Faith That Doesn’t Ask (Matthew 16:4)

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Asking God for a miracle may indicate a lack of faith. Some feel that they demonstrate great faith by continually asking God for miracles. They assume that in every situation God wants to do the spectacular. They presume, for example, that God wants to heal anyone who is sick or provide a miraculous escape from every difficulty they face. Jesus condemned those who insisted that He perform miracles, because He knew their hearts. He recognized that they could not believe Him without constantly undergirding their faith with signs. Their faith was not strong enough to survive without a regular supply of the miraculous. Jesus condemned this lack and of faith and left them.

 There are times when we prefer that miracle over the miracle worker. God calls this idolatry, and He discouraged it be refusing to provide miracles on demand (Jeremiah 2:11-13). Sometimes the greatest act of faith is not to ask for a miracle. One of the most amazing statements of faith in the Old Testament came from Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego as they faced the fiery furnace because of their obedience to God. They expressed true faith when they assured king Nebuchadnezzar:Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up” (Daniel 3:17-18). They were confident in God’s ability to deliver them, but they trusted Him so completely that they did not ask to be spared.

  • May 30, Experiencing God Daily Devotionals 

Is He Enough? (Acts 3:6)

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Is Jesus enough? That’s a question many Christians need to ask themselves. They have abundant material possessions. But do these believers depend on Jesus? Or on their stuff?

While having wealth is not condemned in Scripture as long as priorities are in order and the needs of others are addressed, those of us with relative wealth must remind ourselves that Jesus – not riches – sustains us.

The apostle Peter helps us with this in the story of the lame man begging at the temple gate in Jerusalem. This man asked Peter for money, but Peter replied, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk” (Acts 3:6).

The man lying at the gate thought the answer to his problems that day was money, but Peter showed him that the answer was Jesus. And He still is.

I read about a group of Chinese Christians who have much to teach us as they seek to spread the gospel in their homeland and beyond. These believers say, “We can’t afford any big programs or fancy gospel presentations. All we have to give people is Jesus.

Jesus is enough for our brothers and sisters in China. He is enough for the poor. Is He enough for you? – Dave Branon

You may have much gold and grandeur,

Yet by God be reckoned poor;

He alone has riches truly

Who has Christ, though nothing more. – Anon

 Our greatest riches are the riches we have in Christ.

  • May 21, Vol. 16, Our Daily Bread

The Greatness of God (Psalm 104:17)

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In our Scripture for today, the psalmist exalted the Lord for His greatness as it is revealed through His wonderful works of creation. He reminds the reader again and again of the marvelous ways the Lord has provided for His creatures: giving them water, sun, and vegetation. The psalmist also pointed out that there are trees to give birds a place to make their nests.

While my friend Dave and I were playing golf, he stopped me to show me something that filled him with awe. He parted the branches of a thick blue spruce. There, resting on a branch, was a skillfully built robin’s nest. It was about head high, but it was so carefully concealed that none of the golfers teeing off within a few feet of it could possibly have seen it. Two thick branches were layered right above it, keeping it safe from the hard driving rains. It was anchored so securely that it could not have been blown loose in a gale. The mother bird had built it far out from the trunk, safe from prowling animals. That tree was a perfect place for a nest – a tree provided by God for the birds to raise their young. “To me,” Dave commented, “that shows the greatness of God. It’s one more reason to believe Him. I don’t see how anyone can be an atheist!

God works in creation, even in providing a place for the birds to nest, are wonderful beyond description. May the greatness of God cause us, as it did the psalmist, to sing His praise as long as we live (v. 33). – David C. Egner

All things bright and beautiful,

All creatures great and small,

All things wise and wonderful,

The Lord God made them all. – Alexander

All creation is an outstretched finger pointing toward God.

  • May 28, 1988, Our Daily Bread

Cemetery Churches (1 Corinthians 12:13)

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We are all familiar with church cemeteries. But reverse those two words, and you have something that should never existcemetery churches. These are congregations composed of “dead” members and led by “dead” ministers. The people are physically alive, of course, but they are spiritually dead. They have never received new life from above through faith in the Lord Jesus (Ephesians 2:4-5).

Thinking about that condition in his day, C. H. Spurgeon wrote, “Have you ever read ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’? I dare say you thought it one of the strangest imaginations ever put together, especially that part where the old mariner tells about the corpses of all the dead men rising up to man the ship – dead men pulling the rope, dead men steering, dead men spreading sails. I thought, what a strange idea! But do you see,” Spurgeon continued, “that I have lived to see that time? I have seen a dead man in the pulpit, and dead men sitting to hear.”

Still today, some churches are much like that. From the person who stands in the pulpit to the people who fill the pews, there is no spiritual life and no power. So if you are looking for a church home, choose one that’s alivean assembly where you can see evidence that the pastor and the people have received spiritual life through faith in Jesus Christ. Paul told us not to be “unequally yoked together with unbelievers” (2 Corinthians 6:14).

God has nothing against church cemeteries, but He abhors cemetery churches! – Richard W. De Haan

Whether it be a rich church

Or a poor church anywhere

Truly it is a great church

If God is worshiped there. – Anon.

In some churches, the only saints you’ll find are buried in the churchyard.

  • May 26, 1985, Our Daily Bread

God’s Ways (Psalm 103:7)

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Are you satisfied with merely knowing the acts of God, or do you also want to know His ways? There is a difference. This difference is illustrated in the lives of the children of Israel as compared to Moses. The Israelites witnessed the miracles God performed; they walked across the dry Red Sea just as Moses did. They ate manna and quail from heaven even as Moses did. They were content to receive God’s provision without ever knowing God Himself. Yet Moses saw beyond the provision of God the person of God. Others, such as the Egyptian magicians, might perform miraculous acts, but no one else did things the way God did (Exodus 7:11-12). The way God acted provided a window into His nature. If Moses had been content with only God’s power, he could have accepted the presence of an angel and been victorious in his efforts (Exodus 33:15). But Moses wanted to experience more. He wanted to experience God Himself, not just God’s activity.

Some today, like the Israelites, are content to experience God’s activity without even coming to know God. They are recipient of answered prayer, yet they never come to know the Provider. They are blessed by God’s providential care over their families, homes, and their jobs, yet they are satisfied not knowing the One from whom the blessings come. They benefit from God’s protection, yet they never become acquainted with the Protector.

Have you come to know God more personally as a result of your experiences with Him? As you observe the acts of God, look beyond them to the revelation of His character (Genesis 22:14; John 6:35).

  • May 27, Experiencing God Daily Devotionals

Real Security (Psalm 121:8)

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One of my friends who had looked forward to receiving a substantial monthly benefit at retirement is now without a job. The company he worked for went bankrupt. Moreover, the retirement funds no longer exist. Suddenly the future for him and his wife is far less secure than he thought.

Another friend, a man with financial security who had anticipated a decade or more of happy retirement, terminally ill. The good years he was anticipating are not going to become a reality.

As I reflect upon these two people, I realize that in this world we have no absolute security about either our finances or our health. Our only complete security is in God. We who trust Him know Him to be almighty, for He “made heaven and earth (Psalm 121:2). We can be sure that He will never “slumber nor sleep (vv. 3-4). We have His promise that He keeps us day and night, through time and eternity (v. 8).

The two people I mentioned have told me they do not live in continual worry. They trust God. The sleep well. One of them said he takes the advice the advice of someone who told him, “God, who cares for me, never sleeps. I see no sense in both of us staying awake.” That’s real security! – Herbert Vander Lugt

My Father watches o’er me,

His eye is never dim;

At morn, at noon, at twilight

I safely trust in Him. – Adams

Our greatest need cannot exceed our greatest resource – God.

  • August 19, 1993, Our Daily Bread

Memorials of Faithfulness (Mark 14:9)

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We may assume that our expressions of devotion to God are small and insignificant, but in God’s eyes they may hold much meaning. Our love and dedication to Christ may even create memorials to God for future generations.

This woman performed a profound act of love for Jesus. She did not do it to impress His disciples or to gain public attention or to gain praise from Jesus. She simply sought to express her love for Jesus. She did nothing spectacular; she performed no miracles; she preached no sermons. Yet Jesus was so moved by her selfless loyalty that he deemed it worthy of remembrance throughout the remainder of history.

We do not know all that God finds most pleasing, nor do we know what acts of our love He may choose to honor through our children and future generations. Abraham could not have known that the day he demonstrated his willingness to sacrifice his only son would be memorialized and would bless many generations who heard his obedience. David could not have known that his walk with God would please Him so much that David’s example would bless generations who followed him.

God can take your faithfulness and begin a spiritual legacy, making it a blessing to others for generations to come. You will never know until eternity all who received a blessing because of your righteous life. That is why it is so important that you daily express your love and devotion to Jesus.

  • May 24, Experiencing God Daily Devotionals