Monochrome

President’s Day 2018

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~President’s Day, US, 2018~

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Serve with humility

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“True service is not something we do for the Lord, but something He does through us.  By regarding service [this way], we can have confidence – not in ourselves and our abilities, but in God, who makes us adequate for whatever He gives us to do.”

Charles Stanley

Be Content

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Believers can be content in every situation because of this promise.  Five negatives are utilized in this statement to emphasize the impossibility of Christ deserting believers.  It is like saying “there is absolutely no way whatsoever that I will ever, ever leave you.”

Commentary from the John MacArthur study Bible, notes for Hebrews 13:5.

False teaching

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False doctrine – anything claiming to be the truth that is in fact a lie.  

False teachers typically claim to have the superior knowledge (as in gnosticism).  They claim to know the transcendent secrets, but actually are ignorant and infantile in their understanding.

Paul identifies 3 characteristics of false teachers: 1) they “teach otherwise” – a different doctrine, or any teaching that contradicts God’s revelation in Scripture; 2) they do “not consent to wholesome words” – they do not agree with sound, healthy teaching, specifically the teaching contained in Scripture; and 3) they reject “doctrine which accords with godliness” – teaching not based on Scripture will always result in an unholy life.  Instead of godliness, false teachers will be marked by sin.

Commentary from the MacArthur Study Bible, notes for 1 Timothy 6:3, 6:20.

Spiritual Blindness

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Not only can money and material possessions not satisfy the desires of the heart or bring the lasting happiness they deceptively promise, but they also blind those who pursue them to eternal, spiritual concerns (1 Timothy 6:9,10)

Commentary from The MacArthur Study Bible, notes for Mark 4:19.

A Saving Faith

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The greatest tragedy that can befall someone is to think he’s saved, only to discover after death that he isn’t.  We’d all like to believe the claims of those who say they’re Christians, but Jesus gives a harsh warning because He knows many will be deceived.  They will sit in churches week after week, professing that Jesus is the Son of God, but won’t ever really enter into a personal relationship with Him.

Intellectual faith isn’t the same as saving faith.  It’s not enough to know facts about Jesus or to believe He died and rose again.  Even demons believe that (James 2:19).  Salvation involves more than mere knowing.  It requires trusting that Jesus Christ paid the penalty for your sin, receiving His forgiveness, turning away from old sinful ways, and entering into a relationship with Him.  What matters is not what we say with our mouth, but what we believe in our heart.

Although you probably won’t understand all that happens at the moment of salvation, when Christ becomes your Savior, He also becomes your Lord.  As the Master of your life, He then has the right to govern what you do.  His Holy Spirit takes up residence within you when you are saved, and that means you will change – God’s Spirit continually works to remove sinful attitudes and behaviors, replacing them with His spiritual fruit (Galatians 5:22-23).

We recognize a person’s salvation not by his profession but by fruit.  If you are truly saved, your character will become more Christlike over time, and your desire will be to obey the Lord.  This does not mean you’ll never sin or stumble, but overall, your life will be characterized by obedience.

Commentary from Charles Stanley’s In Touch devotional, December 18, 2017.

Be Strong and Courageous

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~Deuteronomy 31:1-8~

Have you ever faced a challenge that left you feeling inadequate and afraid?  The great men and women of the Bible weren’t superhuman, so they undoubtedly experienced the same weaknesses we do.  Though Joshua was a strong military leader, he probably felt inadequate to fill Moses’ shoes.  After all, Moses had talked with God face to face, performed amazing miracles, and led the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage.  How could Joshua ever expect to live up to that?

But remember, Moses didn’t start out as a mighty man of faith.  When God first called him to deliver the children of Israel, he focused on his own inadequacy and begged the Lord to send someone else (Exodus 4:10-13).  Moses must have known exactly how Joshua felt.  That’s why he exhorted his successor to be strong and courageous.

However, the strength Joshua needed was not going to come from positive thinking or puffed-up self-confidence.  What he needed was assurance that the Lord would go ahead of him every step of the way and give the nation the land as promised.  Confidence in God-given challenges never comes from within ourselves.  But when we believe the Lord and rely on His word instead of our feelings, He’ll give us the ability and courage that we need to accomplish His will.

If your life were always easy, you’d never need strength and courage – and you would miss great opportunities to get to know the Lord intimately.  Only as we face one faith-stretching challenge after another and experience God’s faithfulness will we learn to depend on Him instead of ourselves.

Commentary from Charles Stanley’s In Touch devotional, December 9, 2017.