Charles Stanley – The Lord, Our Shepherd

 

John 10:7-15

In the ancient world, the man who was given charge of the flocks had a challenging job. He had the responsibility of leading the sheep to new pastures and fresh water, defending them from predators, and finding the lost ones when they strayed. But his was a humble job because it was lonely and dangerous. The shepherd lived among the flock and slept across the doorway of the fold to keep the sheep in and the wolves out. This was hard, constant, and thankless work.

Yet Christ sat among His followers and said, “I am the good shepherd” (John 10:11; John 10:14). The modern church misses the impact of those words. We have a rustic but rosy view of Jesus as a shepherd. The sovereign God of the universe humbled Himself and got His hands dirty working directly with beings just as errant, willful, and sometimes dumb as sheep.

Remember you read a moment ago that tending the flock required lying across the doorway of the sheep pen? Well, Jesus did exactly that—He became the door for us (John 10:9). He sacrificed His life for the great flock of humanity so that anyone who chooses to believe in Him may enter God’s fold (John 3:16). And once inside, we are provided for, sought when we wander, and protected from enemies.

Jesus sees Himself as mankind’s Shepherd. Thankfully, we are more than just a herd to Him. He knows everything about each one of us—our name, character, and flaws—and loves us despite all of our imperfections. What better way to show love in return than to know His voice and follow wherever it leads us?

Bible in One Year: Acts 5-7

 

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Our Daily Bread — Confident Hope

 

Read: Philippians 1:19–26 | Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 50; Hebrews 8

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Philippians 1:21

Dr. William Wallace was serving as a missionary surgeon in Wuzhou, China, in the 1940s when Japan attacked China. Wallace, who was in charge of Stout Memorial Hospital at the time, ordered the hospital to load his equipment on barges and continue to function as a hospital while floating up and down rivers to avoid infantry attacks.

During dangerous times, Philippians 1:21—one of Wallace’s favorite verses—reminded him that if he lived, he had work to do for the Savior; but if he died, he had the promise of eternity with Christ. The verse took on special meaning when he died while falsely imprisoned in 1951.

Paul’s writing reflects a deep devotion we can aspire to as followers of Jesus, enabling us to face trials and even danger for His sake. It is devotion enabled by the Holy Spirit and the prayers of those closest to us (v. 19). It’s also a promise. Even when we surrender ourselves to continued service under difficult circumstances, it is with this reminder: when our life and work end here, we still have the joy of eternity with Jesus ahead of us.

In our hardest moments, with hearts committed to walking with Christ now, and with our eyes firmly fixed on the promise of eternity with Him, may our days and our acts bless others with the love of God.

Make of me, Father, a willing servant in times of weakness and times of strength.

Sacrifices offered to God are opportunities to showcase His love.

By Randy Kilgore

INSIGHT

When a believer dies, we often comfort the grieving with these words: “He/she is now home with the Lord.” Paul affirmed this same certainty when he boldly declared that when he dies he will “depart and be with Christ” (Philippians 1:23). Paul’s assurance is built upon the very words of our Lord Jesus. As Christ was dying on the cross for our sins, He promised the believing thief, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).

What do we know about heaven? Paul saw it, but wasn’t permitted to say anything about it (2 Corinthians 12:3–4), and John saw it but only cryptically described it in Revelation 21–22. But when Jesus described it as “my Father’s home” (John 14:2 nlt), He spoke of the welcome, warmth, and intimacy we’ll find there with Him.

For further reading on heaven, see Our Eternal Home at discoveryseries.org/rd911.

  1. T. Sim

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Streams in the Desert for Kids -Above the Clouds

 

Job 37:21

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

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

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

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

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

Joyce Meyer – First Response

 

O God, You are my God; early will I seek You… — Psalm 63:1 (NKJV)

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

Sometimes I marvel at how long we can struggle in a situation before we think to talk to God about it and listen for His voice. We complain about our problems; we grumble; we murmur; we tell our friends; and we talk about how we wish God would do something about it.

We struggle with situations in our minds and in our emotions, while we often fail to take advantage of the simplest solution there is: prayer. But worse than that, we then make perhaps the most ridiculous statement known to man: “Well, I guess all I can do is pray.”

I am sure you have heard that before, and maybe you have even said it. We all have. We are all guilty of treating prayer as a last-ditch effort and saying things like, “Well, nothing else is working, so maybe we should pray.”

Do you know what that tells me? It tells me that we really do not believe in the power of prayer as we should. We carry burdens we do not need to bear—and life is much harder than it has to be—because we do not realize how powerful prayer is.

If we did, we would talk to God and listen to what He says about everything, not as a last resort, but as a first response.

Prayer Starter: Father, I take a moment right now to pray for the needs in my life. I know that You love me, You see what I’m going through, and You delight in helping me. Please help me to always run to You first. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Living the Godly Life

 

“As God’s messenger I give each of you God’s warning: Be honest in your estimate of yourselves, measuring your value by how much faith God has given you” (Romans 12:3).

A newly appointed director of affairs for our ministry came to me for counsel after being given his assignment. “Tell me,” he inquired, “what are the biggest problems that I will encounter in my new area of responsibility?”

“Three major ones,” I responded. “First, pride, the problem that causes Satan to seek a place of authority over God Himself, resulting in his expulsion from the heavenly kingdom. Since creation, man’s greatest problem has been pride – thinking more highly of oneself than one ought to think.

“Your second problem will be materialism – the desire to accumulate wealth, to live the good life, to keep up with the Joneses with better houses, cars, clothes, and security.

“And the third problem will be sex, the temptation to immorality. Man’s second greatest drive after self-perservation is sex. In the marriage bond, sex is one of the most beautiful of the God-given privileges. But out of marriage, it results in grieving and quenching the Spirit and, ultimately, in the discipline of God. Therefore, be faithful to the wife that God has given you and love her as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25).

“Keep yourself humble by God’s power. Seek the simple life and be motivated and constrained by the love of God for the souls of men, rather than for the good things of this world.”

This is my counsel to all of our staff. It is my message to all Christian leaders and to all who seek to live godly lives.

The highways and byways of the world are littered with men and women of great talent and ability who are no longer being used of God. The fire has gone out of their hearts; the smile is gone from their faces. They harvest no fruit for the kingdom. They have fallen, thinking more highly of themselves than they ought to think, after the example of Satan, the author of pride.

God’s Word admonishes us to think soberly, wisely, prudently and modestly. The faith which we each have is a gift from God, measure by Him. That fact alone should produce in you and me a true, humility, changing any feeling of pride to one of gratitude. The truly humble person regards God as the source of all blessings.

Bible Reading:Ephesians 4:1-6

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: When the temptation comes to think more highly of myself than I ought to think, with God’s help I will remember that everything I have is a gift of His grace. I will humble myself before God and man and, by faith, live a supernatural, godly life, dedicated to the extension of His kingdom

 

http://www.cru.org

Charles Stanley – The Benefits of Devotion

 

Psalm 141:1-4

Do you think of yourself as a person of prayer? In other words, does your devotion to the Lord express itself in a desire to be with Him, to bring Him all your concerns, and to know Him more deeply?

David was a man of prayer. Whether he was facing threats, confessing sin, or voicing praise and gratitude, his consistent habit was to call out to God. The result of his devotion was an intimate relationship with the Lord.

When we are serious about prayer, we too will discover increasing intimacy with God. As we spend time talking with our heavenly Father and reading His Word, we’ll start to see the world from His divine perspective—things that matter to God will become our concerns as well, and our petitions will increasingly reflect His interests and desires. Then as we see prayer requests answered, faith will strengthen and our heart will overflow with gratitude and love.

In time, the discipline of prayer and consistent exposure to Scripture begins to have a purifying effect upon us. When we allow regular study of God’s Word to fuel our communion with Him, the Holy Spirit implants His truth deep into our heart. As the Lord reveals personal areas of ungodliness, the Spirit gives us power to change. What’s more, we learn to recognize where to become involved and how to invest our time, finances, and spiritual gifts in His work.

The benefits of prayer are many, but greatest of all is the joy derived from being with the Lord whom we’ve grown to know and love.

Bible in One Year: Acts 3-4

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — His Presence

 

Read: Exodus 3:7–12 | Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 48–49; Hebrews 7

My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest. Exodus 33:14

The anxious father and his teenage son sat before the psychic. “How far is your son traveling?” the psychic asked. “To the big city,” the man replied, “and he will be gone for a long time.” Handing the father a talisman (a kind of good-luck charm), he said, “This will protect him wherever he goes.”

I was that boy. However, that psychic and that talisman could do nothing for me. While in that city, I put my faith in Jesus. I threw away the talisman and clung to Christ. Having Jesus in my life guaranteed God’s presence.

Thirty years later, my father, now a believer, said to me as we rushed my brother to the hospital, “Let us first pray; the Spirit of God goes with you and will be with you all the way!” We had learned that God’s presence and power is our only security.

Moses learned a similar lesson. He had a challenging task from God—to lead the people out of bondage in Egypt and into the Promised Land (Exodus 3:10). But God assured him, “I will be with you” (v. 12).

Our journey too is not without challenges, but we’re assured of God’s presence. As Jesus told His disciples, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

When the journey seems long and dreary, dear Lord, help me to remember that You are traveling with me.

There’s no need to fear where you’re going when Jesus is going with you.

By Lawrence Darmani

INSIGHT

For the enslaved Israelites, part of the reality of God’s presence was evidenced in His awareness of what they were suffering. In Exodus 3:7 we read, “The Lord said, ‘I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering.’ ” This should be encouraging to us as well. In our own seasons of struggle and pain, knowing that God is intimately aware of our suffering is the first step in trusting Him for the help and strength we need to endure. Not only does He see the struggle of His people, He moves to act on our behalf. In an ultimate sense, this is the same compassion that fueled the cross—He knows the depths of our brokenness and, in Christ, has provided a way of rescue.

Bill Crowder

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Joyce Meyer – God Can Fix It

 

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. — Romans 8:28

Adapted from the resource The Confident Women Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

A confident woman is not afraid to get out of her boat and shake things up. I’m not talking about doing whatever you want to do, but what you think God is leading you to do. If your heart is right, if you’ve done your best to seek God and done what you know to do to hear from God, and you feel like what’s come to you is right, you’ve got to step out and find out.

I’m not afraid to make mistakes, because I know that God knows I’m doing all that I know how to do, and that I’m on a journey. I’m not where I need to be, but thank God I am not where I used to be. I’m more excited about my progress than depressed about how far I have to go.

God approves of me. He doesn’t approve of everything I do, but He approves of me because I love Him and my faith is in Him, and I’m doing the best I can to follow Him. That’s what makes me bold to step out for Him and try new things and do new things. God is God. He can fix it if I make a mistake.

Prayer Starter: Lord, I take great confidence from the fact that You have the power to work all things together for good, even my mistakes. I delight in Your approval of my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bible Reading:Isaiah 65:18-25

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

 

 

http://www.cru.org

Charles Stanley – Devoted to Prayer

 

Colossians 4:2-4

No matter where we are in our Christian walk, most of us will admit that our prayer life isn’t what we’d like it to be. Our attempts to make room for prayer in our busy schedules are often short-lived. And when we do manage to spend time with the Lord, we find ourselves easily distracted by random thoughts, our own desires, and the demands of the day.

Instead of giving up in frustration and settling for a sporadic devotional experience, we need to realize that prayer was essential to Christ and should be to us also. The road to a deepening prayer life begins with a commitment to make it a top priority in our day.

We follow through by setting aside a daily time to pray and read from God’s Word. Then we need to find a location that minimizes interruptions. Since we’re already busy, sacrifice may be necessary to make this happen. We might have to wake up earlier, give up a favorite activity, or use our lunch hour.

Scripture is a key factor because it teaches us about our Father’s character, promises, and priorities. The Word of God shifts our thoughts from worldly cares and pleasures to a focus on Him. Through it, we are reminded of His importance to us and our desire to please Him. Then we become ready to ask in accordance with His will and hear what He has to say.

Developing a habit of prayer may require sacrifice, but it’s worth the cost and effort. Spending time in the Lord’s presence is the best way for us to know Him better and love Him more.

Bible in One Year: Acts 1-2

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — What We Can Do

 

Read: Philippians 2:1–11 | Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 46–47; Hebrews 6

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus. Philippians 2:5

Even though confined to his bed, 92-year-old Morrie Boogaart knit hats for the homeless in Michigan. He had reportedly made more than 8,000 hats in fifteen years. Instead of focusing on his health or limitations, Mr. Boogaart looked beyond himself and did what he could to place the needs of others above his own. He declared that his work made him feel good and gave him a purpose. He said, “I’m going to do this until I go home to the Lord”—which happened in February 2018. Though most recipients of his hats won’t know his story or how much he sacrificed to create each cap, Morrie’s simple act of persevering love is now inspiring people across the world.

We too can look past our struggles, place others before ourselves, and imitate our loving and compassionate Savior, Jesus Christ (Philippians 2:1–5). God in the flesh—the King of Kings—took on the “very nature of a servant” in genuine humility (vv. 6–7). Giving His life—the ultimate sacrifice—He took our place on the cross (v. 8). Jesus gave everything for us . . . all for the glory of God the Father (vv. 9–11).

As believers in Jesus, it’s our privilege to show love and demonstrate concern for others through acts of kindness. Even if we don’t think we have much to offer, we can adopt the attitude of servanthood. We can actively seek opportunities to make a difference in people’s lives by simply doing what we can.

We can model Christ’s love by doing what we can to serve others.

By Xochitl Dixon

INSIGHT

Before pointing to Christ Jesus—the supreme example of humility and selfless service-Paul exhorts believers to humbly serve the interests of others (Philippians 2:1-5). Previously Paul had instructed believers about the responsibilities of their heavenly citizenship (1:27). Gospel-worthy living finds expression in the context of worldly opposition (vv. 28-30) and among believers who share the blessings of a common spiritual union (2:1).

Arthur Jackson

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Curiosity and the Current Scandal

In an interview with Mars Hill Review producer Ken Myers, historian John Lukacs spoke of what surprised him most when he first arrived in America to teach at the university. He noticed in the students he taught a total lack of curiosity—and he claims it has only gotten worse. Anything we learn, says Lukacs, is compelled by the curiosity which first caused us to pursue it, to follow a topic where it leads, and in so doing, find out how very little we know.(1) This principle is highlighted in the French 16th century term for an intellectual historian. Such a scholar was called a “curieux,” notes Lukacs. That is, one who is curious.

Sometimes I wonder if curiosity has been replaced by a fascination with the current scandal, gossip, or mystery plastered about the media. Television ratings remind us that there is always something fantastic about a new revelation, a long-lost document, or some controversial new evidence. We are quickly pulled in by the promise of a scandal. We are easily taken with a good mystery. And we are compelled to be up on the latest public frenzy. But I’m afraid such fascination shows not an attitude of curiosity towards knowledge, but an attitude of passivity that is always waiting to be shown the next new thing.

It is not surprising then to watch whatever latest media revelation become a public fascination. Such was the case with James Cameron’s documentary called “The Lost Tomb of Jesus,” as he claimed there was new evidence that a tomb in Jerusalem held the remains of Jesus, his wife, and their son. “It doesn’t get bigger than this,” Cameron said at the press release. “We’ve done our homework; we’ve made the case; and now it’s time for the debate to begin.”(2) The foundations of Christianity were hardly devastated, as some of the headlines promised. But the heads of the masses were indeed turned, if only for a moment. Before the premiere of the documentary, the film’s companion book jumped to the top five best selling books online. The coming and going of May 21, 2011 and Harold Camping’s failed prediction of the end of the world presently holds a similar attention. Searches related to his false predictions have been top trends on both Google and Twitter since Saturday. Not surprising, many are using the story as further reason to laugh off religion in general.(3)

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Curiosity and the Current Scandal

Joyce Meyer – Watch for the “Suddenlies”

 

…We will not all sleep [in death], but we will all be [completely] changed [wondrously transformed], in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at [the sound of] the last trumpet call… — 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 (AMP)

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

We all like “suddenlies,” and as we draw closer to the end times, the Bible promises us a “season of suddenlies.” When Jesus returns to earth for you, you will be changed, transformed “in the twinkling of an eye”—in other words, suddenly.

You don’t have to be discouraged in your walk with God, because no matter what remains to be done in the transformation of your old man into your new man, it will be accomplished suddenly—at the appearing of Jesus in the heavenlies.

If Satan tries to tell you you’re going to stay the way you are forever, he is lying. God is even now in the process of changing you from glory to glory, and whatever remains to be changed in you, He will one day do suddenly.

Prayer Starter: Father, thank You for working in my life and changing me from glory to glory. Help me to expect Your goodness today and every day. Help me to put my hope in You and expect Your “suddenlies” in my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Our beginning Scripture deals with seven marvelous truths:

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

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

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

Bible Reading:Ephesians 1:3-6

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

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Go With Your Heart to the Cross

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Tears represent the heart, the spirit, and the soul of a person.  To put a lock and key on your emotions is to bury part of your Christlikeness! Especially when you come to Calvary.

You can’t go to the cross with just your head and not your heart.  It doesn’t work that way.  Calvary is not a mental trip.  It’s not an intellectual exercise.  It’s not a divine calculation or a cold theological principle. It’s a heart-splitting hour of emotion.

Don’t walk away dry-eyed and unstirred.  Don’t just straighten your tie and clear your throat. Don’t descend Calvary cool and collected.  Please. . .pause.  Look again. Those are nails in those hands.  That’s God on that cross.  It’s us who put him there!  No wonder they call him the Savior!

Read more Grace for the Moment II

 

http://www.maxlucado.com

Denison Forum – “Liberal icon” fractures 3 ribs in fall

Take my ribs, Ruth Bader Ginsburg.” This is how many across the nation have responded to the news that the longtime Supreme Court justice fell in her office Wednesday evening, breaking three ribs. Others have been less charitable.

Justice Ginsburg is a metaphor for American culture. How you reacted to the news of her accident likely reveals your position on today’s highly partisan political spectrum.

“A flaming feminist litigator”

Justice Ginsburg was one of nine women in her class at Harvard Law School. She was the first woman to become a tenured professor at Columbia University Law School and the co-founder of the Women’s Rights Project at the ACLU. As the leader of this project, she successfully argued six landmark cases before the Supreme Court.

President Clinton nominated her to the Supreme Court in 1993; the Senate confirmed her by a ninety-six to three vote. Since that time, she has gained a reputation for personal fortitude. She has yet to miss a day of oral arguments, even while undergoing chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer, recovering from surgery for colon cancer, and grieving the death of her husband in 2010.

Ginsburg has become a “liberal icon” who describes herself as “a flaming feminist litigator.” Her criticism of Donald Trump during the presidential campaign drew applause from his critics and censure from his supporters.

One of the gravest challenges we face

It is tempting to view today’s polarization of the Supreme Court as a necessary reflection of the polarization of our nation. Since we are divided between “red” and “blue” states, rural and urban, liberals and conservatives, it seems fitting that our justices reflect such division. And it seems appropriate that the president should be able to make judicial nominations consistent with his political position since he was elected by the will of the people.

Continue reading Denison Forum – “Liberal icon” fractures 3 ribs in fall

Charles Stanley –The Power to Change

 

Ephesians 2:1-10

Why do many of us who have trusted Jesus Christ as Savior still feel defeated and struggle with sin? One reason may be that we have never grasped exactly what took place on the cross. Instead of living in our new identity in Christ, we’re still seeing ourselves as hopeless sinners with no power to change.

To understand what a drastic transformation took place at salvation, let’s see what God says about who we once were without Christ.

Spiritually Dead. We weren’t simply the “walking wounded”; we were actually dead in our sins and powerless to make ourselves alive or able to relate to God.

Deserving His Wrath and Judgment. Our sins not only put a barrier between us and God but also made us enemies destined for His righteous condemnation.

Helpless and Hopeless. Nothing we could do would make us acceptable to God. We couldn’t even turn to Him in repentance without His Spirit’s intervention.

But God loved us! What an amazing thought—that the perfect, holy God would show rebellious sinners love and mercy. He sent His Son to rescue us by bearing our sins and suffering the divine wrath we deserved. Now all of us who believe in Christ and accept His saving work on our behalf are raised from spiritual death to eternal life.

The barriers that once kept us alienated from God have been removed in Christ. We no longer have to live defeated by sin, because we have the Spirit’s power to live in accordance with our new identity in Christ. God’s grace is sufficient—not only to save us but also to transform our lives.

Bible in One Year: John 14-16

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Dad at the Dentist

 

Read: Matthew 26:36–39 | Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 37–39; Hebrews 3

My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will. Matthew 26:39

I didn’t expect a profound lesson about the Father’s heart at the dentist’s office—but I got one. I was there with my ten-year-old son. He had an adult tooth coming in under a baby tooth that hadn’t fallen out yet. It had to come out. There was no other way.

My son, in tears, pleaded with me: “Dad, isn’t there another way? Can’t we just wait and see? Please, Dad, I don’t want to have this tooth pulled!” It just about broke my heart, but I told him, “Son, it’s got to come out. I’m sorry. There’s no other way.” And I held his hand as he wriggled and writhed while the dentist removed that stubborn molar, tears in my eyes too. I couldn’t take his pain away; the best I could offer was to be present with him in it.

In that moment, I remembered Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, asking His Father for a different way. How it must have broken the Father’s heart to see His beloved Son in such agony! Yet there was no other way to save His people.

In our lives, we sometimes face unavoidable yet painful moments—just like my son did. But because of Jesus’s work for us through His Spirit, even in our darkest moments our loving heavenly Father is always present with us (Matthew 28:20).

Father, thank You for loving us so much that You sent Your beloved Son to save us, even though it must have broken Your heart to do so. In our times of joy or pain, thank You for Your Spirit holding and carrying us.

For more on the topic of suffering, see christianuniversity.org/CA211.

Our loving heavenly Father promises He is always present with us, even in our darkest moments.

By Adam Holz

INSIGHT

In Matthew 26:36–39, we catch a crystal-clear glimpse of the Savior’s humanity. The Last Supper is over. Jesus has foretold Judas’s betrayal (v. 25) and predicted the disciples’ abandonment of Him (vv. 31–35). Now they’re in the garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus often brought His disciples (Luke 21:37; 22:39). As He prepares to talk to His Father, Jesus tells the disciples, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me” (Matthew 26:38). Think of it! In this, His darkest hour, the Creator of the cosmos requests the company of His friends.

Jesus goes a short distance away to pray, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me” (v. 39). Yet even Jesus doesn’t get all His prayers answered with a yes. Soon He will cry out from the cross, “My God, my God why have you forsaken me?” (27:46). The cup of suffering will not be taken from Him. He will drink it in our place. And He will do it alone.

God has promised us, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). When I face my darkest moments, do I believe this?

Tim Gustafson

 

http://www.odb.org

Joyce Meyer – Be Kind to Those Who Aren’t Kind to You

 

And be kind to one another… —Ephesians 4:32

Christmas is the season of good cheer, but it often becomes a season of stress…so much shopping, wrapping, cooking, baking and visiting with friends and relatives. Before you know it, people are losing patience and snapping at one another. It’s easy to become unkind.

I’ll never forget something my daughter told me a long time ago. She said that her goal was to learn to love or to treat with kindness, goodness and mercy every single person she encountered who was unkind or ugly to her. She said, “That’s my goal. I want to submit to God in my emotions and the way that I handle myself so that when I’m out in public and someone mistreats me, I respond with kindness.”

She said, “One of the things that God has shown me that really helps me to do this is, when someone is grouchy toward me, I can get angry and frustrated or I think: I don’t know what this person is going through. Maybe right now her back hurts terribly. Maybe she has a horrible migraine headache. Maybe this grumpy man at the meat counter at the grocery store has a child who just died last week. Maybe he is carrying a financial burden that feels too heavy for him. Maybe that woman’s husband walked out on her and is living with another woman. Maybe this man has just been told he’s losing his job at the end of the week.

We don’t know what’s going on in people’s lives.

Kindness will cause you to slow down and give people some space and some grace. People are under so much stress that half of the time they don’t even realize what they’re doing. Life was not meant to be the way it is today. We were not meant to live at the fast pace at which we live, with thousands of things coming at us at once. Stress and overload are the disease of the twenty-first century, and it makes people grouchy. People don’t have time for each other anymore. We don’t even have time to talk to anyone.

I think we’ve lost sight of some important things in life and that we need to put kindness back on our priority lists!

Love Others Today: Help me, Lord to be especially kind to people who are not kind to me.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – How to Obey God’s Laws

 

“So now we can obey God’s laws if we follow after the Holy Spirit and no longer obey the old evil nature within us” (Romans 8:4).

Are you not glad that the Word of God make things so simple? If we really want to obey God’s laws, His resources are available to us. First and foremost, the Holy Spirit abides within to guide us. While it is true that we have all of the Holy Spirit at the time of conversion, we cannot expect the full blessing and power of God until the Holy Spirit has full control of all of us.

As we appropriate the fullness of His Holy Spirit by faith, we are supplied with supernatural power to obey God’s laws. That supernatural power, even, is contingent upon our cooperation in that we must not only commit ourselves to the Holy Spirit but we must also be familiar with the Word of God if we are indeed to obey its commands.

Obedience is a key word in the Christian life. This verse points it out quite clearly, for we either obey God’s laws or we obey the old evil nature. The choice is ours as we are controlled and empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Someone has well pointed out that all of life, really, is nothing more nor less than a series of choices. The secret of the successful Christian life is in making the right choices. And even the wisdom to make the right choices is available – as a gift from God.

That leaves us, you and me, without excuse. We can, if we choose, through the enabling of the Holy Spirit, obey God’s laws and thus accomplish His purpose for us as believers.

Bible Reading:Galatians 5:16-26

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Drawing upon the supernatural resources of the Holy Spirit I choose to obey God’s laws rather than yield to the pull of my old evil nature

 

 

http://www.cru.org

Scriptures, Lessons, News and Links to help you survive.