Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven. — Psalm 119:89
No book has been attacked over the past 200 years like the Bible. Many scholars have joined the savage attack, which continues in our day unabated. Yet the Bible is correct, and critical scholars are proven wrong again and again. (If there are certain unanswered questions about the Scriptures, give it time—the Bible will be vindicated eventually).
Just because someone is a scholar doesn’t mean he or she is correct. Often they are not. When it comes to scholars, I always remember the admonition of Dr. William Childs Robinson that I heard in seminary. We were discussing some controversial theological issue in one of his classes. One student said to him, “But professor, all of the scholars say …”
Robinson said, “Hold it. Hold it right there, young man. You never want to forget that we choose our scholars. We choose our experts.”
And what do the scholars say? Ah, my friend, I think it is vitally important that you know right now, and never forget, what the scholars say. The scholars say anything at all. They say everything—they express every imaginable point of view.
When you see scholars expressing anti-Christian opinions on television or read them in magazines or the newspapers, just remember, somebody chose those experts, and they didn’t choose them by chance. They often stack the experts in such a way as to promote unbelief.
Question to ponder: Do you have any doubts about the Word of God that you need to get answered? What are they and what faithful source will you seek for the correct answers?
In a World of Deception, BE HONEST | Dr. David Jeremiah | Matthew 24:4-5, 11
What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?Mark 8:36
Astronaut Chris Ferguson made a difficult decision as the commander of the flight crew scheduled for a journey to the International Space Station. But that decision didn’t have anything to do with the mechanics of flight or the safety of his fellow astronauts. Instead, it pertained to what he considers his most important work: his family. Ferguson opted to keep his feet planted firmly on Earth so he could be present for his daughter’s wedding.
We all face difficult decisions at times—decisions that cause us to evaluate what matters most to us in life, because one option comes at the expense of the other. Jesus aimed to communicate this truth to His disciples and a crowd of onlookers regarding life’s most important decision—to follow Him. To be a disciple, He said, would require them to “deny themselves” in order to walk with Him (Mark 8:34). They might have been tempted to spare themselves the sacrifices required of following Christ and instead seek their own desires, but He reminded them it would come at the price of that which matters much more.
We’re often tempted to pursue things that seem of great value, yet they distract us from following Jesus. Let’s ask God to guide us in the choices we face each day so we’ll choose wisely and honor Him.
What sacrifice is God calling you to make for the good of someone else?
To get the most out of this devotion, set aside time to read the scriptures referenced throughout.
If something matters to us, we are often willing to do whatever it takes to protect or care for it. Consider how parents save to send their children to college, or how a spouse sacrifices personal dreams and goals to care for an unwell partner. If we love someone, we’re willing to pay high costs and make deep sacrifices. But for believers, these things are more than the right thing to do. They are a holy calling, a way to “fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2) and love one another as Christ loved us (John 15:12).
When we give sacrificially, two marvelous things happen. First, we experience the joy that comes with growing in Christlikeness—of “being transformed into [Christ’s] image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:18 NIV). And second, our light shines before people who see our good works and praise our Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16). God-pleasing sacrifice might not be easy, but it’s always worth the cost.
Think About It
Has anyone ever sacrificed something for your sake? How did that feel? How might you give of yourself for someone else?
“And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger.” (John 6:35)
This verse is the first of seven “I am” statements of Jesus in John’s gospel that vividly describe His character and nature to His followers. It was announced to the people shortly after the miraculous feeding of the 5,000 with only two small fishes and five barley loaves. As the well-fed crowd followed Jesus, He rebuked them, saying, “Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled” (John 6:26). He further exhorted them to “labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you” (v. 27).
But how do we feed our souls using the analogy of bread nourishing our physical bodies? We don’t have long to wait in this narrative because Jesus soon proclaims, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (v. 63).
When Christ was tempted by the devil to satisfy His bodily hunger after 40 days of fasting, He proclaimed, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). The Lord also proclaimed, “Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness” (Isaiah 55:2).
Let us purpose in our hearts to prayerfully and daily feed upon God’s sustaining and powerful Word. JPT
… my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee…to see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. —Psalm 63:1-2
To have found God and still to pursue Him is the soul’s paradox of love, scorned indeed by the too-easily-satisfied religionist, but justified in happy experience by the children of the burning heart. St. Bernard stated this holy paradox in a musical quatrain that will be instantly understood by every worshiping soul:
We taste Thee, O Thou Living Bread,
And long to feast upon Thee still:
We drink of Thee, the Fountainhead
And thirst our souls from Thee to fill. POG014-015
Each of [the fruits of the Spirit] is but a phase of love. Joy is love exulting; peace is love reposing; patience is love enduring; goodness is the good manners of love; kindness is love in action; faithfulness is love confiding; gentleness is love yielding; and self-control is true self-love. WL005
My son, if your heart is wise, my heart will indeed rejoice.—Proverbs 23:15
“A man’s belief,” says Dr Albert Ellis, a well-known modern-day psychologist, “determines both his conduct and his character.” Proverbs 23:7, written almost 3,000 years before Ellis, puts the truth in an even more succinct form: “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he” (NKJV).
There are two possibilities before each of us as we look at life: we can base our conclusions about the meaning of life on what the humanistic philosophers, poets, and historians tell us, or we can base them on what God tells us in His Word. Either we take the Word of God and live by it—or we do not. If we take the attitude that the prophets didn’t know what they were talking about and there are no such things as miracles in the universe, then we do what the writer to the Hebrews tells us—we draw back from the godly way of life (Heb 10:39). The biblical way is living by faith.
Listen to the word given to Habakkuk: “The righteous one will live by his faith” (Hab 2:4). Faith is taking the Word of God and relying on it. It involves believing what God says, simply and solely because He said it. The heroes of faith listed in Hebrews 11 did just that—they had no real reason for believing what God told them, other than the fact that He had spoken. Why did Abraham take his son Isaac to Mount Moriah? Why did he prepare to offer him as a sacrifice? Simply because God had spoken. A little boy, when invited to comment on the statement, “Faith is having confidence in what God has spoken,” said: “God has confidence in what He has said—so must we.”
O Father, forgive my doubts and hesitancies—and help me to have an unshakable confidence in the truth and power of Your Word. Show me how to link my littleness to Your greatness. In Jesus’ name I ask it. Amen.
And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and the one who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him.—1 John 4:16
The greatest truth in all of Scripture is this: God is love. Understanding this in its full dimensions will set you free to enjoy all that is yours as a Christian. But you must accept that God loves you. If you grew up experiencing unconditional love in your family, this may not be difficult for you. However, if your early years were void of love, this truth may be hard to accept. God loves you, not because you deserve His love, but because His nature is love. The only way He will ever relate to you is in love. His love for you gives you an inherent worth that nothing can diminish.
If you cannot accept the truth that God loves you, you will be limited in how you can relate to Him. When He disciplines you, you will not take it as an expression of His love. Rather, you may resent Him. When God says no to a request that is less than His best for you, you will conclude that He doesn’t care about you. Without a clear understanding and acceptance of God’s love for you, you will be disoriented to Him and to what He wants to do in your life. If you will accept God’s love, however, you will be able to return love to God as well as to others (1 John 4:19).
Are you experiencing the profound sense of joy and security that comes from knowing you are dearly loved by God? Being assured of God’s love for you sets you free to enjoy the numerous expressions of love He showers upon you each day.