Charles Stanley –Bad News, Good News

 

Ephesians 2:1-9

When it comes to salvation, it’s difficult to truly appreciate the good news until we understand the bad news of our spiritual condition—namely, we all come into this world dead in our transgressions and sins. In the Scriptures, there are different meanings for death. Physical death is what everyone experiences at the end of earthly life. Spiritual death is alienation from God because of sin, and it’s the inherent condition of all mankind. Eternal death is the final outcome without salvation, and it results in everlasting separation from the Lord. Without Christ, the situation is hopeless, which is grim news indeed.

But there’s good news. Jesus did what was necessary to bring us back into a relationship with God. He was the only person who ever lived a completely righteous life, and as He hung dying on the cross, the Father placed all the guilt of our sins upon Him. Christ’s death was …

Sacrificial. The animal sacrifices in the Old Testament foreshadowed the perfect Lamb of God, who would make the final atonement for sins.

Substitutionary. Since Jesus bore the punishment for us, we no longer have to pay the penalty for our sins.

Sufficient. We can’t earn salvation because we will never be holy like God. But since Jesus was perfect, His sacrifice on our behalf proved acceptable to the Father. His blood adequately covers our sins.

Everyone dies, but those of us who have been saved are no longer alienated from God. Believers will never suffer eternal death but instead are given everlasting life.

Bible in One Year: Acts 3-4

 

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Our Daily Bread — Lava in Paradise

 

Bible in a Year:

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Hebrews 4:16

Today’s Scripture & Insight:2 Samuel 6:1–9

All is quiet, save for slowly stretching tentacles of hissing lava nipping at the edges of the tropical foliage. Residents stand grim-faced yet amazed. Most days they call this “paradise.” On this day, however, the fiery fissures in Hawaii’s Puna district reminded everyone that God forged these islands via untamable volcanic power.

The ancient Israelites encountered an untamable power too. When King David recaptured the ark of the covenant (2 Samuel 6:1–4), a celebration broke out (v. 5)—until a man died suddenly when he grabbed hold of the ark to steady it (vv. 6–7).

This may tempt us to think of God as being as unpredictable as a volcano, just as likely to create as He is to destroy. However, it helps to remember that God had given Israel specific instructions for how to handle the things set apart for worshiping Him (see Numbers 4). Israel had the privilege of drawing near to God, but His presence was too overwhelming for them to approach Him carelessly.

Hebrews 12 recalls a mountain “burning with fire,” where God gave Moses the Ten Commandments. That mountain terrified everyone (vv. 18–21). But the writer contrasts that scene with this: “You have come to . . . Jesus the mediator of a new covenant” (vv. 22–24). Jesus—God’s very Son—made the way for us to draw near to His untamable yet loving Father.

By: Tim Gustafson

Reflect & Pray

How often am I tempted to think of God’s love without considering His power? Why is His power a crucial aspect of His character?

How great to know that our all-powerful God also loves us with infinite love!

 

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Joyce Meyer – Four Principles for Successful Daily Living

 

For let him who wants to enjoy life and see good days [good—whether apparent or not] keep his tongue free from evil and his lips from guile (treachery, deceit). Let him turn away from wickedness and shun it, and let him do right. Let him search for peace…and seek it eagerly…. — 1 Peter 3:10-11 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource Trusting God Day by Day Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

I enjoy just reading over this passage and soaking up the power from its principles for successful daily living. It gives four specific principles for those who want to enjoy life:

  1. Keep your tongue free from evil.God’s Word states clearly, the power of life and death is in the mouth. We can bring blessing or misery into our lives with our words. When we speak rashly we often get into arguments, so choose your words carefully.
  2. Turn away from wickedness.We must take action to remove ourselves from wickedness or from a wicked environment. The action we must take could mean altering our friendships; it could even mean loneliness for a period of time. But you can always trust God to be with you.
  3. Do right.The decision to do right must follow the decision to stop doing wrong. Both are definite choices. Repentance is twofold; it requires turning awayfrom sin and turning to righteousness.
  4. Search for peace.Notice that we must search for it, pursue it, and go after it. We cannot merely desirepeace without any accompanying action, but instead we must desire peace with action. We need to search for peace in our relationship with God and with others.

When I started living by these principles, not only did my relationships improve, but so did my health, my attitude, and all areas of my life. The same will be true for you.

Prayer Starter: Father, Your Word has all of the answers for a great life. Help me to put Your principles into practice, today and every day. I can’t do it alone—I can only do it through Your strength. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Before We Even Call

 

“I will answer them before they even call to Me. While they are still talking to Me about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers!” (Isaiah 65:24).

Allenby’s Bridge, which spans the Jordan River, was built to honor the man whom God used to lead the miraculous conquest of Jerusalem with the firing of a single gun.

Allenby recalled how, as a little boy when he use to lisp his evening prayers, he was taught to repeat after his mother the closing part of the prayer:

“And, O Lord, we will not forget They ancient people, Israel. Lord, hasten the day when Israel truly shall be thy people and shall be restored to They favor and to their land.”

“I never knew then,” Allenby said at a reception in London, “that God would give me the privilege of helping to answer my own childhood prayers.”

Even more wonderful than that kind of divine providence is the truth expressed in Isaiah 65:24 (KJV): “Before they call I will answer.” I have seen this promise fulfilled many times in the global program of Campus Crusade for Christ. Even during the time we have prayed for desperate needs – financial and otherwise – God was already laying it upon the hearts of His faithful people to respond.

What a great comfort to know that we serve that kind of God!

Bible Reading: Isaiah 65:18-25

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Even as I pray for the needs of others and myself today, I will remember the power and faithfulness of God who has already begun to answer even before I ask

 

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Charles Stanley – Wisdom in Times of Trouble

 

Psalm 25:4-15

When facing problems, we frequently try to figure out the solution ourselves. If we can patch it up, glue it down, or tape it together, we will attempt to do so. Other times, we may reach out to someone for advice even though we’re actually seeking sympathy and support to make ourselves feel better. What we really need to do in times of trouble is to call out to God for help.

But that wisdom is best cultivated during times of peace, before we find ourselves in a crisis. We should have a habit of seeking the Lord, spending time in His Word, and learning what He desires. When our hearts and minds are set on the Him, our devotion grows and our values begin to align with His. A person truly seeking God finds joy and satisfaction in His presence and talks to Him throughout the day. Prayer becomes a customary and natural response, no matter the circumstances.

Then whenever we face a problem, our first thought will be to turn to our heavenly Father. That instinct acknowledges our relationship with and dependence upon Him. It shows we believe the Lord is a loving Father who promises to provide, protect, guide, and love us.

What if you are presently in the midst of trouble but haven’t been seeking Him consistently? Start with confessing this to God. Recognize that problems are often the means He uses to draw us back to Him, but simply wanting relief from hardship shouldn’t be our motivation for loving Him. Thank God for getting your attention, ask for help seeking Him with all your heart, and entrust your troubling situation to the one true refuge.

Bible in One Year: Acts 1-2

 

 

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Our Daily Bread — Enduring Prayers

 

Bible in a Year:

May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.

Psalm 141:2

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Revelation 8:1–5

“Prayers are deathless.” These are the attention-grabbing words of E. M. Bounds (1835–1913), whose classic writings on prayer have inspired people for generations. His comments about the power and enduring nature of our prayers continue with these words: “The lips that uttered them may be closed to death, the heart that felt them may have ceased to beat, but the prayers live before God, and God’s heart is set on them and prayers outlive the lives of those who uttered them; they outlive a generation, outlive an age, outlive a world.”

Have you ever wondered if your prayers—particularly those birthed out of difficulty, pain, and suffering—ever make it to God? The insightful words from Bounds remind us of the significance of our prayers and so does Revelation 8:1–5. The setting is heaven (v. 1), the throne room of God and the control center of the universe. Angelic attendants stand in God’s presence (v. 2) and one angel, like the priests of old, offers Him incense along with the prayers of “all God’s people” (v. 3). How eye-opening and encouraging to have this picture of the prayers offered on earth rising to God in heaven (v. 4). When we think that our prayers may have been lost in transit or forgotten, what we see here comforts us and compels us to persist in our praying, for our prayers are precious to God!

By: Arthur Jackson

Reflect & Pray

When have you questioned whether God really listens to Your prayers? How can passages like Revelation 8:1–5 breathe new life into them?

Father, I thank You that You care more than we sometimes know. Help me to rest in knowing Your eyes are upon the righteous and Your ears are open to our prayers.

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Streams in the Desert for Kids -Above the Clouds

 

Job 37:21

When you read a verse like the one above from Job, you may begin to wonder what was going on with Job and his friends to bring up such a conversation.

These guys said to Job, “Do you know how God controls the clouds and makes his lightning flash? Do you know how the clouds hang poised?… Can you join him in spreading out the skies, hard as a mirror of cast bronze?… Now no one can look at the sun, bright as it is in the skies after the wind has swept them clean.” In other words, “Job, you don’t know enough to understand God’s ways.”

Then God answered Job (chapters 38–41; read it sometime—it’s beautiful). God said that he is the one who has created everything the way it is. God sees the sun even when to us it is covered by clouds. Now Job knows he can hear from God. He can understand what God is doing in the world when he learns to consider that God’s perspective is so different from ours.

Do you want to hear from God and see his bigger perspective? You can if you will pray with all your heart and ask God to show you his plan and his way.

Dear Lord, I know you made everything, understand everything, yet you want to talk with me. You give me understanding. Amen.

Joyce Meyer – Blessed to Be a Blessing

 

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. — Philippians 2:4

Adapted from the resource The Power of Being Thankful Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

Everyone needs a blessing. We all need to be encouraged, edified, complimented, and appreciated. And you have the ability to bless others. Be thankful that God not only blesses you, but that He has made you a blessing. We all get weary at times and need other people to let us know that we are valuable and appreciated.

I believe God blesses us so we can be a blessing—not only in a few places but everywhere we go. Look for people who are needy and bless them. Share what you have with those who are less fortunate than you are. And remember, everyone needs a blessing—even the successful people who appear to have everything.

When you live to meet needs and encourage those around you, you will find “joy unspeakable” in the process (see 1 Peter 1:8).

Prayer Starter: Father, I am so grateful for Your blessings in my life, and I am also grateful that You have enabled me to be a blessing. Help me reach out to others every day and focus on adding to their encouragement. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Chosen to be Glorified

 

“And having chosen us, He called us to come to Him; and when we came, He declared us ‘not guilty,’ filled us with Christ’s goodness, gave us right standing with Himself, and promised us His glory” (Romans 8:30).

A famous Christian leader insisted to me that anyone could lose his salvation. I asked him if he felt that he would ever lose his. Quickly, he replied, “Absolutely not. I am sure I will not lose my salvation.”

Can we lose our salvation? Personally, I believe there is too much controversy over this issue. Some fear that the individual who has assurance of salvation and knows that he will spend eternity with God might have a tendency to compromise his conduct, which would result in disobedience to God and would be an insult to Christ and His church. Others think that the individual who does not live like a Christian – although he professes faith in Christ – has never experienced the new birth, does not have eternal life and will be forever separated from God.

It is quite likely that the person who insists on “doing his own thing” – going his own way while professing to be a Christian – is deceived and should be encouraged to look into the mirror of God’s Word. For if his salvation is real, the evidence should proclaim it.

The caterpillar which goes through a metamorphosis to become a butterfly, lives like a butterfly, not a caterpillar. In the same way, the man or woman who has experienced new life in Christ will witness to it in his life.

Our beginning Scripture deals with seven marvelous truths:

  1. He chose us.
  2. He called us.
  3. We came.
  4. He declared us not guilty.
  5. He filled us with Christ’s goodness.
  6. He gave us a right standing with Himself.
  7. He promised us His glory.

For centuries, man has been mystified by predestination and eternal security. One famous theologian put it this way: “How would it be a source of consolation to say…that whom God foreknew, He predestinated, and whom he predestinated, He called, and whom He called, He justified, and whom He justified might fall away and be lost forever?”

We should praise and worship God because of His promises to all who receive Him that He will never leave them nor forsake them (Hebrews 13:5).

Bible Reading: Ephesians 1:3-6

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will meditate upon the truths in this marvelous Word from God. And as an expression of my gratitude for the privilege of living a supernatural life, I will praise and thank God constantly for His goodness and will encourage other believers to do the same

 

 

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Charles Stanley – Praise for the Lamb

 

Revelation 5

Anyone who isn’t sure that Jesus is God and is worthy of worship should take a look at today’s passage. This heavenly scene opens with a dilemma—no one is found worthy to open the scroll in God’s right hand until the Lion of Judah, the root of David, appears as a Lamb standing as if slain.

This is none other than Jesus Christ, who offered Himself as a sacrifice for mankind’s sin. He took our sin upon Himself, suffered the punishment we deserved, and clothed us in His righteousness so that, through faith in Him, we could be reconciled to God. Now He stands in heaven, receiving praise and honor from all its inhabitants. He alone is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll, which contains God’s final plans for human history.

If the angels, the elders, and the four living creatures praise the Son and the Father with such reverence, awe, and exaltation, then we who are direct recipients of divine mercy and grace can, too. The citizens of heaven hold nothing back in their unceasing worship and adoration as they humbly bow before the throne.

Considering all that our triune God has done for us, praise should be our humble and joyful response. He delights in hearing our voices raised in adoration and worship as we declare that He is worthy of all honor.

Is God the focus of your thoughts and emotions as you join with fellow believers in exalting Him, or do you sing the words thoughtlessly or get caught up in an emotional experience? Although worship will be perfect only in heaven, let’s start practicing now.

Bible in One Year: John 20-21

 

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Our Daily Bread — That Was Awesome!

 

Bible in a Year:

Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in forced labor.

Proverbs 12:24

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Proverbs 12:12, 24–28

It was the seventh-grader’s first cross-country meet, but she didn’t want to run. Although she’d been preparing for the event, she was afraid of doing poorly. Still, she started the race with everyone else. Later, one by one the other runners finished the two-mile course and crossed the finish line—everyone except the reluctant runner. Finally, her mom, who was watching for her daughter to finish, saw a lone figure in the distance. The mother went to the finish line, preparing to comfort a distraught competitor. Instead, when the young runner saw her mom, she exclaimed, “That was awesome!”

What can be awesome about finishing last? Finishing!

The girl had tried something difficult and had accomplished it! Scripture honors hard work and diligence, a concept often learned through sports or music or other things that require perseverance and effort.

Proverbs 12:24 says, “Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in forced labor.” And later we read, “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty” (14:23). These wise principles—not promises—can help us serve God well.

God’s plan for us always included work. Even before the fall, Adam was to “work [the Garden] and take care of it” (Genesis 2:15). And any effort we make should be done “with all [our] heart” (Colossians 3:23). Let’s work in the strength He gives us—and leave the results to Him.

By: Dave Branon

Reflect & Pray

What are some areas where I can learn from this teenager to be diligent and persevere? How does doing my best and working hard honor God?

Heavenly Father, whatever it is You have asked me to do today—big or small—help me to do it.

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Twists and Turns

 

One of the wonderful gifts of being young is the endless optimism about the future. It seems that infinite possibilities stretch out before you; creative energy flows freely and there is a vitality that enlivens each new path and experience. All the roads before you open up and offer smooth transport to the attainment of one dream after another.

When I was a young child, the wisdom sayings of King Solomon were some of my favorite passages in the Bible. Their prescriptions offered an optimistic view of life for those who sought to follow the God. For some reason, the words seemed to bounce with joy, energy, and a sense of lightness. For example, “trust in the Lord with all your heart…and He will make your paths straight” were verses that seemed to indicate God’s direct guidance for all his children into happy, straight pathways. I inferred that trusting in God’s guidance would be the result of walking down all the wonderful, straight pathways that lay out before me. I would willingly and gladly walk towards the attainment of all my goals, desires, and dreams.

While these are still precious Scripture verses to me, I have come to understand them differently as an adult. The trust I proclaimed seemed easy as everything went my way. I didn’t rely on my own understanding because I didn’t have to! But, as is true of much of the human experience, my roads did not all run straight. When dreams began to die, life-goals went unmet, and desires dried up, I realized the challenge these verses really offer.

In his book, A Grief Observed, C.S. Lewis writes on the challenging nature of belief. “You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you. It is easy to say you believe a rope to be strong and sound as long as you are merely using it to cord a box.”(1) Indeed, as many of my life goals unraveled before me, ‘trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding’ took on new meaning in the face of absence, want, and unfulfillment. Real trust in God would be forged out of the fires of testing—testing that revealed whether or not I really believed in God, or in what God would give me. So, as God had seemingly abandoned my plans, my test of trust began.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Twists and Turns

Joyce Meyer – Start Your Day Right

 

When I thought, “My foot slips,” your steadfast love, O LORD, held me up. — Psalm 94:18

Adapted from the resource Starting Your Day Right Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

Some people seem to start their day on the “wrong foot.” They feel all right when they wake up, but as soon as something goes wrong they lose their footing and walk with a “loser’s limp” the rest of the day. Once they are off to a bad start, it seems they never catch up.

If someone offends us early in the morning, our anger can keep us defensive all day. If we start the day rushing, it seems we never slow down. But today our feet can be firmly planted in God’s Word. There will be no “bad day” when God’s Word supports, strengthens, and directs us.

Prayer Starter: Lord, I lift my day up to You and ask for Your help to get off on the right foot. Help me to go forward with a clean heart and a positive mindset focused on You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Claiming the Promise

 

“But when I am afraid, I will put my confidence in You. Yes, I will trust the promises of God. And since I am trusting Him, what can mere man do to me?” (Psalm 56:3,4).

Raymond and Martha were active church members and gave generously to the needs of the fellowship. But their real security, as Raymond shared, was largely in monetary holdings. After working hard for many years to build a financial empire, they had nothing to worry about. They were on “Easy Street” and could do anything for the rest of their lives, confident of being able to pass on a sizable fortune to their children and grandchildren.

But at this point, Raymond turned over the reins of his business to a trusted employee who, through mismanagement and embezzlement, coupled with a severe economic depression, was able to destroy in approximately two years what had taken Raymond more than thirty years to accumulate.

Devastated and fearful, Raymond and Martha turned to God and His Word. As they claimed God’s promises, the Savior whom they had professed to know but had not really known, became a reality in their lives. They became joyful, radiant and victorious. Though they had lost almost everything materially, they had, in the process, gained all that was really important. Now their trust was in the Lord who filled their lives with His love and grace. They passed on God’s blessing to others, including me.

Bible Reading: Psalm 25:4-10

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will not wait until personal tragedy, physical illness, financial reverses, heartache or sorrow cross my path, but will place my confidence in the Lord and in his Word and begin now to draw upon His supernatural resources to live a full and meaningful life for His glory

 

 

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Max Lucado – Prayer is a Heartfelt Conversation

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Prayer isn’t a privilege for the pious, not the art of a chosen few.  Prayer is simply a heartfelt conversation between God and His child.  When we invite God into our world, He brings a host of gifts: joy, patience, resilience.  Anxieties come, but they don’t stick.  Fears surface and then depart. I’m completing my sixth decade, yet I’m wired with energy. Happier, healthier, and more hopeful! Struggles come, for sure, but so does God.

My friend, He wants to talk with you.  Even now as you hear these words, He taps at the door.  Open it.  Welcome Him in and let the conversation begin.

Here’s my prayer challenge to you!  Every day for four weeks, pray four minutes.  Then get ready to connect with God like never before!

Read more Before Amen: The Power of a Simple Prayer

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

 

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Denison Forum – What makes this Homecoming King and Queen so special? Valuing every life as much as God does

 

Noah Stokes and Khrystya Gordon were crowned Homecoming King and Queen last Friday at Arapahoe High School in Littleton, Colorado. They were honored in the Homecoming parade and dance the next day.

Why is their story so newsworthy? Because both Noah and Khrystya have Down syndrome.

I cite their story in light of a National Review article reporting that 61 to 93 percent of US women choose abortion after a Down syndrome diagnosis.

Fortunately, federal legislation has been introduced that forbids abortion providers from performing abortions sought because the fetus has been diagnosed with Down syndrome. Tragically, a Gallup survey shows that 49 percent of Americans favor such abortions in the first trimester (though support drops to 29 percent in the third trimester).

99 percent of this group is happy with their lives

A study published in the American Journal of Medical Genetics asked people with Down syndrome ages twelve and older about their self-perceptions. Nearly 99 percent indicated that they were happy with their lives; 97 percent liked who they were; 96 percent liked how they look; and nearly 99 percent expressed love for their families.

The participants “encouraged parents to love their babies with Down syndrome, mentioning that their own lives were good.” The study concluded: “Overall, the overwhelming majority of people with Down syndrome surveyed indicate they live happy and fulfilling lives.”

Continue reading Denison Forum – What makes this Homecoming King and Queen so special? Valuing every life as much as God does

Charles Stanley – A Glimpse of Heavenly Praise

 

Revelation 4

When you sing praises to God, do you consider what you are saying? So often words like majestic, holy, glorious, and righteous roll off the tongue with barely a thought, yet these are terms that describe the very God we worship.

That’s why it is helpful for us to enter with the apostle John into the heavenly throne room to see the majesty of the Lord whom we are exalting—the God worthy to receive all praise, glory, and honor. Within the limits of finite human language and understanding, John did his best to describe what he saw: a throne and the stunning radiance of the One sitting upon it.

Other participants in this scene are 24 elders representing redeemed humanity, and four living creatures who continually give glory, honor, and thanks to God, saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty” (Rev. 4:8). In response, the elders fall down and worship, casting their crowns before God’s throne. The entire realm of heaven is enthralled with this One who is worthy of all worship.

Although we cannot actually see this scene like John, our worship should share its sentiment. This means our praise must be focused on the heavenly Father, who is infinitely greater than all His creatures and transcendent over time and creation. We can draw close to such magnificent worship when, after spending time studying and meditating on the Scriptures, our perceptions of the Lord are accurate. Sound theology results in worship that exalts and honors God for who He truly is.

Bible in One Year: John 17-19

 

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Our Daily Bread — “Love You—Whole World”

 

Bible in a Year:

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

1 John 4:16

Today’s Scripture & Insight:1 John 4:7–19

My three-year old niece, Jenna, has an expression that never fails to melt my heart. When she loves something (really loves it), be it banana cream pie, jumping on the trampoline, or playing Frisbee, she’ll proclaim, “I love it—whole world!” (“whole world” accompanied with a dramatic sweep of her arms).

Sometimes I wonder, When’s the last time I’ve dared to love like that? With nothing held back, completely unafraid?

“God is love,” John wrote repeatedly (1 John 4:8, 16), perhaps because the truth that God’s love—not our anger, fear, or shame—is the deepest foundation of reality, is hard for us grown-ups to “get.” The world divides us into camps based on what we’re most afraid of—and all too often we join in, ignoring or villainizing the voices that challenge our preferred vision of reality.

Yet amid the deception and power struggles (vv. 5–6), the truth of God’s love remains, a light that shines in the darkness, inviting us to learn the path of humility, trust, and love (1:7–9; 3:18). For no matter what painful truths the light uncovers, we can know that we’ll still be loved (4:10, 18; Romans 8:1).

When Jenna leans over and whispers to me, “I love you—whole world!” I whisper back, “I love you whole world!” And I’m grateful for a gentle reminder that every moment I’m held in limitless love and grace.

By: Monica Brands

Reflect & Pray

When do you find yourself feeling pressured to believe fear is greater than love? How might your relationships with others change if you believed you don’t need to be afraid?

Loving God, thank You for Your love. Help us to trust in and follow Your light and love even when the way gets dark.

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The New Atheism

Though the chorus of voices decrying belief in God has been humming in the ideological background for centuries, it seems to have reached a crescendo with the emergence of a movement that has been dubbed the new atheism. The trademark of this new and continuing brand of atheism is its vitriolic attack on religion. To its advocates, religious beliefs are not only false; they are also dangerous and must be expunged from all corners of society. The pundits of the new atheism are not content to nail discussion theses on the door of religion; they are also busy delivering eviction notices to the allegedly atavistic elements of an otherwise seamlessly progressive atheistic evolution of Homo Sapiens.

Given the rhetoric, one might be forgiven for thinking that some new discoveries have rendered belief in God untenable. Curiously, this drama is unfolding in the same era in which perhaps the world’s leading defender of atheism, Antony Flew, has declared that recent scientific discoveries point to the fact that this world cannot be understood apart from the work of God as its Creator. This is no small matter, for Flew has been preaching atheism for as long as Billy Graham has been preaching the Gospel. Unlike Flew and others, the new atheists seem to forget that the success of their mission hinges solely on the strength and veracity of the reasons they give for repudiating religion. Venom and ridicule may carry the day in an age of sensationalistic sound bites, but false beliefs will eventually bounce off the hard, cold, unyielding wall of reality.

A good example of a claim against religion that does not sit well with the facts of reality is issued in the form of a challenge to the believer to “name one ethical statement made, or one ethical action performed, by a believer that could not have been uttered or done by a nonbeliever.”(1) We are expected to agree that no such action or statement exists, and then conclude that morality does not depend on God. The problem is that the conclusion does not follow from the premise. The fact that a non-believer can utter moral statements and even act morally does not logically lead to the conclusion that morality does not depend on God, much less that God does not exist. This challenge misunderstands the believer’s position on the relationship between morality and God.

The believer’s claim is that the world owes its existence to a moral God. All human beings are moral agents created in God’s image and are expected to recognize right from wrong because they all reflect God’s moral character. The fact that human beings are the kinds of creatures that can recognize the moral imperatives that are part of the very fabric of the universe argues strongly against naturalism. Unlike the laws of nature, which even inanimate objects obey, moral imperatives appeal to our will and invite us to make real decisions on real moral issues. The only other parallel experience we have of dos and don’ts comes from minds. Thus when the atheist rejects God while insisting on the validity of morality, he is merely rejecting the cause while clinging to the effect.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The New Atheism

Joyce Meyer – Realistic Expectations

 

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. — 2 Corinthians 12:9

Adapted from the resource Power Thoughts Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

How we treat ourselves is often how we treat others. For example, if you receive God’s mercy, then you will be able to give mercy to others, but if you are demanding and never satisfied with yourself, you will be the same way with others.

We need to learn to be good to ourselves and yet not be self-centered. You should respect and value yourself; you should know what you are good at and what you are not good at and realize God’s strength is perfected in your weaknesses. We stress over our faults and yet everyone has them. If you had no faults, you would not need Jesus, and that is never going to happen!

Prayer Starter: Father, help me to have realistic expectations of myself and others, knowing we all have weaknesses and need Your daily support. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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