for peace is shalom.It means more than just the absence of strife or war. It is connected with a root that means completeness or wholeness. So peace is wholeness, completeness. A person who has peace in this sense is a complete person and leads a full life.
What comfort and assurance David offers us out of his own experience! God’s promises have been thoroughly tested.They are not mere theories, not just abstract theology. In all the different circumstances of life, they stand the test.
What is your attitude toward God’s commands? Do you fear them? Resent them? Try to get away from them? That is a foolish attitude. God gave us His commands not to create problems for us, but to solve them; not to harm us, but to help us. God’s love is in His commands. David understood that. He embraced them as the tokens of God’s love for him.
There will be times when the world around us will be in total darkness. We will not be able to see more than a few feet in any direction. There may be unsolved problems ahead. There may be dangers around the corner. But in the midst of it all we have this guarantee: If we are sincerely obeying the Word of God as it is revealed to us in any given situation, we will never walk in the dark.
Paul and Barnabas told a newly formed Christian congregation,“ We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). Do not look for a way through life that bypasses afﬂiction. If by any chance you should ﬁnd one, it would not lead you into God’s Kingdom. David certainly did not escape the stormy waves of afﬂiction, but he did have an anchor that held him ﬁrm in the....
The so-called “laws”o f the universe do not result merely from the random interplay of inanimate forces. The very word law is meaningless without a lawgiver—one who enacts and enforces the law. The laws that man discerns in the universe are the visible expression of the faithfulness of the invisible Creator. Not merely does the whole universe obey the laws of God; not merely do these laws all ...
Over many centuries man has sought through speculation and reasoning to discover the nature of God, but he has always ended in frustration. God has sovereignly chosen to reveal Himself, not to man’s reason, but to his faith. The primary channel of God’s self-revelation is the unique Book He has caused to be written, the Bible. And unique it is!
If ever a man had to face afﬂiction, it was David. Yet he did not become bitter or discouraged. In fact, looking back on it, he was grateful for it. David did not view afﬂiction as a disaster. Rather, he saw it as a kind of corrective medicine. It was something he needed to adjust his life. In the Psalms, David shares with us two vitally important lessons he learned from his afﬂiction.
When God comes onto the stage of human history, He does not descend from His throne in power and majesty and demand instant obedience. Such obedience would be motivated by fear, and would not necessarily indicate true submission from the heart. Historically, therefore, God has come among men in a variety of disguises. Those whose hearts were humble and sincere penetrated the disguise and...
When you tell someone you are a Christian, you may usually anticipate a certain kind of response: What denomination do you belong to? Once people have put me into one of their little religious “boxes,” their minds are no longer open to the issues that really matter.
From time to time in the midst of life we need to pause and consider our ways. It is easy to become so preoccupied with an endless succession of activities that we forget our overall objectives. We devote so much attention to the individual trees in our life that we lose sight of the forest that is God’s eternal purpose.
Many times in the Bible, God shaped the lives of His servants by the speciﬁc, personal promises that He gave them. In each case, the course of their lives was directed by the outworking of the promises God had made. In times of darkness, they went back to these promises and lifted them up afresh to God. Does this mean God needs to be reminded by us, in case He should forget His own words?
What does it mean to be free? Does it mean that you do anything you please at any time? We may crown self king over our lives, but we soon discover that self is only a puppet, directed by unseen powers over which it has no control. In reality, the indulgence of self is slavery to sin and to Satan.David discovered a different kind of freedom—a freedom that comes only from God.
Our attitude toward life needs to be totally positive. We cannot afford to be in any way negative or pessimistic or death-oriented. How many of us realise that life requires a choice on our part? We are not free to submit to circumstances with passive indifference and say, “What comes will come.” God sets a choice before us.
The psalmist portrays two aspects of God’s nature that seem opposite, yet are beautifully combined in Him. On one side is God’s lofty grandeur. He is enthroned on high. He humbles Himself merely to look down at things in heaven, much more those on earth. On the other side is God’s tender compassion for the poor and the needy.
The psalmist speaks of two wonderful qualities: wisdom and understanding. We need to observe a distinction between wisdom and understanding on the one hand, and cleverness and intellectual education on the other. There are many clever, educated people who do not have wisdom or understanding. It could be argued, in fact, that most of the trouble in the world today is caused by educated fools.
One of God's main titles is Lord of hosts‚ that is, “Lord of armies.” He appeared to Joshua as the captain of the Lord’s army. Scripture reveals that the present age will close with a tremendous conﬂict between the forces of God and the forces of Satan. For this, God is now gathering His army. Let's be willing to be His freewill offering!
If our praise arises merely out of our feelings or our circumstances, it will be as uncertain and ﬂuctuating as they are. Let's be encouraged by the life of David. He had taken a ﬁrm decision: No matter what happens, he is going to praise the Lord. In Psalm 108 David says: O God, my heart is ﬁxed; I will sing and give praise, even with my glory. Will you make the same decision today?
Fools, because of their rebellious way . . . were afﬂicted.” That, of course, does not describe you or me! It must surely apply to people from some other group, or with some other problem. Or could it be that you and I, by our folly and rebelliousness, do sometimes bring sickness on ourselves? Yet God in His mercy comes to their help. His mercy is threefold: He saves, He heals, He delivers.
God had redeemed Israel out of Egypt. He had performed stupendous miracles on their behalf. He had made provision for them in all their desert wanderings.They had no need which He had not supplied. But Israel made two tragic errors: forgetfulness and impatience. We, too, can be tempted to despise God’s provision and feel that we know better than He does what we need. Then we begin to press our own
Israel was in the forty years of their wandering in the desert. It was a dry and barren land where there were no rivers, no streams, no pools, and where water was almost nonexistent. Yet God provided water for them in abundance. He provided it in a most unlikely way: out of a rock. It is often so in our lives. We ﬁnd ourselves in a time of barrenness when provision seems lacking. Yet God is there.
The Lord guided and protected His people Israel on their forty-year journey through the desert of Sinai. He spread out a cloud as a covering in the daytime and in the night gave them ﬁre that provided both light and warmth. It so happens that as a soldier in World War II, I made a journey of seven days and nights through that same Sinai desert. I learned something there that greatly enhanced my
When the Lord gives us a word of promise, there is a time ﬁxed for its fulﬁlment. In the meantime, it often happens that events follow a course that seems exactly opposite to what God promised. In such a situation we must do as Joseph did. We must hold onto the promise, and not be tempted to think that God has failed or forgotten.
The psalmist here describes the redemption of Israel from Egypt under Moses. Financially, the people were “laden with silver and gold.” Physically, “among their tribes no one faltered.” What had brought about this dramatic change? Just one thing: the Passover lamb. Such is the fullness of God’s redemption.
David was neither an astronomer nor a geographer, but he was certainly inspired by the Holy Spirit. Searching for some standard of measurement to express the magnitude of God’s love, he compares it to the height of the heavens. David goes on to picture the way God deals with our guilt: “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” How thankful we should
The psalmist here points to one great sign that the Lord’s coming is near at hand: “When the LORD shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory.” The rebuilding of Zion must precede and prepare for the Lord’s return in glory. That is precisely what we see taking place today. The psalmist speaks also of this period as a unique generation, in which a people shall be created to praise the Lord.
Here is a picture of a man in deep dejection and loneliness. He feels his life is ebbing away like the evening shadows and there is so little time left for him. He says, “I’m withering away like grass.” Can you perhaps identify with him from some experience of your own? How would you respond?
How important it is for each of us to know the way into God’s presence! How do we enter His gates? The psalmist points out the way that God has ordained: We enter His gates with thanksgiving, His courts with praise. Confronted with this requirement, we are sometimes tempted to look around us at our situation and ask: “But what do I have to thank God for? What do I have to praise Him for?”
The Psalms are full of exhortations to praise God in song. The one here quoted contains a special challenge. The Lord asks from us a new song. He never wants our praise of Him to become old or stale, or to degenerate into ritual and routine. How can we always be ready with a new song? In Ephesians 5:18–19 Paul shows us the way.
There is a beautiful progression here that brings us into the immediate presence of God. It starts with loud and jubilant praise and thanksgiving. Praise and thanksgiving lead us on to worship.Worship is not so much an utterance as an attitude. It is bowing down, kneeling—even at times prostrating ourselves before God. The pathway that the psalmist here describes takes us through praise and...
“My foot is slipping,” the psalmist cried out. He was on the verge of falling and could not save himself. But the moment he acknowledged his need, God came to his rescue: “Your love, O LORD, supported me.” Here is a pattern for each of us to remember. When our foot begins to slip and we have lost control, God does not ask us to try to save ourselves. We have only to voice our need to Him and
The psalmist here puts the Lord’s discipline before his teaching, and thus establishes one great basic principle: Without discipline, there can be no real teaching. The psalmist goes on to reveal a wonderful reward for the man who comes under God’s discipline and accepts His teaching: “You grant him relief from days of trouble, till a pit is dug for the wicked.”
The life of a truly righteous man is here compared to two trees: a palm tree and a cedar. Both pictures of righteousness, however, apply only to those who are “planted in the house of the LORD.” Someone has popularised the prayer: “Lord, help me to bloom where I am planted.” Unfortunately, some Christians are never willing to be planted anywhere. They are always busy but never truly committed...
What is the thing in your life that you ﬁnd hardest to manage—the thing you most often ﬁnd yourself short of? Many people would probably be inclined to answer, Money. But in my experience, there is something much harder to manage—something I am much more often short of. It is, Time! I ﬁnd time is the hardest thing in life to manage properly. For this reason, the stewardship of time is the ...
There is a difference between time and eternity—a difference of kind, not merely of duration. The mountains were born. The earth and the world were brought forth. All that is in the past tense. But when the psalmist turns to God he says, “From everlasting to everlasting you are God.” Not, “You were God,” but,“ You are God.” In God past, present and future all meet.
Do we truly desire success in our walk with God? Then we must give careful heed to these words of David, for he focuses on two essential requirements. Here is the crucial issue: that we have an undivided heart. We can have no conﬂicting loyalty, no second option. All our springs must be in God; all our expectations must be from Him. It is not God plus something; it is God alone.
Every human soul longs for one thing: a home. A homeless person is an unhappy person—in fact, a lost person. The psalmist cries out in agony, “Lord, even the sparrow has found a home, the swallow a nest for herself. I need a home, too!” The sparrow and the swallow whom the psalmist describes have set a pattern for every lost, confused soul. The place they have chosen for a home is near God’s altar
For those who walk by faith, there is an ongoing tension between two kinds of life. One is visible and external, the other invisible and eternal. The external is fading; it is impermanent. But there is something inside every believer that is eternal. It is an inner source of strength not subject to the weaknesses and ﬂuctuations of our physical body.
It is possible to be lonely in the midst of a crowd. It is possible to be lonely in a big city. In fact, that is the worst form of loneliness—to be surrounded by people and yet cut off from them by an invisible barrier you do not know how to break through. Yet loneliness is not God’s plan for man’s life. He wants to take us out of our loneliness and to set us in the family of God. He wants to give
One thing the Bible teaches clearly is that God tests His people. If we wish to belong to the people of God, then we must be prepared to be tested. One vivid picture of the way God tests us, used many times in Scripture, is that of a metalworker purifying silver. In Bible times such a man would place the silver in a metal container over the hottest possible ﬁre. Then, as the silver began to melt
It often happens that in a counselling session with some troubled soul—someone, perhaps, who is struggling with a broken marriage or a total breakdown of their health—I have to tell that person very honestly, “I don’t have the answer to your problem. I can’t tell you exactly what to do. But one thing I can tell you: God hears and answers prayer.”
How important it is to have your own personal revelation of God! Not just to rely on what somebody else has told you, or what you have read in a book, or even what you have heard in church. All that may be good, but it is not sufﬁcient. There must come a time when you experience God for yourself—when you come to know Him ﬁrsthand, when you have such a revelation of God that nothing less than God..
There are two opposite errors into which we may fall. On the one hand, if we suggest that salvation depends on something more than God, we dishonour Him and discredit His all-sufﬁciency. On the other hand, if we look for salvation in anything less than God, we will look in vain. But when God Himself becomes our salvation, then the other associated blessings follow: rest, strength, protection and h
I was facing great personal disappointment and sorrow. It seemed indeed that the waves and billows of God were going over my soul. I was on my way from the United States to hold a series of meetings in Australia. Seated in a jet aeroplane six miles above the Paciﬁc, I opened my Bible at random to the words, “From the ends of the earth I call to you.” I thought to myself...
God is taking note of everything you go through. A record is being kept in God’s book of all that you suffer for righteousness’ sake. Even your tears are not shed in vain. They are tears of grief and loneliness, but not of despair. There is a future to them. At present they are tokens of suffering, but one day each tear will become the theme for a song of praise.
David does not make false claims for himself. He does not say, “I will never be afraid.” Rather, he acknowledges: “There may come times when I will be afraid. But when those times come, I will know what to do. I will trust in God and I will praise His Word—His sure, unfailing Word. Trusting and praising will overcome my fear.”
God looks to the motives and to the attitude of the heart. What does He look for there? “A broken spirit,” David tells us, “a broken and contrite heart.” These are strange words to our ears these days. What does it mean that God desires a broken spirit? Does He want to beat us down and humiliate us? No, I am sure that is not His purpose. What, then, is a broken spirit?
If you and I could see into our own hearts as David saw into his, we would each recognise the same condition. The effects of sin have been so disastrous that we have no remedy. It is no good trying to repair, to adapt, to reform. There is only one remedy left to us. We can do as David did.
God desires “truth in the inward parts.” That is the very opposite of religious externalism. Our fellow human beings may perhaps be impressed or deceived by this, but not God! It is here that each of us needs to examine himself: Am I truly open with God? Am I transparent in my relationship with Him? Do the words I speak really express what I feel in my heart?
Here is the divine way out of trouble. Just now you may be in the midst of it. Everything is going against you, and you cannot see any way out. But listen to what the psalmist says: The way out is up—to God. “Sacriﬁce thank offerings . . .” That sounds senseless, but try it anyway! A sacriﬁce always costs you something. To start thanking God in such a situation goes against the grain. But it is as
Nations are in an uproar; kingdoms are falling. There is a clash of weapons; war is imminent. Then, in the midst of it all, God intervenes. He brings all the frenzied activity of the nations to a standstill. To His own people, He says:“ Be still, and know that I am God.” We dare not permit the confusion in the world around us to disturb our own spirits. No matter how great the pressures, we must..
It was the attitude of Jesus in the matters of righteousness and wickedness that caused God to promote Him. There is no neutrality in these matters. The righteousness that God approves leaves no room for compromise with wickedness. This uncompromising righteousness is crowned with joy that comes from the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
God is eternal, unchangeable. That is why it is possible to have joy even when we cannot feel happiness or pleasure. Joy comes directly from God Himself. Just like God, joy is eternal, unchangeable, unaffected by situations or circumstances. But joy is released only at the altar. We have to make up our minds, as David did, that we will go to God, to the altar—the place of sacriﬁce...
There is a thirst of the soul, a deep inner longing of man’s whole being, that cannot be satisﬁed with anything less than God Himself. Perhaps you, too, have tried many sources, but have come away still unsatisﬁed. If so, it is important for you to understand two things...
When David refers to burnt offering and meal offering and sin offering, he is speaking about the externals of religion. He is saying, in essence, that these by themselves are not sufﬁcient. We may attend to all the externals, yet miss the part that really matters. We need to hear the voice of God, speaking to us directly and personally. When God opens our ears and we in turn surrender our lives...
Do you want God in charge of your situation, your problems, your whole life? There are three simple steps that lead to this. First, commit your way to the Lord. That is a single decisive act. Committing your way to the Lord is like depositing money in a bank. You hand your money over to the teller, take your own hands off it, and obtain a receipt for it. Second, trust also in the Lord. Commitment
I once heard someone ask this question: “Do you enjoy your religion, or do you endure it?” To the majority of people, religion is something to endure, a kind of painful duty. However, that is not how God wants us to experience Him. The Westminster Confession, the basic doctrinal statement of the Presbyterian Church, says: “The supreme duty of man is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever.”
We come to God for refuge because we are oppressed, because we cannot handle our problems. We take refuge in the shadow of His wings. But once we are there under His shadow, we discover that He has provided much more for us than mere refuge. He has provided a feast. He has provided abundance. We feast on the abundance of His house. Not only that, but He gives us to drink of “the river of His deli
Do you believe in angels? I do! I believe there are myriads and myriads of good angels who are given charge over God’s people. The writer of Hebrews tells us that all angels are “ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation” (Hebrews 1:14). I am glad to know that wherever I go, there is an angel of God that encamps around me, ready to rescue me.
All through the Bible God reveals Himself as the healer of His people. To Israel, after their deliverance from Egypt, He declared, “I am the LORD, who heals you” (Exodus 15:26). This could be translated: “I am the LORD your Doctor.” Twelve centuries later He afﬁrmed, “I the LORD do not change” (Malachi 3:6). To Christians in the New Testament...
These are the two distinctive marks of God’s temple: verbal worship proclaiming His glory, and inner meditation focused on His unfailing love. Whenever we meet these conditions, whenever our whole being cries,“ Glory to God!” and all our thoughts are focused on His unfailing love, then we become God’s temple. It may be in an automobile, or an ofﬁce, or a kitchen.
When God sets out to teach man, He chooses His students on the basis of character—not intellectual ability, or academic degrees, or social standing. He looks for an inner attitude of the heart toward Himself: reverent submission and respect. Furthermore, God sets the curriculum. He teaches such a man “in the way that he [God] shall choose.” Often this is not the way we would choose for ourselves
It is important to realise that the presence of our enemies cannot keep us from enjoying God’s complete provision for us. Sometimes, however, we are tempted to take our eyes off the Lord and focus on our enemies. Then we begin to say, “If it were not for my enemies, I know that God would bless me and provide for me.” Instead our attitude should be, “Because of my enemies I am expecting God’s best.
What tremendous conﬁdence David had! What absolute security! “I shall not lack.” There will never arise a needi n my life for which I shall not have the supply, no matter what the need may be. What was the secret of David’s assurance? Is it possiblef or you and me to share that assurance? David’s secret is very simple, very clear: “The LORD is my shepherd.”
Here is an insight that can revolutionise our attitude toward prayer and worship: The throne upon which God sits is the praises of His people. In heaven God already has a throne that is established forever. But when He leaves His heavenly throne to come among His people on earth, then our praises become His throne.
Sometimes the shortest sentences state the most important facts. “The LORD lives!” God is alive! This one simple statement is more signiﬁcant than all the complicated formulae in all the books of theology that have ever been written. As long as God lives, no situation is hopeless and no problem is...
The way we relate to God determines the way God in turn relates to us. Do we desire to prove God’s faithfulness? The way to do this is to cultivate faithfulness toward God. The measure in which we open ourselves to God determines the measure of God’s fullness that He, in turn, makes available to us. If there are no reservations on our side, there will be none on God’s side either.
I do not believe there is anything else that can fully satisfy the human heart, except God Himself. Our ideas and our concepts are so limited, and so inadequate to apprehend God. But there is coming a day when we will awake clothed in His righteousness, not in our own, to stand faultless before His throne and to see Him face-to-face. And then we will be satisﬁed!
How good it is to know that you have access to the counsel of the Lord! When you have come to the end ofy our own ability, when you have reasoned everything out and it still makes no sense, when you ﬁnd yourself at an impasse in your life and you do not know which way to turn, remember that the Lord is the Wonderful Counsellor! Go to Him. Commit your problem to Him. Open your heart to Him—for He..
And the words of the LORD are ﬂawless, like silver reﬁned in a furnace of clay, puriﬁed seven times. PSALM 12:6 Do you perhaps wonder at that statement, knowing that these words have come to us through human agents, men who were weak and fallible, and who made many mistakes? To answer this question, David presents us with a vivid picture...
What isyour place of refuge? Are you disturbed when people challenge you? Or when you look around at the turmoil and instability of the world in which we live? Jesus warned us that, as this age draws to its close, we will “hear of wars and revolutions,” and that“ men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world” (Luke 21:9, 26). All this teaches us that we need a place of
When we look up at the vastness of the heavens and consider their millions of galaxies, our earthly globe seems just a tiny speck of dust in the totality of the universe. Confronted by this vastness, we feel small and insigniﬁcant, weak and helpless. God does not measure everything by numbers or dimensions. He has another scale of values, according to which—as Jesus Himself told us—one human soul
Throughout the Book of Psalms David refers continually to his enemies. Few men had more enemies than David. Persistently they pursued him and surrounded him, seeking his destruction. He survived only because he learned the secret of dealing with his enemies. We, too, like David, are surrounded by enemies, though ours are primarily in the unseen spiritual realm.
David was sure of one thing: God blesses the righteous. We need to be no less sure. Today many sources to which we looked for security and certainty have failed us. Trusted political and ﬁnancial institutions are crumbling around us. But there is one thing in life that is still sure: God blesses the righteous. This simple, unchanging fact has important practical implications for the way we live.
How does your day begin? Do you start with a scramble, with a ﬂurry, trying to do three different things at one time? Do you ﬁnd yourself often short of breath and short of temper, impatient with your wife or your husband, scolding the kids, anxious, unable to cope? Take a lesson from David: “In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice.”
There is a kind of disillusionment in the air—a pervasive sense of pessimism. This is particularly true in the realm of politics. There is a dearth of conﬁdence in leadership, the aftermath of an agonising series of mismanaged crises that have passed over us in recent decades. Yet there is an answer to the question “Who can show us any good?”—an answer that is still valid today.
One of the beautiful revelations of Scripture is that sleep is a gift of God for those He loves. David found himself under tremendous pressures, surrounded by enemies on every side, his very life threatened. He speaks of “tens of thousands drawn up against me on every side.” Yet in the midst of it all he knows the blessedness of untroubled, restful sleep. He gives two reasons...
Blessed; the opening word of the Psalms contains the essence of all that is to follow. The blessings they unfold ﬂow in two directions: from God to man, and from man back again to God. David goes on to sum up the blessedness promised to man in one brief, expressive sentence: “Whatever he does prospers.” How can you be such a person—blessed of Gods o that whatever you do prospers?
We need faith to receive all God has prepared for us. In Romans 10:17, Paul said that “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (KJV). In the original Greek there are two different words that are normally translated “word.” One is logos; the the unchanging Word of God. It is God’s counsel, settled in eternity before time began. Rhema is the way that the Holy Spirit makes this...
Mary said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” That’s the only advice she gave us concerning Jesus. Those of you who are mothers or might be mothers I just want to ask you. Would you like to be a mother like Mary? Would you like to make a real consecration of yourself to the Lord as a mother or a prospective mother?
The hardest test in life is success, but Mary passed the test. She was a sinner, contrary to what many people proclaim today. She had to bring her sin offering. They didn’t have enough money to bring a lamb, so all they could bring was two turtledoves. So they were a poor family. And you know what it says about Jesus? Though He was rich, yet for our sakes He became poor.
Wwe release the Holy Spirit when we respond to the word of God. The Holy Spirit is available but He doesn’t come into our lives, He doesn’t do for us what we need until we release Him through the word. Remember, don’t seek the Spirit apart from the Word, because it’s through the Word that the Spirit is released.
In some ways Mary, the mother of Jesus, is a pattern for all of us, not just for mothers. There’s so much we can learn from her. When the angel came to her, Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” That simple phrase, released the greatest miracle ever. Do you realize when you have the word, when you have its promises, all you have to do is...
What do you believe or feel was the greatest miracle that ever took place in the life of a human person? Salvation? That’s wonderful, but if the other miracle hadn’t taken place, salvation would never be available. I would suggest it is the conception of Jesus in the womb of virgin Mary. There is no other miracle that even approaches that when you consider that God Himself, in the person of Jesus
During my service with the British army in World War II, I lay sick with a chronic skin infection in a military hospital in Egypt. The doctors did not have the means to cure me. I said to myself, “I know that if I had faith, God would heal me.” Then I always added, “But I don’t have faith.” One day, I red Romans 10:17: “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
If we had complete and unreserved faith in three aspects of God’s nature—His goodness, His wisdom, and His power—then we would never disobey God. Only two attitudes toward God are possible: faith that unites us to Him or unbelief that separates us from Him. Each excludes the other. The writer of the book of Hebrews quoted Habakkuk’s prophecy, confronting us with the two alternatives:
The primary sin, of which the whole world is guilty, is unbelief. This is the basis of all other sins. The writer of Hebrews reminded us that a whole generation of God’s people came out of Egypt under Moses, but they never entered the Promised Land because of their unbelief. Instead, they perished in the wilderness. Most Christians tend to view unbelief as something regrettable, but harmless...
If you were asked what we need to do to please God, what would you say? I guess few of us would offer the answer that Scripture gives in Hebrews: And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6). More often, people try to please God on some basis other than faith: by morality, by...
'Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.' I want to emphasize how important it is to keep the word of God in your heart—to ponder it, to take time meditating on it, to consider what it means, how it applies in your situation. How do you hide God’s Word in your heart? Memorize it.Do you have ammunition when Satan comes with all his doubts and accusations against God?
God’s provision for His people is corporate. He does not treat us simply as isolated individuals, but as members of a single body, bound to one another by strong ties of mutual commitment. God’s supply is able to reach every part of the body, and no member suffers lack. But if the joints are not working properly—that is, if the members are not rightly related to one another—then there will be
Jesus set the pattern for the walk of faith and we are invited to follow. You might at first be tempted to say, “But that was Jesus! I can’t expect to be like Him!” However, Jesus Himself told us otherwise. In John 14:12, He said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do shall he do also.” If you still hesitate to accept this challenge, it may be because you do...
The whole Bible abounds with both assurances and examples of God’s ability to provide for His people’s needs, even in situations where there is no human or natural source of supply. However, it must be emphasized that abundance does not necessarily depend on money or material possessions. Abundance means simply that God supplies all that we need—with something to spare for others.
To be “spiritual” is to be very practical and down-toearth. It starts with what we do with our bodies. We are also required to “eat from faith.” (See also 1 Corinthians 10:31). This is a rather strange phrase. How can we apply it in a practical way? First of all, we must acknowledge our dependence on God for our food. We receive it as a gift from Him. Second, as a logical consequence, we thank...
The verb “live” is one of the most all-inclusive words we can use. Everything we do at any time is included in living: eating, drinking, sleeping, working, and the innumerable other activities in life. Through faith, every one of these commonplace activities can become a way to express the life of God that we have received within us. We are often prone to assume that the mundane actions of daily..
Probably no attribute of God is more persistently emphasized throughout the Scriptures than His trustworthiness. In the Old Testament there is one special Hebrew word reserved for the attribute: chesed. In the English versions of the Bible, this word is variously translated “goodness,” “kindness,” “lovingkindness,” “mercy,” and so on. However, none of these translations fully expresses its meaning
In Psalm 37:5, David said, “Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He will do it.” Two things are here required of us. The first is an act: “commit.” The second is an attitude: “trust.” God is working out the thing that we have committed to Him. It is the continuing attitude of trust on our part that keeps the channel open through which God is able to intervene in our lives and work
A spiritual gift is both imparted and received by a single, brief transaction. It tells us nothing about the nature of the person who exercises it. On the other hand, spiritual fruit expresses the nature of the life from which it proceeds; it comes only as the result of a process of growth. Gifts express ability, while fruit expresses character. Which is more important?
In 1 Corinthians 12:7–11 Paul lists faith as a spiritual gift, but it is also a spiritual fruit: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance” (Galatians 5:22–23, KJV). What is the difference? And which is more important? Picture a Christmas tree and an apple tree side by side...
Faith has its origin not in man, but in God. It is an aspect of God’s own eternal nature. Through the gift of faith, the Holy Spirit imparts a portion of God’s own faith, directly and supernaturally, to the believer. Jesus challenged His disciples to receive and exercise this kind of faith, just as He himself had done. He toldl them that with faith of this kind they would not only be...
The Holy Spirit Himself, dwelling in a believer, is invisible. But by these gifts operating through a believer, the presence of the Holy Spirit is made manifest to human senses. Paul established two important practical points concerning these gifts. First, they are distributed solely at the...
Many people who say, “I believe God will heal me,” really mean, “I hope that He will heal me tomorrow.” That is not faith, because faith is not for tomorrow; faith is something that we have now. If we keep directing our expectation toward the future, we are substituting hope for faith. The key to obtaining what we ask from God is to receive it by faith at the very moment we petition Him. Doing...
True Christian optimism is not unrealistic. Optimism must be based firmly on the statements and promises of Scripture. For example, in Romans 8:28, we are told, “that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” If God is working all things together for our good, what room is left for anything but optimism?
Faith is never static. A person who truly believes will be changed by what he believes. Everything that finally decides the course of our lives proceeds from our hearts (see also Proverbs 4:23). Mental acceptance of truth is not faith. True biblical faith proceeds from the heart and determines the way we live.
Faith lifts us above the realm of our own abilities and makes God’s possibilities available to us. As we maintain a relationship with God through faith, we are enabled to endure and to overcome the tests and the hardships that confront us in our daily lives.
If we walk by sight, we do not need faith. If we walk by faith, we do not need sight. Each excludes the other. The world says, “Seeing is believing.” But the Bible reverses the order: First we must believe, then we will see. If we cannot believe that we will see the goodness of the Lord, we will despair. The thing that keeps us from despairing is not what we see, but what we believe.
In secular speech we speak of faith in many contexts. We can talk about having faith in the economy, in a medicine, or in a political leader. But in the Bible faith is related solely and exclusively to two realities we cannot see with the natural eye: to God and to God’s Word. And you need that faith to understand this world!
Faith! Who can fully measure or express the potential represented by that short, simple word? It is not too difficult to accept that all things are possible to God. Can we equally accept that all things are possible to the one who believes? This is what Jesus told us. It means that, through faith, the things that are possible to God are made equally possible to the one who believes.
There are four steps you must take to experience acceptance with God. The first thing is to forgive every person who has rejected you or harmed you in any way. Second, you must lay down the negative results of rejection: bitterness, resentment, hatred, rebellion. These attitudes are poisonous; they will infect your entire life. They will cause deep emotional problems and, quite likely, physical...