Daily Archives: September 10, 2018

September 10: God Doesn’t Promise Ease or Invisibility

Amos 4:6–5:27; Acts 9:20–43; Job 20:1–11

As Christians, we might be tempted by the lure of invisibility—the fabled cloak or ring that gives us the power to walk undetected among our friends or enemies. Although it is true that “making much of God” means making little of ourselves, we sometimes use this truth as an excuse to avoid proclaiming God’s work in our lives. Living under the radar is much more comfortable.

Paul never chose the comfortable route. As a former persecutor of the Church, Paul knew the danger of preaching Christ in the open—the chief priests had once empowered him to imprison all who publically professed Christ (Acts 9:14). Yet as a new convert, Paul loudly proclaimed the name of Christ to anybody within hearing distance: “And he was going in and going out among them in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. And he was speaking and debating with the Greek-speaking Jews, but they were trying to do away with him” (Acts 9:28–29).

Most of us know that life as a Christian won’t be a life of ease. But what is our image of a life of ease? Is it overstuffed chairs, butlers, and bulging bank accounts? Is it remaining silent when we should confess the name of Christ? Or is it judging from afar when we should be coming alongside people in their pain and brokenness? If we follow Paul’s brazen example, we will boldly and wisely share Christ in every possible circumstance.

Are you choosing invisibility? How can you boldly and wisely proclaim Christ?

Rebecca Van Noord[1]


[1] Barry, J. D., & Kruyswijk, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

September 10 Maintaining Spiritual Effectiveness

“Stand firm against the schemes of the devil” (Eph. 6:11).

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Satan wants to render you ineffective for Christ.

In 1 Corinthians 16:9 Paul says, “A wide door for effective service has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.” That’s typical of spiritual warfare. The more opportunities you have to serve Christ, the more adversaries you’ll face. That’s because Satan seeks to hinder your spiritual service.

Often seminary students ask me if ministry becomes easier over the years. In one sense it does because you learn better study skills, time management, and the like. But in a greater sense it becomes more difficult because as you labor in the Word, contend for souls, and struggle against your own weaknesses, Satan opposes you at every turn.

You can sense something of the difficulty of ministry in Paul’s words to the Thessalonians: “Having thus a fond affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us. For you recall, brethren, our labor and hardship, how working night and day so as not to be a burden to any of you, we proclaimed to you the gospel of God” (1 Thess. 2:8–9). To the Ephesian elders he said, “Be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears” (Acts 20:31).

Every sphere of ministry is important—whether you’re a pastor, homemaker, factory worker, or student. Consequently, every ministry encounters opposition as Satan attempts to cause friction and discouragement within families, churches, and workplaces. Thus, believers must be humble and gentle toward one another, “being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3). When we do that, the Body of Christ is strengthened, and Satan can’t gain a foothold.

Ministry is hard work, and the obstacles are great, but the victories are even greater. So be faithful, knowing that God will reward you richly.

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank God for the privilege of serving Him, even during the hard times. ✧ Thank Him for the encouragement you receive from His Spirit, His Word, and your fellow-believers.

For Further Study: According to Romans 8:18, what was Paul’s perspective on difficulties?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 266). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

How Can I Witness to My Friends Who Say They’re Christians but Their Actions Say Otherwise? — Ligonier Ministries Blog

How should we respond to people who say they believe but don’t act like Christians? In this Q&A video from our 2017 National Conference, W. Robert Godfrey, Michael Horton, and Derek Thomas consider the problem of nominal Christianity.

Message us for clear, concise, and trustworthy answers to your biblical and theological questions at Ask.Ligonier.org.

via How Can I Witness to My Friends Who Say They’re Christians but Their Actions Say Otherwise? — Ligonier Ministries Blog

SEPTEMBER 10 GOD’S EXHORTATION

As he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation.

1 Peter 1:15

What is the Apostle Peter saying to us in relaying to us God’s exhortation: “Be ye holy as I am holy, and because I am holy”?

First is our own responsibility to bring our spiritual lives into line so that God may settle upon us with the Holy Spirit—with that quality of the Wonderful and the Mysterious and the Divine.

This is not something that can be humanly cultivated. This is something that we will not even be conscious we have. It is this quality of humility invaded by the presence of God which the church of our day lacks.

Oh, that we might yearn for the knowledge and presence of God in our lives from moment to moment, so that without human cultivation and without toilsome seeking, there would come upon us this enduement, this sweet and radiant fragrance that gives meaning to our witness!

I am willing to confess in humility that we need this in our day.

Dear Lord, if we seriously desired to be “holy,” the only way we could do so is through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. By our own efforts, this would not be possible, for the Bible says, “No one is righteous” (see Romans 3:10).[1]


[1] Tozer, A. W. (2015). Mornings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

New Age Beliefs Are Common in America–and in Our Churches

by Joe Carter

The Story: According to a new survey, New Age beliefs are common in America, even among people who are highly religious in traditional ways.

The Background: A new Pew Research analysis looks at beliefs and behaviors that cut across many denominations producing a new and revealing classification, or typology, of religion in America. The new typology sorts Americans into seven groups based on the religious and spiritual beliefs they share, how actively they practice their faith, the value they place on their religion, and the other sources of meaning and fulfillment in their lives.

Included in the survey was a question about whether people held certain New Age beliefs, such as a belief that spiritual energy is located in physical things, such as mountains, trees, or crystals; reincarnation (people will be reborn again and again in this world); astrology (the position of stars and planets can affect people’s lives); and psychics (that some people perceive or are sensitive to supernatural forces).

The groupings, from most to least religious, are:

Sunday Stalwarts — This is the most religious of the seven typology groups. Sunday Stalwarts attend religious services weekly (82 percent), pray daily (84 percent), and participate in church groups (100 percent). They are also the most likely to believe in God as described in the Bible (94 percent) and believe in heaven and hell (97 percent and 91 percent, respectively).

About one in three persons in this group believes in psychics (32 percent) and that spiritual energy can be located in physical objects (29 percent). About one in five believes in reincarnation (19 percent) and in astrology (16 percent).

God-and-Country — This group comprises believers who are less active in church groups or other religious organizations, but still hold many traditional religious beliefs and tilt right on social and political issues. About a quarter attend religious service (27 percent) but almost none participates in church groups (less than 1 percent). They mostly believe in God as described in the Bible (91 percent) and say that believing in God is necessary to be moral.

None of this group believes spiritual energy can be located in physical objects (0 percent) but almost one in three believes in psychics (28 percent). About one in five believes in reincarnation (21 percent) and in astrology (16 percent)…

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New Age Beliefs Are Common in America—and in Our Churches

Source: New Age Beliefs Are Common in America–and in Our Churches