Charles Stanley – The Christ-Centered Life

 

2 Corinthians 5:14-15

If someone asked if your life is centered on Christ, how would you respond? Oftentimes a Christ-centered life is equated with going to church, giving, praying, reading the Bible, and talking to other people about Jesus. However, did you know that even if you do every one of these things, it’s still possible to live a life that is controlled by self rather than Christ?

This is because our motives may be self-centered. Religious activities can be done for a variety of reasons that have nothing to do with our love for Jesus. We could be seeking to relieve feelings of guilt or to make ourselves feel better or look more righteous. Perhaps we read the Bible to quickly find a verse that affirms us. Or prayer might be our attempt to get God to do what we want.

The answer is not to give up on these good activities but to shift our focus to Christ and what He desires. Our battle with self is one that will continue as long as we live in these earthly bodies. That’s why Paul tells us to “lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted,” and to “put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth” (Eph. 4:22; Eph. 4:24).

A Christ-centered life is fueled by love for the Savior, which flows from increasing knowledge of Him. And we learn to know Jesus more intimately through reading, praying, and quietly abiding in His presence. As Christ increases in our mind and heart, we’ll discover that our self-focus decreases and He becomes the delight of our lives.

Bible in One Year: Ezra 5-7

 

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Our Daily Bread — “God Saved My Life”

 

Bible in a Year:1 Chronicles 22–24; John 8:28–59

When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

John 8:44

Today’s Scripture & Insight:John 8:42-47

When Aaron (not his real name) was 15, he began praying to Satan: “I felt like he and I had a partnership.” Aaron started to lie, steal, and manipulate his family and friends. He also experienced nightmares: “I woke up one morning and saw the devil at the end of the bed. He told me that I was going to pass my exams and then die.” Yet when he finished his exams, he lived. Aaron reflected, “It was clear to me that he was a liar.”

Hoping to meet girls, Aaron went to a Christian festival, where a man offered to pray for him. “While he was praying, I felt a sense of peace flood my body.” He felt something “more powerful, and more liberating,” than what he felt from Satan. The man who prayed told Aaron God had a plan and Satan was a liar. This man echoed what Jesus said of Satan when He responded to some who opposed him: “He is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).

Aaron turned to Christ from Satanism and now “belongs to God” (v. 47). He ministers in an urban community, sharing the difference following Jesus makes. He’s a living testament of God’s saving power: “I can say with confidence that God saved my life.”

God is the source of all that is good, holy, and true. We can turn to Him to find truth.

By Amy Boucher Pye

Reflect & Pray

How have you experienced God rescuing you from evil? Who can you share your story with this week?

God is more powerful than the father of lies.

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – God at Terminal Five

 

I wrote one of the last sections of the book Why Suffering? on a plane flight from London to New York.(1) As I came through security at Heathrow Airport, I had about an hour until my departure, and I had it in mind to find a quiet spot and make a start on the writing I had planned.

As I began to walk toward the departure gates, a small sign for the “Multi-Faith Prayer Room” caught my eye, and instantaneously—though I have never before had an urge to visit an airport prayer room—I felt this conviction that there was someone in that room whom I was supposed to talk with. It was as if someone had just told me, “There is someone waiting to speak with you there,” even though I had not audibly heard those words.

I did an about-face and walked a good distance away from my departure gate to the arrivals terminal where the prayer room was located. When I walked in, there was one man in the room, sitting in a corner on the floor. He appeared to be about my age. When he saw me looking around the prayer room, he asked, “Are you religious?” We began speaking about what it means to be religious, and he soon shared with me that he was going through the worst suffering of his life.

Mohammed fought back tears as he shared about what no one would ever want to go through. He expressed that he never talks about such things with anyone, but that he just needed to get it out. He told me that he used to pray five times a day, but that now the suffering is too much; he opens his mouth to pray and nothing comes out. Finally, Mohammed challenged me, “If God exists, why is there so much suffering? And where is he amidst it all?”

Now I understood why we were supposed to meet. I told Mohammed that the one person of whom he finally asked “Why suffering?” was currently writing a book by that very title, and in fact was walking in the opposite direction toward the departure gates when God turned him around and led him to this specific room to share that God does care and that he is present.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – God at Terminal Five

Joyce Meyer – Acknowledge God

 

In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. — Proverbs 3:6

Adapted from the resource Power Thoughts Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

It is so easy to start making a plan instead of waiting on God to give us His plan. Sometimes we are so entrenched in our own plans that we don’t even sense the leading of the Holy Spirit.

But the proverb says to acknowledge God in all our ways, and that means to care about what He thinks and submit our plans to Him for approval.

Having a plan is not a bad thing, but we can simply say to God each day, “Lord, I have a plan for today, but I acknowledge You in it. And if You don’t approve of any part of it, then I am willing to change and do what You want.”

If you truly care about what God desires, He will direct you in the way you should go if any changes need to be made to your plans.

Prayer Starter: Father, I lift my plans up to You for this day. Please lead me by Your Spirit and direct me in the way I should go. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Long, Satisfying Life

 

“If you want a long and satisfying life, closely follow my instructions” (Proverbs 3:2).

A famous children’s specialist declared, “When it comes to a serious illness, the child who has been taught to obey has four times the chance of recovery that the spoiled and undisciplined child has.”

Every parent should consider well the implications of that statement. We have all been taught that one of the Ten Commandments was for children to obey their parents.

But it is doubtful that many of us have ever considered that obedience might mean the difference between the saving or losing of a child’s life.

The hymnwriter who said that we should “trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus” well knew what he was saying. A “long and satisfying life” certainly would be synonymous with a “happy life.”

Many Christians have every intention of following God’s instructions – without ever really knowing what those instructions are. That is why it is supremely important for every believer to spend time in God’s Word, the book of instructions for Christians.

Are you one of those who truly want a long satisfying life? Then, are you willing to follow God’s instructions for your life? Are you willing to familiarize yourself thoroughly with His instructions so that you will have no difficulty knowing and following them?

Bible Reading: Proverbs 3:1-8

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will follow closely God’s instructions in order that I may live a long and satisfying life.

 

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Max Lucado – The Power of a Seed

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

“Blessed are the peacemakers,” (Matthew 5:9).  Jesus said.  The principle for peace is the same as the principle for crops–  Never underestimate the power of a seed.  Somebody in your world desperately needs a word of peace.  Want to see a miracle?  Plant a word of love heart-deep in that person’s life.  Nurture it with a smile and a prayer, and watch what happens.

When God’s people had forgotten his name, he planted the seed of his own self in the womb of a Jewish girl.  The seed shoved away the stones of legalism, oppression and prejudice.  Then the stone of death was rolled by humans and sealed by Satan in front of the tomb.  But the seed of God shoved, the ground trembled, the rock tumbled, and the flower of Easter blossomed.  Never underestimate the power of a seed.

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Denison Forum – Truck driver survives Missouri tornado: ‘I’m just glad God was with me tonight’

 

David Bell was in his truck on the side of a highway when a tornado struck Jefferson City, Missouri, Wednesday night. Houses collapsed around him. Poles snapped and transformers blew out. The tornado sent debris thirteen thousand feet into the air.

Bell had pulled over to the shoulder of Highway 54 with 44,500 pounds of soda in his trailer, not knowing he’d be in the path of the tornado. “That storm picked me up and slammed me down like I was nothing but a soda can,” he told CNN‘s John Berman yesterday.

He added: “It definitely gave me a new outlook on life. Very grateful that I’m alive. I should have been smarter and heeded the warnings. I’m just glad God was with me tonight.

“Rats are taking over New York City”

I can hear skeptics across the country asking, “But what about the people whose homes were destroyed? If we praise God for the good, shouldn’t we blame him for the bad?”

There’s much they could cite in today’s news.

According to the United Nations, drug-resistant infections could kill ten million people annually by 2050. A ten-foot great white shark has been spotted in the Long Island Sound.

And the New York Times reports that “rats are taking over New York City.” Increased construction is digging up burrows, forcing more rats into the open. Mild winters and more trash from tourists are contributing to the problem as well.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Truck driver survives Missouri tornado: ‘I’m just glad God was with me tonight’

Charles Stanley – Salvation: The First Step

 

Acts 16:19-40

After a baby takes his first steps, the parents call loved ones. They excitedly announce the awesome accomplishment, which is the beginning of a new life of greater mobility and maturity. In the same way, the Christian life begins with a first step—salvation. But it’s only the start of a new life of increasing spiritual growth.

When the Philippian jailer asked Paul and Silas, “What must I do to be saved?” they answered, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:30-31). It’s simple enough that even a child can do it, and after salvation, we are all like babies taking our first steps. A new believer doesn’t understand all the doctrines of salvation any more than a toddler knows all the mechanics of walking. However, once we are saved, we have a responsibility to learn what God has done for us and to take more steps of obedience in the Christian life.

Genuine salvation always results in transformation. When we receive Jesus as our personal Savior, He comes to live within us through the Holy Spirit. Our old way of life no longer fits our new identity, and the Spirit works within us to make us more like Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”

Has there been a particular point in your life when you recognized your sin and then asked Jesus to forgive you and become your Savior? If so, how has your life been transformed since then? Spiritual growth is one of the ways we can know that we are saved.

Bible in One Year: 2 Chronicles 32-34

 

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Our Daily Bread — Marvelously Unique

 

Bible in a Year:1 Chronicles 13–15; John 7:1–27

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Psalm 139:14

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Psalm 139:1-14

Human beings are not special—at least according to the London Zoo. In 2005, the zoo introduced a four-day exhibit: “Humans in Their Natural Environment.” The human “captives” were chosen through an online contest. To help visitors understand the humans, the zoo workers created a sign detailing their diet, habitat, and threats. According to the zoo’s spokesperson, the goal of the exhibit was to downplay the uniqueness of human beings. One participant in the exhibit seemed to agree. “When they see humans as animals, here, it kind of reminds them that we’re not that special.”

What a stark contrast to what the Bible says about human beings: God “fearfully and wonderfully” made us in “his image” (Psalm 139:14; Genesis 1:26–27).

David began Psalm 139 by celebrating God’s intimate knowledge of him (vv. 1–6) and His all-encompassing presence (vv. 7–12). Like a master weaver, God not only formed the intricacies of David’s internal and external features (vv. 13–14), but He also made him a living soul, giving spiritual life and the ability to intimately relate to God. Meditating on God’s handiwork, David responded in awe, wonder, and praise (v. 14).

Human beings are special. God created us with marvelous uniqueness and the awesome ability to have an intimate relationship with Him. Like David, we can praise Him because we’re the workmanship of His loving hands.

By Marvin Williams

Reflect & Pray

What are some practical implications of knowing and believing you’re fearfully and wonderfully made? What are some negative consequences of not believing this?

God created human beings to be like Him.

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – A Different Side of Good News

“For a difficult journey, minimal benefits, bitter cold, long months of darkness, constant fatigue and hardship. Most will quit. Honor and recognition in case of success.”

These were the words inscribed on a University of Washington men’s rowing crew advertisement I spotted recently while walking on the university campus. For those who know the history of the men’s crew at U of W, this advertisement will not come as a surprise. The team’s history is replete with times of dramatic struggle and monumental triumph. Perhaps most notable is the story of their quest for gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics: an eight oar crew who were not expected to compete against even the East Coast American teams at the time showed astonishing strength to provide a winning story that would not be forgotten.

When I first came across the full-page advert for the men’s crew, I read it at least ten times over. It struck me that of all the ways in which the rowing department would choose to draw first year students to their sport, this was the way they chose to do it: not by enticing students with reward, but with the cost. Yes, there might be glory, the advert hinted, but that was not the compelling point. There would be no guarantee of glory to woo potential recruits. What was promised was pain and sacrifice; this was the U of W crew’s appeal.

This impassioned cry of the rowing crew made me think of certain aspects of the Christian faith that are not often mentioned, but still very real: times of felt darkness, a difficult journey throughout life, fatigue and hardship with the ever-present challenge to quit. Jesus Christ’s message to his friends and to those who would follow him shares similarities to the U of W men’s crew. At one point, Christ looked to his closest friends and told them that in the world they would experience trouble and suffering. Those are not exactly the cheery words one wants to hear from the leader of their movement. Sometimes, as I imaginatively read between the lines of the gospels, I wonder whether any of Christ’s friends offered to help him with public relations. Maybe Peter advised Jesus to change his tact. I can imagine Peter taking Jesus aside and saying, “Okay, Jesus. This isn’t a bad marketing angle, but it isn’t a good one either! How about you try something like, ‘Okay everyone, ahem, as I was saying earlier, in the world you will experience trouble and suffering. But once you come to me, everything will be okay. You won’t face any trouble or suffering.’”

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – A Different Side of Good News

Joyce Meyer – Love Can Change People

 

All day long he craves and craves, but the righteous gives and does not hold back. — Proverbs 21:26

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

I once read a story in Guideposts Magazine, a remarkable account of how love changed a person’s life. A Christian woman lived next door to an elderly lady who never came out of her house or even raised her window shades to let light into her home. This lady’s husband had died, and she herself had endured a stroke, which had left her lonely and bitter.

The Christian woman and her two young children began trying to reach out to the elderly recluse, but every time they did, she rejected their advances. They baked cookies every week for a long time and delivered them to their neighbor’s door. The first time, she opened the door just a crack, accepted the cookies, thanked them, and closed the door.

The neighbor’s response was not what the Christian woman had hoped for, but she lovingly persisted. And eventually love did work! The elderly lady accepted a casserole from her and said more than just a short thank-you. As the visits continued, the elderly woman gradually began to chat longer.

Finally, one day, the Christian woman’s children picked some flowers from their garden and delivered them to their neighbor. Eventually, they all became good friends. The elderly lady got her life back. She opened her blinds, her door, and her heart, and she began to live again—all because someone who loved God was determined to love her.

Many people in the world today are just like the elderly neighbor. They have had sadness or difficulties in their lives and have become bitter. They seem to reject love, yet love is what they need most. Be a person who gives of yourself and your resources to reach out and show love to someone who desperately needs it.

Prayer Starter: Father, let me be an instrument of Your love today. Show me someone I can bless, encourage and uplift. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – We can Have Real Peace

 

“So now, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith in His promises, we can have real peace with Him because of what Jesus Christ our Lord had done for us” (Romans 5:1).

When Arthur DeMoss, one of my very best friends and one of our Lord’s choicest servants, went to be with the Lord, as the result of an unexpected heart attack, all of us were shocked. The word reached me in Austria, where I was meeting with our European staff. Immediately, I flew back to the United States for the memorial service.

As I participated in that service, I looked over the large audience, about half of whom had been introduced to Christ through the ministry of this man whom we had all come to honor.

In the crowd, I saw one face that stood out – a face that was most radiant of all. It was Art’s widow, Nancy. She was sitting in the front row with their seven children. Her radiant countenance was a demonstration to me of the supernatural joy and peace which God gives in such times of extreme grief.

Nancy and Art were the greatest of lovers and friends. They had been deeply in love since their courtship and were almost inseparable whether in the building of the business, in the rearing of their family or in their burden for evangelism and the souls of men.

Yet, in this time of Nancy’s greatest sorrow, the evidence that she was filled with the Spirit radiated from her countenance. She was experiencing the supernatural peace of God – love’s security, which is available to all of God’s children.

Bible Reading: Romans 5:2-11

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will claim by faith God’s peace – not only for me but also for family and friends in need of such peace – and seek to introduce others to the One who is the Prince of Peace.

 

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Max Lucado – The Dynamic of Mercy

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”  Jesus says the merciful are shown mercy.  Forgiving others allows us to see how God has forgiven us.  The dynamic of giving grace is the key to understanding grace.  For it is when we forgive others, that we begin to feel what God feels.

Those who taste God’s grace but refuse to share it are tortured by anger; choked by bitterness; and consumed by revenge.  But for the one who tastes God’s grace and gives it to others, the reward is a blessed liberation. The prison door is thrown open.  And the prisoner set free is yourself.  Find the face of God who forgave you in the face of your enemy. Then set your enemy and yourself free.

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Denison Forum – What can Christians learn from ‘Game of Thrones’?

 

Game of Thrones ended Sunday night after eight seasons. It was broadcast in 207 countries and territories and was one of the most popular series on television.

Because of its pornographic sexual content and extreme violence, I did not watch the show. But I believe culture-changing Christians can learn something important from it.

Two months of testing for a wig

Game of Thrones filmed in ten countries. The series used 12,986 extras and two thousand crew members in Northern Ireland alone. It included three thousand pyrotechnic effects, fifty miles of fabric for costumes, and more than twenty-four thousand pounds of silicone for prosthetics. Wigs for one of the lead characters required two months of testing and seven prototypes.

Over its first seven seasons, the series received 174 award nominations and won sixty-three times.

The series is just one example of the fact that our culture’s moral compass is broken. A generation ago, a movie as violent and pornographic as Game of Thrones would have been X-rated.

Continue reading Denison Forum – What can Christians learn from ‘Game of Thrones’?

Charles Stanley – The Justice of Divine Judgment

 

Revelation 20:11-15

Every person will face God on judgment day. Whenever that topic comes up, I am usually asked something like, “What about people who live in remote areas, who will never hear about Jesus?” The concerned questioner is really wondering, How could a loving Lord send an ignorant person to hell? In other words, how can it be fair to condemn those who have never heard the gospel?

To understand how God judges, we should recognize two truths about Him. First, He is not limited. While whole people groups still have no Scripture in their language, God always reaches individuals whose hearts are open to knowing Him. Men like Abraham and Moses had no Scriptures, and yet the Lord spoke to them.

Second, God reveals Himself to all people, whether or not they have access to the Bible. As we saw yesterday, He not only demonstrates His power and attributes through creation; He also programs our conscience to understand the basic distinctions between right and wrong. For those who are blessed to hear the gospel at some point, Jesus Christ is the greatest revelation of God in their life.

When people stand before the Father, He will judge them on three criteria: the amount of truth to which each has been exposed; how many opportunities there were to accept the truth and share it with others; and what was done with those opportunities. The believer’s responsibility, then, is to reach as many as possible with the gospel so that no one need ask, “What about those who have never heard of Jesus?”

Bible in One Year: 2 Chronicles 29-31

 

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Our Daily Bread — Divine Escape

 

Bible in a Year:1 Chronicles 10–12; John 6:45–71

So from that day on they plotted to take his life.

John 11:53

Today’s Scripture & Insight:John 11:45-53

Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot mystery The Clocks features antagonists who commit a series of murders. Although their initial plot targeted a single victim, they began taking more lives in order to cover up the original crime. When confronted by Poirot, a conspirator confessed, “It was only supposed to be the one murder.”

Like the schemers in the story, the religious authorities formed a conspiracy of their own. After Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:38–44), they called an emergency meeting and plotted to kill Him (vv. 45–53). But they didn’t stop there. After Jesus rose from the dead, the religious leaders spread lies about what happened at the grave (Matthew 28:12–15). Then they began a campaign to silence Jesus’s followers (Acts 7:57–8:3). What started as a religious plot against one man for the “greater good” of the nation became a web of lies, deceit, and multiple casualties.

Sin plunges us down a road that often has no end in sight, but God always provides a way of escape. When Caiaphas the high priest said, “It is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish” (John 11:50), he didn’t understand the profound truth of his words. The conspiracy of the religious leaders would help bring about the redemption of mankind.

Jesus saves us from sin’s vicious grip. Have you received the freedom He offers?

By Remi Oyedele

Reflect & Pray

What road are you going down that could take you further away from God? He offers real freedom. What do you need to confess to Him today?

Give sin room, and it can take over a life.

To learn more about the Gospels that record the life of Jesus, visit christianuniversity.org/NT331.

 

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Wounds Honored

 

Why Won’t God Heal Amputees, a popular website and one-time viral You Tube video, puts forward the basic premise that God doesn’t answer prayer since God has never healed an amputee. By extension, they make the assertion that since God doesn’t heal every person of every infirmity, God does not exist.

While there are obvious false assumptions made about God, prayer, and healing (how does one know that in the whole world God has not healed an amputee, for starters) many interesting questions are raised for those who believe in both God and prayer. Those who do pray for healing often fail to experience it in the way they expect—healing rarely parallels a conventional or traditional sense of that word. Loved ones die of cancer, friends are killed in car accidents, economic catastrophe befalls even the most frugal, and people in much of the developing world die from diseases long cured in the West. Beyond the realm of physical healing, many experience emotional and psychological trauma that leave open and festering wounds. Or, there are those perpetual personality ticks and quirks that seem beyond the reach of the supernatural. Given all of this contrary experience, what does it mean to receive healing, and should one hold out hope that healing can come in this world? Specifically, for those who pray, and for those who believe that God does heal, how might the persistence of wounds—psychological, emotional and physical—be understood?

In a memorable New York Times article, Marcia Mount Shoop writes of her horrific rape as a fifteen year old girl.(1) As the descendant of three generations of ministers she ran to the safest place she knew after suffering this horrific trauma—the church. Yet as she stood amid the congregants singing hymns and reciting creeds, she felt no relief. Even her favorite verse from Romans, ‘and we know that in all things God works for good with those who love him’ sounded hollow and brought little comfort. How could she ever be healed or experience ‘good’ after this horrific act of violence?

Once at home, alone with the secret of her rape, Marcia Shoop found something that enabled her to survive. “I felt Jesus so close,” she recalled in an interview. “It wasn’t the same Jesus I experienced at church. It was this tiny, audible whisper that said, ‘I know what happened. I understand.’ And it kept me alive, that frayed little thread.”(2)

The hope that Jesus was physically close to her in her pain led Ms. Shoop to become a minister herself more than a quarter century after her horrific rape. It also led her to more deeply connect her body with her soul and mind. This re-connection of the body with soul and with mind is where she experienced what she would call ‘healing.’ God was with her in the living, breathing, physical reality of Jesus who likewise continued to bear the wounds of his own crucifixion and torture after the gospel writers testify to him having been raised from the dead.

The Gospel of John records the risen Jesus as inviting Thomas to “reach your finger and see my hands; and reach your hand, and put it into my side.”(3) Jesus was not a disembodied spirit without flesh and blood as a result of his resurrection from the dead. He was a body, and a body that was wounded. Even the resurrection did not take away his bodily scars! Pondering this reality can bring great hope to those who follow Jesus, and to all who wonder about how they might find healing for their wounds. For healing did not equate a lack of wounding, or physical perfection—being untouched by the sorrow and suffering of a world gone horribly wrong—even for Jesus.

For Ms. Shoop, healing didn’t mean the total erasure of the pain and horror of her rape, as difficult as it was to bear that wound. It meant that she encountered the wounded God in the person of Jesus who continued to bear the scars and wounds of his crucifixion. As she recalled, “What happened to me wasn’t ‘for the good,’” referring again to her favorite passage in Romans. But God took the garbage, the stench, [of that horrible event] and gently, tenderly, indignantly wove it into this moment of redemption. What a gift.”(4)

Healing is not a gift that comes instantly, nor does it always look like what we expect. It is often a slow, painful journey through the void and desolation of suffering. It will not erase our wounds. Yet, the promise of resurrection, of new life that comes even with wounded hands and sides, offers another picture of healing where being an ‘amputee’ might be honored and redeemed.

 

Margaret Manning Shull is a member of the speaking and writing team at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Bellingham, Washington.

 

(1) Samuel G. Freedman, “A Rape Survivor Now Ministers Body and Soul,” The New York Times Online, June 29, 2012. Accessed June 29, 2012.
(2) Ibid., accessed June 29, 2012.
(3) John 20:27.
(4) Freedman, The New York Times Online, June 29, 2012. Accessed June 29, 2012.

 

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Joyce Meyer – Winning God’s Way

 

Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths. — Psalm 25:4

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

Most of us are happy when we get what we want. That’s human nature. But when we walk with God as we should, other things become more important than seeing our desires fulfilled—things like seeking God’s desires for our lives, hearing His voice as we make decisions, and being obedient to His leading in every situation.

Dave and I once saw a picture in a store in the mall and I wanted to buy it. Dave didn’t think we needed it, so I threw one of my silent temper tantrums; I simply became quiet because I was angry.

“You okay?” Dave asked.

“Fine. I’m fine, fine, just fine.” I responded with my mouth while my mind was thinking, You always try to tell me what to do. What can’t you just leave me alone and let me do what I want to do? Neh, neh, neh.

I continued pouting for about an hour. I was trying to manipulate Dave. I knew that with his peaceful, phlegmatic personality; he would rather let me have my way than fight with me. I was too immature in the Lord to understand that my behavior was ungodly.

I began to push Dave to buy the picture, and we finally bought it. As I placed it in my home, the Holy Spirit said to me, “You know, you really didn’t win. You got your picture, but you still lost because you didn’t do it My way.”

The only way to win in life is to do things God’s way. Then, even if we don’t get what we want, we have the great satisfaction of knowing we have obeyed His voice—and that outlasts the satisfaction that comes with any earthly possession or achievement.

Prayer Starter: Father, I want to do things Your way. Please continue to change me so my thoughts, words, attitudes and actions reflect Your character in everything I do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Preserved From the Enemy

 

“Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me” (Psalm 138:7, KJV).

Robert Bruce, the famous emancipator of Scotland, was fleeing from his enemies. He sought refuge in a cave.

Hot on his trail, his enemies reached his hideout where they saw that a spider had built a web over the mouth of the cave. His pursuers, concluding that he could not have entered without first destroying the web, turned around and went on their way.

“Oh God,” Bruce prayed, “I thank Thee that in the tiny bowels of a spider you can place for me a shelter, and then send the spider in time to place it for my protection.”

“God works in mysterious ways His wonders to perform,” and whatever is necessary to protect His children from their enemies will be done.

All of life’s journey is summed up in that one work “walk.” Constant action, movement onward, never stationary, always on the move. Life is not simply a walk; often it is a walk “in the midst of trouble.” Since sin came into the world, pleasure is mixed with pain. Trials and conflict often seem to mar the pathway.

To the trusting, confident believer in Christ, however, there is certain renewal and deliverance. Christ’s indwelling Holy Spirit, given full control, guarantees victory and joy and abundant life – supernatural life.

Bible Reading: Psalm 138:1-6

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will see God’s protecting hand in my walk with Him today and proclaim His faithfulness to others.

 

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Max Lucado – Resentment Can Be Deadly

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Resentment is the cocaine of the emotions, causing our blood to pump.  And our energy level to rise. There is a dangerous point at which our anger ceases to be an emotion and becomes a driving force.  That’s why bitter people complain to anyone who will listen.

And, like cocaine, resentment can kill.  Physically– with high blood pressure and other conditions. Emotionally– with anxiety and depression.  Spiritually– as it shrivels the soul.

Hatred is the rabid dog that turns on its owner.  Revenge is the raging fire that consumes the arsonist. Bitterness is the trap that snares the hunter.  And mercy….mercy is the choice that can set them all free.

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