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!!!
Tonight I Pray that You touch all who are suffering with Your healing hand. I pray that as we grow in our walk with Jesus that we learn to place all of our trust in Him alone. Just say “I trust You Jesus as you go through difficult times. This simple act will allow you to see the Lord in every situation, and when you acknowledge that He has total control over everything. When you view everything that happens in your life in this way, fear will begin to lose its grip on you. As you lose your fear you will begin to grow in the light of His love and grace. I pray that you never forget to thank Him and praise Him for His love and peace!! Stand on that faith and He will continue to strengthen you and keep you close to Him. In Jesus name I pray, Amen and Amen….. I Love You All!!! God Bless you!!! ♥♥♥ http://dlvr.it/6TqvHP
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!!!
Tonight I Pray that you listen to the love song that our Lord is singing to us through His Word and worshipping Him. I pray that you realize that He really wants to spend time with us for the pure pleasure of it!!! When you take delight in sitting in the Presence of the Lord you begin to get just a small taste of the eternal pleasure that He has prepared for us!!! Sometimes the voices of the world will try to distract you and I pray that you don’t listen to them. Challenge them through His Word. Don’t allow daily life can get in your way. Instead, wait upon the Lord and He will reveal Himself to you. There is immense hidden treasures waiting to be found by those who seek Him and get into His Word. Stand on that faith and connect with the Living God!!! Whisper His name and you will find Peace in His Presence!!! In Jesus name I Pray, Amen and Amen!!! I Love You All!!! God bless you!!! ♥♥♥ http://dlvr.it/6SpGlg
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!!!
While We Wait!
must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. —John 9:4
As we look at how dark our culture is today, we wonder if we can ever really make a difference. It seems so overwhelming. It seems as though darkness is spreading and light is receding. It is like the time Isaiah described when he said, “What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter” (Isaiah 5:20).
To illustrate that very point, I could cite movies that are popular right now. We celebrate that which the Bible says is wrong and offensive to God, and we laugh at that which the Bible holds forth as standards we should live by. The good news is that the same Holy Spirit who set the early church in motion can use us if we are willing.
It’s interesting to note that in the first century, the question on the disciples’ minds was, “Is the end of the world near?” That same question is on the minds of many today. What Jesus essentially said to His disciples was, “This isn’t the time for that. My purpose is to rule and reign in the hearts of people. Don’t be so concerned about when I am going to do that. Rather, be concerned about what you should be doing while you wait.”
The same principle holds true for us. Don’t worry about when. He will return when the time is right. What we should be committing ourselves to, what we should be interested in, is what we are supposed to be doing as we await the Lord’s return.
This was a great devotional today. I know in my own life I am looking for His coming, but I will be about my Father’s business even until that day!! I hope you have a Simply Heavenly day!!! God bless you!!!
Tonight I pray that you realize that the coming of the Lord is near. He is richly present in all the areas of our lives and we are connected to Him through Love!!! I pray that you would have eyes to see and ears to hear what the Spirit of the Lord is saying to you!!! I declare that the Spirit of the Lord rule more and more in your heart giving you the victory in every area of your lives!!! I speak deliverance from any false reliance on your own strength - you will not have to carry burdens not designed for you. YOU ARE FREE! I pray this in the name of Jesus!!! Amen and Amen… I Love you all… God bless you!!!♥♥♥ http://dlvr.it/6RQB70
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
by Charles R. Swindoll
Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:11-13
Shakespeare called it “the green sickness.” Bacon admitted “it has no holidays.” Horace declared that “tyrants never invented a greater torment.” Barrie said envy “is the most corroding of the vices.” Sheridan referred to it in his play The Critic when he wrote, “There is not a passion so strongly rooted in the human heart as this.” Philip Bailey, the eloquent English poet of yesteryear, vividly described it as “a coal [that] comes hissing hot from hell.”
And speaking of hell, no one has done a better job of portraying envy than Dante. In his Purgatory, you may recall, the envious sit like blind beggars by a wall. Their eyelids are sewed shut. The symbolism is apt, showing the reader that it is one of the blindest sins—-partly because it is unreasonable, partly because the envious person is sewed up in himself. Swollen with poisonous thoughts. In a dark, constricting world of almost unendurable self-imposed anguish.
Envy in Scripture? Look at the facts. It sold Joseph into slavery, drove David into exile, threw Daniel in the den, and put Christ on trial. (If you question that, better check Matthew 27:18.) Paul tells us that it’s one of the prevailing traits of depravity (Romans 1:29) and a team member that plays in the same backfield with profanity, suspicion, and conceit (1 Timothy 6:4).
The answer? Contentment. Feeling comfortable and secure with where you are and who you are. Not having to “be better” or “go further” or “own more” or “prove to the world” or “reach the top” or …
Having some big struggles with envy? Eating your heart out because somebody’s a step or two ahead of you in the race and gaining momentum? Relax. You are you—-not them! And you are responsible to do the best you can with what you’ve got for as long as you’re able.
Remember, the race isn’t over. And even when it is, a lot of things you got hot and bothered about during your lifetime won’t even show up in eternity. I don’t care how many trophies or awards or dollars or degrees may be earned or won on earth, you can’t take ‘em with you. So it isn’t worth the sweat. Death always cures “the green sickness.” Have a Simply Heavenly day!!! God bless you!!!
Tonight I Pray that you trust in the Lord for He is our strength and our song!!! Spend time with Him for the pure pleasure of being in HIS Presence!!! I pray that you enjoy His companionship by waiting upon the Lord and be in His Word then He will reveal Himself to you. Put away all thought of the tasks of your day and allow His Presence to be imprinted upon you!!! I pray that you don’t allow your fears to block the flow of His Spirit. When you feel yourself slipping you may lose sight of Him at times. But as you move towards Him and call out to Him in your thoughts, words and prayers and you will become aware of His Presence. Remember that He is our Strength and our Song and in these last days we need to remember to share that strength with others as we continue our journey together toward heaven. For it is in Him that we live, move and His Spirit will sparkle through us as a light in a world that is growing dimmer with each passing day. I pray that as we rejoice in the Lord together that we will become a reservoir for His great love that will flow into the lives of others. In Jesus name I Pray, Amen and Amen… I Love You All!!! God Bless You!!! ♥♥♥ http://dlvr.it/6QVRV7
Envy, Part One
by Charles R. Swindoll
If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another. Galatians 5:25-26
What exactly is envy? How does it differ from its twin, jealousy? Envy (the more sophisticated of the two) is a painful and resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another … accompanied by a strong desire to possess the same advantage. Envy wants to have what someone else possesses. Jealousy wants to possess what it already has. Jealousy is coarse and cruel. Envy is sneaky and subtle. Jealousy clutches and smothers. Envy is forever reaching, longing, squinting, thinking (and saying) sinister insinuations.
When you stop and think about it, envy is the worse of the two. God declared several times in His Word that He is a “jealous God” … but not once did He say He had envy.
Envy finds acceptable ways of expressing its resentment. One favorite method is the “but” approach. When I talk of someone I envy, I may say, “He is an excellent salesman, but he really isn’t very sincere.” Or “Yeah, she has a brilliant mind, but what a dull teacher!” Or “The man is an outstanding surgeon, but he doesn’t mind charging an arm and a leg.”
Another favorite avenue of expression envy enjoys to travel is the “reversal” approach. Someone does a good job, and I cast a shadow over it by questioning the motive. An individual gives a truly generous gift, and we mutter, “He’s obviously trying to make an impression.” A Christian couple buys a new car and a few pieces of nice furniture. Watch out! There will be somebody who will squeeze out an envious comment like, “Well, they probably don’t tithe. We’d have a lot more money to spend if we didn’t tithe.”
One wag wrote this doggerel:I hate the guysWho minimize and criticizeThe other guysWhose enterpriseHas made them riseAbove the guys who criticize.¹
The “unfavorable comparison” approach is equally cynical. The baritone does a commendable job on Sunday as an envious pew-sitter thinks, “Compared with so-and-so, he’s a dud.” Or “If you think my neighbor has a nice lawn, you ought to take a drive out to Palos Verdes. Those places will make the Franklins’ grass look like it has the mange!”
It’s a curious fact that envy is a tension often found among professionals, the gifted, and the highly competent. You know, doctors, singers, artists, lawyers, business men and women, authors, entertainers, preachers, educators, athletes, politicians, and all public figures. Strange, isn’t it, that such capable folks find it nearly impossible to applaud others in their own field who excel a shade or two more than they? Envy’s fangs may be hidden, but take care when the creature coils … no matter how cultured and dignified it may appear.
God’s Word strongly admonishes us against envy; fortunately, it also tells us how to tame the monster within. We’ll talk about that tomorrow. I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did. Have a Simply Heavenly day!!! God bless you!!!
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