Truth For Today

RESPONDING TO FALSE PROPHETS

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.
~ MATTHEW 7:15

In Jude’s brief letter to believers, the apostle firmly warns against false prophets and tells us how to respond to them. “Keep yourselves in the love of God” (Jude 21). Our primary response to false teaching is simply to be right with God in the first place, to make sure we are in fellowship with Him and receiving His blessing and power. Then we can “have mercy on some, who are doubting” (v. 22, NASB)—believers who doubt their faith because of false teachers need reassurance.

Another necessary response might be to “save others, snatching them out of the fire” (v. 23, NASB)— unbelievers bound for hell after hearing false teaching need to be rescued before it’s too late.

Finally, Jude tells about a third response to false prophets: “On some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh” (v. 23, NASB). We sometimes must confront false prophets and their followers, doing so with a special dependence on the Lord and being careful not to get contaminated by their false teachings.

Daily Word

Failures

I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him

~ Matt 17:16

There are a great many teachers in our Sunday schools who have had similar experiences. Children have been brought to them possessed by evil spirits, and they have failed to cast out the demons. They have tried every device, gentle and severe; they have prayed and laboured, they have talked and wept; but the evil spirits in their scholars have defied all efforts to dislodge them. Teachers of such incorrigible scholars may learn some lessons here.

It may be a little encouragement, first of all, to know that even Christ’s apostles met at least one case that they could not do anything with; no wonder if common people like us fail now and then. It is failures like this in the apostles that bring them down to our level. When we see them victorious and successful at every point, we are discouraged. But when we find them baffled and defeated, we see that they were human, just like us, and could do nothing by themselves. We get far more real help from St. Paul’s experience with his “thorn” than we get from his “third heaven” exaltation. In this latter he is so far beyond us that we cannot follow him; in the former we are on familiar ground.

It may be instructive also to study the reasons of the apostles’ failure. For one, the Master was absent; the disciple cannot do anything without His Lord. This is a lesson we should deeply impress on our own minds. Unless we have Christ with us, all our Christian work will utterly fail. Of ourselves we can never change a heart. Another reason was want of faith in the disciples; unbelief makes any one weak. Though absent, Christ’s power would have been theirs, had not their faith failed. Still another reason was the hardness of the case: all cases are not alike difficult, some requiring more faith and spiritual power than others.

Streams in The Desert

A Simple Prayer

I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me

~ Acts 27:25

I went to America some years ago with the captain of a steamer, who was a very devoted Christian. When off the coast of Newfoundland he said to me, “The last time I crossed here, five weeks ago, something happened which revolutionized the whole of my Christian life. We had George Mueller of Bristol on board. I had been on the bridge twenty-four hours and never left it. George Mueller came to me, and said,

“Captain I have come to tell you that I must be in Quebec Saturday afternoon.” “It is impossible,” I said. “Very well, if your ship cannot take me, God will find some other way. I have never broken an engagement for fifty-seven years. Let us go down into the chart-room and pray.”

I looked at that man of God, and thought to myself, what lunatic asylum can that man have come from? I never heard of such a thing as this. “Mr. Mueller,” I said, “do you know how dense this fog is?” “No,” he replied, “my eye is not on the density of the fog, but on the living God, who controls every circumstance of my life.”

He knelt down and prayed one of the most simple prayers, and when he had finished I was going to pray; but he put his hand on my shoulder, and told me not to pray. “First, you do not believe He will answer; and second I BELIEVE HE HAS, and there is no need whatever for you to pray about it.”

I looked at him, and he said, “Captain, I have known my Lord for fifty-seven years, and there has never been a single day that I have failed to get audience with the King. Get up, Captain and open the door, and you will find the fog gone.” I got up, and the fog was indeed gone. On Saturday afternoon, George Mueller was in Quebec for his engagement.

~ Selected

“If our love were but more simple,

We should take Him at His word;

And our lives would be all sunshine,

In the sweetness of our Lord.”

Eternal Perspectives

Heaven will be deeply appreciated by the disabled, who will be liberated from ravaged bodies and minds, and by the sick and elderly who will be free from their pains and restrictions. They will walk and run and see and hear, some for the first time. Hymn writer Fanny Crosby said, “Don’t pity me for my blindness, for the first face I ever see will be the face of my Lord Jesus.”

~ Randy Alcorn, [Money, Possessions, and Eternity]

Dear Jesus

Let Me be your positive focus. When you look to Me, knowing Me as God with you, you experience Joy.

Dear Jesus,

I am so thankful You are God with us—constantly, eternally. That knowledge alone is sufficient to fill my days with Joy. Sadly, though, my mind easily slips out of focus, and I forget about your abiding Presence. When my thinking is unfocused, almost anything can grab my attention. Then You slip even further from my awareness. Worries and worldliness attack my mind while it is idling, out of gear. I want You to be my positive focus, but I definitely need help.

Beloved, I created you in My image: with the capacity to communicate with Me. As My image-bearer, you have the ability to choose the focus of your mind. I understand that many thoughts come and go unbidden, but you can control your thinking more than you may realize. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul wrote, “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right . . . think about such things.” I would not instruct you to think about certain things unless it was possible to do so.

Because the world contains both good and evil, you can choose to think about excellent, praiseworthy things or about terrible, upsetting things. Sometimes, of course, you have to deal with the brokenness around you. However, each day contains moments when you are free to choose the focal point of your mind. These are the times when I want you to take charge of your thoughts. When your mind is idle, it often moves toward a negative focus—such as regretting things in your past or worrying about the future. Meanwhile, I am with you in the present: waiting for you to recall My Presence. Train your mind to turn toward Me frequently. Remembrance of who I Am can brighten even your darkest times, blessing you with Joy.

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.”
~ Matthew 1:22–23 

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right . . . think about such things. 
~ Philippians 4:8 

“I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” 
~ John 8:58

Daily Blessings

“The life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God.”

~ Gal 2:20

There is no way except by being spiritually baptized into Christ’s death and life, that we can ever get a victory over our besetting sins. If, on the one hand, we have a view of a suffering Christ, and thus become baptized into his sufferings and death, the feeling, while it lasts, will subdue the power of sin. Or, on the other hand, if we get a believing view of a risen Christ, and receive supplies of grace out of his fullness, that will lift us above sin’s dominion. If sin is powerfully working in us, we need one of these two things to subdue it; either we must have something come down to us to give us a victory over our sin in our strugglings against it, or we must have something to lift us up out of sin into a purer and better element.

When there is a view of the sufferings and sorrows, agonies and death of the Son of God, power comes down to the soul in its struggles against sin, and gives it a measure of holy resistance and subduing strength against it. So, when there is a coming in of the grace and love of Christ, it lifts up the soul from the love and power of sin into a purer and holier atmosphere. Sin cannot be subdued in any other way. You must either be baptized into Christ’s sufferings and death, or you must be baptized (and these follow each other) into Christ’s resurrection and life. A sight of him as a suffering God, or a view of him as a risen Jesus, must be connected with every successful attempt to get the victory over sin, death, hell, and the grave. You may strive, vow, and repent; and what does it all amount to? You sink deeper and deeper into sin than before. Pride, lust, and covetousness come in like a flood, and you are swamped and carried away almost before you are aware. But if you get a view of a suffering Christ, or of a risen Christ; if you get a taste of his dying love, a drop of his atoning blood, or any manifestation of his beauty and blessedness, there comes from this spiritual baptism into his death or his life a subduing power; and this gives a victory over temptation and sin which nothing else can or will give.

Yet I believe we are often many years learning this divine secret, striving to repent and reform, and cannot; until at last by divine teaching we come to learn a little of what the Apostle meant when he said, “The life I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God.” And when we can get into this life of faith, this hidden life, then our affections are set on things above.

There is no use setting people to work by legal strivings; they only plunge themselves deeper in the ditch. You must get Christ into your soul by the power of God; and then he will subdue, by his smiles, blood, love, and presence, every internal foe.

Live Loved

I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel.
~ 1 SAMUEL 17:45 

 Let’s Major in God

David just showed up this morning. He clocked out of sheep watching to deliver bread and cheese to his brothers on the battlefront. That’s where David hears Goliath defying God. . . . 

Read the first words he spoke, not just in the battle, but in the Bible: “David asked the men standing near him, ‘What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?’” (1 Samuel 17:26 NIV).

David shows up discussing God. The soldiers mentioned nothing about him, the brothers never spoke his name, but David takes one step onto the stage and raises the subject of the living God. . . .

No one else discusses God. David discusses no one else but God. . . .

David sees what others don’t and refuses to see what others do. All eyes, except David’s, fall on the brutal, hate-breathing hulk. . . . The people know his taunts, demands, size, and strut. They have majored in Goliath. 

David majors in God. He sees the giant, mind you; he just sees God more so. Look carefully at David’s battle cry: “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel” (1 Samuel 17:45).

~ FACING YOUR GIANTS 

 Lord God, train us to walk on your path. Teach us to see you in situations that are dangerous and difficult. Like David, when we are surrounded by overwhelming challenges, may our thoughts and words turn first to you. Rather than discuss the problem, remind us to discuss you. May our first thought in the morning and our last thought at night be centered on you. Rather than worry about the impossibilities, let us major in your mighty power. When we are tempted to look at the giants in our lives, we will choose to look at you, amen.

Let the God of my salvation be exalted! 
~ PSALM 18:46 

The heavens will praise Your wonders, O LORD; Your faithfulness also in the assembly of the saints. 
~ PSALM 89:5

We walk by faith, not by sight.
~ 2 CORINTHIANS 5:7