Dr. David Jeremiah

Life Is What You Make It: Make Waves (For Growth)

September 23, 2018

Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
Galatians 6:9

Recommended Reading: Galatians 6:6-10

Ever heard of Karl Friedrich Gützlaff? He was the first Lutheran missionary to China, and he died in 1851 in Hong Kong at age 48, shattered by disappointment. But the ministry he formed later sent out J. Hudson Taylor, who opened the interior of China to the Gospel. And Gützlaff’s writings touched a British doctor, David Livingstone, who later opened the interior of Africa to the Gospel. Gützlaff died with a sense of failure, yet his work created ripple effects resulting in waves of missionary growth on two continents.

Sometimes we need to make some waves if we’re going to create ripple effects that outlive us. Even when disappointed with visible results, we must remember God’s promise—if we sow bountifully we will reap bountifully.

Discouragement is from the devil. Our job is to keep walking and working by faith. If we keep splashing around in the work God has given us without losing heart, we’ll make some waves for His glory and the ripples will reach all the way to the heavenly shore.

Discouragement cannot have its source in God…discouragement comes from an evil source.
Hannah Whitall Smith

In Touch Ministries

The Divinely Inspired Book

2 Peter 1:12-21

How important is your Bible to you? If you’re like most Christians in the Western world, you probably have several copies of Scripture in your home. But the number of Bibles we own is no measure of their value to us. It’s what we do with God’s Word and what it does in our heart that reveals how much we treasure it.

The Bible is the most important book in the world because it’s the only one that is the inspired Word of God. Nothing else ever written can match the wisdom and revelation of the Scriptures.

How then did God give us this sacred text? 2 Peter 1:21 says that the writings did not result from “an act of human will” but came to be through “men moved by the Holy Spirit.” While retaining their own personalities, intellect, and vocabularies, these human authors were borne along by the Spirit of God, writing only what He willed them to say.

Amazingly, the same God who created the universe divinely inspired the writing of Scripture. He did so to reveal Himself to us and to explain how sinful mankind can be made right with a holy God. Everything we need for life and godliness is found within its pages (2 Peter 1:3).

And He hasn’t left us on our own to interpret what He has written (2 Peter 1:20). The truth is that in ourselves, we can’t understand it. But God has given us His Holy Spirit so we can know His mind through the Bible (1 Corinthians 2:10-16). However, if we rarely open it, we won’t know His thoughts and as a result will forfeit His blessings and wisdom.

Bible in One Year: Amos 5-9

Dr. Charles Stanley

The Witness of God

Romans 1:16-23

No one is born an atheist or agnostic, “because that which is known about God is evident within them” (Rom. 1:19). The Father has given every person an inborn witness of His existence, but this isn’t the only evidence given to mankind. Creation itself testifies of God’s invisible attributes, eternal power, and divine nature (Rom. 1:20). However, it’s possible to ignore or reject both the internal and external witnesses of God. When that happens, the mind becomes progressively darker until it can no longer see the light of truth.

On hearing this, many believers react with concern for the multitudes who have never heard the gospel. They wonder, How can people be saved if the only evidence they experience of the one true God is the natural world and an inborn sense of His reality, which their culture may try to deny or manipulate? Yet our text today says there is no excuse for anyone who rejects both these witnesses (Rom. 1:20).

One thing we must remember is that God will be just, and we cannot claim to be more righteous, compassionate, and merciful than He. We can trust that He will judge every person rightly (Deut. 32:3-4). All people will be evaluated according to the truth they received, the opportunities they had, and what they did with both: Did they believe or reject what God revealed?

One thing we can know for certain is our part in the divine plan for unbelievers—Scripture is clear that we’re to be witnesses to as many as possible. You have the opportunity to share the gospel with people in your sphere of influence. That is God’s plan for the unreached.

Bible in One Year: Amos 1-4

Broken

September 18, 2018

The Path of Brokenness

John 12:23-28

A seed that is not planted will never produce a crop. So Jesus used a seed to illustrate why He had to die in order to bring many people to glory. He was teaching a principle that’s also true in our lives: If our ambition is to remain isolated, protected, and comfortable, we’ll never bear the fruit God desires. It’s in dying to self and being broken of pride and self-sufficiency that we become fruitful and useful to the Lord. 

Brokenness is one of the means God uses to mature His children. In that process, we may find ourselves challenged in:

Circumstances that cripple our self-sufficiency.
Areas in which we are not submissive to Him.
The timing of His plans.

If we refuse to be re-formed and instead cling to whatever God wants us to release, then how can He use us for His kingdom? Just like the single, unbroken grain of wheat, we will remain unproductive.

With so much at stake, why do we still resist His process of breaking us down? The problem is usually our shortsighted desires. It’s difficult to let go of things or relationships or hobbies we enjoy even when we know they are stunting our spiritual growth. We prefer to take the path of least resistance and hope God will bless us anyway.

Don’t be distracted by short-term happiness—that isn’t the road to maturity that God has prepared for you. An abundance of fruitfulness awaits you if you’ll release your grip and let Him do whatever it takes to get you there.

Bible in One Year: Hosea 6-9

Two Ways Through a Valley - Dr. Charles Stanley

Two Ways Through a Valley

Psalm 27:1-14

What do you do when the pressures of life seem greater than you can bear? Journeys through a valley are inevitable and painful, but God doesn’t waste them. The trials of life can be times of discovery about Him.

In our helplessness, we discover His almighty power to sustain us.
In our despair, God invites us to experience His peace and promises.
In our pain, He becomes our comforter and protector.
In our hopelessness, He lifts our eyes to see His sovereignty and goodness.

Other discoveries we make in severe crises have to do with ourselves. Terrible times test our faith and reveal our true character. When a crisis first hits, most of us immediately respond with alarm. But at that point, we can take one of two very different paths.

The way of fear. If our relationship with the Lord is weak, fear may cause us to panic, seek ungodly counsel, blame people or God for the problem, or try to find a way out on our own.

The way of faith. On the other hand, if our faith is strong, we’ll progressively move from alarm to trust by seeking the Lord through prayer and His Word. We do this by believing He will keep His promises despite supposed evidence to the contrary and by remembering how He helped us in the past. In this way, our endurance and confidence in the Lord is strengthened.

Every adversity God allows in our life is designed to bring us to spiritual maturity, not to devastate us. When we yield to Him in the midst of a crisis, He enables us to trust and wait on Him with patience and hope.

Bible in One Year: Daniel 5-6

Dr. David Jeremiah

Out of the Heart

 

For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.

Matthew 15:19

 

Mao Zedong believed sparrows were pests, and he initiated a campaign to eradicate sparrows in China. But he was wrong. Sparrows are natural predators to locusts. With the sparrows all gone, the locusts multiplied, devastating Chinese agriculture. It’s estimated that more than 30 million Chinese died of malnourishment because of Mao Zedong’s defective thinking.

 

Recommended Reading: Matthew 14:1-12

 

Defective thinking results in destructive living. It’s impossible to think wrongly and live rightly, which is the problem with the human race. Our evil hearts produce evil thoughts, and all kinds of tragedy ensues. Take Herodias and her daughter, for example. They viewed John the Baptist as a pest, and they schemed to have him murdered and his head brought to them on a platter. Today they’re remembered in history as villains. Their evil schemes came from their mistaken thoughts, and their thoughts arose from their wicked hearts.

 

That’s why the Bible says, “To be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Romans 8:6). We only gain wisdom when Jesus Christ is at the very center of our hearts and minds.

 

Every day in which I do not penetrate more deeply into the knowledge of God’s Word in Holy Scripture is a lost day for me.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Born Again

September 13, 2018

You Must Be Born Again

John 3:1-16

Life is like a ladder we climb until we die. It would be a shame if we simply stopped and never progressed. But it could be utterly disastrous if we placed our ladder against the wrong wall and after a lifetime of climbing discovered that we had wasted all the years given to us.  

This may have been how Nicodemus felt after talking to Jesus. He’d climbed to the top rung of religious success in Judaism and was known as “the teacher of Israel” (John 3:10). Yet Jesus told him the only way he would see the kingdom of God was to be born again. All his good works, extensive knowledge, and great accomplishments were worthless. Nicodemus realized immediately that just as he had done nothing to bring about his first birth, he could do nothing to be born again. His hopes for eternal life were dashed.

Before Nicodemus was ready to hear the good news, he had to be emptied of all his self-confidence and accomplishments in order to see his need for a Savior. His ladder came crashing down, and he had to start afresh with a new birth of the Spirit if he hoped to gain the kingdom of heaven.

Where have you placed your ladder? Has God ever emptied you so He can fill you up again? Although there’s nothing you can do to be born again—no good works or religious service—there is something you can believe. God wants you to glimpse His holiness and realize how far you are from His perfect standard. Then, if you come broken and contrite to Jesus, believing His death paid your sin debt, you’ll be born again and will someday see the kingdom of heaven.

Bible in One Year: Daniel 3-4

Jesus

September 12, 2018

Jesus Christ Is Lord

Romans 14:7-9

“Jesus is Lord” is the confession of every Christian because it is fundamental to our faith. In order to be saved, the apostle Paul says we must confess with our mouth Jesus as Lord (Rom. 10:9). Such doctrine is central to Christianity, and those who are devoted followers of Jesus Christ believe that He is Lord of all creation and all time.

However, when we say “all,” it means us as well. If Jesus truly is the sovereign Lord of heaven and earth, then He is also the Master of our individual lives. Christ’s sovereign rule is not limited to governing the vast universe; it’s also a personal issue. He is Lord of our normal, daily lives—our choices, priorities, activities, attitudes, words, everything.  

Paul captured this truth in Romans 14:8 when he wrote, “For if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord.” The apostle considered it impossible to compartmentalize Christ’s lordship. He knew his life belonged wholly to Jesus.

Jesus doesn’t want to be part of our life; He made that clear with His disciples. When we give the Lord just a portion, then we are telling Him there are other things we consider at least as important as He is. Do you know what the Bible calls this? Idolatry.

Jesus never called people to give Him a try. He demanded full surrender: “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me” (Luke 9:23). We can’t squeeze Jesus into one segment of our life and continue living as we please. If we’re truly His, then Jesus is our life.

Bible in One Year: Daniel 1-2

In Touch Ministry

September 11, 2018

When Foundations Are Shaken

Hebrews 12:25-29

Seventeen years ago, the United States of America experienced a massive surprise attack by terrorists. Our people were shaken by the realization that the country is not as safe as we once thought.

Of course, it grieved us to learn of the events that occurred and the lives that were tragically lost. But at the same time, the horrible situation led to some positive outcomes. For example, our nation unified and people served with courage and selflessness.

One of the biggest benefits, I believe, was that many of us realized our great dependence upon God. Safety in this world is an illusion. Sadly, the peace and blessings we’ve experienced in America have led to much complacency and self-dependence. Sometimes we need to be shaken out of our forgetfulness and into reliance upon Jesus Christ.

Just listening to the news these days can rattle our sense of well-being. There is always something unsettling taking place. But as believers, we should look at life from a resurrection perspective. We are children of the living God, not people who seek security only in the natural, secular world. Our hope and refuge is firm: Through Jesus Christ, our relationship with the Lord is eternal. Everything else we possess could be destroyed in a moment.

Worldly circumstances—natural disasters, wars, and assorted turmoil—may have an effect on everyone, but they can’t control the believer’s heart. Let your hope rest in Christ alone. Only by finding security in the arms of almighty God can you endure times of uncertainty.

Bible in One Year: Ezekiel 46-48

Dr. Charles Stanley

September 10, 2018

Unshakeable Foundations

 

Romans 8:35-39

Our world is a changing, uncertain place. Many people seek security in wealth, relationships, and power. These things, however, are not guaranteed from one day to the next. Watching the news provides enough proof that any of them can be taken away in a moment. No wonder there is such despair and fear.

For believers, thankfully, reality is not based on what we see. Nor is our foundation found in this world. We build our hope and trust on the Lord, and we believe the truth in His Word.

Even in chaotic times, our certainty is found in God’s loving relationship with us as His children. Today’s passage tells us that nothing can tear us away from our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, in the midst of turmoil and trials, we have assurance that our lives are in the grip of the almighty God. We can rely not only on His love and presence but also on His uninterrupted attention, faithfulness, and perfect care.

When difficulty arises and circumstances seem overwhelming, we can respond with confidence and strength because of Jesus. Along with the psalmist, who also lived during times of war and stressful events, we can call the Lord “my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust” (Psalm 91:2).

Consider where you find security. Is the foundation of your life built upon the solid rock of Jesus? Or is it planted in something as unstable as sand—like money or prestige? Placing hope and confidence in anything apart from the Lord will ultimately leave you feeling broken and defeated.

Bible in One Year: Ezekiel 43-45