Charles Stanley – One Big Request

 

John 15:16

Yesterday we looked at God’s promise in John 14:14. Too often people take the verse to imply, “If you ask anything, I will do it.” They overlook the most essential phrase: “in My name.”

Asking in Christ’s name has two meanings. First, believers are welcome to make requests that align with God’s purpose and plan. To do that, we need to ask Him if our prayers match His will. God has several ways of assuring followers that they are on the correct path. For instance, He may increase right desires or decrease wrong ones. Another possibility is that He will use His Word to redirect a Christian’s steps or confirm that the believer is going the right way. Either way, God will make a path for the man or woman who seeks to do His will.

Second, invoking Christ’s name means that we desire to glorify Him instead of ourselves. James gives this warning: “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures” (James 4:3). To understand that, let’s consider those who are trying to pray their way out of a financial hole as an example. The question is, Does a person want to get out of debt so that he has more for himself or so that he can use the excess in God-honoring ways? Motives are apparent to God, and He will not encourage ones rooted in sin.

In the name Jesus Christ, there is abundant power. However, calling upon Him in prayer is not a magic charm to get what we want. Rather, it is a signal that we are laying down our personal desires and our own way of getting things done. In so doing, we commit to follow God and bring honor to Him.

Bible in One Year: Luke 2-3

 

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Our Daily Bread — My Real Face

 

Read: 1 Timothy 1:12–17 | Bible in a Year: Isaiah 62–64; 1 Timothy 1

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. 1 Timothy 1:12

For years, feelings of unworthiness and shame over my less-than-godly past had an adverse impact on every aspect of my life. What if others discovered the extent of my blemished reputation? Though God helped me muster up courage to invite a ministry leader to lunch, I strived to seem perfect. I scrubbed my house spotless, whipped up a three-course meal, and donned my best jeans and blouse.

I rushed to turn off the front-yard sprinklers. Twisting the leaking nozzle, I screamed when a gush of water drenched me. With towel-dried hair and smeared makeup, I changed into dry sweat pants and a T-shirt . . . just in time to hear the doorbell. Frustrated, I confessed my morning’s antics and motives. My new friend shared her own battles with fear and insecurity stemming from guilt over past failings. After we prayed, she welcomed me to her team of God’s imperfect servants.

The apostle Paul accepted his new life in Christ, refusing to deny his past or let it stop him from serving the Lord (1 Timothy 1:12­–14). Because Paul knew Jesus’s work on the cross saved and changed him—the worst of sinners—he praised God and encouraged others to honor and obey Him (vv. 15–17).

When we accept God’s grace and forgiveness, we’re freed from our past. Flawed but fiercely loved, we have no reason to be ashamed of our real faces as we serve others with our God-given gifts.

Lord, thanks for eliminating our shame and insecurities as You use us to serve You, no matter what our life looked like before You saved us.

God accepts us as we are, and changes us as we serve Him in love.

By Xochitl Dixon

INSIGHT

When Paul said he was shown mercy because he acted in ignorance and unbelief (1 Timothy 1:13), he was echoing a common theme of Scripture. Old Testament sacrifices were made for sins done in ignorance (see Leviticus 4:2, 13, 22; Hebrews 9:7). So was mercy only given to Eve who was deceived—and not to Adam? (1 Timothy 2:14). No. Even when we consciously do wrong, as Adam did, He still offers His mercy. Who doesn’t need to hear Jesus say, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).

Mart DeHaan

 

 

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Joyce Meyer – Encourage, Don’t Criticize

 

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. — 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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

We can improve our relationships with others by leaps and bounds if we become encouragers instead of critics.

It is the greater person who does the right thing; Christ’s righteousness dwells in you to help you do what is right. You are great in God’s eyes when you choose to do right and bless others.

No matter how rough your day is today, speak words that uplift and encourage those around you. Encourage others if you notice them doing a good job—not just those who work with you, but people wherever you go, such as store clerks, auto mechanics, and waiters.

Say something like, “I appreciate the extra effort you are making to do your job well.” You can change your life and someone else’s by choosing to speak positive words.

Prayer Starter: Father, please show me when I am being critical and negative toward others. Help me today to speak encouraging words of life to all those around me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – A Greater Harvest

 

“He has already tended to you by pruning you back for greater strength and usefulness by means of the commands I gave you” (John 15:3).

My friend was in the process of pruning his vineyard, and it appeared to me – in my limited knowledge of vineyards – that the pruning was too severe. Only the main stump remained. I inquired, “Why have you pruned the vine back to just the main stump?”

“Because,” he said, “that is the way to ensure that it will produce a greater harvest. Otherwise the nourishment flowing up through the roots would be dissipate in keeping the vines alive. It could not produce the maximum number of grapes.”

It is my regular prayer that God will keep both me as an individual and the movement of which I am a part well pruned that we may not waste time, energy, talent and money producing beautiful foliage with no fruit. Our subjection to that pruning can be either voluntary or reluctant. How much better is it for us to invite the Lord to do the pruning than to have the pruning forced upon us over our protests.

The best possible way to cooperate in God’s pruning is to study His Word. Memorize and meditate upon His truths, obey His commandments and claim His promises. Jesus taught the disciples personally, by word and model, over a period of more than three years. Yet, Judas betrayed the Lord and committed suicide and the others denied Him and deserted Him at the cross. It was not until the Holy Spirit came upon them at Pentecost that their lives were really transformed and the things He had taught them became a reality to them.

The same Holy Spirit who transformed their lives and gave them the courage to die as martyrs proclaiming God’s truth dwells within you and me. He wants to bear much fruit through us and He did through them. I encourage you to make that time, when you study the commands that Jesus gave us and apply His truths to your heart, the most important part of your day.

Bible Reading:John 15:1-5

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will cooperate with the Holy Spirit in the pruning process of my life by spending much time studying, memorizing and meditating on the Word of God, applying its truths to my life as I claim the supernatural resources of the living Christ for supernatural living.

 

 

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Our Daily Bread — Always Accepted

 

Read: Luke 19:1–10 | Bible in a Year: Isaiah 59–61; 2 Thessalonians 3

The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost. Luke 19:10

After several years of struggling to keep up in her studies, Angie was finally taken out of her elite primary school and transferred to a “normal” one. In Singapore’s intensely competitive education landscape, where being in a “good” school can improve one’s future prospects, many would see this as a failure.

Angie’s parents were disappointed, and Angie herself felt as if she had been demoted. But soon after joining her new school, the nine year old realized what it meant to be in a class of average students. “Mummy, I belong here,” she said. “I’m finally accepted!”

It reminded me of how excited Zacchaeus must have felt when Jesus invited Himself to the tax collector’s home (Luke 19:5). Christ was interested in dining with those who knew they were flawed and didn’t deserve God’s grace (v. 10). Having found us—and loved us—as we were, Jesus gives us the promise of perfection through His death and resurrection. We are made perfect through His grace alone.

I’ve often found my spiritual journey to be one of constant struggle, knowing that my life falls far short of God’s ideal. How comforting it is to know that we are always accepted, for the Holy Spirit is in the business of molding us to be like Jesus.

Father, thank You for loving me as I am, and for making me perfect through Your Son’s sacrifice. Teach me to submit to Your daily renewal.

We’re not perfect, but we’re loved.

By Leslie Koh

INSIGHT

In Luke 19, Jesus gives His mission statement: “The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (v. 10). Those words convey even more importance when we consider their timing: Jesus is purposefully, methodically making His way to Jerusalem to be crucified. On the way, He draws people to Him, including this despised, wealthy tax collector. The crowd had already judged Zacchaeus—and Jesus. “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner,” they said of Him (v. 7). Jesus saw it differently. Zacchaeus’s declaration, “Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor,” revealed the change in his heart (v. 8); and Jesus responded, “This man, too, is a son of Abraham” (v. 9).

Are we prone to snap judgments about other people’s sins? Or do we see ourselves as recipients of God’s grace, freely extended to anyone who recognizes their need of it?

Tim Gustafson

 

 

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Streams in the Desert for Kids – God’s Secrets

 

Psalm 25:14

Paleontologists study prehistoric life—that is, life that came before recorded history. They labor under harsh conditions, digging up ancient bones and fossils that help scientists understand more about God’s amazing diversity of creatures. This work isn’t easy: paleontologists work in the dust and the heat, digging slowly and carefully so they won’t damage any specimens. Because of this painstaking work, we have learned a great deal about life that came before us.

There are wonders and mysteries about God that we only get to know by being determined to learn about him. Those who fear God, dig deep into study about him, and pray and listen for his voice are the ones who get to know those secret mysteries and wonders. It’s like uncovering ancient bones or fossils that we didn’t even know existed until we started searching for them. Often people learn the most about God in hard times. What would you like to know about God and his great love?

Dear Lord, As I grow up, I want to know more about you. Please share your secrets, mysteries, and wonders with me. Amen

Joyce Meyer – Stop Saying “Hate” and Start Saying “Joy”

 

Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. — Ephesians 5:4

Adapted from the resource Power Thoughts Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

Quite often people use the phrase, “I hate.” They hate driving to work, cleaning their houses, going to the grocery store, cutting the grass, paying their bills, and on and on.

I think each time we say we “hate” something, it makes it harder for us to do it with joy the next time.

Start saying by faith that you enjoy those things that are naturally more difficult for you to enjoy. Start saying it in obedience to God, and soon you will find those things to be more enjoyable.

We can talk ourselves into things and out of things. You can talk yourself into despising something you need to do, or you can have a good attitude and speak good words about it and make it a lot more pleasant.

Prayer Starter: Father, help me to agree with Your Word and begin talking myself into a joyful life. Help me to speak life-giving, positive, and thankful words. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Life’s Greatest Investment

 

“And anyone who gives up his home, brothers, sisters, father, mother, wife, children, or property, to follow Me, shall receive a hundred times as much in return [in this life], and shall have eternal life” (Matthew 19:29).

I can tell you on the authority of God’s Word and from personal experience and observation that this promise is true. From my own commitment – made more than 30 years ago – and after having spoken with hundreds of Christian leaders and humble servants of God around the world, and observed thousands who I have counseled, I do not know of anyone whom God is using in any significant way who would say that this spiritual law has not been true in his life.

The time to invest your time, talent and treasure for Christ and His kingdom is now. The powerful tide of secular humanism, atheism, materialism, communism and other anti-God forces us threatening to engulf the world. From the human perspective, on the basis of what I see and hear, I could be very pessimistic about the future freedom of mankind.

On the contrary, I am very optimistic, not on the basis of what I see and hear, but on the basis of what I believe God is saying to my heart and of what I am observing that He is doing throughout the world. I am constantly reminded and assured, “Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4, KJV). Satan and his demonic forces were defeated 2,000 years ago.

Do you want a safe formula for success? Then recognize and practice the following:

First, remember that everything entrusted to our care actually belongs to God. We are His stewards here on earth.

Second, God does not want us to hoard His blessings.

Third, “As you sow, you reap.”

Fourth, invest generously – above the tithe in time, talent and treasure.

Fifth, invest supernaturally – by faith.

Bible Reading:Matthew 25:35-40

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Recognizing myself as God’s steward, I will prayerfully seek to learn what He would have me to do to maximize my life for His glory through the investment of my time, talent and treasure.

 

 

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Charles Stanley –Contagious Anger

 

Proverbs 22:24-25

Anger can wreak havoc on both the body and soul, but its scope extends beyond the individual and impacts everyone nearby. In this way, bitter outbursts and silent resentment are not just our own personal issues.

An angry spirit is contagious. It can pass from one person to another—and even from one generation to the next. Workplaces can become tense environments full of caustic words and attitudes. Ire turns homes into battlegrounds of verbal explosions or silent hostility. Even churches suffer from malicious gossip and fights over personal preferences.

God created us to live in fellowship with others, but anger can poison our relationships. Tragically, those closest to us are the ones who suffer the most. Children learn to respond to life’s situations by observing their parents’ example. They then develop similar attitudes and patterns of behavior. We need to give serious thought to what kind of heart we are passing down to our sons and daughters.

Thankfully, God is in the heart-changing business. Just as we learn an angry person’s ways by association, so we can learn righteous ways by walking closely with the Lord. Christ calls us to come, learn from Him, and find rest for our souls (Matt. 11:28-29).

Which would you prefer: churning anger or Christ’s peace? Both require sacrifice. To maintain anger, you forfeit healthy relationships and possibly a godly heritage for your descendants. But to acquire peace, you simply ask God to help you leave grudges, personal rights, and insults at the altar.

Bible in One Year: Mark 15-16

 

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Our Daily Bread — Bring Your Boats

Read: Proverbs 3:21–31 | Bible in a Year: Isaiah 56–58; 2 Thessalonians 2

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act. Proverbs 3:27

Hurricane Harvey brought catastrophic flooding to eastern Texas in 2017. The onslaught of rain stranded thousands of people in their homes, unable to escape the floodwaters. In what was dubbed the “Texas Navy,” many private citizens brought boats from other parts of the state and nation to help evacuate stranded people.

The actions of these valiant, generous men and women call to mind the encouragement of Proverbs 3:27, which instructs us to help others whenever we are able. They had the power to act on behalf of those in need by bringing their boats. And so they did. Their actions demonstrate a willingness to use whatever resources they had at their disposal for the benefit of others.

We may not always feel adequate for the task at hand; often we become paralyzed by thinking we don’t have the skills, experience, resources, or time to help others. In such instances, we’re quick to sideline ourselves, discounting what we do have that might be of assistance to someone else. The Texas Navy couldn’t stop the floodwaters from rising, nor could they legislate government aid. But they used what they had within their power—their boats—to come alongside the deep needs of their fellow man. May we all bring our “boats”—whatever they may be—to take the people in our paths to higher ground.

Lord, all that I have is from You. Help me to always use what You’ve given me to help others.

God provides for His people through His people.

By Kirsten Holmberg

INSIGHT

Helping others by doing good when it’s in our power to act (Proverbs 3:27–28) is also the focus of Paul’s instructions to believers. Encouraging us to live meaningful and purposeful lives before a watching, non-believing world, Paul tells us to “be very careful, then, how [we] live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity” (Ephesians 5:15–16). Careful living means we are to live godly lives as “children of light” pleasing to the Lord (vv. 8, 10). Paul expects “those who have trusted in God [to] devote themselves to doing what is good” (Titus 3:8). We are to adopt a never-give-up attitude when it comes to serving others: “Let us not become weary in doing good . . . . As we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Galatians 6:9–10).

What can you do this week to serve someone?

  1. T. Sim

 

 

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Joyce Meyer – Willpower: The Fair-Weather Friend

 

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. — Galatians 5:16

Adapted from the resource New Day, New You Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

Willpower sure sounds like a great thing. We are led to believe that we have enough of it to fight off every temptation that comes our way. And sometimes it works. But let me tell you a little secret about willpower. Willpower is your best friend when things go well, but it’s the first friend to check out when you get weary.

I have found that if I really don’t want to do something, my mind gives me plenty of reasons why I don’t have to. My emotions even join in, saying, “I agree because I don’t feel like doing it anyway.”

Our souls (mind, will, emotions) would love to run our lives, but the Bible says we are to be led by God’s Spirit. We are never instructed to be willpower-led, we are told to be Spirit-led.

Willpower and discipline are important and vitally necessary to a successful life, but willpower alone won’t be enough. Determination gets you started and keeps you going for a while, but it is never enough to bring you across the finish line.

Look at Zechariah 4:6 (NKJV): …Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.

What happens if, instead of turning first to willpower in your time of need, you turn to God instead? God releases His power into your willpower and energizes it to bring you across the finish line. Willpower does not get the credit for our success, God does.

Jesus said in John 15:5, …apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing (AMPC). This is one of the most important and most difficult lessons we must learn if we want to enjoy the life Jesus died to give us.

Prayer Starter: O, Lord, I turn to You today for Your strength and grace. I can’t do it alone, but by Your Spirit, I can accomplish everything I need to do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – God’s Word Works

 

“As the rain and snow come down from heaven and stay upon the ground to water the earth, and cause the grain to grow and to produce seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry, so also is My Word. I send it out and it always produces fruit. It shall accomplish all I want it to, and prosper everywhere I send it” (Isaiah 55:10-11).

An angry student leader confronted me at the conclusion of my message to a student meeting at UCLA. “You have no right to impose your views on these students,” he exclaimed. “You will confuse them. They are easily influenced and might respond to some of your religious views which I totally reject.”

I learned that he was the Communist leader on the campus and did not believe in God or the Scriptures. I invited him to our home for dinner and as we ate, we talked about many things of a general nature, nothing controversial. After we had finished our dessert, I reached over and picked up my Bible and said that I would like to read something very important to him. He resisted, saying, “I don’t want to hear anything from the Bible. I don’t believe it. It is a ridiculous book filled with all kinds of myths, contradictions and exaggerations.”

I would have made similar statements during my years of agnosticism. Not because I knew such statements to be true, but because I was simply parroting what others had told me – I did not really know the facts.

I said, “If you don’t mind, I would like to read you something anyway,” and I turned to John 1:1. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (KJV). I continued through the 14th verse. Then I turned to Colossians 1 and Hebrews 1, reading similar portions identifying Christ as the Creator, the visible expression of the invisible God. I concluded with 1 John 2:22,23.

As I read each passage, he asked if he could read for himself. The initial flash of anger soon turned to interest and then to acceptance and finally he was like a repentant child experiencing the love of the Father’s embrace. He surrendered all resistance. As he stood to leave that evening, I asked him to sign our guest book. He wrote his name, address and these words: “The night of decision.”

Bible Reading:Isaiah 55:6-13

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Today I will share a portion of God’s word with someone who does not know our Savior with the prayer that he, too, will come to know Him and experience with me the supernatural life which is our heritage in Christ.

 

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Max Lucado – Every Gift is Needed

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Two of my teenage years were spent carrying a tuba in my high school marching band.  Not necessarily what you’d describe as a call from God, but it wasn’t a wasted experience either.  I learned some facts about harmony that I’ll pass on to you. Would you attend a concert of a hundred tubas?  Probably not.  But what band would be a band without a tuba?  Or a flute?  Or a trumpet?  Or a steady drum?  Get the idea?  The operative word is need.  They need each other.  By themselves they make music.  But together, they make magic.

What I saw decades ago in the marching band, I see today in the church.  We need each other.  Not all of us play the same instrument.  Not all of us make the same sound.  Some are soft, and others are loud. Some convert the lost.  Others encourage the saved.  And some keep the movement in step.  But all are needed!  “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ” (1 Corinthians 12:12).

Read more A Gentle Thunder

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

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Denison Forum – Witches will hex Justice Kavanaugh tomorrow

“Basically, it’s all about causing suffering. And we intend to make Kavanaugh suffer.” This is how Dakota Bracciale explains her plans to host a ritual tomorrow to hex the newest Supreme Court justice.

Bracciale is co-owner of Catland Books, a self-described “metaphysical boutique and occult bookshop.” Her store in Brooklyn, New York, has already hosted three hexes on President Trump. The event is also a fundraiser, with proceeds to benefit Planned Parenthood and a center for homeless LGBTQ youths.

Bracciale says the event has sold out. However, that’s only about sixty people who will be in attendance. Thousands more will participate on Facebook.

The coven of witches will conduct a ritual including effigies, coffin nails, graveyard dirt, and a spell. They are planning a second “Ritual to Hex Brett Kavanaugh” for November 3.

The “Bind Kavanaugh” spell

Tomorrow’s event will not be the first time Justice Kavanaugh’s opponents have attempted to use magic against him.

In a “Bind Kavanaugh” spell performed before the Senate voted to confirm him, a group calling itself the Magic Resistance lit a white candle, symbolizing justice and purity. Then they placed the Justice tarot card adjacent to it on an altar and wrapped a black thread around a paper doll, symbolizing Kavanaugh, to bind him. Practitioners were urged to chant the names of his known accusers, binding him “in the name of” those they believed he had wronged.

The fact that Justice Kavanaugh was confirmed despite their efforts did not deter the “Bind Kavanaugh” participants. Their leader explains: “We need to do things to counter . . . despair and hopelessness. Ritual is powerful in that respect. Putting aside questions of its efficacy, it absolutely works in transforming consciousness and empowering those who do it.”

Bracciale agrees, stating that witchcraft has historically been an outlet for oppressed people to “take matters in their own hands.”

“Not as I will, but as you will”

This is exactly what Satan wants us to do.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Witches will hex Justice Kavanaugh tomorrow

Charles Stanley – The Consequences of Anger

 

Proverbs 19:19

God feels anger, and He has given us this same ability. Anger is a common emotion that arises when we encounter threats, insults, injustices, or frustrations. However, because of our fallen nature, we often respond in a sinful manner when this intense feeling overwhelms us.

One sinful response is to hold on to anger until it becomes part of our character, taking up residence in our innermost being. There, it starts to twist thinking and agitate emotions. Peace and joy are noticeably absent because they can’t coexist with the anxiety and frustration that accompany bitterness.

After poisoning the character, anger spills over and affects others. We might throw hurtful words like flaming arrows, even at those who weren’t the cause of the rage. And then we raise shields of self-protection in an effort to avoid future hurts. But sadly, these behaviors lead to stressed relationships and isolation.

While anger can damage our character and connections with others, its most tragic consequence is broken fellowship with God. Wrath not only hinders His work in and through believers; it also grieves the Father’s heart. He desires to shower His children with blessings, but angry fists cannot receive His riches of character and calling.

Are you harboring anger? It could be so deeply buried within your soul that you are unaware of its presence. Since sustained, unresolved bitterness will affect every area of your life, ask God to reveal any hidden resentment. Then release it, and take hold of the riches of Christ.

Bible in One Year: Mark 13-14

 

 

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Our Daily Bread — A Piercing Thorn

 

Read: Isaiah 53:1–6 | Bible in a Year: Isaiah 53–55; 2 Thessalonians 1

But he was pierced for our transgressions . . . and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5

The thorn pricked my index finger, drawing blood. I hollered and then groaned, drawing back my hand instinctively. But I shouldn’t have been surprised: trying to prune a thorny bush without gardening gloves was a recipe for exactly what just happened.

The pain throbbing in my finger—and the blood flowing from it—demanded attention. And as I searched for a bandage, I found myself unexpectedly thinking about my Savior. After all, soldiers forced Jesus to don an entire crown of thorns (John 19:1–3). If one thorn hurt this much, I thought, how much agony would an entire crown of them inflict? And that’s just a small portion of the physical pain He suffered. A whip flogged His back. Nails penetrated His wrists and ankles.

But Jesus endured spiritual pain too. Verse 5 of Isaiah 53 tells us, “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him.” The “peace” Isaiah talks about here is another way of talking about forgiveness. Jesus allowed Himself to be pierced—by nails, by a crown of thorns—to bring us spiritual peace with God. His sacrifice, His willingness to die on our behalf, paved the way to make a relationship with the Father possible. And He did it, Scripture tells us, for me, for you.

Father, I can’t imagine the pain Your Son endured to wash away my sin. Thank You for sending Him for me, to be pierced for my sins that I might have a relationship with You. 

Jesus allowed Himself to be pierced to bring us spiritual peace with God.

By Adam Holz

INSIGHT

Isaiah 53:1–6 is part of a section of the book known as the Servant Songs. There are four Servant Songs in Isaiah that describe the service, suffering, and triumph of the servant of the Lord—Jesus the Messiah. These songs are found in Isaiah 42:1–9, 49:1–13, 50:4–11, and 52:13–53:12.

This last servant song describes the suffering and triumph of the servant. Though He is pierced, crushed, punished, and wounded, it’s His suffering that brings us peace and healing (53:5). The ultimate purpose for this suffering is outlined in verse 10—His life is an offering for sin. The servant takes our place—suffering for us and bearing our sins. And by His suffering and death, we are given life and peace. But death is not the end for the servant: “After he has suffered, he will see the light of life” (v. 11). In His suffering and resurrection, Jesus reconciles humanity to God (see Matthew 8:17; Acts 8:30–35; Romans 10:15–17; 15:21).

How can you celebrate the life that Jesus died to give you?

For more on the book of Isaiah, see Old Testament Survey: Ecclesiastes–Isaiah at christianuniversity.org/OT224.

J.R. Hudberg

 

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Tearing Down the House of Cards

“God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life” was a slogan I heard over and over again as I grew up. As a young person, this slogan meant that all my plans would be wonderful because God loved me. Now that I am older, I understand that this slogan had more to do with the Christian Gospel’s understanding of salvation than it did with guiding me down the primrose path of life. Yet, it still reverberates in my head when I experience hardship, pain, and loss. For it is often difficult to square a belief in the love of God with a series of life experiences that run counter to the expectations for a wonderful plan.

The seeming contradictions between stated beliefs and life experience often make faith complicated. For me, many of the cherished beliefs I held imploded and what I once thought was an invincible fortress came crashing down as life experience smashed up against them like a battering ram. C.S. Lewis described his own spiritual dismantling after the death of his wife, Joy, this way: “God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn’t. In this trial He makes us occupy the dock, the witness box, and the bench all at once. He always knew that my temple was a house of cards. His only way of making me realize the fact was to knock it down.”(1) Yet having to dwell in the rubble of what is left of one’s faith doesn’t feel as if it is the work of a God who desires to smash all our false conceptions.

There is a “great cloud of witnesses” who have also experienced the difficult conflict between what was held to be the truth and reality. Knowing this can give comfort for all who experience the collapse of all they hold dear. I am reminded of the biblical narrative of Joseph, as one example. He was told by God through a sequence of dreams that he would be great one day—so great, in fact, that his own brothers would come and bow down out of reverence for him. He had been given a glimpse of his destiny as Jacob’s dearly loved child, and perhaps he believed his path to that destiny would be won with ease. Instead, his path took many unexpected turns. First, his own brothers attempted to murder him, he was enslaved, and he spent a large portion of his life in prison having been falsely accused of various crimes he did not commit. Surely, Joseph must have had days where he wondered if God’s plan for his life was a wonderful one.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Tearing Down the House of Cards

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.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – His Life in Us

 

“Jesus said, ‘I will only reveal Myself to those who love Me and obey Me. The Father will love them too, and We will come to them and live with them. Anyone who doesn’t obey Me doesn’t love Me” (John 14:23,24).

Millions of Christians throughout the world profess their love for Christ each week by attending church services, singing songs, studying their Bibles, attending prayer meetings, etc. Yet, all the talk in the world will never convince anyone that you or I truly love the Lord unless we obey His commandments.

How can we know His commandments unless we study His word? When we study His Word, how can we comprehend what He is saying unless the Holy Spirit illumines our minds and teaches us? It is God the Holy Spirit who inspired the writing for His holy Word through holy men. He alone can help us understand the true meaning of the Scripture and enable us to obey His commands.

Thus, the reality of Christ abiding in us is made possible through a supernatural enabling of the Holy Spirit who came to glorify Christ and through whose indwelling presence the Lord Jesus will reveal Himself to us.

Is Jesus Christ a reality in your life? If not, it is quite likely that you are not demonstrating your love for Him by studying His Word and obeying His commandments.

Bible Reading:John 14:15-22

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: With the help of the Holy Spirit who enable me to live the supernatural life, I will endeavor to demonstrate my love for Christ by studying His word and obeying His commandments.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Just Believe Jesus

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Suppose you give me a gift.  Let’s say you present me with a new tie.  I take it out of the box, examine it and say thank you, and then reach for my wallet.  “Now, how much do I owe you?” I ask.

You think I’m kidding. “It’s a gift,” you say, “you don’t need to pay me.”

“I understand,” I respond, but show I really don’t by asking, “Could I write you a check?”

In trying to buy your gift, I’ve degraded your grace.  I’ve robbed you of the joy of giving.  How often we rob God.  Have you considered what an insult it is to God when we try to pay him for his goodness?  Sly is the scheme of Satan!  He causes us to question grace, to earn it.  What is it God wants us to do?  Just believe…believe the One he sent.  And receive the gift he gives. “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”  John 6:29.

Read more A Gentle Thunder

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