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Friday, September 16, 2016

Sacrifice? (and other devotionals)

Sacrifice?

Matthew 16:21-25 shows us another time in our lives when we can expect the devil to strike, or the third battle we must fight,
From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, "Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!" But He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men." Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.  For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it."
The cross is a place of sacrifice. It is a place where you die. In this passage Jesus is talking about the sacrifice that He is going to give, laying down His life for our sins. 
Peter is being manipulated by the devil to challenge Jesus. The devil is speaking through Peter, telling Christ to back off a bit, that He doesn't need to sacrifice, that He doesn't need to give that much, or to lay His life down.
Friend, when God is leading you to sacrifice for the sake of His kingdom, count on the devil to be right there doing all He can to stop you.  He will make you believe you should let your temperature cool down a little bit, that you shouldn't be so on fire for God. That you shouldn't be that sold out! 
Do not listen. Instead, heed God's call to sacrifice. You will not regret it!

~Bayless Conley~
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If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
Now the works of the flesh are manifest which are these; adultery, fornication and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity.
      
ROM. 8:13.  Gal. 5:19,21 25. Tit. 2:11 14.

EVENING
Then said the princes of the Phillstines, What do these Hebrews here?
If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye: for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, ... or as a busybody in other men's matters.
Let not ... your good be evil spoken of. -- Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles.
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? Ye are the temple of the living God. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing.
Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people: that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.
I SAM. 29:3.  I Pet. 4:14,15. Rom. 14:16.  I Pet. 2:12. II Cor. 6:14,16,17. I Pet. 2:9.

~Samuel Bagster~
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Absolute Assurance 

"He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee"  (Hebrews 13:5).
Several times in the Scriptures the LORD hath said this. He has often repeated it to make our assurance doubly sure. Let us never harbor a doubt about it. In itself the promise is specially emphatic. In the Greek it has five negatives, each one definitely shutting out the possibility of the LORD's ever leaving one of His people so that he can justly feel forsaken of his God. This priceless Scripture does not promise us exemption from trouble, but it does secure us against desertion. We may be called to traverse strange ways, but we shall always have our LORD's company, assistance, and provision. We need not covet money, for we shall always have our God, and God is better than gold; His favor is better than fortune. We ought surely to be content with such things as we have, for he who has God has more than all the world besides. What can we have beyond the Infinite? What more can we desire than almighty Goodness. Come, my heart; if God says He will never leave thee nor forsake thee, be thou much in prayer for grace that thou mayest never leave thy LORD, nor even for a moment forsake His ways. 

~Charles Spurgeon~
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How to Experience Christ's Peace


"My peace I give to you” (John 14:27). Jesus spoke these amazing words just hours before His crucifixion. His peace isn’t dependent upon external circumstances, but rather, it transcends them. Although He gives His peace to every believer as a gift, our experience of it is related to our faith in the following truths:
  • God is in control of everything. Without this assurance, the world is a scary place.
  • He loves me and will see me through every circumstance, no matter how difficult or painful it may be.
  • To have Christ’s peace, I must surrender my life to Him. When I hold onto my ways and plans, I’ll experience turmoil.
  • I have a limited perspective and understanding of my circumstances and God’s purposes for allowing them. His goals for me are greater than my immediate comfort.
  • The Lord promises to work all things out for my good. He is continually working to transform my character into Christ’s image.
  • I must live in sync with God, walking in the Spirit and promptly confessing and repenting of sin.
  • Scripture is my foundation for peace. It increases my trust in the Lord’s goodness, assures me that He keeps His promises, and reminds me of His sovereignty over every situation.
Sadly, many Christians live their whole lives without consistently experiencing this incomprehensible peace. Perhaps faith and submission are the most challenging issues. But only as we surrender control of our lives to Christ and trust in His plans for us will we discover tranquil rest for our souls.

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~
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The Rich Young Ruler: Give up Everything?

by Charles Stanley

Three of the four gospels contain an account of the young man who asked Jesus a very important question: "What shall I do to inherit eternal life?" (Luke 18:18). A ruler with great wealth, he considered himself a moral man because he had kept God's commandments.
However, he was operating under the false assumption that good works bring salvation. He seemed to be asking Jesus what else he had to do to secure his place in heaven - besides all the good things he'd already accomplished.

This is what I refer to as the "great deception" - the false belief that eternal life can be earned through our own efforts. If we give credence to this lie, then we do not understand the problem of our sin and how it separates us from God. Scripture tells us that we have inherited a sinful nature from the first man (Romans 5:12). Ever since that time, humanity has been in rebellion against the Lord and under His judgment. There is nothing we can do to pay for our sin. If this were the end of the story, we would be a people without hope for today or the future. But the good news is that the heavenly Father recognized our plight and mercifully provided the way to heaven (John 14:6)
When God made us in His image, He created us to live forever. So, though our earthly body will perish, our spirit will never die. The question about eternal life is important, as we'll spend eternity either with God in heaven or in an insufferable state, separated permanently from Him (Matthew 25:34Matthew 25:41).
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"Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice" (Phil. 4:4).
"Sing a little song of trust,
O my heart!
Sing it just because you must,
As leaves start;
As flowers push their way through dust;
Sing, my heart, because you must.
"Wait not for an eager throng
Bird on bird;
'Tis the solitary song
That is heard.
Every voice at dawn will start,
Be a nightingale, my heart!
"Sing across the winter snow,
Pierce the cloud;
Sing when mists are drooping low
Clear and loud;
But sing sweetest in the dark;
He who slumbers not will hark."
"An' when He hears yo' sing, He bends down with a smile on His kin' face an' listens mighty keerful, an' He says, 'Sing on, children, I hears, an' I's comin' down to deliver yo': I'll tote that load fer yo'; jest lean hard on Me and the road will get smoother by and by."'

~L. B. Cowman~

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