Bro. Mark's Encouraging Word of the Day
"Instead of a red-dressed imp, Satan is a powerful being, portrayed in Scripture like a “roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” He can destroy, divide, and discourage using that which reveals his character: lies, counterfeits, and deception. He was given the name “devil,” diabolos, accuser, slanderer in Scripture because of his tactic of slandering us before God and slandering God before us. But for all his schemes and power, we do not need to fear him. For the God who is in us is greater than the devil who is in the world. Be ready for spiritual battle by submitting to God and resisting the devil and he will flee from you."
"Think about what the average adult would like to accomplish in the morning: showering, grooming, exercising, tending to pets, checking online traffic, weather reports, checking the morning news, dressing for work, eating breakfast. And if there are children involved, well…! So, if that’s a typical morning, how does the average Christian squeeze in rejoicing and being glad in the day the Lord has made? There’s only one, long-term way, by prioritizing the item missing from the list above: a daily quiet time. Christians who grow to maturity, who reflect authentic discipleship, are Christians who prioritize spending time with God in prayer, worship, and Bible study. Yes, it’s a challenge. Who can find the time? Somehow, we find the time for all the other items on our morning to-do list, so it really comes down to choices and priorities."
In recent years, concussions have dominated discussions of safety in American football. As a result, football helmets have become the most important part of a player’s “armor.”What about spiritual armor? Is there a most-important piece? Theologically, no, since to put on God’s spiritual armor is to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ.” And it’s impossible to divide Christ into “parts.” But it is interesting that in Paul’s description of the believer’s spiritual armor the girdle of truth gets first mention. Perhaps that’s why Paul compared the belt to truth. We can’t go anywhere without God’s truth. It is truth that informs us about all the rest of the spiritual armor. However the Helmet of Salvation is an important part as well since it protects us from Satan entering our minds permanently."
"When we receive Christ as Savior, God wraps us in the banner of the cross. Though we don’t become perfect or sinless the moment we receive Christ, hopefully we’ll grow in righteousness during our life, then we’ll be made totally pure and perfect in heaven, in God’s sight we’re wrapped in the flag of Jesus Christ and covered with His blood. The devil cannot have us. We belong to our Lord, and our citizenship is in heaven! Then there is now no condemnation!"
"All of us look back with regrets at our imperfections, mistakes, moments of failure, and times when we said or did the wrong thing. But we shouldn’t! God has erased all those from the ledgers. When we look backward, we should say: “Praise the Lord! Everything sinful is gone, and everything is working out for good through the mercy and grace of our God.” Our past is forgiven; our present is secure, and our future is forever. Live today for Him! If I had been guilty of all the sins of Adam and Eve, and of all their descendants to this day, yet believing in Christ I should be safe, because his blood cleanseth from all sin."
"When armies went out to battle, runners would be dispatched from the battle scene to return and inform the king as to the outcome of the battle. The prophet Isaiah wrote about the beauty of feet that came with good news. Isaiah was speaking prophetically of the good news that Israel would be returning to her homeland from exile in Babylon. How beautiful were the feet of those who would bring that message! And Israel’s return from exile prefigured the spiritual release from sin provided by Christ. Paul referred to the Isaiah passage when listing the believer’s armor: shoes that carry the Good News of the “gospel of peace.” How does the Gospel protect us? Because it is Good News! We are free from the captivity of sin. Make sure to carry the Gospel of peace with you daily. Be ready to share it with those who need and want to hear good news."
"In the first century, there were many religious groups with which one might identify and they were all known for something different. The Pharisees were known for their strict adherence to the Torah. Sadducees were known as the political party among the Jews. Samaritans would worship only on Mount Gerizim and considered only the five books of Moses to be from God. And then came Jesus and His followers. They had no geographical, political, or zealous agenda; they were mostly lower-class people. At first, they were known only as “the Way,”later they were known as “Christians.” Was that their only distinction a name? No, Jesus told them if they were His true followers they would be known by the love they had for one another. This was totally new! That “brand” of love still applies today. What ought to distinguish Christians from the world? Authentic love, love for one another, for enemies, and for neighbors."
"Millions of people are building their lives on unstable ground in a spiritual and moral sense. Only the Gospel provides a worldview that will sustain us when our world shakes. Jesus made this point visually in His story of the two men in Matthew 7. Both men listened to His teachings. One man followed through with faith and obedience, and he built his life on solid ground. The other listened, then went his way without trusting or obeying what Jesus said. The ground beneath him collapsed.The Gospel brings steadfastness to those who trust it. Those who build on Jesus are on stable ground. As the hymnist said, “When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay.”
"Faith is the foundation of our relationship with our Father, and with it we can conquer anything. God has an appointed time for every aspect of His will for us. On those occasions when we feel like a child tumbling from the crib, how wonderful to know we have no other choice but to trust Him. Beneath us are the everlasting arms. I can see God working through the heartache, and I have learned many lessons from what I experienced through the loss we just experienced. He needed to get my attention to show me where I needed to be."
"No wonder Paul used the Roman shield to illustrate the power of faith to defend us against the “fiery darts of the wicked one.” Why “fiery” darts? Because often arrow points would be dipped in pitch and set alight before being shot to set fire to whatever they struck. Roman soldiers would soak their leather shields in water to extinguish these fiery missiles when they landed. And why “faith”? How does faith extinguish Satan’s hellish attacks? Because Satan’s attacks are against the character of God, His words and works. When we have faith in God and His promises, as Jesus did when tempted by Satan in the wilderness, we can extinguish Satan’s attacks. How is your faith today? The stronger it is, the quicker Satan’s fiery attacks will be extinguished."
"Sadly, this idea of “multiple roads, one destination” has made its way into theology: “All roads lead to God.” Proponents of this idea suggest that all religions have the same ultimate destination. Said another way, “There are many ways to get to God.” However, the Bible doesn’t support this idea. The apostle Peter was clear when speaking to the Jewish elders after Pentecost. He stated clearly that the Name (Person) of Jesus is the only means of salvation. Paul echoed this position when he wrote that there is only one Mediator between God and man, “the Man Christ Jesus.” Don’t be confused by non-biblical positions on salvation. There is only one road to God and His heaven. That road begins and ends with Jesus. Nobody can call himself a Christian who does not worship Jesus."
In a society in which we prize instant everything, waiting for anything seems old-fashioned and maybe even distasteful. But patience is a deeply biblical concept, the practice of which has the potential to allow us to live wisely and well in a fallen world, trusting in the purposes and promises of our good God. The Bible instructs us to be “imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” Job is one of those highlighted in Scripture for his remarkable patience.
We all have one; many of us are one, a father, that is. As we honor the fathers in our lives this weekend, it’s a good time to ask: What is an authentic father like? There is one infallible source by which to evaluate fatherhood? We have the example of our divine Father, our Heavenly Father, who is the spiritual Father to all who believe. The Bible makes a clear point of saying we have been adopted into God’s family, the head of which is God the Father. So we do have a perfect example of the traits of an authentic father: God Himself. There are many traits of God revealed in Scripture, but how about the traits manifested by God the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Dads, the more you know and spend time with your Heavenly Father, the more like Him you will become."