VIDEO Words on a Wall – Is the handwriting on the wall, America?

There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the Spirit of the Holy God.  Daniel 5:11

Billy and Ruth Graham once had a large dog named Belshazzar, named for the king in Daniel 5 who feasted with a thousand lords. Ruth always said that’s how she felt when she fed the dog.

Every dog has his day, and in the book of Daniel King Belshazzar’s days ran out when a set of fingers appeared and started writing strange words on the walls of the banquet hall. We can only imagine how terrifying it was amid the flickering torches. It was a message of judgment. When no one could interpret the words, the queen remembered aged Daniel, who was summoned to the chamber and interpreted the terrible message.

In moments of crisis, judgment, terror, and need, the world turns to those who know their God. The memory of righteous men and women linger. That’s why it’s vital to grow stronger, wiser, and more faithful with the passing years. The influence of God’s people brings His presence into a chaotic world.

When a crisis arises… the great man who has the keys of the kingdom stands up and stands out. So in this occasion, in the critical awesomeness of that fatal night, Daniel the prophet of God is called for and stands up. W. A. Criswell


Billy Graham – Is the handwriting on the wall, America?

A Call to Leave

Today's Devotional

At once they left their nets and followed him.   Matthew 4:20

As a young woman, I imagined myself married to my high school sweetheart—until we broke up. My future yawned emptily before me and I struggled with what to do with my life. At last I sensed God leading me to serve Him by serving others and enrolled in seminary. Then the reality crashed through that I’d be moving away from my roots, friends, and family. In order to respond to God’s call, I had to leave.

Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee when He saw Peter and his brother Andrew casting nets into the sea, fishing for a living. He invited them to “Come, follow me . . . and I will send you out to fish for people” (Matthew 4:19). Then Jesus saw two other fishermen, James and his brother John, and offered them a similar invitation (v. 21).

When these disciples came to Jesus, they also left something. Peter and Andrew “left their nets” (v. 20). James and John “left the boat and their father and followed him” (v. 22). Luke puts it this way: “So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him” (Luke 5:11).

Every call to Jesus also includes a call from something else. Net. Boat. Father. Friends. Home. God calls all of us to a relationship with Himself. Then He calls each of us to serve.

By:  Elisa Morgan

Reflect & Pray

How could God’s call to follow Him also call you from something else? In what ways can you trust Him with what you may be leaving?

Loving God, help me understand what I might need to leave in order to respond to Your call.

Feeling Hopeless

Acts 27:1-25

People disappoint us, circumstances cause pain, and our own limitations lead to frustration. Jesus told His disciples that struggles are part of this life (John 16:33), and many other Bible stories show evidence of this reality.

Hannah couldn’t have a baby. The longer she waited, the more her hope disappeared and sorrow and bitterness took hold of her (1 Samuel 1:6-10).

Paul was caught in a violent storm. Against his advice, the captain had the crew set sail, endangering him and everyone on board. After efforts to save the vessel, those on board had to swim ashore to survive (Acts 27:10-11; Acts 27:42-44).

A jealous Saul pursued David throughout the land and tried to kill him. In Psalm 13:1, David wondered if God had forgotten him.

What did these people do? They prayed. Hannah cried out to God and asked Him to give her a son. Her hope returned because she trusted Him with her future. Paul witnessed to the hopeless sailors and told them to have courage because God would deliver them. David didn’t dwell on his circumstances but instead focused on God’s unfailing love (Psalm 13:5-6).

Time with God can combat hopelessness. It moves our attention from the circumstances to the Father’s great love for us.

Our Personal Greetings

“Salute Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the brethren which are with them.” (Romans 16:14)

An interesting phenomenon occurs in the closing chapter of many of Paul’s epistles, which may at first seem incongruous with the biblical doctrine of plenary verbal inspiration. This phenomenon is the recital of various names of individuals—people in the churches from which, or to which, he was writing. Most of them are people about whom we know nothing except their names, as listed by Paul. There are 11 people mentioned by name in Colossians 4:7-17. In Paul’s final epistle to Timothy, right after he had written the great passage on the inspiration of the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16-17), he mentioned no less than 18 names. In the last chapter of Romans is listed 35 names, five of which are included in the one short verse of our text!

The question is, why did the Holy Spirit inspire Paul to include so many personal names of people who were of only local interest, in epistles which God intended to be used by Christians everywhere? And, of course, these lists of names are dwarfed in comparison to the very extensive lists in the Old Testament (e.g., Numbers 7 and 26).

Perhaps the main reason for their permanent inscripturation in this fashion is simply to illustrate the great truth that God knows and cares about every one of His children. We do know that each of our names is written in “the book of life of the Lamb” and in God’s “book of remembrance…for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon His name” (Revelation 13:8; Malachi 3:16). Perhaps, as a small token and assurance of these great lists in heaven, God has listed a few of these names in His Book here on Earth. They were ordinary people just like us, and it will be our privilege, as Paul instructs in our text, to “salute Asyncritus” when we can, and all the other believers who have gone before us! HMM

Need of a Physician

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul.

—Psalm 23:1-3

 

Human nature being what it is, the man of God may soon adopt an air of constant piety and try to appear what the public thinks he is. The fixed smile and hollow tones of the professional cleric are too well known to require further mention.

All this show of godliness, by the squeeze of circumstances and through no fault of the man himself, may become a front behind which the man hides, a plaintive, secretly discouraged and lonely soul. Here is no hypocrisy, no intentional double living, no actual desire to deceive. The man has been mastered by the circumstances. He has been made the keeper of other people’s vineyards but his own vineyard has not been kept. So many demands have been made upon him that they have long ago exhausted his supply. He has been compelled to minister to others while he himself is in desperate need of a physician.   GTM115

Lord, I pray for pastors everywhere today who are indeed exhausted and depleted. The task is so overwhelming and the demands so extreme. Come today with a fresh breath of Your Spirit to refresh, renew and restore. Amen.

 

Free from the Flesh

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

—Romans 8:2

 

When the Holy Spirit is ignored or rejected, religious people are forced either to do their own creating or to fossilize completely. A few churches accept fossilization as the will of God and settle down to the work of preserving their past—as if it needed preserving. Others seek to appear modern, and imitate the current activities of the world with the mistaken idea that they are being creative. And after a fashion they are, but the creatures of the creative skill are sure to be toys and trifles, mere imitations of the world and altogether lacking in the qualities of eternity—holiness and spiritual dignity. The hallmark of the Holy Spirit is not there….

It is hard to imagine a more painful disillusionment than to come to the judgment seat of Christ and find that all our earthly lives we had been striving after the flesh and never permitting the creative Holy Spirit to work in us that which was pleasing in His sight. TWP036-037

There is a way of release from [the] tyranny [of the flesh]. It is by the cross of Jesus….That ends the bondage of the flesh. The power to live free from it comes from the Holy Ghost. TET058

 

Our Human Weakness

2 Corinthians 4:7

The quest for the best is admirable in many ways, but it is not without its perils. Perfectionists are notably hard to live with because, in their passion for the highest, they may fall victim to the temptation of fussiness, become impatient with people less intense than they and arrogantly critical of others.

Perfectionists are often too critical of themselves as well. The noted translator, J.B. Phillips, confesses to this, “The tyrannical super—me condemns and has no mercy on myself.” Seekers after holiness, conscientious as they invariably are, may blame themselves for feelings, weakness or shortcomings about which they have no choice and over which they have no control.

One of Satan’s favorite devices with holiness seekers is to set standards so high that no one could attain them, and then to condemn the conscientious struggler for failing. Allister Smith counsels, “We must be careful not to excuse our sins by calling them faults, nor must we make the opposite mistake of regarding faults in ourselves or in others as sin.” That requires that we make a distinction between iniquity and infirmity, without being either too easy or too hard on ourselves.

Come back to the simplicities. You did not save yourself, and you cannot sanctify yourself. Look to Christ who “is able to save completely those who come to God through Him” (Hebrews 7:25).

Dr. Daniel Steele (one of Commissioner Brengle’s early tutors) pointed out that infirmities are always involuntary, while sins are always voluntary. Paul makes the same point, writing, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us” (2 Corinthians 4:7).

That the Spirit-filled man still has his weaknesses the Bible simply takes for granted. “The Spirit helps us in our weakness” (Romans 8:26).

To be quite honest, we believers must admit to rebel emotions and unresolved conflicts. Given a complete dedication to Christ, the therapy and grace will begin quietly to work, and healing will proceed until it results in a beautiful wholeness. “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).

Edward Read, Studies in Sanctification