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Found 262 results

  1. Models for Combating Discouragement Our WORD for Sunday - 10/11/2015 - John Piper Literally the verb is simply fail: “My flesh and my heart fail!” I am despondent! I am discouraged! But then immediately he fires a broadside against his despondency: “But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” The psalmist does not yield. He battles unbelief with counterattack. In essence, he says, “In myself I feel very weak and helpless and unable to cope. My body is shot and my heart is almost dead. But whatever the reason for this despondency, I will not yield. I will trust God and not myself. He is my strength and my portion.” The Bible is replete with instances of saints struggling with sunken spirits. Psalm 19:7 says, “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul.” This is a clear admission that the soul of the saint sometimes needs to be revived. And if it needs to be revived, in a sense it was “dead.” David says the same thing in Psalm 23:2–3, “He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.” The soul of the “man after [God’s] own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14) needs to be restored. It was dying of thirst and ready to fall exhausted, but God led the soul to water and gave it life again. God has put these testimonies in the Bible so that we might use them to fight the unbelief of despondency.
  2. The Only True Freedom Our WORD for Friday - 10/09/2015 - John Piper What is true freedom? Are you free? If you don't have the desire to do a thing, you are not fully free to do it. Oh, you may muster the will power to do what you don't want to do, but nobody calls that full freedom. It's not the way we want to live. There is a constraint and pressure on us that we don't want. And if you have the desire to do something, but no ability to do it, you are not free to do it. And if you have the desire and the ability to do something, but no opportunity to do it, you are not free to do it. And if you have the desire to do something, and the ability to do it, and the opportunity to do it, but it destroys you in the end, you are not fully free — not free indeed. To be fully free, we must have the desire, the ability, and the opportunity to do what will make us happy forever. No regrets. And only Jesus, the Son of God who died and rose for us, can make that possible. If the Son shall set you free, you shall be free indeed.
  3. We Wait, He WorksOur WORD For Thursday- 10/08/2015 - John Piper Only a few things have gripped me with greater joy than the truth that God loves to show his God-ness by working for me, and that his working for me is always before and under and inany working I do for him. At first it may sound arrogant of us, and belittling to God, to say that he works for us. But that’s only because of the connotation that I am an employer and God needs a job. That’s not the connotation when the Bible talks about God’s working for us. As in: “God works for those who wait for him” (Isaiah 64:4). The proper connotation of saying God works for me is that I am bankrupt and need a bailout. I am weak and need someone strong. I am endangered and need a protector. I am foolish and need someone wise. I am lost and need a Rescuer. “God works for me” means I can’t do the work. And this glorifies him not me. The Giver gets the glory. The Powerful One gets the praise. Read and be freed from the burden of bearing your own load. Let him do that work. “No eye has seen a God besides you, who works for those who wait for him.” (Isaiah 64:4) “God is not served by human hands as though he needed anything, but he himself gives life and breath and everything” (Acts 17:25). “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). “The eyes of the LORD run through the earth, to show himself strong for those who trust him” (2 Chronicles. 16:9). “If I were hungry, I wouldn't tell you. Call on me, I will deliver you. You will glorify me” (Psalm 50:15). “To old age I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save” (Isaiah 46:4). “I worked harder than any, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me” (1 Corinthians. 15:10). “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain” (Psalm 127:1). “Whoever serves, let him serve by the strength God supplies, so that in everything God may be glorified” (1 Peter 4:11). “Work out your own salvation, for it is God who works in you, to will and to work” (Philippians 2:12–13). “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth” (1 Corinthians 3:6–7).
  4. Absolute, Sovereign, Almighty Love Our WORD for Sunday, 10/04/2015 - John Piper God abounds in steadfast love and faithfulness. Two images come to my mind: The heart of God is like an inexhaustible spring of water that bubbles up love and faithfulness at the top of the mountain. Or the heart of God is like a volcano that burns so hot with love that it blasts the top off the mountain and flows year after year with the lava of love and faithfulness. When God uses the word “abounding,” He wants us to understand that the resources of His love are not limited. In a way, He’s like the government (but infinitely greater): Whenever there’s a need, He can just print more money to cover it. But the difference is that God has an infinite treasury of golden love to cover all the currency He prints. The government is in a dream world. God banks very realistically on the infinite resources of His deity. The absolute existence, the sovereign freedom, and the omnipotence of God are the volcanic fullness that explodes in an overflow of love. The sheer magnificence of God means that He does not need us to fill up any deficiency in Himself. Instead Hs infinite self-sufficiency spills over in love to us who need Him. We can bank on His love precisely because we believe in the absoluteness of His existence, the sovereignty of His freedom, and the limitlessness of His power.
  5. The Happy God Our WORD for Wednesday - 10/07/2015 - John Piper A great part of God’s glory is His happiness and joy. It was inconceivable to the apostle Paul that God could be denied infinite joy and still be all glorious. To be infinitely glorious was to be infinitely happy. He used the phrase, “the glory of the happy (blessed) God,” because it is a glorious thing for God to be as happy as He is. God’s glory consists much in the fact that He is happy beyond our wildest imagination. This is the gospel: “The gospel of the glory of the happy God.” It is good news that God is gloriously happy. No one would want to spend eternity with an unhappy God. If God is unhappy then the goal of the gospel is not a happy goal, and that means it would be no gospel at all. But, in fact, Jesus invites us to spend eternity with a happy God when He says, “Enter into the joy of your master” (Matthew 25:23). Jesus lived and died that His joy — God’s joy — might be in us and our joy might be full (John 15:11; 17:13). Therefore the gospel is “the gospel of the glory of the happy God.” . . . The happiness of God is first and foremost a happiness in His Son. Thus when we share in the happiness of God we share in the very pleasure that the Father has in the Son. This is why Jesus made the Father known to us. At the end of his great prayer in John 17, He said to His Father, “I made known to them Your Name, and I will make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them” (verse 26). He made God known so that God’s pleasure in His Son might be in us, and become our pleasure.
  6. Justice Will Be DoneA WORD for Tuesday - 10/06/2015 - John Piper Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19) All of you have been wronged at one time or another. Most of you, probably, have been wronged seriously by someone who has never apologized or done anything sufficient to make it right. And one of the deep hindrances to your letting that hurt and bitterness go is the conviction — the justified conviction — that justice should be done, that the fabric of the universe will unravel if people can just get away with horrible wrongs and deceive everyone. That is one of the hindrances to forgiveness and letting grudges go. It’s not the only one. We have our own sin to deal with. But it is a real one. We feel that just to let it go would be to admit that justice simply won’t be done. And we can’t do it. So we hold on to anger, and play the story over and over again with the feelings: It shouldn’t have happened; it shouldn’t have happened; it was wrong; it was wrong. How can he be so happy now when I am so miserable? It is so wrong. It is so wrong! This word in Romans 12:19 is given to you by God to lift that burden from you. “Never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God.” What does this mean for you? Laying down the burden of anger, laying down the practice of nursing your hurt with feelings of being wronged — laying that down — does not mean there was no great wrong against you. It does not mean there is no justice. It does not mean you will not be vindicated. It does not mean they just got away with it. No. It means, when you lay down the burden of vengeance, God will pick it up. This is not a subtle way of getting revenge. This is a way of giving vengeance to the one to whom it belongs. It is taking a deep breath, perhaps for the first time in decades, and feeling like now at last you may be free to love.
  7. Joy Unbound A WORD for Monday, 10/05/2015 - John Piper Imagine being able to enjoy what is most enjoyable with unbounded energy and passion forever. This is not now our experience. Three things stand in the way of our complete satisfaction in this world. One is that nothing has a personal worth great enough to meet the deepest longings of our hearts. Another is that we lack the strength to savor the best treasures to their maximum worth. And the third obstacle to complete satisfaction is that our joys here come to an end. Nothing lasts. But if the aim of Jesus in John 17:26 comes true, all this will change. If God’s pleasure in the Son becomes our pleasure, then the object of our pleasure, Jesus, will be inexhaustible in personal worth. He will never become boring or disappointing or frustrating. No greater treasure can be conceived than the Son of God. Moreover, our ability to savor this inexhaustible treasure will not be limited by human weaknesses. We will enjoy the Son of God with the very enjoyment of his Father. God’s delight in his Son will be in us and it will be ours. And this will never end, because neither the Father nor the Son ever ends. Their love for each other will be our love for them and therefore our loving them will never die.
  8. Make War with Unbelief Our WORD for Wednesday, 9/30/2015 - John Piper "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." (Philippians 4:6) When I am anxious about getting old, I battle unbelief with the promise, “Even to your old age, I shall be the same, and even to your graying years I shall bear you! I have done it, and I shall carry you; and I shall bear you, and I shall deliver you” (Isaiah 46:4). When I am anxious about dying, I battle unbelief with the promise that “not one of us lives for himself and not one of us dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living” (Romans 14:7–9). When I am anxious that I may make shipwreck of faith and fall away from God, I battle unbelief with the promises, “He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ” (Philippians 1:6); and, “He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25). Let us make war, not with other people, but with our own unbelief. It is the root of anxiety, which, in turn, is the root of so many other sins. So let us turn on our windshield wipers and use the washer fluid, and keep our eyes fixed on the precious and very great promises of God. Take up the Bible, ask the Holy Spirit for help, lay the promises up in your heart, and fight the good fight — to live by faith in present and future grace.
  9. The Most Liberating Discovery Our WORD For Thursday, 10/01/2015 - John Piper No one had ever taught me that God is glorified by our joy in him. That joy in God is the very thing that makes praise an honor to God, and not hypocrisy. But Jonathan Edwards said it so clearly and powerfully: This was a stunning discovery for me. I must pursue joy in God if I am to glorify him as the surpassingly valuable Reality in the universe. Joy is not a mere option alongside worship. It is an essential component of worship. We have a name for those who try to praise when they have no pleasure in the object. We call them hypocrites. This fact — that praise means consummate pleasure and that the highest end of man is to drink deeply of this pleasure — was perhaps the most liberating discovery I ever made.
  10. The Power of a Superior Promise Our WORD for Monday, 9/28/2015 - John Piper An essential element of joy is freedom. None of us would be happy if we were not free from what we hate and free for what we love. And where do we find true freedom? Psalm 119:45 says, “I shall walk in freedom, for I have sought your precepts.” The picture is one of open spaces. The Word frees us from smallness of mind (1 Kings 4:29) and from threatening confinements (Psalm 18:19). Jesus says, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). The freedom he has in mind is freedom from the slavery of sin (verse 34). Or, to put it positively, it is freedom for holiness. The promises of God’s grace provide the power that makes the demands of God’s holiness an experience of freedom rather than fear. Peter described the freeing power of God’s promises like this: “Through [his precious and very great promises] you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire” (2 Peter 1:4). In other words, when we trust the promises of God, we sever the root of corruption by the power of a superior promise. How crucial is the Word that breaks the power of counterfeit pleasures! And how vigilant we should be to light our paths and load our hearts with the Word of God..! “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (verse 11; cf. verse 9).
  11. Live Confident in God’s Power A WORD for Sunday, 9/27/2015 - John Piper The omnipotence of God means eternal, unshakable refuge in the everlasting glory of God no matter what happens on this earth. And that confidence is the power of radical obedience to the call of God. Is there anything more freeing, more thrilling, or more strengthening than the truth that God Almighty is your refuge — all day, every day in all the ordinary and extraordinary experiences of life? If we believed this, if we really let this truth of God’s omnipotence get hold of us, what a difference it would make in our personal lives and in our ministries! How humble and powerful we would become for the saving purposes of God! The omnipotence of God means refuge for the people of God. And when you really believe that your refuge is the omnipotence of God Almighty, there is a joy and a freedom and a power that spills over in a life of radical obedience to Jesus Christ. The omnipotence of God means reverence, recompense, and refuge for his covenant people. I invite you to accept the terms of his covenant of grace: turn from sin and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, and the omnipotence of God Almighty will be the reverence of your soul, the recompense of your enemies, and the refuge of your life — forever...!
  12. Life Hangs on the Word of God Word 4 Saturday, 9/26/2015 - John Piper The Word of God is not a trifle; it is a matter of life and death. If you treat the Scriptures as a trifle or as empty words, you forfeit life. Even our physical life depends on God’s Word, because by his Word we were created (Psalm 33:6; Hebrews 11:3) and “He upholds the universe by the word of his power” (Hebrews 1:3). Our spiritual life begins by the Word of God: “Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth” (James 1:18). “You have been born again . . . through the living and abiding word of God” (1 Peter 1:23). Not only do we begin to live by God’s Word, but we also go on living by God’s Word: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4; Deuteronomy 8:3). Our physical life is created and upheld by the Word of God, and our spiritual life is quickened and sustained by the Word of God. How many stories could be gathered to bear witness to the life-giving power of the Word of God! Indeed, the Bible is “no empty word for you” — it is your life! The foundation of all joy is life. Nothing is more fundamental than sheer existence — our creation and our preservation. All this is owing to the Word of God’s power. By that same power, he has spoken in Scripture for the creation and sustenance of our spiritual life. Therefore, the Bible is no empty word, but is your very life — the kindling of your joy!
  13. Hope for the Worst of Sinners WORD for Thursday, 9/24/2015 - John Piper Moses needed hope that God really could have mercy on a stiff-necked people who had just committed idolatry and scorned the God who brought them out of Egypt. To give Moses the hope and confidence he needed, God said, “I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious.” In other words, "My choices do not depend on the degree of evil or good in man but solely upon my sovereign will. Therefore no one can say he is too evil to be shown grace." The doctrine of unconditional election is the great doctrine of hope for the worst of sinners. It means that when it comes to being a candidate for grace, your background has nothing to do with God’s choice. If you have not been born again and brought to saving faith in Jesus Christ, do not sink into hopelessness thinking that the excessive rottenness or hardness of your past life is an insurmountable obstacle to God’s gracious work in your life. God loves to magnify the freedom of his grace by saving the worst of sinners. Turn from your sin; call upon the Lord. Even in this devotional he is being gracious to you and giving you strong encouragement to come to him for mercy. “Come, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool” (Isaiah 1:18).
  14. Jesus’s Pursuit of Joy WORD for Friday, 9/25/2015 - John Piper Love is the way of joy, and one should choose it so as not to be found begrudging obedience to the Almighty, or chafing under the privilege of being a channel of grace, or belittling His promised reward. Hebrews 12:2 seems to say fairly clearly that Jesus followed the Father's way...! The greatest labor of love that ever happened was possible because Jesus pursued the greatest imaginable joy, namely, the joy of being exalted to God’s right hand in the assembly of a redeemed people (that's us): “For the joy that was set before Him [He] endured the cross!” In saying this, the writer means to give Jesus as another example, along with the saints of Hebrews 11, of those who are so eager for, and confident in, the joy God offers - that they reject the “fleeting pleasures of sin” (11:25) and choose ill-treatment in order to be aligned with God’s will. It is not unbiblical, therefore, to say that what sustained Christ in the dark hours of Gethsemane was the hope of joy beyond the cross. This does not diminish the reality and greatness of His love for us, because the joy in which He hoped was the joy of leading many sons to glory (Hebrews 2:10 ). His joy is in our redemption, which redounds to God’s glory. To abandon the cross and thus to abandon us and the Father’s will was a prospect so horrible in Christ’s mind that He repulsed it and embraced death. This has been modified from the original..! Ron
  15. Let Goods and Kindred Go WORD for Wednesday, 9/23/2015 - John Piper The Christians in Hebrews 10:32–35 have earned the right to teach us about costly love. The situation appears to be this: In the early days of their conversion, some of them were imprisoned for the faith. The others were confronted with a difficult choice: Shall we go underground and stay “safe,” or shall we visit our brothers and sisters in prison and risk our lives and property? They chose the way of love and accepted the cost. “For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property.” But were they losers? No. They lost property and gained joy! They joyfully accepted the loss. In one sense, they denied themselves. But in another, they did not. They chose the way of joy. Evidently, these Christians were motivated for prison ministry the same way the Macedonians (of 2 Corinthians 8:1–9) were motivated to relieve the poor. Their joy in God overflowed in love for others. They looked at their own lives and said, “The steadfast love of the Lord is better than life” (see Psalm 63:3). They looked at all their possessions and said, “We have a possession in heaven that is better and lasts longer than any of this” (Hebrews 10:34). Then they looked at each other and said: "Let goods and kindred go This mortal life also The body they may kill God’s truth abideth still His kingdom is forever" ...(Martin Luther)
  16. Ammunition Against Anxiety A WORD for Tuesday, 22 Sept. 2015 - John Piper When I am anxious about my ministry being useless and empty, I fight unbelief with the promise of Isaiah 55:11. “So shall my word be which goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” When I am anxious about being too weak to do my work, I battle unbelief with the promise of Christ, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). When I am anxious about decisions I have to make about the future, I battle unbelief with the promise, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you” (Psalm 32:8). When I am anxious about facing opponents, I battle unbelief with the promise, “If God is for us, who is against us!” (Romans 8:31). When I am anxious about the welfare of those I love, I battle unbelief with the promise that if I, being evil, know how to give good things to my children, how much more will the “Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11). And I fight to maintain my spiritual equilibrium with the reminder that everyone who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for Christ’s sake “shall receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life” (Mark 10:29–30). When I am anxious about being sick, I battle unbelief with the promise, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord delivers him out of them all” (Psalm 34:19). And I take the promise with trembling: “Tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:3–5).
  17. The Only True Freedom The WORD for Monday, 9/21/2015 - John Piper What is true freedom? Are you free? If you don't have the desire to do a thing, you are not fully free to do it. Oh, you may muster the will power to do what you don't want to do, but nobody calls that full freedom. It's not the way we want to live. There is a constraint and pressure on us that we don't want. And if you have the desire to do something, but no ability to do it, you are not free to do it. And if you have the desire and the ability to do something, but no opportunity to do it, you are not free to do it. And if you have the desire to do something, and the ability to do it, and the opportunity to do it, but it destroys you in the end, you are not fully free — not free indeed. To be fully free, we must have the desire, the ability, and the opportunity to do what will make us happy forever. No regrets. And only Jesus, the Son of God who died and rose for us, can make that possible. If the Son shall set you free, you shall be free indeed.
  18. Our Unspeakable Privilege Our WORD for Sunday, 9/20/2015 - John Piper One implication of the magnificent Name, I AM WHO I AM, is that this infinite, absolute, self-determining God has drawn near to us in Jesus Christ. In John 8:56–58 Jesus is answering the criticism of the Jewish leaders. He says, “Your father Abraham rejoiced that he was to see My day; he saw it and was glad.” The Jews then said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly! I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” Could Jesus have taken any more exalted words upon his lips? When Jesus said, “Before Abraham was, I AM,” He took up all the majestic truth of the Name of God, wrapped it in the humility of servanthood, offered Himself to atone for all our rebellion, and made a way for us to see the Glory of God without fear. In Jesus Christ we who are born of God have the unspeakable privilege of knowing Yahweh as our Father — I AM WHO I AM — the Almighty God * Who exists * Whose personality and power is owing solely to Himself * Who never changes * From Whom all power and energy in the universe flows * And to Whom all creation should conform His life. May those who know the Name of God put their trust in Him...! (Slightly modified) .. Have a Blessed Sunday...RON
  19. Worship in a Lightning Storm WORD for Friday, 9/18/2015 - John Piper I was flying at night from Chicago to Minneapolis, almost alone on the plane. The pilot announced that there was a thunderstorm over Lake Michigan and into Wisconsin. He would skirt it to the west to avoid turbulence. As I sat there staring out into the total blackness, suddenly the whole sky was brilliant with light, and a cavern of white clouds fell away four miles beneath the plane and then vanished. A second later, a mammoth white tunnel of light exploded from north to south across the horizon, and again vanished into blackness. Soon the lightning was almost constant, and volcanoes of light burst up out of cloud ravines and from behind distant white mountains. I sat there shaking my head almost in unbelief. O Lord, if these are but the sparks from the sharpening of Your sword, what will be the day of Your appearing! And I remembered the words of Christ: “As the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in His day.” (Luke 17:24) Even now as I recollect that sight, the word glory is full of feeling for me. I thank God that again and again He has awakened my heart to desire Him, to see Him, and to sit down to His feast and worship the King of Glory. The banquet hall is very large. (edited-Ron)
  20. The Soul’s Final Feast WORD for Thursday, 9/17/2015 - John Piper God is not unresponsive to the contrite longing of the soul. He comes and lifts the load of sin and fills our heart with gladness and gratitude. “You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!” (Psalm 30:11–12). But our joy does not just rise from the backward glance in gratitude. It also rises from the forward glance in hope:“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God” (Psalm 42:5–6). “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope” (Psalm 130:5). In the end, the heart longs not for any of God’s good gifts, but for God himself. To see him and know him and be in his presence is the soul’s final feast. Beyond this there is no quest. Words fail. We call it pleasure, joy, delight. But these are weak pointers to the unspeakable experience: “One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple” (Psalm 27:4). “In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11). “Delight yourself in the Lord” (Psalm 37:4).
  21. The Only Enduring Happiness WORD for Wednesday, 9/16/2015 - John Piper “No one will take your joy from you” because your joy comes from being with Jesus, and the resurrection of Jesus means that you will never die; you will never be cut off from him. You see, two things have to be true if your joy is never to be taken from you. One is that the source of your joy lasts forever and the other is that you last forever. If either you or the source of your joy is mortal, your joy will be taken from you. And, O, how many people have settled for just that! Eat, drink, and be merry they say, for tomorrow we die, and that’s that. Food doesn’t last forever, and I don’t last forever. So let’s make the most of it while we can. What a tragedy! If you are tempted to think that way right now, please consider as seriously as you possibly can that if your joy were in being with Jesus, “No one would take your joy from you”—not in this life, nor in the life to come. Not life or death, or angels or principalities, or things present or things to come, or powers or height or depth, or anything else in all creation will be able to take our joy from us in Jesus Christ. Joy in being with Jesus is an unbroken line from now to eternity. It will not be cut off by his death or ours.
  22. God Shall Supply All Your Needs WORD for Tuesday, 9/15/2015 - John Piper In Philippians 4:6, Paul says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” And then in Philippians 4:19 (just 13 verses later), he gives the liberating promise of future grace, just as Jesus did: “My God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” If we live by faith in this promise of future grace, it will be very hard for anxiety to survive. God’s “riches in glory” are inexhaustible. He really means for us not to worry about our future. We should follow the pattern of Jesus and Paul. We should battle the unbelief of anxiety with the promises of future grace. When I am anxious about some risky new venture or meeting, I battle unbelief with one of my most often-used promises, Isaiah 41:10. The day I left for three years in Germany my father called me long distance and gave me this promise on the telephone. For three years I must have quoted it to myself five hundred times to get me through periods of tremendous stress. “Fear not for I am with you, be not dismayed for I am your God, I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you, with my victorious right hand” (Isaiah 41:10, RSV). When the motor of my mind is in neutral, the hum of the gears is the sound of Isaiah 41:10.
  23. 7 Reasons Not to Worry, Part 1 Our WORD for Saturday, 9/12/2015 - John Piper In Matthew 6 we have the example of anxiety about food and clothing. Even in America, with its extensive welfare system, anxiety over finances and housing can be intense. But Jesus says in verse 30 that this stems from inadequate faith in our Father’s promise of future grace: “O men of little faith.” And so this paragraph has at least seven promises designed by Jesus to help us fight the good fight against unbelief and be free from anxiety. (In Part 1 we look at Promises 1 and 2; then the rest in Parts 2 and 3.) PROMISE #1: "For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, as to what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?" (Matthew 6:25). Since your body and your life are vastly more complex and difficult to provide than food and clothing are, and yet God has, in fact, created and provided you with both, then surely he will be able and willing to provide you with food and clothing. Moreover, no matter what happens, God will raise your body some day and preserve your life for his eternal fellowship. PROMISE #2: "Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?" (Matthew 6:26). If God is willing and able to feed such insignificant creatures as birds who cannot do anything to bring their food into being — as you can by farming — then he will certainly provide what you need, because you are worth a lot more than birds.
  24. Grace Must Be Free Our WORD for Thursday, 10 Sept 2015 - John Piper Picture salvation as a house that you live in. It provides you with protection. It is stocked with food and drink that will last forever. It never decays or crumbles. Its windows open onto vistas of glory. God built it at great cost to himself and to his Son, and he gave it to you. The “purchase” agreement is called a “new covenant.” The terms read: “This house shall become and remain yours if you will receive it as a gift and take delight in the Father and the Son as they inhabit the house with you. You shall not profane the house of God by sheltering other gods nor turn your heart away after other treasures.” Would it not be foolish to say yes to this agreement, and then hire a lawyer to draw up an amortization schedule with monthly payments in the hopes of somehow balancing accounts? You would be treating the house no longer as a gift, but a purchase. God would no longer be the free benefactor. And you would be enslaved to a new set of demands that he never dreamed of putting on you. If grace is to be free — which is the very meaning of grace — we cannot view it as something to be repaid.
  25. How to Fight Anxiety Our WORD for Friday, 9/11/2015 - John Piper Psalm 56:3 says, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in thee.” Notice: it does not say, “I never struggle with fear.” Fear strikes, and the battle begins. So the Bible does not assume that true believers will have no anxieties. Instead the Bible tells us how to fight when they strike. For example, 1 Peter 5:7 says, “Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you.” It does not say, you will never feel any anxieties. It says, when you have them, cast them on God. When the mud splatters your windshield and you temporarily lose sight of the road and start to swerve in anxiety, turn on your wipers and squirt your windshield washer. So my response to the person who has to deal with feelings of anxiety every day is to say: that’s more or less normal. At least it is for me, ever since my teenage years. The issue is: How do we fight them? The answer to that question is: we fight anxieties by fighting against unbelief and fighting for faith in future grace. And the way you fight this “good fight” is by meditating on God’s assurances of future grace and by asking for the help of his Spirit. The windshield wipers are the promises of God that clear away the mud of unbelief, and the windshield washer fluid is the help of the Holy Spirit. The battle to be freed from sin is fought “by the Spirit and faith in the truth” (2 Thessalonians 2:13). The work of the Spirit and the Word of truth. These are the great faith-builders. Without the softening work of the Holy Spirit, the wipers of the Word just scrape over the blinding clumps of unbelief. Both are necessary — the Spirit and the Word. We read the promises of God and we pray for the help of his Spirit. And as the windshield clears so that we can see the welfare that God plans for us (Jeremiah 29:11), our faith grows stronger and the swerving of anxiety smooths out.
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