TEACHING:The Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 16:13-28) by Calvary Chapel Laguna Creek





TEACHING:The Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 14:13-21) by Calvary Chapel Laguna Creek

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CLASSIC DEVOTIONALS: "Imitation of Christ" -Thomas a Kempis

The Imitation of Christ

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OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF TRUTH



Happy is the man whom Truth by itself doth teach, not by figures and transient words, but as it is in itself.

(1) Our own judgment and feelings often deceive us, and we discern but little of the truth. What doth it profit to argue about hidden and dark things, concerning which we shall not be even reproved in the judgment, because we knew them not? Oh, grievous folly, to neglect the things which are profitable and necessary, and to give our minds to things which are curious and hurtful! Having eyes, we see not.

2. And what have we to do with talk about genus and species! He to whom the Eternal Word speaketh is free from multiplied questionings. From this One Word are all things, and all things speak of Him; and this is the Beginning which also speaketh unto us.

(2) No man without Him understandeth or rightly judgeth. The man to whom all things are one, who bringeth all things to one, who seeth all things in one, he is able to remain steadfast of spirit, and at rest in God. O God, who art the Truth, make me one with Thee in everlasting love. 

It wearieth me oftentimes to read and listen to many things; in Thee is all that I wish for and desire. Let all the doctors hold their peace; let all creation keep silence before Thee: speak Thou alone to me.

3. The more a man hath unity and simplicity in himself, the more things and the deeper things he understandeth; and that without labour, because he receiveth the light of understanding from above. The spirit which is pure, sincere, and steadfast, is not distracted though it hath many works to do, because it doth all things to the honour of God, and striveth to be free from all thoughts of self-seeking. Who is so full of hindrance and annoyance to thee as thine own undisciplined heart? 

A man who is good and devout arrangeth beforehand within his own heart the works which he hath to do abroad; and so is not drawn away by the desires of his evil will, but subjecteth everything to the judgment of right reason. Who hath a harder battle to fight than he who striveth for self-mastery? And this should be our endeavour, even to master self, and thus daily to grow stronger than self, and go on unto perfection.

4. All perfection hath some imperfection joined to it in this life, and all our power of sight is not without some darkness. A lowly knowledge of thyself is a surer way to God than the deep searching of man's learning. Not that learning is to be blamed, nor the taking account of anything that is good; but a good conscience and a holy life is better than all. And because many seek knowledge rather than good living, therefore they go astray, and bear little or no fruit.

5. O if they would give that diligence to the rooting out of vice and the planting of virtue which they give unto vain questionings: there had not been so many evil doings and stumbling-blocks among the laity, nor such ill living among houses of religion. Of a surety, at the Day of Judgment it will be demanded of us, not what we have read, but what we have done; not how well we have spoken, but how holily we have lived. 

Tell me, where now are all those masters and teachers, whom thou knewest well, whilst they were yet with you, and flourished in learning? Their stalls are now filled by others, who perhaps never have one thought concerning them. Whilst they lived they seemed to be somewhat, but now no one speaks of them.

6. Oh how quickly passeth the glory of the world away! Would that their life and knowledge had agreed together! For then would they have read and inquired unto good purpose. How many perish through empty learning in this world, who care little for serving God. And because they love to be great more than to be humble, therefore they "have become vain in their imaginations." 

He only is truly great, who hath great charity. He is truly great who deemeth himself small, and counteth all height of honour as nothing. He is the truly wise man, who counteth all earthly things as dung that he may win Christ. And he is the truly learned man, who doeth the will of God, and forsaketh his own will.


(1) Psalm xciv. 12; Numbers xii. 8. (2) John viii. 25 (Vulg.).

CLASSIC DEVOTIONALS: "Morning & Evening" -C.H. Spurgeon



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October 17
 
Morning...
 
1 Samuel 27:1
And David said in his heart, I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul.
 
The thought of David's heart at this time was a false thought, because he certainly had no ground for thinking that God's anointing him by Samuel was intended to be left as an empty unmeaning act. 

On no one occasion had the Lord deserted His servant; he had been placed in perilous positions very often, but not one instance had occurred in which divine interposition had not delivered him. The trials to which he had been exposed had been varied; they had not assumed one form only, but many-yet in every case He who sent the trial had also graciously ordained a way of escape. 

David could not put his finger upon any entry in his diary, and say of it, "Here is evidence that the Lord will forsake me," for the entire tenor of his past life proved the very reverse. He should have argued from what God had done for him, that God would be his defender still. But is it not just in the same way that we doubt God's help? Is it not mistrust without a cause? 

Have we ever had the shadow of a reason to doubt our Father's goodness? Have not His lovingkindnesses been marvellous? Has He once failed to justify our trust? Ah, no! our God has not left us at any time. We have had dark nights, but the star of love has shone forth amid the blackness; we have been in stern conflicts, but over our head He has held aloft the shield of our defence. 

We have gone through many trials, but never to our detriment, always to our advantage; and the conclusion from our past experience is, that He who has been with us in six troubles, will not forsake us in the seventh. 

What we have known of our faithful God, proves that He will keep us to the end. Let us not, then, reason contrary to evidence. How can we ever be so ungenerous as to doubt our God? 

Lord, throw down the Jezebel of our unbelief, and let the dogs devour it.

October 17
Evening...
 
Isaiah 40:11
He shall gather the lambs with His arm.
 
Our good Shepherd has in His flock a variety of experiences, some are strong in the Lord, and others are weak infaith, but He is impartial in His care for all His sheep, and the weakest lamb is as dear to Him as the most advanced of the flock. 

Lambs are wont to lag behind, prone to wander, and apt to grow weary, but from all the danger of these infirmities the Shepherd protects them with His arm of power. 

He finds new-born souls, like young lambs, ready to perish-He nourishes them till life becomes vigorous; He finds weak minds ready to faint and die-He consoles them and renews their strength. All the little ones He gathers, for it is not the will of our heavenly Father that one of them should perish. What a quick eye He must have to see them all! 

What a tender heart to care for them all! What a far- reaching and potent arm, to gather them all! In His lifetime on earth He was a great gatherer of the weaker sort, and now that He dwells in heaven, His loving heart yearns towards the meek and contrite, the timid and feeble, the fearful and fainting here below. 

How gently did He gather me to Himself, to His truth, to His blood, to His love, to His church! With what effectual grace did He compel me to come to Himself! 

Since my first conversion, how frequently has He restored me from my wanderings, and once again folded me within the circle of His everlasting arm! The best of all is, that He does it all Himself personally, not delegating the task of love, but condescending Himself to rescue and preserve His most unworthy servant. How shall I love Him enough or serve Him worthily? 

I would fain make His name great unto the ends of the earth, but what can my feebleness do for Him? Great Shepherd, add to Thy mercies this one other, a heart to love Thee more truly as I ought.

CLASSIC DEVOTIONALS: "In thy name ." - Daily Light



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October 17
MORNING
In thy name shall they rejoice all the day; and in thy righteousness shall they be exalted.

In the LORD have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed. In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory. - Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.

The righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe. To declare ... at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. - Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.


PSA. 89:16. Isa. 45:24,25. Psa. 32:11. Rom. 3:21,22,26. Phi. 4:4. I Pet. 1:8.

EVENING
Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.

The LORD reigneth, he is clothed with majesty: thy throne is established of old: thou art from everlasting.

The LORD is ... great in power. - If God be for us, who can be against us? - Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us, and he will deliver us. - My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. - Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory. - Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all. Now therefore, our God, we thank thee and praise thy glorious name. But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.


MATT. 6:13. Psa. 93:1,2. Nah. 1:3. -Rom. 8:31. Dan. 3:17. John 10:29. I John 4:4. Psa. 115:1. -I Chr. 29:11,13,14.


CLASSIC DEVOTIONALS: "Images: God's and Ours" -A.W.Tozer

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Closed and Open Eyes



The religions of the world have always endeavored to give answers concerning God. The Parsees, for example, declare that God is light. So they worship the sun and fire and forms of light. 
Other religions have suggested that God is conscience, or that He may be found in virtue. For some religions, there is solace in the belief that God is a principle upholding the universe.

There are religions that teach that God is all justice. They live in terror. Others say that God is all love. They become arrogant. Like the philosophers, religionists have concepts and views, ideas and theories. In none of them has mankind found satisfaction.

Greek paganism had a pantheon of gods. They saw the sun rising in the east and moving westward in a blaze of fire and called it Apollo. They heard the wind roaring along the sea coast and named her Eos, mother of the winds and the stars. 
They saw the waters of the ocean churning themselves into foam and named him Neptune. They imagined a goddess hovering over the fruitful fields of grain each year and gave her the name Ceres.

Given such a pagan outlook, there is no end to the fantasies of gods and goddesses. In Romans 1 God has described the human condition that incubates such aberrations. Men and women, intrigued by their sin, did not want the revelation of a living, speaking God. 
They deliberately ignored the only true God, crowded Him out of their lives. In His place they invented gods of their own: birds and animals and reptiles.

Verse

For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. Romans 1:20

Thought

Humankind shut its eyes to God's invisible qualities. A darkening of the mind resulted. All of which has brought down God's wrath. But God also sent Christ the Light to whom we may turn for light and life.

Prayer

Open the eyes of people, Lord, to You the Light.

CLASSIC DEVOTIONALS: "The Key To Missionary Devotion" -My Utmost for His Highest

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The Key To Missionary Devotion



Our Lord has told us how love to Him is to manifest itself. "Lovest thou Me?" "Feed My sheep" – identify yourself with My interests in other people, not, identify Me with your interests in other people. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 gives the character of this love, it is the love of God expressing itself. The test of my love for Jesus is the practical one, all the rest is sentimental jargon.

Loyalty to Jesus Christ is the supernatural work of Redemption wrought in me by the Holy Ghost Who sheds abroad the love of God in my heart, and that love works efficaciously through me in contact with everyone I meet. I remain loyal to His Name although every common-sense fact gives the lie to Him, and declares that He has no more power than a morning mist.

The key to missionary devotion means being attached to nothing and no one saving Our Lord Himself, not being detached from things externally. Our Lord was amazingly in and out among ordinary things; His detachment was on the inside towards God. External detachment is often an indication of a secret vital attachment to the things we keep away from externally.

The loyalty of a missionary is to keep his soul concentratedly open to the nature of the Lord Jesus Christ. The men and women Our Lord sends out on His enterprises are the ordinary human stuff, plus dominating devotion to Himself wrought by the Holy Ghost.

VidDevo: " In Me No Good Thing"




DAILY DEVOTIONS: "DON'T LOSE TRACK OF WHY YOU'RE SAVED" -WordDevo

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DON'T LOSE TRACK OF WHY YOU'RE SAVED

You are a Missionary
You are on a mission from God
You have been commissioned by the Son of God
You have been anointed  by the Spirit of God

There is nothing you lack or have need of 
that God has not already provided for you

YOU ARE HIS WITNESS

You are his testimony by your words and your life
You are his Workmanship

He is doing it

You are here to respond to Him
You are here to save souls from Hell
You are here to point people to Jesus

IF YOU ARE HERE FOR ANY OTHER REASON

You really are wasting your time
and His.

YOU ARE CREATED FOR HIS GOOD PLEASURE
and He has already told you what to do.

TELL SOMEONE ABOUT JESUS.

DAILY DEVOTIONS: "I tended to push the envelope." -Mike MacIntosh

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"You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind." This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
Matthew 22:37-39


Growing up, I tended to push the envelope. I think I was thrown out of more bars than I walked into. I wasn't a bad guy, but I was always getting into mischievous trouble. Why? Deep down, I felt empty. I feared I would never amount to anything. I was afraid of what people might do to me. I feared where I was headed, but I feared changing course. I lived in perpetual fear... and I blamed myself.

Years later, as a new Christian, I came across a verse that changed my life. 1 John 3:20 says, "For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things." Boy, I could relate! If anyone had a condemning heart, I did. I carried such guilt. 

I knew God loved me enough to forgive my every sin, but I was afraid to forgive myself. In essence, I had made God smaller than myself -- I had allowed my own sense of guilt and sinfulness to trump the perfecting work of His love in my life. One thing had always stood in my way: fear.

The opposite of love is fear. Perfect love and fear cannot coexist, because "perfect love casts out fear" (1 John 4:18). Where there is fear, love is lacking. And in my heart, God's love was lacking. You see, I'd never realized that all the guilt, shame, bitterness, and anger in my life was rooted in fear.

 I was afraid of love, because I didn't think I deserved it. From the moment I allowed God to uproot the fear, I realized the sheer power of His love. I didn't have to defend myself. I didn't need to strive to be somebody. 

If God was in charge, why should I fear? "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind" (2 Timothy 1:7). All the Lord requires of us is love -- to love Him, and to love others. That's it. All the commandments boil down to this one thing: love. Nothing is more powerful than the perfect love ofJesus Christ. 

Today, allow His love to permeate every cell of your body. Let Him cast out all the fear in your heart, and the sin it causes. Let His love bring forgiveness and restoration to you, your family, your friends, and your enemies.

 Let Him give you a love for others that you've never known or experienced, and that radically transforms your world. "He who does not love does not know God, for God is love" (1 John 4:8).

DAILY DEVOTIONS: "To the Glory of God" -David McGee

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To the Glory of God - Thursday, October 17th 2013
1 Corinthians 10:31-32
"Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God,"
NKJV


Can you imagine what it would look like to do everything for the glory of God? Everything--not just worship on Sunday mornings, but every aspect of life dedicated to glorifying our Lord. As you step out of bed in the morning, your mind is praising the Lord for His mercies.

 As you eat, you are thanking God for the food He has provided. As you sit in a traffic jam, you are singing praises to God for your life and that opportunity to be still and know He is God. Yes, anything and everything can be a sweet offering to our Lord when we purpose in our hearts to glorify His Name.

Of course, some people may not appreciate your attitude or diligent work. But friend, it won't matter because you're doing it for the glory of God and not for the approval of others. 

Your purpose and meaning are to glorify our Lord and He is blessed as you serve Him with all your heart. So whatever you do in the course of your day, set your mind on glorifying God and watch as He uses you to be a blessing to others and a witness of His grace.

Life Lesson: Do all that you do for the glory of God.

Dear Father,
Thank You for Your amazing grace and the love You have shown me. Lord, fill me with Your Spirit and equip me to do everything for Your glory whether great or small. May my heart and mind be focused on You today and use me to share your goodness with a world in need. May my life bless You today. In Jesus' name, Amen.


Living to tell what He died to say,
Pastor David McGee

DAILY DEVOTIONS: "No matter what" -Bob Coy

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No matter what
In return for my love they are my accusers, but I give myself to prayer. Psalms 109:4 (NKJV)


When you pull back and look at Psalm 109 in its totality, it becomes painfully clear that it's one of David's most heart-breaking compositions. Obviously, he wrote it during a time of unparalleled difficulty and distress, when everything that could possibly go wrong did. 

Maybe it was when the sting of Ahithophel's betrayal was still fresh, or on the heels of some unrecorded conflict. 

Whatever the exact circumstances were, they took David to the brink of his breaking point.

And yet, there's a star that shines through all this darkness. Notice that in this state of extreme misery, David gave himself to prayer. 

All around him there was nothing but heartache, and so he looked up. He looked in that one direction, the only direction in which he could trust there would be a loving heart to receive him.

Sometimes, our lives parallel David's. Our enemies are multiplied and threaten to utterly overwhelm us, and even those we trusted betray us. We're attacked from every angle, except one: from above. The avenue of prayer is still open to us and unlimited resources of God's love, joy, peace, wisdom, and faith are made available to us.

When our lives seem to be racing out of control at breakneck speed, prayer is the brake that saves us. We need to use it. 

We need to do as David did and give ourselves to prayer when the battle appears hopeless and the floodwaters are at their highest. Don't surrender or roll over in defeat.

 Don't succumb to the rising tide. Dig deep, call out to God, pray! Take advantage of the one avenue that is and always will be open to you no matter what.
Hearer of our hearts, may we always and ever pursue the pathway of prayer to You.
Think about it… 
What does this passage reveal to me about God?
What does this passage reveal to me about myself?
Based on this, what changes do I need to make?
What is my prayer for today?

DAILY DEVOTIONS: "Where Needs Are Met (Psalm 23:2-3a)" -Ray Steadman

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Guidance  (Psalm 23:3b)


Read the Scripture: Psalm 23:3b
He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake (Psalm 23:3b).
The Hebrew word translated paths means a well-defined, well-worn trail. That indicates again how stupid sheep are, because even when the trail is well laid out, they still need a shepherd. They are still inclined to wander away, no matter how obvious the path may be. The shepherd knows the trails. He has been there before, and the sheep trust him.
I think the most anxiety-producing factor in the world today is uncertainty about the future. What is going to happen tomorrow, and the next day? There are decisions we must make that bear not only upon our own lives but also upon the lives of everyone with whom we are associated. My life touches my family and my neighbors and my business associates. We are constantly making decisions. How do we know that we are making the right ones? Decisions can be crucial and frustrating!
A classic story tells about a man undergoing basic training in the army. He was pulling KP and was given the assignment of sorting potatoes. There was a huge mound of them, and the mess sergeant told him to put all the bad ones in one bin and all the good ones in the other bin. He came back about two hours later to find the man just looking at one potato. There was nothing in the bins. The sergeant said, What's the matter, don't you like the work? The soldier said, It's not the work; it's the decisions that are killing me.
I often feel that way. We have to make countless decisions, day after day, which touch the lives of our children and our wives and husbands. We need wisdom. We need a shepherd. We need someone who knows the trails, someone whom we can trust. We all need a decisive word from someone who knows the way, and the Lord knows the way. But the question arises--How can I discover His will for my life? May I suggest these steps?
First, submit wholeheartedly to the leadership of the shepherd. That is the basic attitude we must maintain. Unless we are willing to admit that we don't know the way through the wilderness and submit to His leadership, we will never find the way.
The second thing we must do is to obey what we know now to be God's will for us. Most of God's will is already revealed in His Word. We have to begin by obeying the truth that we have.
But what about other areas of life where the Scriptures do not give specific information? There we are led by the peace of God. As we spend time praying and waiting upon God, there comes a sense of peace, an inner conviction, about the correctness of a certain direction. The peace of God will umpire in our life and let us know what to do. When we move out on the basis of it, we discover that God supports and undergirds our actions and, through confirming circumstances, further strengthens our sense of peace.
Father, You have promised to lead me in paths of righteousness. Help me to be willing to follow, even when I don't understand.
Life Application: The Good Shepherd does not drive His sheep. He tenderly guides them. What are two essentials by which we can discern His guidance?
We hope you were blessed by this daily devotional.

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