Self-Denial


Then He said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. (Luke 9:23)


  • In whatever a man does without God, he must fail miserably, or he will succeed more miserably.

  • The Bible said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it” (Luke 9:23-24).

  • Self-denial is more than merely trying to suppress our natural desires.

  • True self-denial means we must see things as Christ saw them, regard them as He regarded them.
     
  • We must take the will of God as the very life of our being. We are no more to think, “What should I like to do?” but “What would the Living One have me do?”

  • Getting only what we want is succeeding miserably. True success is found in losing our lives for Jesus’ sake and finding them again full and free in His will.

  • True self-denial means we must live and grow more like the Master, and show more of His love to others.

  • The spirit of humility and self-denial precedes a deeper and closer walk with God.

Respect the Government


Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. (Romans 13:1)

  • Sometimes we grumble about government.
     
  • We complained about the officials on duty.
     
  • But a proper respect for authority honors God.
     
  • “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities,” Paul said (Romans 13:1).
     
  • We must have a healthy attitude toward the government.
     
  • It is for our good.
     
  • It is for the testimony of our faith.
     
  • And most of all, it is for God’s honor.
     
  • Let us thank God for people who are willing to serve in our local, state, and national governments.
     
  • Let us pray that they will seek righteousness and justice for the people.
     
  • And let us learn to respect those God has placed over us.
     
  • There is no authority except from God.
     
  • And the authorities that exist are appointed by God.
     
  • Our respect for the authorities will bring glory to God.

God Our Defender


But the LORD has been my defense, And my God the rock of my refuge. (Psalm 94:22)

  • “Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee.”
     
  • Those words express what we want when we encounter people with evil intentions, people characterized by pride, cruelty, and a lack of regard for God.
     
  • When we are the target of someone’s wrongdoing, let us remember the testimony of the psalmist: “The Lord has been my defense, and my God the rock of my refuge”.
     
  • As our rock, God is dependable and strong.
     
  • As our refuge, He can provide safety until problems pass.
     
  • The psalmist reminds us: “Under His wings you shall take refuge”.
     
  • With God as our defender, we don’t have to fear what others will do.
     
  • We can trust that God will support us when trouble comes.
     
  • Let us thank God for His stable and unchanging nature.
     
  • Let us thank Him for helping us to hide ourselves in Him when trouble comes our way.
     
  • We don’t have to fight our own battles.
     
  • Refuge can be found in the Rock of Ages.


God's Grace Through Faith


For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God. (Ephesians 2:8)

  • Christians, living in a sinful world, is not a blind leap of faith.
     
  • We have a pair of protections that can secure us in even the darkest times of life.
     
  • In Ephesians 2:8-9, Paul wrote these words, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
     
  • It is in God’s grace and faith in the finished work of Jesus that our relationship with God safely rests.
     
  • In the strength of these provisions, salvation is not a risky leap into the void.
     
  • It is an exercise of confidence in God’s Word and His unfailing love and protection.
     
  • We can expect God’s peace when we accept God’s grace.


How to Master Temptation


I write to you, little children, Because your sins are forgiven you for His name's sake. (1 John 2:12)

  • We all have plenty of temptations.
     
  • When facing them, the most important thing is to keep on.
     
  • We must not to be discouraged however often we yield to the temptation.
     
  • We must always pick ourselves up again and ask forgiveness.
     
  • The apostle John was filled with encouragement to persevere in the face of temptation.
     
  • He said, “I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake. I write to you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the wicked one”.
     
  • Whatever our age or experience, we are in a spiritual battle together.
     
  • The world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
     
  • Let us cling to God and keep on!
     
  • We may get discouraged when we have given in again to one of Satan’s schemes.
     
  • But we must be thankful to God that Christ had paid for that sin on the cross.
     
  • What we must do is to confess it.
     
  • We must keep on relying on God for our spiritual growth.
     
  • To master temptation, let Christ master you.

Abide in Christ


Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. (John 15:4)

  • How is behavior altered?
     
  • Both reason and will are important in making moral decisions and exercising self-control.
     
  • But neither of them has proven very effective in changing behavior.
     
  • In other words, information alone is not powerful enough to transform behavior.
     
  • As Jesus’ followers, we want to grow and change spiritually.
     
  • Many years ago, the Lord Jesus told His disciples how that could happen.
     
  • He said, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As a branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me”.
     
  • Jesus is the Vine and we, His followers, are the branches.
     
  • We are utterly helpless and spiritually ineffective apart from Him.
     
  • Jesus transforms us spiritually and reproduces His life in us, as we abide in Him.
     
  • A change in behavior always begins with Jesus changing our heart.

Pray for Brethren in Need


Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you. (2 Thessalonians 3:1)

  • Missionaries need prayer.
     
  • The apostle Paul experienced danger and hardship as a missionary.
     
  • He was imprisoned, shipwrecked, and beaten.
     
  • It was no surprise that his letters contained pleas for prayer.
     
  • He asked the believers in Thessalonica to pray for success in spreading the gospel.
     
  • He prayed that God’s Word would run swiftly and be glorified.
     
  • He prayed that God would deliver him from unreasonable and wicked men (2 Thessalonians 3:2).
     
  • Paul knew he would need to open his mouth boldly and declare the gospel.
     
  • Do we know people who need supernatural help as they spread the good news of Christ?
     
  • Let us remember Paul’s appeal, and pray for our brethren in need.
     
  • Let us intercede for them before the throne of our powerful God.
     
  • Let us intercede for others in our prayers.
     
  • God’s throne is always accessible.