The first five disciples

‘The two disciples … followed Jesus; … One of the two … was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He … first findeth his own brother Simon; … And he brought him to Jesus; … The day following Jesus … findeth Philip; … Philip findeth Nathanael.’ John 1:37,40–43,45

Suggested Further Reading: 1 Corinthians 9:16–23

In the work of grace, there is ever the same kind of operation, and yet ever a difference in the manner of operation. There is always the same worker in the conversion of the soul, and yet different methods for breaking the heart and binding it up again are continually employed. Every sinner must be quickened by the same life, made obedient to the same gospel, washed in the same blood, clothed in the same righteousness, filled with the same divine energy, and eventually taken up to the same heaven, and yet in the conversion of no two sinners will you find matters precisely the same; but from the first dawn of the divine life to the day when it is consummated in the noontide of perfect sanctification in heaven, you shall find that God works this way in that one, and that way in the other, and by another method in the third; for God still will be the God of variety. Let his order stand fast as it may, still will he ever be manifesting the variety, the many-sidedness of his own thoughts and mind. If then you look at this narrative (John 1:37–51)—somewhat long, but I think very full of instruction—you may notice four different methods of conversion; and these occur in the conversion of the first five who formed the nucleus of the college of apostles—the first five who came to Christ, and were numbered among his disciples. It is very remarkable that there should be among five individuals four different ways of conversion. Pick out five Christians indiscriminately and begin to question how they were brought to know the Lord, and you would find methods other than those you have here.

For meditation: The Lord Jesus Christ is the one and only way to God (John 14:6), but there are no end of ways of being led to faith in him. God may vary his methods, but he never changes his principles (1 Corinthians 12:4–6).

Sermon no. 570
15 May (1864)

365 Days with C.H. Spurgeon, Vol. 2: A Unique Collection of 365 Daily Readings from Sermons Preached by Charles Haddon Spurgeon from His Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit (365 Days With Series); edited by Terence Peter Crosby; (c) Day One Publications, 2002.

Believe the Best


“If one falls down, his friend can help him up.” Ecclesiastes 4:10

T he floor at Art and Naomi Hunt’s house was scattered with wrenches, screwdrivers, and a host of oddly shaped pieces of wood and metal. The task at hand? To construct a new gas barbecue. Art knew that Naomi was the more mechanically gifted partner in their marriage, but he was determined to put together this latest addition to their arsenal of modern cooking appliances. As Art struggled, his wife watched. Finally, progress stopped altogether, and Art reluctantly asked for Naomi’s advice. But instead of just giving her opinion, Naomi took the wrench from Art’s hand and began finishing the job herself.

Not surprisingly, Art felt rather emasculated, incompetent, and foolish. Now he faced a choice. He could believe either the best or the worst about Naomi’s actions. If he believed the worst, he would think, Man, she’s taking control. She doesn’t have any confidence in my abilities. Or, believing the best, he could tell himself, She’s going further than I asked her to, but she’s just trying to help me. That’s okay. Art chose the latter.

In a lifelong relationship, we regularly arrive at these emotional crossroads. We could go either way: give our partner the benefit of the doubt, or give ourselves the right to take offense. When we choose to see our spouse’s good intentions and base our reactions on them, we’re taking the road toward intimacy and away from unnecessary conflict. As Art Hunt understood, the real task at hand was building his relationship with Naomi, not putting together a new gadget.

Just between us…

  • How do we usually react when one of us steps in to help the other?
  • Do we see the best in each other’s motives? If not, why?
  • Do either of us give the other reason to question our motives?

Dear God, my spouse is Your gift to me, and I’m grateful. Help me to always believe, see, and act on the best. Grant me grace to mature in this area. Amen.

  • From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.

Father’s Day Gift


When you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

It was the day before Father’s Day. Hank, a ten-year-old, and his dad were in a store together, but in different aisles. Hank was penniless and still hadn’t figured out what to give his father the next day. His eyes found a display of golf balls—his father’s favorite brand. Hank knew his father would love those balls! Quickly, he hid a box of three balls under his shirt. Almost immediately, though, Hank was uncomfortable. He realized he’d done wrong. Reluctantly, he returned the box to the shelf and walked away.

Years later, Hank admitted to his dad that he still felt awful about the Father’s Day he didn’t give a card or gift. His father replied, “Son, I remember that year. I watched you take those balls off the shelf that day in the store. I suspected you were about to steal them for me, and I felt so sad. But then you put them back. You probably thought I was hurt that you didn’t give me a present, but watching you return those balls was the best Father’s Day present I ever received.”

This tale of Hank and his father, inspired by an anonymous story in God’s Little Devotional Book for Dads, serves as an important reminder of God’s promise to always provide a “way out” of temptation. Tomorrow, why don’t you share 1 Corinthians 10:13—along with the story of Hank and the golf balls—with your kids?

Before you say good night…

What are the biggest temptations facing your family right now?

How can you help each other find the “way out” God promises?

Dear God, sometimes it is so hard to resist the allures that surround us. Thank You for the promise of a way out of every tempting situation. We humbly ask that You show our children the way out when they too are tempted. Amen.

  • From Night Light For Parents, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.

Illustration adapted from God’s Little Devotional Book for Dads (Tulsa, Okla.: Honor Books, 1995).