Charles Stanley – Our Struggle With the Flesh

 

Galatians 5:16-26

One of the most misunderstood concepts in the Christian life is that of “the flesh.” So, what is it? In today’s passage, flesh refers not simply to the physical body but also to the inner being, which is still subject to sin even though believers have a new nature given to them by God’s Spirit. Therefore, flesh refers to our entrenched habits of sinful thoughts, desires, and attitudes—which often lead to ungodly behaviors.

Paul presents, in a painfully honest way, the results of living according to the flesh: deeds including immorality, impurity, idolatry, anger, strife, dissensions, and other destructive attitudes and actions. In contrast, a life led by the Holy Spirit produces the rich spiritual fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23).

Why do so many people who desire a godly, self-controlled life repeatedly fall to fleshly sin? Paul says the determining factor is whether or not they are being led by the Spirit. If Christians try to overcome sin on their own without submitting to the Spirit’s reproof and guidance, they will fail.

The flesh cannot be disciplined, rehabilitated, or improved. Instead, it must be put to death (Rom. 6:11). Then, through the power of the Spirit, we do not have to yield to sinful impulses but can instead present ourselves to God for obedience to His desires (Rom. 6:12-14).

Walking by the Spirit means submitting to the Lord when you feel tempted to follow your flesh. With His help, you can see your desires give way to obedience that pleases your heavenly Father.

Bible in One Year: Ecclesiastes 5-8

 

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Our Daily Bread — Wise Aid

 

Bible in a Year :Psalms 20–22; Acts 21:1–17

Encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.

1 Thessalonians 5:14

Today’s Scripture & Insight:1 Thessalonians 5:12–15

As I stopped my car at a red light, I saw the same man standing beside the road again. He held a cardboard sign: Need money for food. Anything helps. I looked away and sighed. Was I the kind of person who ignored the needy?

Some people pretend to have needs but are actually con artists. Others have legitimate needs but face difficulties overcoming destructive habits. Social workers tell us it’s better to give money to the aid ministries in our city. I swallowed hard and drove past. I felt bad, but I may have acted wisely.

God commands us to “warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak” (1 Thessalonians 5:14). To do this well we must know who belongs in which category. If we warn a weak or disheartened person, we may break her spirit; if we help an idle person, we may encourage laziness. Consequently, we help best from up close, when we know the person well enough to know what he needs.

Has God burdened your heart to help someone? Great! Now the work begins. Don’t assume you know what that person needs. Ask her to share her story, and listen. Prayerfully give as seems wise and not merely to feel better. When we truly aim “to do what is good for each other,” we will more readily “be patient with everyone,” even when they stumble (vv. 14–15).

By Mike Wittmer

Reflect & Pray

When have others most helped you? What did you learn about how best to help others?

Father, help me to help wisely, and often.

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Friends of the Cause

 

A popular group on Facebook hosted a collection of people very much opposed to the destruction of an historic fountain in downtown Copenhagen. The name of the group could be translated: “No to the Demolition of the Stork Fountain.” Its members’ outrage filled its Facebook wall. The creator of the group urgently spoke of the need for action, sounding the call to join the cause and get involved. Almost overnight, participation in the cause went viral, members joining and getting the word out to their friends. Click here, forward there, speak out.

Ironically (and more ironic than activism that only requires joining a Facebook group), the cause was completely fictitious. The creator of the page, Anders Colding-Jørgensen, is a professor of Internet psychology who was conducting a social experiment on activism and online behavior. Sadly, had these outraged activists searched just a bit more for information, they would have read on the page itself that it was an experiment and that, in fact, Anders knew of no plans to destroy the fountain. Yet by the end of the experiment, more than 27,000 people had joined the group with a click of outrage and a desire to join the cause.(1)

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Friends of the Cause

Joyce Meyer – Double Blessing

 

Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double. — Zechariah 9:12

Adapted from the resource My Time with God Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

Hope is a powerful force that will bring you through any storm. Our hope is in God; therefore, we can hope without any natural reason to do so. Hope is a positive expectation of good.

Practice saying, “Something good is going to happen to me today, and something good is going to happen through me today.” God is good, and He wants to shower His goodness on you.

There are times of difficulty, loss, illness, and disappointment in life, but if we will endure with hope in our hearts, we will be rewarded with a double blessing for our former trouble.

Let me strongly encourage you to refuse to be hopeless. Put your hope in God and things will always come around to being right in due time. I can’t guarantee how long it will take, and it may not be quick, but hope will strengthen you to face life with joy even in the midst of trouble.

Live daily thinking, Today may be the day of my breakthrough. It could happen suddenly…at any moment.

Hope is the anchor of our souls. It keeps us from giving in to wild emotions that attempt to lead us to do things we will regret later on. The wise man puts His hope in God. He listens for God’s voice and follows it, knowing that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. God is that Light, and He is urging you to be a prisoner of hope.

Prayer Starter: Father, anytime I feel discouraged or weary, help me remember that there is always hope. Help me to be filled with hope in You and positive expectation. You are good, and I believe You want to be good to me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Worthy of Trust

 

“What is faith? It is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead” (Hebrews 11:1).

Frequently, individuals make gifts of property or stocks and bonds to the ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ. I am notified by our legal department that the papers have been received, confirming our ownership. Then, on the basis of their word, I consider the value and the potential sale of these properties in light of our budget for this worldwide ministry.

Can you imagine? I make decisions involving literally millions of dollars based upon a word or a memo. I do not see the stocks and bonds. I do not visit the property. I do not even see the papers. But I can take the word of my associates, whom I have learned to trust, and, predicated on their recommendations, I can determine how many missionaries we can send to the field.

That is what faith is all about. I have faith in my beloved colleagues because they have demonstrated themselves to be trustworthy. How much more should I have faith in our loving, holy, gracious, God and Father who has demonstrated His faithfulness and trustworthiness innumerable times? How much more should I believe His holy, inspired Word – His many promises?

However, God’s promises do not become reality unless we act upon them, claiming them in faith, any more than the word of my associates would be of any value unless I acted upon that information.

Vast resources of heaven are available to us. We appropriate them by faith. Consider the following illustration: Suppose I have $1,000 in the bank. I go to the bank with a check for $100 in my hand. I hand it to the teller, get on my knees and begin to beseech the teller to cash my check for $100. This would seem unusual to the teller and to all who might observe me for that is not the way to cash a check. Rather, I place it before the teller with the assurance that I have ten times the amount of the check on deposit and therefore without any hesitancy can expect my check to be cashed.

So it is with the bank of heaven. I know that the promises of God are faithful and true. God does not lie. God is worthy of my trust and, therefore, whatever He promises, He will perform if only I will trust and obey him.

Bible Reading: Psalm 11:89-96

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Today I will claim the promises of God by faith with the joyful assurance that whatever God promises, He is faithful to perform. I will claim His supernatural resources for supernatural living.

 

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Max Lucado – Let’s Stop This Frenzy

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Attempts at “self-salvation” guarantee nothing but exhaustion.  We scamper and scurry, trying to please God, collecting merit badges and brownie points and scowling at anyone who questions our accomplishments.  The result?  We are the weariest people on earth. We so fear failure that we create the image of perfection. Call us the church of hound-dog faces and slumped shoulders.

Stop it!  Once and for all, enough of this frenzy!  Hebrews 13:9 tells us, “Your hearts should be strengthened by God’s grace, not by obeying rules.”  In Matthew 11:28  Jesus promises, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”

There is no fine print.  A second shoe is not going to drop.  God’s promise has no hidden language.  Let grace happen.  You have His unending affection.  Stretch yourself out in the hammock of grace.  You can rest now!

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Denison Forum – How Michael Collins enabled Apollo 11 moonwalk: The way to change the world

Fifty years ago this Saturday, at 1:46 p.m., astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin separated the lunar landing craft from the Apollo 11 command module. As they moved toward the moon, astronaut Michael Collins stayed behind. He was 250,000 miles from earth.

While Armstrong and Aldrin received much of the attention for their magnificent feat, their journey to the moon and back would have been impossible without Collins.

He piloted the command module through maneuvers that detached it from the third stage of the rocket carrying them into space. He then pivoted the module and steered it as it docked with the lunar landing vehicle. When the lunar module returned from the moon, Collins directed the command module to reacquire it, enabling Armstrong and Aldrin to reenter the craft they would ride for the journey home.

In short, without Michael Collins there would be no lunar mission to celebrate this week.

The heroes who saved a cathedral

Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens died Tuesday at the age of ninety-nine. One of the longest-serving justices in US history, he was nominated by President Gerald Ford but eventually became the leader of the Court’s liberal faction. His support for abortion, gay rights, gun restrictions, limits on government aid for religion, and the legalization of marijuana influenced the Court and the culture.

In other news, the New York Times is reporting on its extensive investigation into the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. It turns out, the firefighters who saved the cathedral did so at great risk to themselves.

According to the Paris mayor, “It was clear that some firefighters were going to go into the cathedral without knowing if they would come back out.” The iconic landmark is now being rebuilt and will be a lasting tribute to their sacrificial courage.

Continue reading Denison Forum – How Michael Collins enabled Apollo 11 moonwalk: The way to change the world

Charles Stanley – Can We Trust Our Conscience?

 

2 Corinthians 1:12

The conscience looks at thoughts and actions to determine if they are in line with a person’s principles. It is important to keep our internal monitoring system well maintained so it will be trustworthy. For our moral alarm to sound at the right time and for the right reason, we must:

Accept Scripture as our standard for behavior. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.” If we choose to adopt our culture’s values, which are often at odds with the Lord’s, our conscience will be unreliable. Instead, we want our radar to alert us to the possibility of going off course.

Align our thinking with the Lord’s. Romans 12:2 says to renew our minds. It is necessary and ongoing work to combat what this unbelieving world accepts as true and right.

Apply God’s Word to daily living. When our habits reflect godly values, our conscience will become more sensitive to what is right and wrong.

In addition, it is essential that we rely on the Holy Spirit for understanding. Our conscience by itself is of some usefulness, but it becomes indispensable when accompanied by the Spirit’s guidance (John 16:13).

The Scriptures teach us how to live—with regard to our thought life, conduct, and emotions. As we fill our mind with the Lord’s standards and wisdom, our conscience will become increasingly trustworthy because it is based on what’s important to our heavenly Father.

Bible in One Year: Ecclesiastes 1-4

 

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Our Daily Bread — Victory Parade

 

Bible in a Year :Psalms 18–19; Acts 20:17–38

But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession.

2 Corinthians 2:14

Today’s Scripture & Insight:2 Corinthians 2:14–17

In 2016 when the Chicago Cubs baseball team won the World Series for the first time in more than a century, some sources said that five million people lined the parade route and gathered at a downtown rally to celebrate the championship.

Victory parades are not a modern invention. A famous ancient parade was the Roman Triumph, in which victorious generals led a procession of their armies and captives through crowded streets.

Such parade imagery was likely in Paul’s mind when he wrote to the Corinthian church thanking God for leading believers “as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession” (2 Corinthians 2:14). I find it fascinating that in this imagery, followers of Christ are the captives. However, as believers we’re not forced to participate, but are willing “captives,” willingly part of the parade led by the victorious, resurrected Christ. As Christians, we celebrate that through Christ’s victory, He’s building His kingdom and the gates of hell will not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18).

When we talk about Jesus’s victory on the cross and the freedom it gives believers, we help spread the “aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere” (2 Corinthians 2:14). And whether people find the aroma to be the pleasing reassurance of salvation or the odor of their defeat, this unseen but powerful fragrance is present everywhere we go.

As we follow Christ, we declare His resurrection victory, the victory that makes salvation available to the world.

By Lisa M. Samra

Reflect & Pray

What does Jesus’s victory on the cross mean to you? How are you living out the power of His resurrection?

Jesus is our victorious King.

For further study, see christianuniversity.org/NT109-06.

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Unsolved Mystery

Long before Horatio Caine or Gil Grissom made crime scene investigating a primetime enterprise, the Bloodhound Gang was “there on the double” “wherever there’s trouble,” a doughty group of junior detectives who used science to solve crimes. Written by Newbery Medal-winning children’s author Sid Fleischman, the Bloodhound Gang was a beloved segment on the PBS television program 3-2-1 Contact, and my first encounter with the almost unbearable suspension, “To be continued.” Thankfully, with the help of their knowledge of science, no mystery remained unsolved for long.

What I did not realize at the time, or through years of absorbing Unsolved Mysteries, CSI, and my own scientific pursuits, was the hold that simple word “solve” would have on my understanding of mystery. For the Bloodhound Gang, as much as for the philosophers of science who have given rise to the notion, science is the invasion and defeat of mystery. That is to say, for many scientists (though certainly not for all historically), mysteries are there to be solved and put finally beyond us.

One can see how such a notion fuels the perception that science and faith are at odds with one another; science being the conquest of mystery and faith the act of making room for it. For Steven Pinker, Harvard Professor and cognitive scientist, certain aspects of religious belief can be thought of as “desperate measure[s] that people resort to when the stakes are high and they’ve exhausted the usual techniques for the causation of success.”(1) In other words, religion, like the story of the stork for parents not ready for their kids to know where babies come from, is simply a desperate attempt to explain away mystery, even if only by making space for it. And faith is thus seen as the grossly inferior CSI agent.

But what if mystery is less like a case for the Bloodhound Gang and more like the molecule of DNA they use to solve the crime? In so much of the culture in which we operate today, mystery is thought of in reductionistic terms. It is a momentary fascination that needs some higher reasoning, future information, or an hour of crime scene investigating to solve and explain. Everything we do technologically, medically, and scientifically is an attempt to put an end to mystery—to explain everything. But is that remotely possible? And would a reasonable explanation always dispel the mystery in the first place? As Thomas Huxley once put it, “[H]ow is it that anything so remarkable as a state of consciousness comes about as a result of irritating nervous tissue?”(2) Is mystery always something to be solved?

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Unsolved Mystery

Joyce Meyer – Break Your Box

 

And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as He [Jesus] sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask [box] of very costly oil of spikenard [perfume]. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head. — Mark 14:3 (NKJV)

Adapted from the resource Love Out Loud Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

I believe that breaking (saying no to) the flesh is what today’s scripture is about. The woman broke that box so the expensive perfume could be poured out. In the same way, we have to “break” our flesh.

We all have sweet perfume in us. But our alabaster box (our flesh) has to be broken so the perfume (the good things of God) can flow out of us.

We are “pregnant” with the good things of God. We each have the fruit of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, faith, meekness, and temperance. But many times, our alabaster box (our flesh) keeps them from being poured out.

Oh, but we love our alabaster box. We don’t want to break it because, after all, it is such a pretty box. We spend so much time taking care of it; we don’t want it to be broken.

But we must love God more than we love anything else. We need to circumcise our flesh and be willing to let go of the things of the flesh, so God’s blessings can flow to us and through us.

Prayer Starter: Lord, I choose to break my alabaster box in order to express my love for You and receive everything You have for me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Glory Will Be Ours

 

“Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will give us later” (Romans 8:18).

In Sydney, Australia, a taxi driver to whom I witnessed became very angry.

“I was in World War II,” he exploded, “and I saw thousands of people die. I don’t want to have anything to do with a God who allows war.”

“Don’t blame God for war and the slaughter of millions of people,” I explained. “War is the result of man’s sin. Man does what he does because of his selfishness and pride. God does not desire that man should destroy men. God is not in favor of war. But sickness, death, earthquakes, tornadoes, floods are all a part of God’s judgement because of man’s sin, because of man’s disobedience to His commands.

The problem of suffering is a mysterious one, but for the Christian there is a good, logical answer. All creation waits patiently and hopefully for that future day when God will resurrect His children. On that day, thorns and thistles, sin and death and decay – the things that overcome the world will disappear at God’s command.

The world around us then will share in the glorious freedom from sin which God’s children enjoy. Even the things of nature, animals and plants which now suffer deterioration and death, await the coming of the time of this great glory.

We Christians – though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory – also groan to be released from pain, heartache, sorrow and suffering. We too wait anxiously for that day when God will give us full rights as His children, including the new bodies He has promised us – bodies that will never suffer again, and that will never die.

Bible Reading: Romans 8:24-27

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will rejoice in the certainty that glory is ahead for me as a believer, and as a result I am willing to joyfully endure whatever suffering comes my way. I will also encourage others in their times of sorrow to consider God’s love and plan for them, and will help them to understand the scriptural reason for man’s suffering.

 

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Max Lucado – Let Grace Happen

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

I became a Christian about the same time I became a Boy Scout, and I made the assumption that God grades like the Boy Scouts do– on a merit system.  Good scouts move up.  Good people go to heaven.

So I worked toward the day when God, amid falling confetti and dancing cherubim, would drape my badge-laden sash across my chest and welcome me into his eternal kingdom where I would humbly display my badges for eternity.  But some thorny questions surfaced.  How many badges does He require?  How good is good?

Ephesians 2:8 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.”  Unearned.  A gift.  Our merits merit nothing.  So, let grace happen.  Of all the things you must earn in life, God’s unending affection is not one of them.  You have it!

Read more GRACE

 

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Denison Forum – President Trump’s tweets and critics: Four categories and a biblical response

President Trump’s tweets and statements about four Democratic congresswomen have been dominating the news this week.

Critics are decrying his rhetoric as racist. Several Republicans joined a wide range of Democrats in criticizing the president’s comments. Democrats in the House of Representatives (joined by four Republicans and one Independent) passed a resolution yesterday condemning his statements. Historian Jon Meacham claimed that Mr. Trump is the most racist president since Andrew Johnson.

However, the president denies that he or his statements are racist. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a news conference yesterday that he did not believe the president is a racist. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy agreed, stating: “I believe this is about ideology; this is about socialism versus freedom.” Others are defending Mr. Trump and criticizing his opponents.

Four responses to Donald Trump

As the leader of a nonpartisan ministry with readers in 203 countries, my purpose today is not to take a side in this debate. Rather, my goal as a cultural theologian is to offer context and analysis and then to consider biblical responses.

With regard to Mr. Trump’s presidency and the current controversy, there are four broad categories on a spectrum of response.

One: Some are opposed to Mr. Trump himself. They consider the current controversy to be another example of character unfit for the office of president.

Two: Some are opposed to the president’s policies. They disagree with him on abortion, border security, transgender persons in the military, and a host of other issues. Continue reading Denison Forum – President Trump’s tweets and critics: Four categories and a biblical response

Charles Stanley – The Value of Our Conscience

 

1 Timothy 1:18-19

The conscience is God’s early warning system for alerting us to potential danger. It monitors our emotions, thoughts, and conduct.

Think of the conscience as a radar system that notifies us of possible trouble, usually without specifically identifying the problem. The principles and standards that we hold determine the sensitivity of our conscience. For example, if we believe lying is wrong, an alarm will sound when we start to shade the truth. But if we think lies are justifiable, it will be silent.

When programmed with the truth of God’s Word, the conscience has great value for a Christian. It detects deviations from the Lord’s standards and sends out a warning. The Holy Spirit uses that signal to get our attention. Then He will reveal what the problem is, give us understanding about it, and show us the right choices to make. He may guide us to friends, relevant Scripture verses, or other resources that can shed light on our situation and point out the implications of a wrong choice.

Failure to heed our inner alarm can bring serious consequences. Adam and Eve knew what God expected (Gen. 2:15-17). When tempted, however, they ignored their conscience and sinned against Him.

When your conscience sounds the alarm, do you stop and take notice or continue on the same course? Repeatedly ignoring your internal warning system can decrease its effectiveness at keeping you out of trouble. Ask God to help you program your inner alarm with His truth and sharpen your ability to hear it.

Bible in One Year: Proverbs 29-31

 

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Our Daily Bread — Precious

 

Bible in a Year :Psalms 16–17; Acts 20:1–16

You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.

Psalm 16:2

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Psalm 16:1–11

“My precious . . .” First portrayed in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, the image of the emaciated creature Gollum in his maniacal obsession with the “precious ring of power” has become an iconic one today—for greed, obsession, even insanity.

It’s also a troublingly relatable image. In his tormented love-hate relationship with both the ring and with himself, Gollum’s voice echoes the hunger in our own hearts. Whether it’s directed at one thing in particular, or just a vague longing for “more,” we’re sure that once we finally get our own “precious,” we’ll be satisfied. But instead, what we thought would make us whole leaves us feeling even emptier than before.

There’s a better way to live. As David expresses in Psalm 16, when the longings in our hearts threaten to send us on a desperate, futile quest for satisfaction (v. 4), we can remember to turn to God for refuge (v. 1), reminding ourselves that apart from Him we have nothing (v. 2).

And as our eyes stop looking for satisfaction “out there” to gaze instead on God’s beauty (v. 8), we find ourselves finally tasting true contentment—a life of basking in the “joy [of God’s] presence,” walking with Him each moment in “the way of life”—now and forever (v. 11 nlt).

By Monica Brands

Reflect & Pray

What’s the thing you often turn to for satisfaction when you lose sight of God? Who can be a source of support and love for you when you feel trapped in your addiction to “more”?

God, forgive me for thinking I can find what I need apart from You. Thank You for always being there even when I forget to look for You. Draw me to Your side to live in the joy of walking with You.

 

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The Problem of Pain

Over the past two years, there has hardly been a week without a headline or sobering story concerning the record number of deaths from opiate overdose in the United States. A New York Times article announced an unexpected rise in the death rate for the United States. Death rates—the number of deaths per hundred thousand people—have been in decline for many years, the article noted. Yet a sharp rise has occurred, in part, because of the prescription drug epidemic. If the rise continues, the researchers noted, it could be a signal of distress in the overall health of the nation.(1)

The struggle with chronic pain and the difficult and complex task for professionals who treat it made me wonder about how societies deal with pain in general. In a recent article from The Economist called “The Problem of Pain,” global treatment and attitudes toward pain were explored in light of the U.S. epidemic of opiate prescriptions and overdose. The author notes that when illness strikes, patients in poorer countries expect to suffer. Even when the tumor on his hip grew to the size of a football, Mato Samaile, a frail 50 year-old Nigerian cattle farmer, was reluctant to go to the hospital. “When I found the lump I said to my son: ‘We can’t leave the farm. We should stay until after the rain falls.’” Amina Ibrahim, a surgeon at the hospital where Mato was eventually admitted, notes, “People are brought up to tolerate pain. If you don’t you are a coward. That is just our culture. So even doctors are not liberal on painkillers.”(2)

Of course, in many parts of the world, there is little or no access to any kind of palliative care or pain management. The Economist reported a story about a young boy with cancer in rural India. He had visited several clinics nearer to his home in search of pain relief before stumbling into a Hyderabad hospital, ragged and short of breath. It had taken him more than 12 hours to get there, and he died soon afterwards.(3)

It is difficult for me to imagine a world prior to modern pain relief, and I cannot imagine what it must be like to live with excruciating pain day after day. What I do know is how easy it is for me to seek out ways to alleviate the daily pain that accompanies living—both physical and psychic. And sometimes I wonder if these strategies end up leaving me less resilient or able to deal with harsher realities. In a technologically advanced world, where I simply need to push a button, I do not exert any effort. With faster and faster speeds for almost any product, I do not have to wait for anything. And for whatever ails me physically, I can simply take a pill for that. I wonder if my minor attempts at pain avoidance may actually weaken my ability to endure it when it comes.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The Problem of Pain

Joyce Meyer –  Just Give It Time

 

Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people. — Exodus 33:13

Adapted from the resource Hearing from God Each Morning Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

When you spend time with God, it becomes evident. You become calmer, you’re easier to get along with, you are more joyful, and you remain stable in every situation.

Spending quality time with God is an investment that yields rich benefits. You begin to understand what He likes and what offends Him. As with any friend, the more time you spend with God, the more like Him you become.

Spending time with God causes you to become more sensitive to the love He wants to demonstrate to you and to others. Your conscience alerts you when you’re talking to someone in a way that does not please Him.

Your heart grieves when He grieves, and you quickly pray, “Oh, God, I’m sorry.” You soon want to apologize to the person you have offended and discover that saying, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you,” isn’t so difficult after all.

When God told Moses he had found favor in His eyes (see Exodus 33:12), Moses understood that God was telling him he could ask for anything his heart desired.

Moses responded by saying that he simply wanted to become more intimately acquainted with God. Moses had seen God perform history’s most magnificent miracles, yet what he wanted most of all was to know God intimately.

I pray that knowing God is the desire of your heart. You can know Him and hear His voice as clearly and as intimately as you want to. All it takes is spending time with Him.

Prayer Starter: Father, like Moses, I want to know You more intimately. Help me to take time to grow closer to You and develop a deep, personal relationship. Help me to become more like You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – No Hurt in Second Death

 

“Let everyone who can hear, listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches; He who is victorious shall not be hurt by the Second Death” (Revelation 2:11).

I find great comfort in the promises of God’s word, and this is another that makes a positive assurance to use: we shall not be hurt by the Second Death.

But just what is meant by the term Second Death? It would seem to mean that the conqueror shall not have anything to fear in the future world. The punishment of hell is sometimes called death – not in the sense that the soul will cease to exist, but because death is the most fearful thing we know about, and there is a striking similarity in many respects between death and future punishment.

As death cuts us off from life, so the second death cuts one off from eternal life. Death puts an end to all our earthly hopes, and the second death to all hope forever. Death is accompanied by terrors and alarms, which are only faint emblems of the coming terror in the world of woe.

This promise of no harm for us in the second death really is all that is necessary to sustain us in our trials. Nothing else is needed to make the burdens of life tolerable but this assurance that the end of our earthly journey will bring us to the close of suffering. No power can harm us beyond the grave.

We have no promise that we shall not die, but we do have this glorious assurance that nothing beyond that will ever hurt us. Meanwhile, we are expected to listen – and to be faithful.

Bible Reading: John 8:21-25

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Knowing that nothing beyond the grave will ever hurt me, I will make this present life count for Christ and His kingdom.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Christ’s Sacrifice is Personal

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Christ took away your sins.  He endured not just the nails of the Romans, the mockery of the crowd, and the spear of the soldier, but he endured the anger of God!  God didn’t just overlook your sins, lest he endorse them.  He didn’t punish you, lest he destroy you.  Instead, He found a way to punish the sin and preserve the sinner.  Jesus took your punishment, and God gave you credit for Jesus’ perfection.

As long as the cross is God’s gift to the world, it will touch you but it will not change you.  Precious as it is to proclaim, “Christ died for the world,” even sweeter it is to whisper, “Christ died for me!”

For my sins he died.

He took my place on the cross.

He felt my shame; and he spoke my name.

Thank God for the day Jesus took your place,

for the day that grace happened to you!

Read more GRACE

 

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