Peter Rebuked

Here’s Today’s Devotional from The Vine…

 

But he turned, and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me, for you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of men.”– Matthew 16:23

It was Peter’s love for Christ that made him fight against this portrayal of his Lord. In his love he wanted to hold the Master back from wasting His life, but in doing this he was acting the part of Satan in seeking to tempt Jesus from His great work of sacrifice. This way of the cross was not an accident; it was the way marked out for Christ. To go away from it would be to fail in His mission.

Our best friends may tempt us in the same way. In their love for us they may try to keep us from doing things which will lead to sacrifice. Parents may seek to restrain their children from going overseas. Any of us, with the best intentions for our friends, may discourage them from dangerous or painful service which may be their duty to accomplish. We need to guard ourselves at this point. The path of true success does not always lie along the sunny hillside. Sometimes it goes down into the dark valley of self-sacrifice. If we try to stop anyone from doing hard tasks or urging them to choose easier ways, we may be doing Satan’s work. We may be plucking the crown from the brow of our friend by holding back his or her feet from the way of the cross.

We all need to guard against the counsel of friends who would restrain us from costly or dangerous service. In matters of duty we must know only one guide and follow the call of only one voice. We are not set in this world to have an easy time. We are not born to focus on our own desires. We are here to go where Christ leads and to follow Him to [pain and to death if He leads us in those paths. We dare not allow ourselves to be turned aside by misguided good intentions of human love. It is the way of duty that takes us home.

Receiving The Blessing Of The Cross

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By David Wilkerson
[May 19, 1931 – April 27, 2011]

God delights in using failures—men and women who think they can do almost
nothing right. A woman wrote to me recently saying, “My marriage is failing. I
seem to do everything wrong in raising my children. I feel like I’m not worth
anything to anybody. I’ve not been a very good wife, mother or Christian. I’ve
got to be the world’s worst failure.”

She is just the kind of person the Lord is looking for—people who know that
if anything good happens through them, it must be because of God. All the
hotshot Christians who go about bowling people over with their great abilities
never impress God. God looked down on a scheming, base, weakling of a man
called Jacob and said, “Fear not, thou worm Jacob . . . I will help thee . . .
behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth . . .
thou shalt rejoice in the Lord” (Isaiah 41:14–16).

Men often use God to achieve fortune, fame, honor and respect. Talent,
personality and cleverness are used to advance God’s kingdom, but He is not
impressed. His strength is perfected in our weakness, our inability to obey His
commandments in our own strength.

God calls us to a life of holiness and separation. He tells us we can be free
from the bondage of sin. His Word comes to us with some impossible challenges:
“Resist the devil. Walk in the Spirit. Come out from among them. Love your
enemies. Leave behind all your fears. Put down your lustful desires. Let no sin
have dominion over you.”

When you think honestly about how little you can do on your own to fulfill
these challenges, you realize how very weak you are. Your heart begins to cry,
“Lord, how can we do such great, holy things?” That is when our Lord takes
over! He comes with such a comforting message: “Lay down your weapons. Quit
trying to be so self–sufficient and strong. I am your weapon and your
strength. Let Me do what you never can do. I will give you My righteousness, My
holiness, My rest, My strength. You cannot save yourself or please Me in any way
other than by receiving the blessings of the cross by faith. Let Me be in charge
of your growth in holiness.”

Read this devotion online: http://www.worldchallenge.org/en/node/22537?src=devo-email

Surviving Our Present Culture

Feb 15, 2013

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Read | 1 Corinthians 3:1-3

When we are called into a new life with Christ, we will encounter obstacles. One of the biggest barriers is the culture in which we live. We may not ever recognize the danger we are in until we fall. Let’s look honestly at our world.

First, it’s a secular culture, which means it has little interest in religious matters or the Bible. It teaches us to trust in ourselves and in the things we can see rather than in our unseen triune God.

Our world is also materialistic. Its primary focus is on accumulating possessions and gaining wealth, not on caring about others and giving sacrificially. Tragically, many of the things our culture values stand in opposition to the way Jesus calls us to live. When Scripture contradicts what our society believes, it’s not uncommon for people to belittle our lifestyle as narrow-minded and extreme.

In many ways, our society is spiritually rebellious, in that it defies both the laws of God and the laws of man; obedience is considered optional. A large percentage of the population rejects God’s viewpoint on intimacy and marriage in order to please self—as a result, immorality is prevalent. But they have been deceived into thinking that they can violate God’s laws without any consequences.

Unless we’re careful, we can fall prey to the world’s traps. The key to avoiding its snares is God’s Word. When we study Scripture, the Holy Spirit will identify lies we are believing and show how we can apply God’s truth to set us free. Are you immersed in the culture or in God’s truth?

http://www.intouchminitries.org

Christ Our Friend

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“I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known unto you.”– Jn  15:15.

I HAVE READ somewhere that when Michael Angelo was in the height of his fame, a boy named Raphael, destined to be his worthy successor –was introduced to him as a promising-pupil. At first the lad was employed in the simplest duties of the studio, cleaning brushes and mixing paints, but as he developed the qualities of exactness, punctuality, and sympathy, he became entrusted with increasing responsibility, until the master made him his friend and confidant. So we come to Christ, first, as redeemed from the slavery of Satan, to be His Servants, and He calls us His friends.

A friend will reveal himself. All the world may suppose that it knows a famous man, but after all, if he calls me his friend, I expect to get closer to him and hear from his own lips items of confidential information. Thus it is with the Lord Jesus. He manifests Himself to those who love Him, and keep His word, as He does not to the world.

A friend will interest his friends in his undertakings. It is a joy to Christ when those whom He loves are able to take a share in His world-wide redemptive schemes. For us, of course, it is a high honour, but it is as great a pleasure and delight to Him as it is for some loving soul to have the pleasure of working with that other twin-soul, to which it is attached. It is wonderful that Jesus is glad to have us as His fellow-workers.

A friend will be interested in our failures and successes. Not otherwise is it with our Lord. When He sees some peril menacing us, does He not make the trial-hour one of special intercession? If we fail, He meets us with the same tender affection, not alienated from us, but only intensely sorry, ready to point out the cause of our failure and to encourage us to try again. If we stand our ground, He meets us as we come forth from the fight, glad for us, eager to refresh us in our weariness, careful to heal any wound that we may have received.

Such is the Friendship of Jesus. He is always the same, His love never wanes, its manifestations are never remiss. Is it not worth while to make every effort so to keep His commandments that our entire abandonment to Him may induce His entire abandonment to us?

PRAYER

Heavenly Father, we pray that Jesus Christ may become dearer to us. May we love Him as a personal Friend, and hide ourselves in the hourly consciousness of His presence. May we have no taste or desire for things which He would disapprove. Let His love constrain us not to live unto ourselves, but to His glory. AMEN.

F.B. Meyer

Guarding Your Affection For Him

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By David Wilkerson
[May 19, 1931 - April 27, 2011]

“Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first
works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick
out of his place, except thou repent” (Revelation 2:5). 

Jesus is saying: “Think back to what you were like when I first saved you.
You rejoiced that I came to live in your heart! You couldn't wait for church on
Sunday and you spent all your free time digging into My word, learning about My
love for you. You never considered prayer to be a burden, because I meant
everything to you. You loved Me more than life itself. But now you've fallen
away from all that. I get so little of your time now, so little of your
attention. You've grown cold toward Me. Something else has your heart!”

Look at the serious warning in this verse: “Repent . . . or else I will come
unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except
thou repent.” For many years theologians have tried to soften this warning,
wanting it to mean something different. But it cannot be softened—it means
exactly what it says. 

Jesus is saying to us: “If you claim to have the fire of God, and yet I am no
longer the delight of your heart, I will take away every bit of light you have!
No matter what good works you do for Me, you will no longer be My witness. I
simply won't recognize anything you do because you have lost your love for
Me.”

Is your love for Jesus exclusive? Do you regularly take quality time to be with
Him? Or have other things crept into your heart, taking up your thoughts and
affections?

Jesus is asking you right now to repent and start over. He wants you to stop
and realize, “Wait a minute. I see how this thing has crept into my life and
it is robbing me of my exclusive love for Jesus. I can't let this go on any
longer. Lord, forgive me! Light my candle anew.”

Go back to your first love today. Ask Him for grace and strength to begin again
to guard your affection for Christ.

Read this devotion online: http://www.worldchallenge.org/en/node/21605?src=devo-email

Favor Makes For A Dangerous Life

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By Gary WilkersonThe angel Gabriel spoke to Mary, the mother of Jesus, and said “‘Greetings,
O favored one, the Lord is with you!’ But she was greatly troubled at the
saying” (Luke 1:28-29).

I believe Mary was troubled when the angel spoke to her because she was aware
of her people’s history. She knew what had happened to the Israelites who
found favor with God. The result was blessed, true, but it wasn’t always
pleasant. Consider these examples:

Abel found God’s favor through his acceptable sacrifice to the Lord. But
Abel’s brother, Cain, was jealous because he did not find the same
favor—and Abel paid with his life.

Noah found favor with God. He lived righteously in an evil generation and was
spared the destruction of the flood. Yet every comfort that Noah knew in the
world was wiped out. The story of his building an amazing ark wasn’t some
children’s story; it was a sad story of judgment on a global scale. Although
Noah and his family survived, they lost everything they held dear.

Lot found favor with God and was able to escape judgment. God delivered him
from Sodom, a city poised to face fiery destruction. But by escaping, Lot lost
almost everything dear to him, including his wife.

Joseph found favor with God and was blessed with prophetic dreams. But the very
gift that marked Joseph’s favor also angered those around him.

My point is that favor is dangerous—and Mary knew this. The Hebrew Scriptures
made it clear in story after story: Favor can be accompanied by danger,
hardship, pressure, persecution, pain, and tribulations. Sadly, much of the
American church will not acknowledge this about God’s favor. Many pastors
teach that favor means being prosperous, having a nice house or car, never
being persecuted, living without difficulties, always being on top.

Mary knew better and it showed in her response to the angel: “Behold, I am
the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).
That is the response I want to have! No matter how dangerous God’s favor is, I
do not want to trade it for an easy, comfortable life. I do not want to be off
the hook for trouble if it means missing His favor.

Read this devotion online: http://www.worldchallenge.org/en/node/21604?src=devo-email

Signature Judgement

By David Wilkerson
[May 19, 1931 – April 27, 2011]blue3

I believe God has provided us with a very specific promise for the hard times
that are coming. It was given to Abraham and his seed as an oath.

“The oath which he sware to our father Abraham, that he would grant unto us,
that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without
fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life”
(Luke 1:73-75).

God has sworn to deliver us from every enemy, every fearful thing, so we can
serve Him all the days of our lives without fear. Beloved, hunger is an enemy.
Nakedness and poverty are enemies.

This oath from God must be the foundation of our trust in every crisis,
calamity and fearful time. Memorize it! Let it be your holy argument at the
throne of grace!

In Psalm 121 David has provided us with one of the most powerful Holy Ghost
arguments ever given to man. The entire psalm tells us that all our help comes
from the Lord alone. Psalm 124 is yet another holy argument, your specific
promise to enable you to build special trust.

Right now America is under a “signature judgment” of God. Signature judgments
bear a special mark of God in that they mirror the sins committed against Him.
As these judgments take place before our very eyes, our only answer is to have
Jesus as our shield. Run today to meet Him in the secret closet of prayer. Let
your roots go down deep into Him and know that He will keep you in all
circumstances.

Take hold of the following special promises in readiness for any and all
calamities we may face:

“Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness. . . . He shall not be
afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord. His heart
shall be established, he shall not be afraid” (Psalm 112:4, 7-8).

“And he shall judge the world in righteousness. . . . The Lord also will be a
refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And they that know thy
name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that
seek thee” (Psalm 9:8-10).

Read this devotion online: http://www.worldchallenge.org/en/node/21418?src=devo-email

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