Encounter on the Damascus Highway,
by Charles R. Swindoll
But an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, “Get up and go south to the road that descends from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is a desert road.) So he got up and went; and there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure; and he had come to Jerusalem to worship, and he was returning and sitting in his chariot, and was reading the prophet Isaiah. Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go up and join this chariot.” Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” And he said, “Well, how could I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. Now the passage of Scripture which he was reading was this:
“He was led as a sheep to slaughter;And as a lamb before its shearer is silent,So He does not open His mouth.“In humiliation His judgment was taken away;Who will relate His generation?For His life is removed from the earth.”
The eunuch answered Philip and said, “Please tell me, of whom does the prophet say this? Of himself or of someone else?” Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him. As they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?” [And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”] And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; and the eunuch no longer saw him, but went on his way rejoicing. But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he kept preaching the gospel to all the cities until he came to Caesarea. Acts 8:26-40
Yesterday, I told you about several methods of evangelism that are ineffective, or at least are not the full picture of how God desires His children to share the good news with others. Today, I want to tell you about an alternative. A method that works … and also glorifies the One it should glorify: the Savior.
I submit to you the Philip Approach. This Christ-centered method is set forth in a series of seven principles drawn from Acts 8:26-40. That grand and gifted gentleman was engaged in a citywide crusade at Samaria. God was using him mightily (8:5-8). Suddenly, the Lord spoke to Philip and instructed him to leave the city and spend some time in Gaza, a desert area (8:26). Faithful Philip “got up and went” (8:27). He was available (Principle 1).
He then encountered a distinguished statesman from Ethiopia riding in a chariot en route back home (8:28). Of all things, he was reading Isaiah! The next verse tells us that the Spirit of God prompted Philip to go and get acquainted with the traveler. Philip was led by the Spirit (Principle 2). In today’s terminology, he felt a keen and definite assurance that God would have him strike up a conversation and later, quite probably, share with that person the magnetic claims of Christ. In other words, he sensed that God was clearly opening the door.
As you’d expect, Philip cooperated. Obedience (Principle 3) is essential.
He then heard the man reading aloud (8:30) and calmly asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” What an excellent start! A proper opening (Principle 4) is essential. Philip didn’t barge in and start preaching, nor did he crank out a canned, broken-record series of statements. He simply asked a logical yet leading question. The statesman instantly invited the stranger to come and sit by him and assist him in his quest for understanding (8:31-34).
This remarkable response was met with great tact (Principle 5) on Philip’s part. Even though he had his foot in the door, he remained gracious, courteous, a good listener, and yet sensitive to the time he might speak of salvation.
When that moment came, he “opened his mouth” (8:35) and became specific (Principle 6) concerning faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. No reluctance. No vague dialogue about religion … he spoke only of the Savior, the main issue.
The last few verses (8:36-38) describe the brief but memorable follow-up (Principle 7) Philip employed in this case.
As you rub shoulders with hungry, thirsty humanity and sense their inner ache for help and hope, keep these principles in mind. Let’s become more alert to those empty chariot sidecars God wants us to occupy. You may even begin to feel comfortable in them before long. You know what? There isn’t any place I’d rather be when Christ returns than riding shotgun in a twenty-first-century chariot.
Wow!! This was a great devotional today!!! I hope that you enjoyed it as much as I did. Have a Simply Heavenly day!!! God bless you!!!
Encounter on the Damascus Highway,
by Charles R. Swindoll
So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ. Romans 10:17
Various methods are employed to communicate the good news of Christ to the lost. Some of the approaches appear to be successful and effective on the surface, but underneath they leave much to be desired.
Take the Academic Approach, for example. The thinking behind this method is: Let’s all discuss the world’s religions. Because it’s reason centered, it attracts both genuine and pseudo intellectuals. The modus operandi is invariably a vague discussion that shifts from Bahai to Buddhism … from the pros and cons of no prayer in public schools to the rapid growth of the Rajneeshies in the 80s. This approach is educational and occasionally quite stimulating, but it suffers from one mild drawback—no one ever gets saved! Specifics regarding salvation by grace through faith are frowned upon. The direct discussion of forgiveness of sins through Christ’s blood at the cross and His miraculous resurrection is about as welcome in a sophisticated rap session on religion as a life-sized bust of Martin Luther would be in the Vatican.
Perhaps the most popular is the Mute Approach, which promotes: I’m a silent witness for God. The best you can say about this method is that no one ever gets offended. That’s for sure! The saint who settles for this self-centered approach could be tagged a Clairol Christian. No one knows for sure but God. Somewhere down the line this person has begun to swallow one of Satan’s tastiest tidbits: “All God expects of you is a good, silent life. Others will ask you about Christ if they are interested in hearing.” You know, I can count on one hand (and have fingers left over) the number of people in my entire life who have suddenly come up and asked me about Jesus Christ. While no one can discount the value of a godly life, that alone never brought anyone into the family of God. “Faith,” please remember, “comes from hearing” (Romans 10:17).
Okay, so I’ve given you some methods that don’t work. I’d like to tell you about one that does. I submit to you the Philip Approach. This Christ-centered method is set forth in a series of seven principles drawn from Acts 8:26–40. I hope that you are looking forward to Part two as much as I am. I hope you have a Simply Heavenly Day!!! God bless you!!!
The Secret Place
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. —Psalm 91:1
When you were a child, did you ever have a hiding place — a place you would run to when you were afraid or wanted to be alone? God wants to be your hiding place. The good news is that you can retreat to this hiding place wherever you are. When you are tied up in bumper-to-bumper traffic, you can retreat there. When you are having a conflict at work and don’t know what to say or how to deal with it, you can immediately retreat into that secret place of the Most High as you live in fellowship and communion with God.
It is not only dwelling there, but it is living under the shadow of the Almighty. Have you ever tried to walk in someone’s shadow? It can be done, but you have to stay really close. That is exactly the picture here in Psalm 91:1. God is saying, “I want you to be so close that you are actually in My very shadow.” If you do that, it will give you the courage to face life.
Remember the story of the great prophet Elijah, who boldly stormed into the court of wicked King Ahab and Queen Jezebel and declared that it would not rain, except at his word? Where did he get the courage to pull off something like that? Though Elijah was in the court of powerful monarchs, he recognized that at the same time, he was in the presence of an even more powerful Monarch. He was dwelling in the secret place of the Most High.
If you kneel before God, you can stand before any man. Are you walking in this fellowship with Him? I hope that you enjoyed this devotional from Pastor Greg as much as I did. What a mighty Lord we serve!!! I want to be so close to Him that I can walk in His shadow so that I will decrease and He will increase within me!!! I hope that you have a Simply Heavenly day!!! Maranatha!!!
Exposing Dead Faith
”What use is it, my brethren, if a man says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,’ and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself” (James 2:14- 17).
Jesus said, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). Your righteous deeds illuminate the path to God by reflecting His power and grace to others. That brings Him glory and proves your faith is genuine.
Your deeds also serve as the basis of divine judgment. If you practice righteousness, you will receive eternal life; if you practice unrighteousness, you will receive “wrath and indignation” (Rom. 2:6-8). God will judge you on the basis of your deeds because what you do reveals who you really are and what you really believe. That’s why any so-called faith that doesn’t produce good works is dead and utterly useless!
James illustrates that point in a practical way. If someone lacks the basic necessities of life and comes to you for help, what good does it do if you simply wish him well and send him away without meeting any of his needs? It does no good at all! Your pious words are hypocritical and without substance. If you really wished him well, you would do what you can to give him what he needs! Your unwillingness to do so betrays your true feelings. Similarly, dead faith is hypocritical, shallow, and useless because it doesn’t put its claims into action—indeed, it has no divine capacity to do so.
I pray that your life will always manifest true faith and that others will glorify God because of your good works. I loved this devotional from Pastor John today. Faith without works is dead and each one of us should be a light shining in a very dark world! I hope you have a Simply Heavenly day!!! God bless you!!!
All ThingsIt is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes.—Psalm 119:71
Did you know that everything you have experienced up to this point in your life can be used for good? That isn’t to say you haven’t experienced hardship. That isn’t to say bad things haven’t happened to you. But it is to say that God can work them out for good.
That includes the experiences of your childhood, whether good or bad. That includes your parents, whoever they may be. That includes your education, your present employment, or your lack of it. He will work all things together for good.
I went through hardship as a kid. I came from a home that was broken many, many times over, a home of alcoholism. I wouldn’t wish my childhood on anyone. But God used it to make me the person that I am.
In the same way, God has used what you have gone through to make you the person that you are. So let it be worked together for good, and accept God’s promise to you: “All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). The phrase work together also could be translated “working together.” In other words, it isn’t over yet!
Maybe you are going through a process right now in which God is working things together for good. You don’t see it yet. But you are a work in progress. Be patient. You have God’s word on it: He will work all things together for good to those who love Him and are the called according to His purpose. God is ultimately working all things for good — not just the good things, but all things.
This devotional from Pastor Greg spoke to my heart today. There is something that happened to each one of us in our past that helped to make us into the person we are today. If we are open to the Holy Spirit in our lives He will use that to help someone else! I hope you have a Simply Heavenly day!!! God bless you!!! http://dlvr.it/6Rcg2z
God’s Word on It
We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. —Romans 8:28
Without a doubt, Romans 8:28 is one of the greatest verses in the Bible. It is one that is claimed quite often by believers, especially during times of hardship. And so it should be.
But let’s make sure we meet the criteria of the text: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (emphasis added). Do you love God? Are you the called according to His purpose? Romans 8:28 does not apply to you if this isn’t true of you.
There are times in our lives when things seem to be falling apart, when they don’t make any sense. Some people will say, “It is the fickle finger of fate.” Or, “Que sera, sera. Whatever will be will be. The future’s not ours to see.”
True, the future is not ours to see. But the Christian can be confident that God is in control and has a master plan for his or her life. We can know that we serve a sovereign God who is good. As I have often said, we may not know what the future holds, but we know who holds the future.
The word used here for good does not necessarily mean that the event in and of itself is good, but that its long-term effect will be useful and helpful. It is hard for us to imagine certain things working for good. The Bible isn’t saying tragedy is good. Rather, it is saying that God can take a horrible thing and make good come as a result of it.
I hope you love this devotional from Pastor Greg today!!! Have a Simply Heavenly day!!! God bless you!!!
Tonight I Pray that we come to You Father with a thankful heart for allowing us to be alive during this special time in the history of this world!!! We are so grateful that we were chosen to be the generation that ends the time of the church and gets to be swept up into the Rapture. Please dear Father give us a humble and thankful spirit. Give us Your strength so that we can make it to the finish line racing like sons and daughter of the Living God Almighty!!! That we share the Good News of Jesus Christ and His Saving Grace with all that we meet. Gives us all a great hunger for Your Word so that we can be the mighty men and women of God that You planned for us to be in these last days. So that we can all live in Your Will, Word and Way for our lives even until the end. In Jesus name I pray, Amen and Amen. God bless you!!! ♥♥♥ http://dlvr.it/6Qzxrw
I Pray TONIGHT that the Lord take away all feelings of uncertainty and being out of control. We pray that YOUR perfect love would cast out all fear tonight and replace it with confidence in YOUR sufficiency. Tonight as we hold tightly to the hand of Jesus, I pray you allow Him to lead you through the darkest night. He knows the road ahead and can bring us all back into the light of HIS love and grace. WALK in that light so that you can be a beacon to a lost world… I pray that you trust Him in all areas of your life. The harder it gets the tighter you hold His hand. Knowing that He is always before you. One step at a time. Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all of creation, can separate you from HIS loving Presence. Stand on that faith!!! In Jesus name I pray, Amen and Amen… I love you all!!! God bless you!!! ♥♥♥ http://dlvr.it/6PyNlr
Tonight I Pray that you never feel guilty for taking the time to seek out the Lord Jesus! When you do this it is in answer to the Holy Spirit within you. Nudging you to spend time visiting with Him, in prayer and communion. I pray that you recognize that He can transform you into an exceptional Christian when you turn over all of your passion to HIM and that His Love satisfies soul hunger like nothing else can!!! I pray you know that as His child made in His image, that you were designed to only find fulfillment through Him and His great and all-encompassing Love!!! Since this world is not our home I pray that you keep your eyes focused on the Lord and what He has for you. For He turns even dullest day bright and adds sparkle to the most mundane of tasks. Step out in faith allow His Presence to light the path before you where ever you may go. In Jesus name I pray, Amen and Amen… I Love You All!!!! God Bless You!!!! ♥♥♥ http://dlvr.it/6PSQ6Y
TONIGHT I pray that you give all of your worries to Jesus. They are too heavy for you to carry, soon you will stagger under the load and eventually fall flat. I pray that you discipline yourself to live within the boundaries of today. Stop judging and evaluating yourself, for this is not your role. And don’t compare yourself to other people this produces feelings of pride inferiority; or sometimes a mixture of both. Trust in the Lord to lead you along the path that is uniquely tailored for you. I pray that you don’t look for affirmation in the wrong places: your own evaluations, or those of other people. I pray you come to the realization that real affirmation comes from the Lord Jesus and His unconditional love for you. If you let Him He will move mightily in your life. In Jesus name I pray, Amen and Amen… I love you all!!! God bless you!!!! ♥♥♥ http://dlvr.it/6NT6Zt
by Charles R. Swindoll
”Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. John 14:27
The scene is familiar: a hospital lobby with all the trimmings … soft sofas and folded newspapers … matching carpets and drapes illumined by eerie lighting … a uniformed lady at the desk, weary from answering the same questions … strange smells … and lots of people.
Everywhere there are people. A steady stream pours in and out, the faces marked by hurry and worry. Surrounding me are small clusters of coffee-sipping groups talking quietly or looking into space, blinking often, lost in a world of their own anguish. Some sit alone, restlessly studying the same page of a paperback for 10 minutes. A surgeon in faded green garb suddenly appears, bearing news to the waiting.
Frowns cut in. Lips tighten. Heads shake. Tears flow. Everyone stares—-momentarily identifying with the strangers. Soon it’s quiet again, increased apprehension mounts … and life goes on.
If I were a bug on the wall of this sterile establishment, I’d remember other places I’d clung to in my insect excursions—-other scenes of apprehension:
In the classroom, observing the new teacher on her first attempt with junior high schoolers. In the cramped study of the final-year med student as he crams the night before his oral exams. In the airport as a dad waves good-bye to his son leaving for overseas duty. In the nursery as an exhausted mother sits through the night beside a baby with a raging fever. In the car traveling cross-country, moving a family to an unfamiliar neighborhood with unknown streets and untried challenges. In the store of a businessman, squeezed in the inflation vise, wondering how he’ll make payroll on the first. Apprehension. It’s as American as a Chevy or TV dinners. And it’s strange. Apprehension is a notch or two above worry, but it feels like its twin. It isn’t strong enough to be fear, but neither is it mild enough to be funny. It’s in the category of a “mixed emotion.”
In some ways, apprehension leaves you crippled, immobile. It’s an undefined uneasiness—-a feeling of uncertainty, misgiving, and unrest. What frustration is to yesterday, apprehension is to tomorrow.
Paul had it when he set his face toward the heavy horizon over Jerusalem. His admission is found in Acts 20:22:
“And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there.” (NKJV)
A lot of emotion was packed into those 21 words. How did he feel? Bound in the spirit. Why was he uneasy? Not knowing the things that will happen to me. That’s apprehension. It’s no sin, nor is it reason for embarrassment. It is, rather, proof positive that you’re human. Unfortunately, it tends to smother your pleasant dreams by placing a pillow over your faith. Apprehension will strap a short leash on your vision and teach you to roll over and play dead when scary statistics and pessimistic reports snap their fingers.
Paul absolutely refused to run when apprehension whistled at him. Openly acknowledging its presence, he nevertheless stood his ground with the ringing words of Acts 20:24:
“But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus.”
Apprehension is impressive until determination pulls rank on it and forces it to salute. This is especially true when determination has been commissioned by the King of Kings. I hope you have a Simply Heavenly day!!! God bless you!!!
TONIGHT I Pray that you give all of your worries to Jesus. They are simply too heavy for you to carry, soon you will stagger under the load and eventually fall flat. I pray that you discipline yourself to live within the boundaries of today. Stop judging and evaluating yourself, for this is not your role. And don’t compare yourself to other people this produces feelings of pride inferiority; Or sometimes a mixture of both. Trust in the Lord to lead you along the path that is uniquely tailored for you. I pray that you don’t look for affirmation in the wrong places: your own evaluations, or those of other people. I pray you come to the realization that real affirmation comes from the Lord Jesus and His unconditional love for you. If you let Him He will move mightily in your life. In Jesus name I pray, Amen and Amen… I love you all!!! God bless you!!!! ♥♥♥ http://dlvr.it/6N3sYv
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