John MacArthur: On Humility In An “American Idol” Culture

“Restoring the Virtue of Meekness”

John MacArthur

The shift in American culture from character to image has turned vanity and pride into virtues. Where does that leave the virtue of meekness? Will the meek really inherit the earth? What is meekness, anyway?

Pride has been redefined in American culture as a virtue. The strong, the beautiful, the powerful, the intelligent, and the privileged take every opportunity to put themselves forward. Politicians manifest pride in speeches and debates; entertainers glamorize pride in their movies and lifestyles; educators teach pride by emphasizing self-esteem and making every child a winner (whether they deserve it or not); and sports icons reinforce pride as the path to greatness.

Probably the least admired character quality in America is meekness. And yet the greatest Person who ever lived was a meek and humble man—“learn from Me, for I am gentle [meek] and humble in heart” (Matthew 11:29). Jesus exemplified meekness during His first advent, even as He ministered in the power of God. Those who follow Him will also demonstrate meekness, or gentleness as fruit of a Spirit-filled life (Galatians 5:22).

“Meekness” is a humble attitude that expresses itself in the patient endurance of offenses. “Gentleness” is a virtual synonym. It implies leniency and long-suffering.

Meekness is not weakness; it is power under control. As the writer of Proverbs says, “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city” (16:32). In contrast, the individual who is not gentle is likened to “a city that is broken into and without walls” (Proverbs 25:28). Gentleness always uses its resources appropriately, unlike the out-of-control emotions that so often are destructive and have no place in your life as a believer.

And don’t equate gentleness with cowardice, lack of conviction, or mere human niceness. It’s a virtue that draws courage, strength, conviction, and a good disposition from God, not from self-centered human resources.

Gentleness characterizes our Lord Jesus Christ. He always defended God’s glory and ultimately gave Himself in sacrifice for others (see 1 Peter 2:21-23). Jesus didn’t lash back when criticized, slandered, or treated unjustly, but He did respond fittingly and firmly when God’s honor was profaned or His truth was perverted or neglected. He twice cleansed the Temple by force (Matthew 21:12-17; John 2:14-15), and He repeatedly and fearlessly denounced the hypocrisy of the Jewish religious leaders (Matthew 23:13-36; Mark 12:13-40; John 8:12-59; 9:39-41).

When His time of suffering came, however, Jesus submitted to the will of His Father and endured the abuse and murderous intentions of the hypocritical leaders. He demonstrated meekness to the very end. “While being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously” (1 Peter 2:23).

Like Christ, the gentle person does not defend himself (see 1 Peter 2:21). That’s because he has died to self and therefore does not worry about insult, material loss, or even personal injury. The believer who embraces meekness knows that in himself he does not deserve defending and that, in the long run, all his possessions are not worth fighting for. In that sense, gentleness is the opposite of violence and vengeance.

For some, meekness leads to suffering. “For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered” (Romans 8:36). But there is triumph for the meek, even in suffering—“But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us” (v. 37).

Meekness is a path worth following. It may not lead you to a spot on “American Idol” or “Survivor,” you may not win a political campaign, but you’ll find the reward of God is yours in abundance. Jesus promised, “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5).
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Adapted from The Quest for Character, by John MacArthur. © Copyright 2006. All rights reserved.
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This article here originally appeared at Grace To You. – © 1969-2010. Grace to You. All rights reserved.

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John MacArthur: On Using A Daily-Planner….Organizing Your Life….Keeping The House Clean

“Developing Self-Discipline”

John MacArthur

Practically speaking, how can a person develop self-discipline in his or her life?

Here are some things that have helped me through the years:

1. Start Small. Start with your room. Clean it, then keep it clean. When something is out of place, train yourself to put it where it belongs. Then extend the discipline of neatness to the rest of your home.

2. Be on time. That may not seem very spiritual, but it’s important. If you’re supposed to be somewhere at a specific time, be there on time. Develop the ability to discipline your desires, activities, and demands so that you can arrive on time.

3. Do the hardest job first. When you do that, you will find it easier to do the simpler tasks.

4. Organize your life. Plan the use of your time; don’t just react to circumstances. Use a calendar and make a daily list of things you need to accomplish. If you don’t control your time, everything else will.

5. Accept correction. Correction helps make you more disciplined because it shows you what you need to avoid. Don’t avoid criticism; accept it gladly.

6. Practice self-denial. Learn to say no to your feelings. Learn to do what you know to be right even if you don’t feel like doing it. Sometimes it’s even beneficial to deny yourself things that are acceptable to have, like a doughnut in the morning or dessert after dinner. Exercising such self-restraint helps you develop the habit of keeping other things under control. Cultivating discipline in the physical realm will help you become disciplined in your spiritual life.

7. Welcome responsibility. When you have an opportunity to do something that needs to be done, volunteer for it if you have talent in that area. Accepting responsibility can force you to organize yourself.
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This article here originally appeared at Grace To You © 1969-2010. Grace to You. All rights reserved. www.gty.org
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Charles Spurgeon: On Laying Aside Worry And Fretting

“The individuality of the divine love is a great part of the sweetness of it. God thinks
of every separate child of his as much as if he had only that one. The multiplicity of
his elect does not divide the loaf of his affection.”
C.H. Spurgeon

“Did my Lord forgive me all my sin? and after that will he ever be unkind to me? Did
he lay down his life for me upon the accursed tree, and can I dream that he will
desert me? Have I looked into the wounds of my dying Saviour, and shall I ever
murmur if he should multiply pains and sufferings and losses and crosses to me? God
forbid. Such love as his forbids all fear.”
C.H. Spurgeon

“This is the glorious, the suitable, the divine way by which love streams from heaven
to earth, a spontaneous love flowing forth to those who neither deserved it,
purchased it, nor sought after it.”
C.H. Spurgeon

John MacArthur: On How True Mourning Over Sin Brings True Comfort From God

“Mourning over Your Sin”

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matt. 5:4).

John MacArthur

Human sorrow is mourning over some tragic or disappointing turn of events. At such times believers are assured of God’s sustaining and comforting grace (2 Cor. 1:3-4). But when Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matt. 5:4), He was referring to godly sorrow, which is mourning over your sin.

“Mourn” in Matthew 5:4 translates the strongest Greek word used in the New Testament to express grief. It is often used of the passionate lament expressed over the loss of a loved one (e.g., Mark 16:10). David was expressing that kind of sorrow over his sin when he wrote, “When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer” (Ps. 32:3-4). His grief and despair made him physically ill.

At that point David wasn’t a happy person, but the blessing godly sorrow brings isn’t found in the sorrow itself, but in God’s response to it. As Paul said to the Corinthians, “I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God. . . . For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation; but the sorrow of the world produces death” (2 Cor. 7:9-10, emphasis added). Godly sorrow is the path to repentance and forgiveness.

After David confessed his sin he proclaimed with great joy, “How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered! How blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit!” (vv. 1-2). When you understand that your sins are forgiven, you are a happy person!

How do you deal with your sins? Do you deny and try to hide them, or do you mourn over them and confess them (cf. Prov. 28:13)?

Suggestions for Prayer:

If you have allowed some sin to rob you of your happiness, don’t let it continue a moment longer. Like David, confess your sin and know the joy of forgiveness.

For Further Study:

Read Luke 15:11-24. How did the prodigal son deal with his sin?
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This article here originally appeared at Grace To You © 1969-2010. Grace to You. All rights reserved. www.gty.org
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“Standing In Grace” – John MacArthur – Morning Devotion

Link to devotion —> Grace to You.

“Avoiding A False Theology Of Suffering” – R.C. Sproul – Morning Devotion

from R.C. Sproul

Martin Luther’s tenure in the monastery was a time of spiritual desperation. He was tormented by unrelieved guilt coupled with a gripping fear of the wrath of God. Why would an educated man retreat to a barren cell and abuse himself with self-inflicted physical punishment? Why would a believer go out of his way to find personal suffering?

The answer may be found partially, though not totally, in a concept that emerged in church history that equated suffering with merit. Monks fled to the desert to seek rigorous forms of asceticism and self-denial, not only as a form of spiritual discipline to maintain a healthy dependence on the grace of God, but also in quest of sanctifying merit.

A biblical text that was often cited as scriptural warrant for such activity is Colossians 1:24. Paul writes, “I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church.” The key words of this verse are “fill up … what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ.”

A false theology of suffering emerged that was built on the hypothesis that the meritorious suffering of Jesus, though necessary for the redemption of God’s people, is not complete—there is additional merit that can be added to it by the suffering of the saints.

Coram Deo: Reflect on this truth: The suffering of Christ cannot be augmented by your merit. It is complete.

Colossians 1:24: “I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church.”

1 Peter 2:21: “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps.”

1 Peter 3:18: “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit.”
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From Ligonier Ministries, the teaching fellowship of R.C. Sproul. All rights reserved. Website: www.ligonier.org | Phone: 1-800-435-4343

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BE JOYFUL: John MacArthur On The Liberating Truth Of All Blessings We Have In Christ – Morning Devotion

“How to Get in the Game”

by John MacArthur

When I played college football, my coaches constantly drilled our team with the admonition: “Play your position!” They had to repeat it often because when we saw the play develop toward another place on the field, we were tempted to dash over and try to tackle the guy with the ball. About that time the play would reverse direction to the spot we had just left.

One of our best players was very aggressive and often strayed far from his position. He was all over the field tackling people, and invariably the wrong ones. Finally, he was benched. Though he was a good athlete, he proved worthless to the team because he wouldn’t stick to his position.

Since we all tended to make the same mistake, the coach would take us back to the locker room to draw the plays on a chalkboard. He would first make everyone’s position plain to see, and then he’d explain how the plays were supposed to run. There’s a parallel to that in Christian experience. God has put you on His team and given you both the resources and the obligation to “play” your position in the Body of Christ. He has given you spiritual gifts for carrying out your assignment.

Your first obligation as a Christian is to learn about your position in the Body of Christ. You’ve got to study the chalkboard, so to speak, and see where you stand; see who’s on either side of you, who’s behind you, who’s in front of you. Unfortunately, many Christians don’t know how to live, partly because they don’t know their position. I want to draw your position on the spiritual chalkboard so you can be an effective player in the game.

Basically, God’s gift of salvation in Christ brings a believer into a position of righteousness. God imputes the perfect righteousness of His Son to the believer, and thereby declares him righteous positionally. But as you know full well, believers still have sin in their lives–Christians are not practically righteous, 100 percent of the time. However, it is on the basis of our positional righteousness, that we are exhorted to strive for practical righteousness in our daily lives.

If you can set your personal struggle with sin aside for a moment, I want you to consider what the Bible says about your position in Christ. As a Christian you are: spiritually alive unto God, dead to sin, forgiven, declared righteous, a child of God, God’s possession, an heir of God, blessed with all spiritual blessings, a citizen of heaven, a servant of God, free from the Law, crucified to the world, a light in the world, victorious over Satan, cleansed from sin, declared holy and blameless, set free in Christ from the power of sin, secure in Christ, granted peace and rest, and led by the Holy Spirit.

You’re probably thinking, “The Bible may say all that, but I sure don’t always live up to those descriptions.” That’s why in the New Testament, for every one of those statements about your position, there is a corresponding practice you’re to follow. For example, the New Testament tells you:

-Since you are spiritually alive to God, live according to that new life.
-Since you are dead to sin, don’t give sin any place in your life.
-Since you’re forgiven, count on that and don’t go through life feeling guilty.
-Since you’ve been declared righteous, live righteously.
-Since you’re a child of God, act like one of God’s children.
-Since you are God’s possession, yield to Him in humble submission.

I’m convinced that if you will honestly study your position in Christ, your life will change. You’ll understand that failure in some aspect of Christian living doesn’t mean you lose your position. The position of a true Christian is settled forever–it’s unchanging and permanent. And on the other hand, just as stumbling won’t change your standing for the worse, growth won’t add to it for the better either. God’s favor doesn’t depend on your works. God “has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity” (2 Timothy 1:9).

Positionally, you cannot increase or decrease in the favor of God. As a genuine Christian, nothing you do, or fail to do, can change to the slightest degree your perfect standing before God–for “in Him you have been made complete” (Colossians 2:10).

Thankfully, that completeness does not mean that when you understand your position you will remain as you are–no, you will see changes in your life. The New Testament continually emphasizes your identity as a believer and urges you understand and apply your spiritual resources. As you continue to mature in Christ, you will not only come to a greater understanding of who you are, but you’ll also rely more consistently on your resources–those granted to you as a result of your position in Christ–to handle the practical aspects of Christian living. That’s the thrust of Paul’s appeal in Ephesians 4:1: “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called.”

So what about you, Christian–do you know your position? If not, go back to the locker room and study the chalkboard–your Bible–and you’ll discover afresh the joy of who you are in Christ. If so, get in the game, play your position, and become in practice what you already are in position.
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This article here originally appeared at Grace To You. – © 1969-2010. Grace to You. All rights reserved.
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Continual Communion With God – John MacArthur

“What does it mean to pray without ceasing?”

John MacArthur

“Unceasing, incessant prayer is essential to the vitality of your relationship to the Lord and your ability to function in the world. But exactly what does it mean to pray without ceasing?

The first time someone hears about the concept of praying without ceasing it may conjure up the image of Christians walking around with their hands folded, heads bowed, and eyes closed, bumping into things. While certain postures and specific times set aside for prayer have an important bearing on our communication with God, to “pray at all times” obviously does not mean we are to pray in formal or noticeable ways every waking moment. And it does not mean you’re supposed to devote yourself to reciting ritualistic patterns and forms of prayer.

To “pray without ceasing” refers recurring prayer, not nonstop talking. Prayer is to be a way of life–you’re to be continually in an attitude of prayer. It is living in continual God-consciousness, where everything you see and experience becomes a kind of prayer, lived in deep awareness of and surrender to Him. It should be instant and intimate communication-not unlike that which we enjoy with our best friend.

To ‘pray without ceasing’ means when you are tempted, you hold the temptation before God and ask for His help. When you experience something good and beautiful, you immediately thank the Lord for it. When you see evil around you, you ask God to make it right and to use you toward that end, if that is His will. When you meet someone who does not know Christ, you pray for God to draw that person to Himself and to use you to be a faithful witness. When you encounter trouble, you turn to God as your Deliverer.

Thus life becomes a continually ascending prayer: all life’s thoughts, deeds, and circumstances become an opportunity to commune with your Heavenly Father. In that way you constantly set your mind ‘on the things above, not on the things that are on earth’ (Colossians 3:2).”
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Adapted from John MacArthur’s Alone With God , pp. 15-17.
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This article here originally appeared at Grace To You. – © 1969-2010. Grace to You. All rights reserved.

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“Longing for Fellowship” – Morning Devotion From Ligonier Ministries

“We speak of God as the immortal, invisible, all-wise God. This string of attributes gives some comfort and no small amount of dismay.

That God is immortal makes me glad. It means simply that He cannot and therefore will never die. I need not worry that He will ever wear out or be replaced. His throne is established forever. He reigns eternally in His omnipotence. That is good news for a perishing humanity.

I rejoice also that He is all-wise. This sets Him apart from every man. It was Aristotle who taught that in the brain of every wise man could be found the corner of the fool. There is no foolish corner in the mind of God. I find solace in the certain truth that the One who rules the affairs of the universe is not given to blunders or lapses into incompetency. I rejoice in God’s wisdom and in His everlasting power.

It is His persistent invisibility that saddens me. It is difficult for sensual creatures to enjoy fellowship with One who cannot be seen, heard, tasted, touched, or smelled. God remains beyond my senses. How then, can I ever relate to Him with intimacy? My heart longs for fellowship with Him. I long to hear His voice as the sound of many waters and to catch one glimpse of His refulgent glory.”

Coram Deo

Does your heart beat with a passion to hear the voice of God? Would you sell every possession to be able to walk in a garden alone with Jesus?

Passages for Further Study

Psalm 107:9
Psalm 119:174
Psalm 116:2

Gaining Greater Understanding And Hunger For God’s Word – Morning Devotion From John MacArthur

“Simple Steps to Solid Study”

John MacArthur

“From the moment I sensed the call of God into full-time ministry, the driving passion of my life has been simply to understand God’s Word and then make it understandable to others. I have never aspired to be known as either an academic theologian or a distinguished clergyman. I simply want to know what the Word of God means and to make it known to others. All my pastoral energies–my preaching, shepherding, teaching, writing, and even visitation–are focused on that one goal.

It is my conviction that the Bible is not difficult for the believing heart to understand. And the more I understand, the more unshakable is my conviction that the Bible is the living, authoritative, inerrant Word of God. It has this remarkable effect on me: the more I study it, the more I hunger to know. So God’s Word not only satisfies my appetite, but also arouses an even deeper hunger for more.

I want you to experience that hunger too. I want you to live in the joy of a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ that comes only through knowing the meaning of Scripture. Here’s a simple process to get you started.

Step 1 – Reading
Begin by developing a plan on how you will approach reading through the Bible. Just by reading the Bible you become familiar with its themes, history, and contexts. There is simply no replacement for Bible reading.

Unlike most books, you will probably not read it straight through from cover to cover. There are many good Bible reading plans available (like The MacArthur Daily Bible). Here is what I recommend:

Read through the Old Testament at least once a year. As you read, note in the margins any truths you particularly want to remember, and write down separately anything you do not immediately understand. Often as you read you will find that many questions are answered by the text itself. The questions to which you cannot find answers become the starting points for more in-depth study using commentaries or other reference tools.

Follow a different plan for reading the New Testament. Read one book at a time repetitiously for a month or more. That will help you retain the New Testament so you will not always have to depend on a concordance to find things.

If you want to try that, begin with a short book, such as 1 John, and read it through in one sitting every day for thirty days. At the end of that time, you will know the book. Write on index cards the major theme of each chapter. By referring to the cards as you do your daily reading, you will begin to remember the content of each chapter. In fact, you will develop a perception of the book with your mind’s eye.

When you come to longer books, divide them into short sections and read each section daily for thirty days. For example, the gospel of John contains twenty-one chapters. Divide it into three sections of seven chapters. At the end of ninety days, you will finish John. For variety, alternate short and long books, and in less than three years you will have finished the entire New Testament–and you will really know it!

Step 2 – Interpreting
In Acts 8:30, Philip asked the Ethiopian eunuch, “Do you understand what you are reading?” Or put another way, “What does the Bible mean by what it says?” It is not enough to read the text and jump directly to the application–you must first determine what it means, otherwise the application may be incorrect.

As you read Scripture, always keep one simple question in mind: “What does this mean?” To answer that question requires the use of the most basic principle of interpretation called the analogy of faith–interpret the Bible with the Bible.

Letting the Holy Spirit be your teacher (1 John 2:27), search the Scripture He has authored, using cross references, comparative passages, concordances, indexes, and other helps. For passages that remain unclear, consult your pastor or godly men who have written on the issues involved.

Step 3 – Evaluating
You have been reading and asking the question, “What does the Bible say?” Then you have been interpreting, asking the question, “What does the Bible mean?” Now it’s time to consult others to ensure that you have the proper interpretation. Remember, the Bible will never contradict itself.

Read Bible introductions, commentaries, and background books that will enrich your thinking. As you evaluate, be a true seeker. Be one who accepts the truth of God’s Word even though it may cause you to change what you have always believed, or alter your life pattern.

Step 4 – Applying
Jesus made this promise to those who carry their personal Bible study through to this point: “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them” (John 13:17).

Having read and interpreted the Bible, you should have a basic understanding of what the Bible says, and what it means by what it says. But studying the Bible does not stop there. The ultimate goal should be to let it speak to you and enable you to grow spiritually. That requires personal application.

You must let God’s truth penetrate and change your life. Studying Scripture without allowing it to penetrate to the depths of your soul would be like preparing a banquet without eating it. The bottom-line question to ask is, “How do the divine truths and principles contained in any passage apply to me in terms of my attitude and actions?”
If there is a command to be obeyed, obey it. If there is a promise to be embraced, claim it. If there is a warning to be followed, heed it. This is the ultimate step: submit to Scripture and let it transform your life.

Step 5 – Correlating
This last stage connects the doctrine you have learned in a particular passage or book with divine truths and principles taught elsewhere in the Bible to form the big picture. Always keep in mind that the Bible is one book in sixty-six parts, so its truths and principles are taught over and over again in a variety of ways and circumstances. By correlating and cross-referencing, you will begin to build a sound doctrinal foundation on which to live.

Now, get to work! As you dig in to God’s Word using those five simple steps, you’ll be amazed at the rich treasure your study yields. My prayer is that the Lord will use this plan to revitalize your Bible study, increase your appetite for knowing and understanding His Word, and further conform you to the image of His beloved Son.”

Adapted from “How to Study the Bible” in The MacArthur Study Bible. Copyright 1997, Grace to You. All rights reserved. © 1969-2010. This article here appeared here originally appeared at Grace To You

Can Christians Lose Their Salvation? – Morning Devotion From John MacArthur

“Is it possible for redeemed people to lose their salvation?”

“The Bible says, “No!” One who is saved “has everlasting life, and … is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24). Eternal life by definition cannot be temporary. It is the present possession of all those who have truly trusted Christ.

Romans 8:28-39 reveals clearly that there is nothing in the universe that can separate the elect from the love of God. The One who chose to save you “is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy” (Jude 24).

According to Scripture, people who profess to know Christ at one time but later deny Him were never really saved to begin with. First John 2:19 says, “They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, in order that it might be shown that they all are not of us.”

A true believer will never depart from the faith (Philippians 1:6), so those who do so are revealing that they were never truly saved (John 8:31; Hebrews 3:14).

Even true Christians can sin, however, and because of that may lack assurance of salvation (Psalm 51:12). A failure to grow spiritually can also rob us of the confidence that we are God’s children (2 Peter 1:9). But anyone indwelt by the Holy Spirit is secure eternally, because He is the “deposit guaranteeing our inheritance” (Ephesians 1:14).”

© 1969-2010. Grace to You. All rights reserved. Resource Code: QA080

“Do those in heaven know what is happening on earth?” – John MacArthur – Morning Devotion

“Scripture is silent on the awareness of the Christian upon death. Second Corinthians 5:1-3 tells us about being clothed with our heavenly habitation, which will release us from the burdens of mortality. Verse 8 provides us with a particularly heavenly perspective: “To be absent from the body [is] to be present with the Lord.”

Luke 16 speaks of the rich man asking someone to go to his family to warn them about their impending doom. However, his request is based upon his lifetime recollection of his family’s lack of spiritual life and not necessarily on his observing earthly events after he died.

Likewise, 1 Samuel 28 describes a rare and unusual occurrence where someone from the dead came back to respond to one yet living. God allowed Samuel to communicate with Saul, though Saul was wrong to seek the help of a medium to begin with. Scripture forbids that practice (Deut. 18:10-12). Samuel’s responses do not describe current conditions; they are based on a message he apparently received from God that Saul and Israel would go down in defeat (1 Sam. 28:15?19).

Some teach that our deceased Christian loved ones can see us from heaven. They frequently cite from Hebrews 12:1, which says: “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us . . . run with endurance the race that is set before us.”

They interpret that to mean our departed loved ones watch us like spectators do in a stadium, seeing our every move and cheering us on. While that may seem comforting, we don’t believe the Bible is really teaching that.

The witnesses in that verse are not modern-day loved ones, but the faithful saints in Hebrews 11 who lived victorious lives by trusting God. Those saints are witnesses to us because their lives testify about the value of trusting God no matter what hardships we face. They are active witnesses who speak to us by their example; not passive witnesses who watch us with their eyes.

Consequently, when we understand Hebrews 12:1 in its context, we realize that it doesn’t really support the idea that our loved ones are watching us from heaven. Our comfort comes not from knowing they can see us, but that they can see Jesus and one day we will see Him with them as well-never to be separated again.”

For more information on heaven, take a look at John’s book, The Glory of Heaven.

© 1969-2010. Grace to You. All rights reserved. http://www.gty.org – in Resources: Code: QA108

Trials’ Lessons Day 2 – “God Does Not Exempt Any Believer” – Morning Devotion From John MacArthur

Link to Devotion —–> Grace to You.

“God’s Wisdom Is Our Source For Understanding Life And All Its Trials” – Morning Devotion From John MacArthur

“But where can wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? Man does not know its value, nor is it found in the land of the living.”
– Job 28:12-13

“God’s wisdom is our source for understanding life and all its trials.

The supernatural wisdom believers need in order to understand their trials is simply not available from our society. During Job’s ordeal he soon learned the utter inadequacy both of his reason and his friends’ misguided advice. That led him to the profound conclusion that the Lord’s wisdom is the only source for comprehending life and all its difficulties”……..continued at link below

Link to rest of devotional —-> Grace to You.

“Opening Our Ears to Hear” – Morning Devotion From Ligonier – 7 May 2010

Opening Our Ears to Hear

God said to Isaiah: “Go and tell this people: ‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’ Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed” (Isa. 6:9–10, NIV).

This type of judgment is articulated by Paul in Romans 1: “Since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done” (v. 28, NIV).

The worst punishment that can befall us is to be given over or abandoned to our sin by God. This anticipates God’s verdict at the final judgment: “Let him who does wrong continue to do wrong; let him who is vile continue to be vile” (Rev. 22:11, NIV).

Every time God’s Word is proclaimed it changes all of those within its hearing. No one ever remains unaffected by God’s Word. To those who hear it positively, there is growth in grace. To those who reject it or are indifferent to it, calluses are added to their souls and calcium to their hearts. The eye becomes dimmer and dimmer, the ear heavier and heavier, and the mystery of the kingdom more and more obscure. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

Coram Deo

Ask God to open your ears to hear His voice, to clear your spiritual eyes, and to let you understand with your heart.

Passages for Further Study

Isaiah 6:9–10
Romans 1:28

From Ligonier Ministries, the teaching fellowship of R.C. Sproul. All rights reserved. Website: http://www.ligonier.org | Phone: 1-800-435-4343

“Exposing the Permissive Will of God” by R.C. Sproul – Morning Devotion – 4 May 2010

Starting today, and continuing on (D.v.), I will post a Morning Devotion each day. It may not always be on the same topic, nor always from the same writer. Though I pray it will always be edifying for you, and for myself. Ligonier Ministries posted a short, but nice devotion by R.C. Sproul, Exposing the Permissive Will of God. It begins,

“The distinction between the sovereign will of God and the permissive will of God is fraught with peril and tends to generate untold confusion.

In ordinary language, the term permission suggests some sort of positive sanction. To say that God “allows” or “permits” evil does not mean that He sanctions it in the sense…continues here...