Sunday, July 31, 2016

The truth behind atheism

by Dr. Jack Graham

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds,there is none who does good.

Psalm 14:1

Perhaps you’ve noticed as you’ve looked at the Bible that within its pages, there’s never once an argument for the existence of God. In fact, today’s Scripture is the only verse that directly addresses anything close to the subject. But it tells us much about the mindset behind the atheistic worldview: it’s definitely mistaken.

You see, the atheistic worldview tells us that long, long ago, a chance event happened where life came into being. And through an innumerable series of other random events, over millions of years, inanimate matter evolved into the life we have today.

Now, I don’t know about you, but to me, that’s absolute foolishness. And the reason many people adhere to it isn’t because of the plausibility of the arguments. Behind the atheistic mindset is a rebellious spirit that wants to take God out of the picture. That’s because if there’s no God, there’s ultimately no accountability.

But if we look at what’s most logical, we know that creation requires a transcendent Creator. And that Creator, I firmly believe, is the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. We know God by the relationship we have with His Son, Jesus. Acknowledge God today as your Creator and King by affirming your faith in Jesus!


Saturday, July 30, 2016

Happiness Habit: Get to Know God Better

By Rick Warren
“For my determined purpose is that I may ... progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly.” (Philippians 3:10 AMP)

You were made to live in relationship with God, and if you think you can be joyful without getting to know him better, you’re just fooling yourself. Happiness is found in getting to know God a little bit better every day.

Paul discovered that. He says in Philippians 3:10, “For my determined purpose is that I may ... progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly” (AMP).

There is a difference in knowing about someone and knowing someone. I know more about Justin Bieber and Kim Kardashian than I want to, but I don’t really know them. I know my wife and I know my kids because I spend time with them. I have a relationship with them.

Paul became “deeply and intimately acquainted” with God because he had a relationship with him and took the time to get to know him.

You don’t get to know God by accident. It’s a “determined purpose.” It’s something you have to do something about. You have to invest your time in it.

But, we get too busy, and busyness destroys relationships. It destroys your relationship with your family, and it destroys your relationship with God.

To get to know Jesus, you’ve got to spend time with him. If you want to spend time with him, you’ve got to make time for him. Just set aside 10 or 15 minutes of focused time with God in the morning, and make sure you and your mind are not busy. Just be still, and it will make all the difference in the world.

Talk It Over
  • What is something you do every day for at least 15 minutes? Is it more important than spending time with God?
  • How do you need to adjust your schedule so that you can make time to spend with God?
  • What are the distractions that keep you too busy to spend time with God?

Friday, July 29, 2016

Stress Management: Don’t Worry!

By Rick Warren
“Don’t worry about anything.” (Philippians 4:6 NLT)
The number one source of stress in your life is not work. It’s worry. Work doesn’t keep you up at night; worry does.
God is very clear in the Bible what he thinks about worry. Philippians 4:6 says, “Don’t worry about anything” (NLT).
Why do you need to let go of your worry?

Worry is unreasonable for a couple of reasons. First, worry exaggerates the problem. Have you noticed if somebody says something bad about you, the more you think about it, the bigger it gets? Second, worry doesn’t work. To worry about something you can’t change is useless. And to worry about something you can change is stupid. Just go change it!

Worry is unnatural. There are no born worriers. You might think you are, but you’re not. Worry is something you learned. Since worry is unnatural, it’s also unhealthy. Your body wasn’t designed to handle worry. When people say, “I’m worried sick,” they’re telling the truth. Doctors say a lot of people could leave the hospital today if they knew how to get rid of guilt, resentment, and worry. Proverbs 14:30 says, “A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body” (NLT).

Worry is unhelpful. Worry cannot change the past, and worry cannot control the future. All it does is mess up today. The only thing that worry changes is you. It makes you miserable! It’s never solved a problem. It’s unhelpful.

Worry is unnecessary. God made you, he created you, he saved you, and he put his Spirit in you. Don’t you think he’s going to take care of your needs? There’s no need to worry.
The first step in stress management is to refuse to worry about anything. Why? Because it’s unreasonable, unnatural, unhelpful, and unnecessary.

The Bible says in 1 Peter 5:7, “You can throw the whole weight of your anxieties upon him, for you are his personal concern” (AMP).

God personally cares about you and for your needs. You know all those things you’re stressing, anxious, and worried about? Let it go. Give it to God.

Talk It Over
  • What does your worry say about how much you trust God?
  • What is it you are worried about? What can you do to change it?
  • How can you practically “throw your anxieties” on God?

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Faith Expels Guilt, Greed, and Fear

Devotional by John Piper
The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. (1 Timothy 1:5)
Faith in God’s grace expels from the heart the sinful powers that hinder love.
If we feel guilty, we tend to wallow in self-centered depression and self-pity, unable to see, let alone care, about anyone else’s need. Or we play the hypocrite to cover our guilt, and so destroy all sincerity in relationships. Or we talk about other people’s faults to minimize the guilt of our own.
It’s the same with fear. If we feel fearful, we tend not to approach a stranger at church who might need a word of welcome and encouragement. Or we may reject frontier missions for our lives, because it sounds too dangerous. Or we may waste money on excessive insurance, or get swallowed up in all manner of little phobias that make us preoccupied with ourselves and blind us to the needs of others. 

If we are greedy, we may spend money on luxuries — money that ought to go to the spread of the gospel. We don’t undertake anything risky, lest our precious possessions and our financial future be jeopardized. We focus on things instead of people, or see people as resources for our material advantage. 

Faith in future grace produces love by pushing guilt and fear and greed out of the heart.
It pushes out guilt because it holds fast to the hope that the death of Christ is sufficient to secure acquittal and righteousness now and forever (Hebrews 10:14).
It pushes out fear because it banks on the promise, “Fear not, for I am
 with you. . . . I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10). 

And it pushes out greed because it is confident that Christ is greater wealth than all the world can offer (Matthew 13:44).

In every case the glory of Christ is magnified when we are more satisfied with his future grace than we are with the promises of sin.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

How to Defy Sinful Desire

Devotional by John Piper
By faith Moses . . . [left] the fleeting pleasures of sin . . . for he was looking to the reward. (Hebrews 11:24–26)
Faith is not content with “fleeting pleasures.” It is ravenous for joy. And the Word of God says, “In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11). So faith will not be sidetracked into sin. It will not give up so easily in its quest for maximum joy. 

The role of God’s Word is to feed faith’s appetite for God. And, in doing this, it weans my heart away from the deceptive taste of lust. 

At first, lust begins to trick me into feeling that I would really miss out on some great satisfaction if I followed the path of purity. But then I take up the sword of the Spirit and begin to fight.
  • I read that it is better to gouge out my eye than to lust (Matthew 5:29).
  • I read that if I think about things that are pure and lovely and excellent, the peace of God will be with me (Philippians 4:8–9).
  • I read that setting the mind on the flesh brings death, but setting the mind on the Spirit brings life and peace (Romans 8:6).
  • I read that lust wages war against my soul (1 Peter 2:11), and that the pleasures of this life choke out the life of the Spirit (Luke 8:14).
  • But best of all, I read that God withholds no good thing from those who walk uprightly (Psalm 84:11), and that the pure in heart will see God (Matthew 5:8).
As I pray for my faith to be satisfied with God’s life and peace, the sword of the Spirit carves the sugar coating off the poison of lust. I see it for what it is. And by the grace of God, its alluring power is broken.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Jesus Keeps His Sheep

Devotional by John Piper
“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:31–32)
Though Peter failed miserably, the prayer of Jesus preserved him from utter ruin. He was brought to bitter weeping and restored to the joy and boldness of Pentecost. So Jesus is interceding for us today that our faith might not fail (Romans 8:34). 

Jesus promised that his sheep would be preserved and never perish. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:27–28). 

The reason for this is that God will work to preserve the faith of the sheep. “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). 

We are not left to ourselves to fight the fight of faith. “It is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). 

You have the assurance of God’s Word that, if you are his child, he will “equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ” (Hebrews 13:21). 

Our endurance in faith and joy is finally and decisively in the hands of God. Yes, we must fight. But this very fight is what God “works in us.” And he most certainly will do it, for “whom he justified he also glorified” (Romans 8:30). 

He will lose none of those he has brought to faith and justified.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Satan’s Strategy and Your Defense

Devotional by John Piper
Resist him, firm in your faith. (1 Peter 5:9)
The two great enemies of our souls are sin and Satan. And sin is the worst enemy, because the only way that Satan can destroy us is by getting us to sin.
God may give him leash enough to rough us up, the way he did Job, or even to kill us, the way he did the saints in Smyrna (Revelation 2:10); but Satan cannot condemn us or rob us of eternal life. The only way he can do us ultimate harm is by influencing us to sin. Which is exactly what he aims to do.

So Satan’s main business is to advocate, promote, assist, titillate and confirm our bent to sinning. 

We see this in Ephesians 2:1–2: “You were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked . . . according to the prince of the power of the air” (NASB). Sinning “accords” with Satan’s power in the world. When he brings about moral evil, it is through sin. When we sin, we move in his sphere, and come into accord with him. When we sin, we give place to the devil (Ephesians 4:27). 

The only thing that will condemn us at the judgment day is unforgiven sin — not sickness or afflictions or persecutions or intimidations or apparitions or nightmares. Satan knows this. Therefore his great focus is not primarily on how to scare Christians with weird phenomena (though there’s plenty of that), but on how to corrupt Christians with worthless fads and evil thoughts.
Satan wants to catch us at a time when our faith is not firm, when it is vulnerable. It makes sense that the very thing Satan wants to destroy would also be the means of our resisting his efforts. That’s why Peter says, “Resist him, firm in your faith.” It is also why Paul says that the “shield of faith” can “extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one” (Ephesians 6:16). 

The way to thwart the devil is to strengthen the very thing he is trying most to destroy — your faith.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Today's Discussion – Proverbs

Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise – Proverbs 6:6

We live in rare age of the world, in which slothfulness has become not only common, but even a goal for many. Young people grow accustomed to doing just enough work to "get by." Older folks look to their retirement as the end to all their problems.

But the solution that Solomon gives us is this: go to the ants, you who wish to forsake work, and consider their ways in order to become wise.

Go to the ant: be humble enough to learn, even from an ant. The ant has no guide or supervisor, no encouragement or accountability…and yet she is faithful to fulfill her duties day in and day out.

Ants do not procrastinate; they do what they can, when they can. In contrast, we often do not do anything, because we can't do everything at once. The ant labors little-by-little to get each job accomplished, each need met, each provision made. In fact, she is so slow and methodical in her duties, many won't have even have the patience to watch and consider her, as Solomon instructs us to.

Both success and failure come little-by-little. Like a garden, it just takes a little neglect to grow a lot of trouble. A little neglect has cost teams their victory, people their lives, kings their power.

What little thing can you do today to heal your marriage, help your children, draw closer to God? Learn from the ant, and do it now. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016



Scripture Reading: I Timothy 1:5; II Timothy 1:5

Much of what men believe today is what they want to believe instead of what God's Word teaches. Faith is somehow taken to mean just being sincere in what you want to happen, or being sincere in what you think God would have you do and if your faith (your belief in your own idea) is strong enough, it will come to pass. This is far from what God's Word teaches about faith. Romans 10:17 tells us that the faith that pleases God comes from hearing, that is believing, the Word of God. God will only do that which He has said He will do and God will accept a person only on the basis He has proclaimed. Anything beyond what God has said is not faith--- it is wishful-thinking.
It is this taking God at His Word that Paul speaks of as "UNFEIGNED FAITH" in our text verses. This word, unfeigned, means genuine or sincere. It is the sincere trust in what God has said about Himself and about how a man can be justified in His sight that Paul was speaking about when he wrote Timothy that "the end of the commandment is love out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith that is genuine and sincere" (I Timothy I:5). This genuine faith does not go beyond what God has said, but takes every word God has spoken and sincerely believes God will do exactly as He has promised.

Paul was confident that this was the kind of faith Timothy had and his sincere faith had been encouraged in him by his mother and his grand-mother who both had this same genuine faith in what God had said (II Timothy 1:5).
Is your faith based solely upon what God has said, or do you have some areas of wishful-thinking involved in your faith? If there is any area of your faith that is not exactly what God has said, you do not have "UNFEIGNED FAITH."


Adversity is not simply a tool. Its God's most effective tool for the advancement of our spiritual lives. The circumstances and events that we see as setbacks are oftentimes the very things that launch us into periods of intense spiritual growth. Once we begin to understand this, and accept it as a spiritual fact of life, adversity becomes easier to bear.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Help My Unbelief

by John Piper

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. (Romans 12:3)

In the context of this verse, Paul is concerned that people were “thinking of themselves more highly than they ought to think.” His final remedy for this pride is to say that not only are spiritual gifts a work of God's free grace in our lives, but so also is the very faith with which we use those gifts.

This means that every possible ground of boasting is taken away. How can we boast if even the qualification for receiving gifts is also a gift?

This truth has a profound impact on how we pray. Jesus gives us the example in Luke 22:31-32. Before Peter denies him three times Jesus says to him, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”

Jesus prays for Peter's faith to be sustained even through sin, because he knows that God is the one who sustains faith. So we should pray for ourselves and for others this way.

Thus the man with the epileptic boy cried out, “I believe; help my unbelief” ( Mark 9:24). This is a good prayer. It acknowledges that without God we cannot believe as we ought to believe.

Let us pray daily: “O Lord, thank you for my faith. Sustain it. Strengthen it. Deepen it. Don't let it fail. Make it the power of my life, so that in everything I do you get the glory as the great Giver. Amen”

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Sins That Are Past

by Pastor C. R. Stam       

In Chapter 3 of St. Paul’s letter to the Romans he declares that God has set forth Christ as a satisfaction for man’s sin and that redemption is obtained by faith in “His blood,” or His payment for sin at Calvary, entirely apart from works, religious or otherwise (Rom.3:21-26).

But in this same passage he states that this “remission”concerns the “sins that are past” (Ver. 25). What does he mean by this? Some have taught from this verse that when a sinner turns to God for salvation all his sins are forgiven up to that time and now that he is saved he is henceforth responsible for himself. But this would mean that God saves men by His grace only to turn them over again to their own weak and sinful natures. If this were the case, the converted sinner would be lost again the same day, for what Christian believer is wholly free from sin?

Paul rather looks back here at past ages and declares that we now know and proclaim that men like Abel, Noah and Abraham, and also like Moses,David and Daniel (who lived under the Law) were actually saved by the redemption wrought by Christ, although Christ’s death was still future in their day. In other words, Christ died, not only for the sins which we have committed, but also for the “sins which are past.” The believers of past ages simply believed what God told them then, and God counted them righteous (Gen. 15:6) on the basis of Christ’s coming payment for sin.

We have the same truth set forth in Hebrews 9:15, where we are told that Christ’s death availed also “for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first covenant,” i.e., the Law.

How blessed we are to live at a time when God’s plan of salvation has been fully revealed, and that we can now look to the Lord Jesus Christ and exclaim with Paul:

“He loved me, and gave Himself for me!” (Gal.2:20).

Monday, July 18, 2016


By Pastor Joel Finck

Scripture Reading: Romans 6:14

People are always looking for an excuse to sin. If they can somehow justify their sin with Scripture, so much the better --- or so they think. Paul knew that God's super-abounding grace would probably be misused by some to become lax about sin. Therefore, immediately after informing us that we "are not under the law, but under grace," he quickly added, "What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid" (Romans 6:14,15).

We should thank God we are not under the law! No longer are we required to bring animal sacrifices as an offering for sin. No more do we live in the bondage of the Mosaic code, which spelled out every detail of life and threatened death for those who slipped. What freedom we have in Christ!

Yet Christian liberty was never designed to give us freedom to sin; rather, it was meant to give us freedom to serve. "For brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another" (Galatians 5:13).

Indeed, when we exercise genuine Christian love, we actually fulfill in a practical way that which the Law could never produce; that is, experiential righteousness. "Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law" (Romans 13:10). While so many today are trying to live by law, let us who know the grace of God live by grace, and thereby demonstrate to a dying world what the power of God can do in the life of a yielded believer.


Our worst days are never so bad
that you are beyond the reach of God's grace.
And your best days are
never so good that you are beyond the need of God's grace.
 -- Jerry Bridges

Sunday, July 17, 2016

God's Free Gift Part 2 of 2

By Pastor Ken Lawson

The second reason is closely related to the first. Because of sin, our so-called good life (outside of Christ) is simply the fruit of a fallen nature. "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." (I Corinthians 15:22) While the unregenerate life may be highly esteemed by men, it is an abomination in the sight of God. We stand before God in Adam condemned and worthy of death! Such a life in the flesh does not have the glory of God as the driving motivation or the Spirit of God as the empowering force.

What we need is a new birth-the imparting of divine life from above. This regeneration by the Holy Ghost makes us new creatures in Christ and able to produce good works toward God. Paul, the apostle exclaimed, "I have been crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith (faithfulness) of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." (Galatians 2:20) "By the grace of God I am what I am: and His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not 1, but the grace of God which was with me." (I Corinthians 15:10)

Thirdly, trying to live a good life in the flesh to merit heaven is a manifestation of pride and unbelief-not faith. There were those in Paul's day (as well as ours) who, while religious and zealous for God, were - ignorant of-God's righteousness. They went about to establish their own righteousness and did not submit themselves to the righteousness of God. "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth." How sad that all of this self-righteousness is leading countless souls to destruction when God plainly told us "by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight." (Romans 10:3,4; 3:20)

Finally, if righteousness comes by obeying the law (living a good life) then Christ died for nothing. (Galatians 2:21) The whole reason for Christ shedding His precious blood on the cross is because our lives are sinful and we are spiritually bankrupt-unable to pay the sin debt. This truth is no more graphically shown to us than in Christ's agony in the garden of Gethsemane. There while facing the horror of the cross, He prayed saying, "0 Father, if it be possible, let this cup (of suffering) pass from me; nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt." (Matthew 26:39) And what was the Father's reply? Did He say, "This substitutionary suffering plan is too costly to Me and My believed Son. I am instituting my alternate plan for man's redemption?" It is evident that God did not alter His plan, for Christ did drink of that cup. "He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquities of us all." (Isaiah 53:5, 6)

But wait! Won't the teaching of salvation by grace through faith alone produce a lax attitude toward good works and the Christian life? God forbid! The commands which speak of glorifying God in the Christian's life are all given to those who have already become children of God by faith in Jesus Christ. Having become the recipients of eternal life by faith alone, a realization of the love of Christ for the believers should now motivate them to live not for themselves, but for Him which died for them and rose again. This is far from inducing a negligent attitude toward Christian behavior. The grace of God that brings salvation teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts and to live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world. We do this as we look for the blessed hope, the glorious appearing of the great God, who is our Savior, Jesus Christ. This is our purifying and confident expectation. (II Corinthians 5:14,15; Titus 2:11-14)

How different is the grace-faith way from the law-works way! We who are in Christ serve God and man out of love and gratitude for the gift bestowed upon us freely by God. How tragic to see religious but lost people hoping against hope that their good works will outweigh the bad and that they will finally be received into heaven.

Let us not be like the foolish girl who thoughtlessly insulted her man by trying to help pay for his gift of love. But let us reach out with the hand of faith and receive by grace the free gift of eternal life. Then we can truly say we have experience something of the romance of redemption.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

God's Free Gift Part 1 of 2

By Pastor Ken Lawson

Years ago, the story was told of a service man who, being stationed in a foreign land, fell in love with a beautiful girl. After a brief romance, he was transferred to another country but promised to return the next year. Throughout his absence he took out a substantial portion of his paycheck each month to purchase a gift which would be a worthy token of his love.

When the day finally came when they were united again, he removed a box from his coat and presented her with the most beautiful jewel she had ever seen. A troubled expression came over her face and she began digging through her purse. "What are you doing, dear?" he asked. "Oh honey, that is a very expensive gift and I think I should help pay for it." Shocked and hurt, he stood there speechless, not knowing what to say. She had missed the whole point. He didn't want her money, he wanted her!

Like the foolish young girl in our illustration, many people today have a distorted view of God's free gift of eternal life. Rather than receiving it by faith alone, they insist on helping pay for it. As a result they insult the grace of God and dishonor the blood of the cross. Any attempt to add human works to God's plan of salvation only mars it, so that it loses the character of a free gift and is rendered void. While some may even acknowledge the fact that Christ died for our sins and rose again, they maintain that it is still necessary to do their part to complete God's plan of redemption. All the while being ignorant of the fact that our Lord Jesus cried from the cross, "It is finished!" There on that cruel tree God the Father was making our Savior's soul an offering for sin-yours and mine!

God's holiness was so thoroughly satisfied with our Lord's substitutionary death, for us, that He proved it by raising Him from the dead, in power and great glory. This is our "canceled check" verifying that the sin debt has been fully paid. Our responsibility is to honor God by receiving the free gift. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved." (Acts 16:31) The writer of Hebrews understood something about this finished transaction when he wrote, "For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified." (Hebrews 10:14)

The ways people say we are to help pay for our salvation are many and varied: obey the commandments, follow the Golden Rule and the Sermon on the Mount, give money to the church, be baptized and partake in church sacraments, etc. But God says, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done but according to His mercy He saved us by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost." (Titus 3:5) "For by grace are ye saved through faith: and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8, 9) "Therefore, we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law." (Romans 3:28)

Grace means that God delights to grant us special favor apart from personal merit or worthiness. That is why salvation and eternal life are so often spoken of as a gift in God's Word. No loving parent would expect their child to earn or pay for their birthday presents.

But why can't I get to heaven by living a good life? Why does my acceptance with God hinge on my faith in Christ's shed blood only? First of all, you are making an assumption that it is possible to live a good life. Our minds need to be reeducated concerning the holiness of God and the sinfulness of man. The problem is our perspective. When we talk about living a good life, we are thinking in comparison to others---other sinners! Such a comparison is unwise, for Christ is holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners. That is why Adam and Eve were expelled from Eden for only one sin. When compared to Christ's holiness, even the best children of Adam have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. To enjoy eternal fellowship with God in heaven, we must share in Christ's righteousness, acceptance, and life. That is where the free gift comes in.

Friday, July 15, 2016


by C. R. Stam  

"The Sword of the Spirit... is the Word of God" (Eph. 6: 17).

Of all the spiritual armor which believers are told to "put on" in Eph. 6:11-18, there is only one offensive weapon. This is "the Sword of the Spirit... the Word of God." The Bible is called "the Sword of the Spirit," because the Spirit of God is its Author. It is called "the Sword of the Spirit" because, thus written by God who knows all, it can cut deeply. This makes it, for the believer, a formidable weapon against Satan and the forces of evil. We are told in Heb. 4:12,13:

"The Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

 "Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do."

As David said long ago:

"O Lord, Thou hast searched me, and known me.
 "Thou knowest my down sitting and mine uprising; Thou understandest my thought afar off" (Psa. 139:1,2).

It is because God knows and understands us so thoroughly that His Word can sometimes cut us so deeply. How wise, then, to bow before that Blessed Book, acknowledge its condemnation of sin and trust the Savior it presents! And, having done this, how wise to "put on the whole armor of God" in our stand against Satan and sin, not forgetting to "take... the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God"!

You will not die before God's time, for any reason,
come what may. Nothing can put an end to you until God
decides that it is time for you to be at home with Him.
---– Selwyn Hughes

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Difference Between Belief and Faith

By Pastor Timothy F. Conklin

The Bible is very clear - saving faith originates through hearing the Word of God. The Bible knows no other avenue or supply for faith which saves. People cannot produce or will biblical faith. Only the Bible produces saving faith. And Romans 10:17 makes it plain and clear that biblical/saving faith comes specifically by hearing the Word of God.

     Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God

One must appreciate that the Bible itself is a gracious gift of God. The Divine revelation of the Scripture cannot be found anywhere else. What God has revealed in the Bible is not knowable in any other way or from any other source. In parallel with the gift or Scripture, one's initial faith-when a person first believes- is likewise God's gracious gift.

     For it is by grace you have been saved through faith-and this not from yourselves it is the gift of God. (Ephesians 2:8, 9)

     To all who received him, to those who believe in his name, he gave the right to become children of God-children born of natural descent, nor of human decision, or a husband's will, but born of God. (John 1:12,13)

We know from Hebrews 11:6, "Without faith it is impossible to please God." The one thing a person absolutely must have in order to please God is faith. More definitely, one's faith must be in His Son, Jesus Christ. It is simply Satanic fraud to think a person can please God without faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, understanding who He is and what He did.

     God has given us eternal life, and thus life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. (1st John 5:11, 12)

God responds to faith because that is how he made us. He created us to be a people of faith; a people centered and dependent on him, not independent and self-centered.

God has chosen to limit his interaction with human beings by the law or principle or element of faith. Faith in God is essential, irreplaceable. Pleasing God is just not a matter of enthusiasm, dedication, education, discipline, experience, will power, et al. It is a matter of faith.

But it is imperative one recognizes the subtle difference between belief and faith. Merely "believing" is not enough! James 2:19 says the "Devil himself believes ... and trembles." Do you believe you can get on a plane and fly to Florida in just a few hours? Do you truly believe that? Alright then, you are in Florida, yes? Of course not! That's silly.

Just believing doesn't accomplish anything.

Consider an electric lamp. The lamp is designed to give light. It is structured and wired to do that very thing. But if it simply sits or hangs in a room without the electricity plugged in and turned on, it does nothing. Without electricity the lamp is useless as far as its intended purpose is concerned.

Just so, God's purpose in creating humankind was for them to have faith in his instructions and promises revealed in the Bible; to have faith and obey his Word. This is why God created humankind. Do you believe in John 3:16?

     God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

I mean really believe it? Well, so what? Merely believing it won't do you a bit of good.

How about horrible deadly, poison, some fatal neurotoxin? Do you believe if you drink it or ingest it in some way you will surely die? You really do believe that? Well then, are you dead?

You see, only when you act in faith in what you believe does it become actual and effective. Only by acting upon your belief and allowing the object of your faith to do what you believe it is capable of doing, only then can you turn your belief into faith.

Note very carefully, your faith does not do anything to the whatever it is you put your faith in. It simply allows your act of faith to permit the object of your faith to accomplish its nature; the electricity gives light, the poison kills.

When I have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, it is not my faith that accomplishes anything but Christ's accomplishments, who by the power and authority to do what he alone can do, does it; namely, become your Savior from sin and death.

Do you believe in benches and chairs? There is only one way for you to turn your belief into faith - sit on a bench or a chair. Understand, your faith does nothing for the bench or chair. Your faith in the bench or chair only allows the bench or chair to accomplish its benchness or chairness; its ability to support you when you sit down on it.

And note this well - the more confident you are in the object of your faith, the less conscious you are of the faith you are exercising in that object.

For Christians, where does saving or biblical faith come from? Ah yes, faith comes from hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17). The more you "hear" the word of God, the more your faith will develop, because the Word of God produces faith.

This was a lesson unheeded in Hebrews 4:2 ...

     The message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith.

The Word of God, the message of the gospel, the good news that Jesus saves, cannot profit you unless you "combine it with faith." Indeed, the Bible will tell you what to believe, but you must put into action by God's grace through faith what that belief is all about.

This is how God has decided to operate. He does not involve himself or interact personally with people apart from faith. God restricts his personal relationship with people to the issue of faith. To believe in God may be a good thing, but to have faith in God is essential.

You say you believe in God? Very well, do you have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as YOUR Savior from sin?

The message of the gospel is that Jesus Christ is God's only Son who became human --- the God-man --- to live, to die, to be buried, to be raised from the dead and ascend into heaven in order to become YOUR Savior from sin! Do you have faith in this!

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)

I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. (Ecclesiastes 3:14)

Are you Saved?
     And that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. (Ephesians 2:8)

Is Christ the person they see in you?

Wednesday, July 13, 2016


By Paul Hume

Scripture Reading: Ezek. 44:15-31; 2 Cor. 5:14-17

For centuries men believed that the sun was not the center of our solar system. They thought that the sun revolved about our planet, and the Earth was the center of our universe. Since the 16th century and the discoveries of Copernicus, men have recognized that the sun, not the Earth, is the true center of our solar system. The Earth, as everyone now knows, revolves once a year about the sun. We have a system which is "sun-centered."

By nature we are intensely self-centered. Even after becoming saved, we still tend to be self-centered. Only as we "grow in grace," and experience the working of the Lord in breaking us from our innate selfishness do we gradually move from being self-centered to being Son-centered! This is why the ministry of the sons of Zadok in Ezek. 44:15ff is so unique. Did you notice it? "They shall enter into My sanctuary, and thy shall come near to My table, to minister UNTO ME, and they shall keep My charge."

The Apostle Paul therefore declares that as the result of the "new creation" (2 Cor. 5:17), "they which live, should not henceforth live unto themselves, but UNTO HIM which died for them, and rose again." This is God-centered living: living to please HIM; living to know more of HIM; living to make HIM known to others; living to do HIS will. Is this your heart's desire? Or are you still in "prison"--the prison of self?

"0 the bitter pain and sorrow, That the time could ever be, When I proudly said to Jesus, All of Self and none of Thee. But He sought me, I beheld Him, Dying on the accursed tree, And my feeble heart said faintly, Some of self and some of Thee. Higher than the highest mountain, Deeper than the deepest sea, Lord, Thy love at last has conquered, None of self and ALL OF THEE."

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Hope of Our Calling

By Jim Roberts

The Apostle Paul wrote to Titus whom God had called as a pastor over the Church which is the Body of Christ. In Chapter 2 Paul said:

"For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you." (Titus 2:11-15)

Paul was reminding Titus that the hope of Abraham had passed away. No longer were believers to look for the heavenly city of God to come down to the earth (Hebrews 11:16), but believers were to rejoice in the hope of their calling, namely, the glorious appearing of Jesus Christ. Paul taught the believers at Colosse that:

"When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory." (Colossians 3:4)

Paul explained to Titus that all believers today share this same hope for the grace of God has now appeared to all men. However, Paul knew that this message had to be taught with zeal for it was a new message. The program for the Church had been kept as a secret in the heart and mind of God since before the creation itself. Therefore, Paul told Titus to "speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority." Paul told the Ephesians about this great hope and was very concerned that they understand the importance of the message. He prayed:

"That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints." (Ephesians 1:17-18)

In Ephesians 1:14, Paul referred to the catching up of the Church, the Body of Christ, as the redemption of Christ's purchased possession.

"In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory." (Ephesians 1:13-14)

According to Ephesians 1:7, we already have spiritual redemption through His blood, but we are waiting for the redemption of our bodies which will occur at the appearing of the Lord and the rapture of the Church.

"For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself." (Philippians 3:20-21)

The Church which is the Body of Christ is the purchased possession which is now waiting for its final redemption. In the mean time, we live on this earth learning how to live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, all to the praise of the glory of His grace.

Monday, July 11, 2016

The truth behind atheism

by Dr. Jack Graham

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds,
there is none who does good.

Psalm 14:1

Perhaps you’ve noticed as you’ve looked at the Bible that within its pages, there’s never once an argument for the existence of God. In fact, today’s Scripture is the only verse that directly addresses anything close to the subject. But it tells us much about the mindset behind the atheistic worldview: it’s definitely mistaken.

You see, the atheistic worldview tells us that long, long ago, a chance event happened where life came into being. And through an innumerable series of other random events, over millions of years, inanimate matter evolved into the life we have today.

Now, I don’t know about you, but to me, that’s absolute foolishness. And the reason many people adhere to it isn’t because of the plausibility of the arguments. Behind the atheistic mindset is a rebellious spirit that wants to take God out of the picture. That’s because if there’s no God, there’s ultimately no accountability.

But if we look at what’s most logical, we know that creation requires a transcendent Creator. And that Creator, I firmly believe, is the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. We know God by the relationship we have with His Son, Jesus. Acknowledge God today as your Creator and King by affirming your faith in Jesus!