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Resting

In 1 Corinthians 1.1-9, Paul is writing to the Church at Corinth lifting them up and encouraging them trust and wait for the Lord.  It is always refreshing and encouraging to be reminded that the Lord has everything in control.  In today’s devotional, Dr. Charles Stanley does just that – enjoy!

When plans are frustrated or life just seems to fall apart in some way, people often wonder, Has God deserted me? Why hasn’t He answered my prayers? The Bible offers encouragement for such times by assuring us of the Father’s faithfulness: “Know therefore that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments” (Deut 7:9).

Five attributes of God make this possible. First, He is omniscient, which means He knows everything, including our every need, thought, frailty, desire, and life situation in the past, present, and future. Next, the Lord is omnipotent, or all-powerful, so nothing is too hard for Him (Jer. 32:17). Then, He is omnipresent–since He exists everywhere at once, He is never beyond reach.

In addition, our heavenly Father cannot lie. Everything that He says is true and reliable. And lastly, God is unchanging. Our circumstances and the world around us may seem to be in a constant state of flux, and the Lord may even modify the way He chooses to interact with mankind in different generations. But His character is always the same. So when Scripture tells us that God is faithful, we can rest confidently upon that promise.

Circumstances can be painful. But even when situations seem overwhelming, believers can trust that our sovereign Lord knows all, is in control, and lovingly works everything for His children’s good. We can rest confidently knowing that the unchanging God of all creation is taking care of us.

Sola Scriptura!

One of the great preachers in the late 1800’s, J.C. Ryle, shares the importance of Sola Scriptura – Scripture Only!  It is easy to get wrapped up in reading many articles about the Bible but do we actually spend time reading the Bible and gleaning the truth from it ALONE?  Today’s devotional demonstrates the importance and power of God’s Word.  The Bible needs no other to explain, if only we would spend time meditating on the His Word only.

Next to praying, there is nothing so important in practical religion as Bible-reading.
By reading that Book, we may learn . . .
what to believe,
what to be,
what to do,
how to live with comfort,
and how to die in peace.

The Bible alone is “able to make a man wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 3:15. It alone can . . .
show you the way which leads to Heaven,
teach you everything you need to know,
point out everything you need to believe,
and explain everything you need to do.

It alone can show you . . .
what you are–a sinner,
what God is–perfectly holy,
the great giver of pardon, peace, and grace–Jesus Christ.

The Bible applied to the heart by the Holy Spirit, is the grand instrument by which souls are converted to God. In this way the Bible has worked moral miracles by thousands! It has made . . .
drunkards become sober,
immoral people become pure,
thieves become honest, and
violent people become meek!

The Bible has wholly altered the course of men’s lives!
It has caused their old things to pass away–and made all their ways new.
It has taught worldly people–to seek first the kingdom of God.
It has taught lovers of pleasure–to become lovers of God.
It has changed the stream of men’s affections–to run upwards instead of running downwards.
It has made men think of Heaven–instead of always thinking of earth.

The Bible can enable a man . . .
to bear afflictions without murmuring, and say, “It is well.”
to look down into the grave, and say, “I fear no evil.”
to think on judgment and eternity, and not feel afraid.

Is a man drowsy in soul? The Bible can awaken him.

Is he mourning? The Bible can comfort him.

Is he erring? The Bible can restore him.

Is he weak? The Bible can strengthen him.

Is he in company? The Bible can keep him from evil.

Is he alone? The Bible can talk with him. (Proverbs 6:22)

All this the Bible can do for all believers;
for the least–as well as the greatest;
for the richest–as well as the poorest.
It has done it for thousands already–and is doing it for thousands every day!

It is in Scripture alone that infallibility resides. It is not in the Church. It is not in the Councils. It is not in ministers. It is only in the written Word.

All other books in the world, however good and useful in their way–are more or less defective. The more you look at them–the more you see their defects and blemishes. The Bible alone is absolutely perfect. From beginning to end, it is “the Word of God.”

A man must make the Bible alone his rule. He must receive nothing, and believe nothing, which is not according to the Word. He must try all religious teaching by one simple test: Does it square with the Bible? What do the Scriptures say?
The only question is: Is the thing said Scriptural?
If it is–then it ought to be received and believed.
If it is not–then it ought to be refused and cast aside.

The churches which are most flourishing at this day, are churches which honor the Bible.
The nations which enjoy most moral light, are nations in which the Bible is most treasured.
The godliest families are Bible-reading families.
The holiest men and women are Bible-reading people.
These are simple facts which cannot be denied.

Every one who cares for his soul ought . . .
to treasure the Bible highly,
to study it regularly, and
to make himself thoroughly acquainted with its contents.

The Fullness of God in You

Ephesians 3:14-21

As a Christian do you experience the fullness of God?  If not, why not?  With so many struggles and issues that we face each in everyday it is no wonder we struggle.  Today’s devotional by Dr. Charles Stanley will help you see more clearly through the day and help you focus on the One who can help.

Have you ever wondered if you are a “whole person”? We all have struggles in life that could make us feel incomplete, but the apostle Paul says we can be “filled up to all the fullness of God” (v. 19). What does that look like?

A “whole person” is generally satisfied with life. He feels loved and is able to love others in return. Difficulties and hardships don’t devastate him, because he is able to go through them with confidence in God. He isn’t a complainer or someone who is quick to blame others. A positive attitude guards his mind since he knows that the Lord will work everything out for good (Rom. 8:28).

Being a Christian doesn’t automatically make us feel complete. Fullness comes only when we experience God’s love for us. For many years, I knew theologically that the Lord loved me. I even preached about it, but I didn’t really feel it. Only after I took a deep look at my life and started dealing with events that had fractured my soul in childhood did I begin to experience His love in an intimate way. Once I felt the security of His love for me, I discovered great joy in walking in obedience to His will. The reason was that I knew I could trust Him to meet all my needs in His time and way.

Do you feel God’s love, or is it just a biblical fact to you? If you long for wholeness, the key is to experience an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. This is possible only when you’re willing to open up and let the Lord search your heart. He’ll reveal what’s holding you back from accepting His love.

Enough is Enough

Today’s devotional by Chuck Swindoll has one primary objective: to help you enjoy yourself, your life, and your Lord more . . . without feeling guilty or unspiritual.

As a business coach I often encounter business owners and managers dealing with these very struggles.  In our work-worshiping society, that is no small task. Many have cultivated such an unrealistic standard of high-level achievement that a neurotic compulsion to perform, to produce, to accomplish the maximum is now the rule rather than the exception. Enough is no longer enough.

Christians are not immune from stress fractures, especially vocational Christian workers. How many pastors or missionaries do you know who truly enjoy guilt-free leisure? How many Christian executives can you name who really take sufficient time to relax? On the other hand, how often have you heard someone boast about not having taken a vacation in several years? Or being too busy to have time to rest and repair?

Work is fast becoming the American Christian’s major source of identity. The answer to most of our problems (we are told) is “work harder.” And to add the ultimate pressure, “You aren’t really serving the Lord unless you consistently push yourself to the point of fatigue.” It’s the old burn-out-rather-than-rust-out line. Let’s go with a different rationale: not only, “It’s okay to relax,” but also, “It’s essential!” Without encouraging an irresponsible mentality, it says, “You can have fun and still be efficient.” In fact, you will be more efficient!

Lord, may we be committed to excellence and devotion to You, yet easy to live with and at peace within.

A Trustworthy Guide

Psalms 32:8-9

storm-pilot-zoom

Here is a picture that shows the Lord Jesus standing behind a young man whose eyes are focused in the direction that the Master is pointing.  Jesus’ hand is on the man’s

shoulder, and I imagine He is saying, “This is the way we’re going. I will get you to the destination.” Although the road will be marked with both joy and suffering, the Lord leads His followers all the way to their eternal home.

Anyone who is honest will admit that he or she is ill-equipped to go through life alone. Our all-knowing God created us with a need for His guidance. In our own strength, knowledge, and reasoning power, we are simply not able to figure out how to make the wisest decisions. But the Lord’s assuring hand at our shoulder can lead us down right paths to good choices.

The Lord is willing and able to guide us, if we will let Him. It isn’t difficult to fall in step with Him. Acknowledge that you have wandered down paths of life that led to sin and disobedience. Choose to follow His lead instead by reading the Word of God and applying biblical principles to your life. And learn to pray through both large and small decisions as you seek the path He has set for you.

Just beyond our last heartbeat lies eternity. That’s where our Savior is pointing us. The path may not be clear to our eyes, but Jesus is leading us there with a steady and sure hand. Our part is to follow in obedience so that we may reach heaven and hear the Father say, “Well done.”

Adapted from Dr Charles Stanley, please visit www.intouch.org.

God is for Us

God is always there but we often tend to try it on our own.  When we begin to fail we call upon the Lord.  As this New Year begins let’s try to call upon the Lord BEFORE we set out and allow Him to guide us.

Romans 8:31-34

Throughout life, there will be times when our sins and failures lead us to conclude that God is disappointed or angry with us. How can He still love me after what I’ve done? If I’m really forgiven, why do I still feel so guilty? At such tiimes, we need to fix our eyes on the truth of Scripture and ask the questions Paul posed in Romans 8.

If God is for us, who is against us
(v. 31)? 
Our heavenly Father proved His loyalty to us when He delivered His own Son over to death in order to save us. Without Christ’s atoning death on our behalf, we would face eternal separation from God.

Who will bring a charge against God’s elect (v. 33)? No accusation against us can stand, since at the moment of salvation, the Lord justified us. This means we were legally declared righteous, while still in our sinning condition. No one can reverse this transaction and make us guilty again. To doubt our blameless standing in Christ is to declare His atonement insufficient to cover our sin.

Who is the one who condemns (v. 34)? Although Satan rails against us, Jesus’ death and resurrection are proof that we are right with God. Christ took our condemnation and gave us His righteousness in return. Now He sits at the Father’s right hand, interceding for us.

When doubts about the Lord’s love and faithfulness arise, focus on truth. If we judge His loyalty to us by our circumstances or feelings, we will never get an accurate view of God. True security lies not in our good performance, but in our relationship with Christ, and no one can take that from us.

Dr. Charles Stanley

Renew Your Strength Through God

As we begin the new year, let us all turn to God to renew our strength to persevere through another year!

Let the peoples renew their strength.
Isaiah 41:1

All things on earth need to be renewed. No created thing continues by itself. “You renew the face of the ground,” was the psalmist’s utterance.

Even the trees, which wear not themselves with care, nor shorten their lives with labor, must drink of the rain of heaven and draw from the hidden treasures of the soil. The cedars of Lebanon, which God has planted, only live because day by day they are full of sap freshly drawn from the earth. Neither can man’s life be sustained without renewal from God. As it is necessary to repair the body by the frequent meal, so we must repair the soul by feeding upon the Book of God, or by listening to the preached Word, or by the soul-fattening table of the ordinances.

How depressed are our graces when means are neglected! What poor starving souls they are who live without the diligent use of the Word of God and secret prayer! If our piety can live without God it is not of divine creating; it is but a dream; for if God had begotten it, it would wait upon Him as the flowers wait upon the dew.

Without constant restoration we are not ready for the perpetual assaults of hell, or the stern afflictions of heaven, or even for the strife within. When the whirlwind shall be loosed, woe to the tree that has not sucked up fresh sap and grasped the rock with many inter-twisted roots.

When tempests arise, woe to the mariners that have not strengthened their mast, nor cast their anchor, nor sought the haven. If we suffer the good to grow weaker, the evil will surely gather strength and struggle desperately for the mastery over us; and as a result a painful desolation and a lamentable disgrace may follow. Let us draw near to the footstool of divine mercy in humble entreaty, and we shall realize the fulfillment of the promise, “They who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength.”

Charles Spurgeon

Strength to Strength – Charles Spurgeon

They go from strength to strength.
Psalm 84:7

“They go from strength to strength.” There are various renderings of these words, but all of them contain the idea of progress. “They go from strength to strength.” That is, they grow stronger and stronger. Usually, if we are walking we go from strength to weakness; we start fresh and in good order for our journey, but by and by the road is rough, and the sun is hot; so we sit down by the wayside and then resume our weary way.

But the Christian pilgrim, having obtained fresh supplies of grace, is as vigorous after years of weary travel and struggle as when he first set out. He may not be quite so elated and buoyant, nor perhaps quite so hot and hasty in his zeal as he once was, but he is much stronger in all that constitutes real power; and if he travels more slowly, he does so more surely.

Some gray-haired veterans have been as firm in their grasp of truth and as zealous in spreading it as they were in their younger days. But sadly, it must be confessed it is often otherwise, for the love of many grows cold, and iniquity flourishes; but this is their own sin and not the fault of the promise, which still holds good: “Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”1

Fretful spirits sit down and trouble themselves about the future. “Unfortunately,” they say, “we go from affliction to affliction.” Very true, O you of little faith; but you go from strength to strength also. You will never find a bundle of affliction that does not have in it somewhere sufficient grace. God will give the strength of ripe maturity along with the burden allotted to full-grown shoulders.

Faith versus Reason

1 Corinthians 1:18-31

The first battle between faith and human reason took place in the garden of Eden. Spurred on by the lies of the serpent, Eve began to look at her situation from a purely logical perspective and decided she was being cheated by God out of something good. Her faith faltered as “reasonable” thoughts of self-interest filled her mind.

I am not saying that the way of faith is never logical, but by operating only on the basis of reason, a conflict with the Lord is inevitable. The reason is that His instructions and actions don’t always appear reasonable from a human perspective. Although Isaiah 55:8-9 describes God’s thoughts and ways as higher than man’s, many people judge divine ideas to be lower than human intelligence.

Paul emphasizes this when he points out that God’s choices are illogical by the world’s standards. His message of salvation seems foolish, and His messengers appear weak and unimpressive. In an age that thrives on recognition, admiration, and importance, a person who believes the Bible is considered a weakling in need of a religious crutch to cope with life. While this description is given in derision, it’s actually quite accurate. Recognizing their helplessness, believers lean on Christ so He can raise them to stand with Him in righteousness.

That day in Eden, sin and self-importance entered the human heart. But all the worldly wisdom that fuels our pride is nullified by God. He is looking not for great and impressive people but for weak, humble servants who can boast only in Christ. The Savior alone is their strength and wisdom.

For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit www.intouch.org.

Restored Failures

The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.—Psalm 145:14

A guest band was leading praise and worship at our church, and their passion for the Lord was moving. We could see—and feel—their enthusiasm.

Then the musicians revealed that they were all ex-prisoners. Suddenly their songs took on special meaning, and I saw why their words of praise meant so much to them. Their worship was a testimony of lives broken and restored.

The world may embrace success. But stories of past failure offer people hope too. They assure us that God loves us no matter how many times we have failed. Pastor Gary Inrig says that what we call the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11 could well be entitled God’s Hall of Reclaimed Failures. “There is scarcely an individual in that chapter without a serious blemish in his or her life,” he observes. “But God is in the business of restoring failures . . . . That is a great principle of God’s grace.”

I love the comfort of Psalm 145, which speaks of God’s “wonderful works” (vv. 5–6) and glorious kingdom (v. 11). It describes His compassion (vv. 8–9) and faithfulness (v. 13)—then immediately tells us that He lifts up those who have fallen (v. 14). All His attributes are expressed when He picks us up. He is indeed in the business of restoration.

Have you failed before? We all have. Have you been restored? All who have been redeemed are stories of God’s grace. —Leslie Koh

Our stories of failure can be God’s stories of success.

To read today’s Our Daily Bread online visit www.odb.org.

First Things First

Watch your life and doctrine closely.—1 Timothy 4:16

When you travel by air, before the flight takes off an airline employee presents a safety briefing, which explains what to do if there is a loss of cabin pressure. Passengers are told that oxygen masks will drop from the compartment above and they are to put one on themselves before helping others. Why? Because before you can help anyone else, you need to be physically alert yourself.

When Paul wrote to Timothy, he stressed the importance of maintaining his own spiritual health before helping and serving others. He reminded Timothy of his many responsibilities as a pastor: There were false teachings to contend with (1 Tim. 4:1-5) and wrong doctrines to correct (vv. 6-8). But to discharge his duties well, what was most important was to “watch [his] life and doctrine closely [and] persevere in them” (v. 16). He needed to take care of his own relationship with the Lord first before he could attend to others.

What Paul told Timothy applies to us too. Each day we encounter people who do not know the Lord. When we tank up on our spiritual oxygen first through time in God’s Word, prayer, and the enabling of the Holy Spirit, we keep our relationship right with God. Then we will be spiritually alert to help others. —C. P. Hia

Lord, open Your Word to me now. Let me breathe in its freshness before I go out to be Your light to the world.

A Christian’s life is the window through which others can see Jesus.

To read today’s Our Daily Bread online visit www.odb.org.

Cure for the Unfulfilled Life, by Dr. David Jeremiah

After Miranda Lambert won the Academy of Country Music Award for Female Vocalist of the Year for the eighth consecutive year, she released a heartbreaking song that addressed the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz. The song warned him against asking for a heart, for hearts break and the pain can feel unendurable. While we might be empty without a heart, she said, it’s better than having a broken heart that can’t be repaired.

Asked about her inspiration for the song, Lambert replied, “I guess going through a lot of times where I felt empty…how many times have we seen The Wizard of Oz… everyone knows what the Tin Man represents–cold, and empty, and loneliness, and heartless…and it just opened my eyes to it even more going through pain myself, you know, sort of an epiphany.”1

Many people today feel empty or broken, even if they’ve arrived at the highest levels of success and fortune. Amid the struggles of life, it’s hard to keep a sense of passion and purpose. In an age of abundance, it’s hard to be filled. If life is so rich, we wonder, why are we so broken? In an age of entitlement and empowerment, why are millennials the most unfulfilled generation in recent memory?

It’s because the fruit of the Spirit is out of season in our culture. In season are the works of the flesh—“adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like” (Galatians 5:19-21). These qualities are spreading like weeds, invading our entertainment, government, social media, families, and technology.

But in our own backyard vineyards, we must cultivate the qualities God longs to reproduce within us—the fruit of the Spirit. Purposeful passion for life can be achieved when we determine to live according to the nine decisions they represent.

  • We find love in caring more about the needs of another person than for our own. We don’t find fulfillment in trying to be fulfilled. Fulfillment is the by-product to seeking to fulfill the needs of others. Philippians 2:4 says, “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” Dean Kamen, a brilliant inventor, is at his best when meeting the needs of others. In the 1970s, he developed a portable drug infusion pump after his brother, a medical student, explained the needs of patients stuck in hospitals when they could be home. A little more than a decade later, Kamen developed a portable dialysis machine that changed the lives of multitudes. Then he had an idea he touted as the greatest invention of his life. It was unveiled with great fanfare—the Segway. But it flopped. Kamen thought everyone would have several in their garage. Instead, Segways are only used by security guards in malls and a handful of tourists in large cities. The Segway flopped because it didn’t meet a real need, whereas Kamen’s other inventions truly served others. We’re successful in personal fulfillment when we can fulfill the needs of others by choosing to love them with the love of Jesus, available to us by the Holy Spirit.
  • We find joy in serving Jesus. Do you remember this old song: “There is joy in serving Jesus as I journey on my way, / Joy that fills the heart with praises, every hour and every day”?That chorus is seldom sung now, or practiced. But there truly is joy in going about our daily tasks as if doing them for the Lord (Colossians 3:23).
  • We find peace in trusting Scripture. Whenever you face a dark moment, there is something wonderful about finding a place all alone, meeting with God, pouring out the problem before Him, and searching the Scriptures until He gives you a word of reassurance from a verse or promise in the Bible. Afterward, the crisis will pass. The problem will fade away. But that Scripture the Lord gave you will stay with you as long as you live. It will also equip you to help others going through similar experiences.
  • We find endurance in being committed to the cause. John Eliot, an early missionary to the Native Americans, said: “I can do little, yet I am resolved through the grace of Christ, I will never give over the work so long as I have legs to go.”3 Sometimes we feel we can do only a little for the Lord, but how important to keep on doing it! Little tasks performed faithfully over long periods yield big results. Often in my life, I’ve drawn strength from Hebrews 10:35-36: “Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise.” We are serving an eternal God who calls us to everlasting service. When the tasks seem small or the burdens feel heavy, we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and run with perseverance. Therein is our fulfillment.
  • We find compassion by opening our hearts to the unfortunate. I have a theory that most of us harbor a little hidden whispering guilt that we aren’t doing enough to help the hurting masses of the world. We feel we should do more to feed a hungry child, encourage a disabled veteran, provide water for an impoverished village, or medicine for a ravished region. Yet when approached by panhandlers on the street, we seldom feel good about indiscriminately handing them money. What, then, should we do? Here’s a good place to begin. Find one credible way in which you can open your heart to those in need, and focus your resources on that opportunity. Perhaps it’s through a benevolent organization you trust, or perhaps it’s through a personal situation you know. Prayerfully find a way of opening your heart to “the least of these” and begin your own thoughtful ministry of compassion.
  • We find generosity in stewarding God’s resources. The relationship between compassion and generosity encompasses all our lives and resources. The deepest needs in our world are not merely physical, but spiritual. Our churches, our causes, and our ministries need ongoing support. Giving to the Lord’s work brings a sense of fulfillment, and volunteering for Christian service gives a sense of gratification. The Lord has a way of taking our gifts and multiplying them for eternal good.
  • We find integrity in representing ourselves honestly. Ecclesiastes 7:1 says, “A good name is better than fine perfume” (NIV). When someone uses a unique perfume and cologne, we get a little whiff of them as they come, the scent lingers after they leave, and we can often remember their fragrance after they’re gone. That’s the way our reputations are. God uses us to spread the aroma of Christ everywhere (see 2 Corinthians 2:14-15).
  • We find humility in shifting conversations to the other person. Here’s an idea: This week while engaged in conversation with someone, deliberately steer the conversation toward the other person. Not rudely, of course, or intrusively, but graciously. It’s surprising how quickly we talk about our ailments, our children, our grandchildren, our problems, our blessings, and our opinions. But we learn nothing in the process, and sometimes we bore the one listening. Try practicing James 1:19: “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, [and] slow to speak.”
  • We find self-discipline in tackling our weaknesses one at a time. One of the reasons we’re unfulfilled is because we let temptations get the best of us. When we yield to our besetting sins, it leaves us as empty as, well, the Tin Man. God knows how to strengthen our will power, but we must exercise self-control as He helps us. When we’re filled with His Spirit of power, He empowers our personal disciplines and helps us live as we should.

If you’ve lost your passion and purpose in life, don’t give up yet—or ever! God has a cure for the unfulfilled life, and He has a purpose for you regardless of your stage of life. Learn afresh to be filled with the Spirit and to let His nine special traits flood your soul with lifelong purpose and fulfillment as you determine to doggedly practice them each day. Remember what the apostle Paul said after listing these nine decisive attitudes we call the fruit of the Spirit, for it’s my closing admonition to you:

If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:25).


1Kelly Brickey, “Miranda Lambert Reveals How She Relates to ‘Tin Man,’” May 4, 2017, at http://www.soundslikenashville.com/news/miranda-lambert-reveals-relates-tin-man/.

2Oswald J. Smith, “Joy in Serving Jesus.”

3Ruth Tucker, From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1983), 79.

The One Who Understands

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.—John 1:14

John Babler is the chaplain for the police and fire departments in his Texas community. During a twenty-two-week sabbatical from his job, he attended police academy training so that he could better understand the situations law enforcement officers face. Through spending time with the other cadets and learning about the intense challenges of the profession, Babler gained a new sense of humility and empathy. In the future, he hopes to be more effective as he counsels police officers who struggle with emotional stress, fatigue, and loss.

We know that God understands the situations we face because He made us and sees everything that happens to us. We also know He understands because He has been to earth and experienced life as a human being. He “became flesh and made his dwelling among us” as the person of Jesus Christ (John 1:14).

Jesus’s earthly life included a wide range of difficulty. He felt the searing heat of the sun, the pain of an empty stomach, and the uncertainty of homelessness. Emotionally, He endured the tension of disagreements, the burn of betrayal, and the ongoing threat of violence.

Jesus experienced the joys of friendship and family love, as well as the worst problems that we face here on earth. He provides hope. He is the Wonderful Counselor who patiently listens to our concerns with insight and care (Isa. 9:6). He is the One who can say, “I’ve been through that. I understand.” —Jennifer Benson Schuldt

Dear Lord, thank You for caring enough to humble Yourself and come to earth as a human being. 

God understands the struggles we face.

Our Daily Bread, 11 September 2017.

Be Consistent and Useful to God – Charles Spurgeon

Woe to me, that I sojourn in Meshech, that I dwell among the tents of Kedar. Psalms 120:5

As a Christian you have to live in the middle of an ungodly world, and it is of little use for you to cry, “Woe to me.” Jesus did not pray that you should be taken out of the world, and what He did not pray for, you need not desire. It is far better to meet the difficulty in the Lord’s strength and by doing so to glorify Him. The enemy is always watching for inconsistency in your conduct; therefore be very holy. Remember that the eyes of all are on you, and that more is expected from you than from other men. Strive to give no occasion for blame. Let your goodness be the only fault they can discover in you. Like Daniel, compel them to say of you, “We shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God.”1

Seek to be useful as well as consistent. Perhaps you think, “If I were in a more favorable position I could serve the Lord’s cause, but I cannot do any good where I am.” The worse the people are among whom you live, the more they need your exertions; if they are crooked, all the more need for you to set them straight; and if they are perverse, they need you to turn their proud hearts to the truth. Where should the doctor spend his time if not among the sick? Where is honor to be won by the soldier but in the center of the battle? And when you are weary of the strife and sin that meets you on every hand, consider that all the saints have endured the same trial. They were not carried on couches to heaven, and you should not expect to travel more easily than they. They had to risk their lives on the battlefield, and you will not be crowned until you also have endured hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. Therefore, stand firm in the faith, be courageous, be strong!

Pay Attention – by Hal Lindsey

Can you imagine a world in which you would never lose your car keys or wallet? Or have them stolen?

Can you imagine a world in which you would never have to stand in line at the grocery store? Or the airline ticket counter? Or TSA?

Can you imagine a world in which you would never have to worry about having your identity stolen when shopping online? Or your credit cards accessed by hackers?

Can you imagine a world in which you would never have to worry about filling out tax forms? Or keeping track of receipts?

Can you imagine a world in which you would never have to worry about your grandmother falling and not being able to summon help? Or a heart attack or a stroke dropping you before you could call 911?

You don’t have to imagine.

That world is here.

All of these things are now possible, or will soon be possible, because of the microchip.

And the incredible convenience and safety the microchip promises will be possible because of The System.

The System will link all of the services and protections the citizens of the world could ever want or need and automatically provide them to the bearer of the microchip.

For a world that worships at the altar of “convenience,” The System will be the ultimate servant.

For a world that is rapidly descending into fear, The System will be the ultimate protector.

And that is how the Antichrist and the False Prophet will get billions of people to take the Mark of the Beast.

It will promise the convenience and safety we all crave.

Does that sound like the plot line for a science-fantasy movie coming soon to your local theater? Well, it’s not.

The technology to accomplish everything I have just described is already available. Granted, much of it is in the rudimentary stages, but we all know from experience that once a technology is invented, its perfection and utilization often follows at blinding speed.

What’s more, the Bible prophets predicted that in the final days of this Age of Grace, knowledge (technology) would increase exponentially in both breadth and speed.

For the Mark of the Beast System to work as it must, it will require a cashless world and participation by most of its people.

Daily, the governments of the world call for the abolition of physical cash as the world’s currency. They are joined by corporations, banks, intellectuals, terrorism experts, drug trafficking experts, organized crime prosecutors, and even public health officials.

And that time is closer than you may think. Today, the world’s monetary structure is no longer based on gold, silver, or even boxes of paper bills stashed in the vaults of banks or national treasuries. The zeroes and ones of computer code already serve as the world’s true currency.

Do you doubt that people will willingly accept a microchip implanted in their hand to receive the conveniences and safety The System will provide?

Last week in Wisconsin, a small firm offered to implant a microchip in the hand of any employee who chose to accept it. The payoff? The employee would no longer need an ID card to enter the building, a password to access the computer system, or cash or credit card to purchase items from the company break room.

None of those activities sound too taxing or inconvenient, do they? Yet almost half of the 85 employees chose to have the chip implanted in their bodies in return for the basic and very limited “convenience” it offered.

How can they refuse when the Mark of the Beast System offers lavish, almost unlimited, convenience and safety?

The Bible says they won’t.

Also on this week’s program, I’ll discuss what Plato called in 488 BC, “the ship of state.”

Right now, the United States Ship of State is leaking — badly.

Not since the infamous “White House Plumbers” has the nation faced as critical an internal threat as it does right now because of the incessant, criminal leaking of sensitive information by individuals across our national government.

This is not the work of patriots, but traitors. The U.S. government is at war with itself. And that makes the world more dangerous for everyone.

Finally, this week I want to tell you about what I believe is the first and worst of the doctrine of demons: Legalism.

In Hebrew, the word for “Satan” means “Adversary.” In his role as “god of this age,” Satan conducts a relentless, well-planned strategy to blind men’s minds to the truth about God and how to know Him.

One of his most effective tools is “legalism.” That is, seeking to live for God by the principle of Law. It is the dent in your armor at which Satan will chip away until he has a hole big enough to drive a truck through.

Satan knows that a personal faith-walk with God is based upon the principle of “grace” instead of “law.” So his goal is to slowly lead even mature believers into a sense that what was begun in faith must be perfected by the flesh. To trade “grace” for “law.”

He constantly seeks to keep unbelievers away from “grace.” For those who have already come to Christ, he seeks to erase “grace” from your thoughts and beliefs. Satan is perfectly happy with the believer striving to live by the “law.”

Don’t fall prey to the deceptions of the Adversary. Trust your salvation to the only one who can actually save you — Jesus.