Charles Stanley – The Protective Power of Discernment

2 Peter 3:14-18

Spiritual discernment protects us from deception. Sin is always dressed up to look tempting and appealing; if we think what looks good and feels right must be OK, then we’re in danger of being misled by the enemy. When Satan tempts us, he never mentions consequences or negative impact.

Spiritual discernment is our God-given capacity to judge what’s right and wrong. It protects us from the suffering that accompanies disobedience. Ignoring an agitation in our spirit—which I call “spiritual static”—is a step onto sin’s pathway. When looking for a radio station, we want clear reception. The same is true in our lives. We need a clear connection to the Holy Spirit to have peace and assurance that we’re doing the right thing and aligned with God’s will.

Sometimes an opportunity appears harmless or, more likely, very appealing. But if the Holy Spirit within us sends a signal not to pursue it, then we dare not—for some reason, God doesn’t want us in that situation. And though we can speculate, we may never know what danger we avoided by being obedient.

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Our Daily Bread — Her Father’s Zoo

Read: 1 Kings 4:29-34

Bible in a Year: Exodus 21-22; Matthew 19

The righteous care for the needs of their animals, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel. —Proverbs 12:10

June Williams was only 4 when her father bought 7 acres of land to build a zoo without bars or cages. Growing up she remembers how creative her father was in trying to help wild animals feel free in confinement. Today Chester Zoo is one of England’s most popular wildlife attractions. Home to 11,000 animals on 110 acres of land, the zoo reflects her father’s concern for animal welfare, education, and conservation.

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Mercy for the Masses

The room was full of guilt, and I knew this because I was sitting in it. I arrived early and sat in one of benches toward the back of the room, perhaps a small attempt at being inconspicuous. But in a courtroom no one goes unnoticed, and this is particularly true of those who are on trial. Traffic court, I discovered, is an interesting place. At the very least it made for an afternoon of good people-watching. At most it offered a window into realms of justice, faith, and human behavior.

A few months prior to my court appearance, I had been caught speeding less than a mile from my house. True, there were several factors at work, but there was no question of my guilt. I was in a hurry to get home, deep in thought about a sad situation, and driving my husband’s car (which was a bit easier to accelerate). My mind was simply elsewhere, and I was speeding. My initial thought was to simply pay the ticket and be done with it. But the officer said if I showed up in court, he would lower the fine.

I had never been to traffic court before. I had no idea they were going to announce my crime in public and ask me to state my plea before the masses. It was all somewhat humiliating, even if warranted. (I felt sorriest for the teenage offenders in the room; the magistrate was especially hard on them.) After every crime had been publically exposed, our guilt seemed to loom like giant name tags. My entire row was filled with speeders. Others were caught driving with expired tags or licenses, cited for following too closely, or driving recklessly. One by one we were called to stand before the judge—and one by one we were pardoned.

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John MacArthur – Exalting Christ

“[God] seated [Christ] at His right hand in the heavenly places” (Eph.1:20).

Christ occupies the highest place of power, prominence, authority, and honor.

To exalt someone is to elevate that person in status, dignity, power, and honor. As God, Jesus possesses all power and authority and is deserving of all honor and glory. But when He was on earth, most people refused to give Him the glory He deserved. Instead they mocked and eventually murdered Him.

Just prior to His death, Jesus prayed to the Father, “Glorify Thou Me together with Thyself, Father, with the glory which I ever had with Thee before the world was” (John 17:5). The Father answered that prayer by giving Him an exalted name and an exalted position.

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Wisdom Hunters – Family Background 

This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham…Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David. Matthew 1:1, 5-6

My wife Rita gave me the best gift for Christmas. No, not a quiet weekend in the mountains or at the beach—though I would have enjoyed either. She surprised me with a three volume set of the Bailey family history from the late 1700’s until the mid 1980’s. As you can imagine it has been surreal to see my Dad’s photo as a young child, and his grandfather who I am named after: a circuit riding Baptist preacher in eastern Kentucky named Reverend Wallace and not surprisingly other more unseemly characters. My family background is very modest, rural and not without drama.

Jesus came to earth from heaven, so those of us on earth could go to heaven. He was born to a virgin whose family background was as diverse as most of our own. Encouragingly, Christ’s genealogy is made up of farmers, soldiers, kings, a prostitute and unbelievers to name but a few. Jesus was sinless, but He came from a long line of sinners. His family background is full of those who needed the Lord and others who loved the Lord. He was born in God’s timing, in a tiny town, to be the Savior of the world. His family background was part of God’s unique story.

“But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:4-5).

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Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – Man or God?

Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.

Psalm 20:7

Recommended Reading

Isaiah 31:1-3

Has there ever been a more turbulent era in American history? The two political parties seem hopelessly divided, our role in the flammable Middle East seems indefinable, the value of the unborn and marriage drift further from God’s ideal, and our fiscal indebtedness grows by the hour. Yet God remains uninvited into our situation. A nation that proclaims “In God We Trust” seems to put trust in everything but Him.

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Joyce Meyer – Living Large

Do not [earnestly] remember the former things; neither consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs forth; do you not perceive and know it and will you not give heed to it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. —Isaiah 43:18-19

I truly believe this moment can be life-changing for you—that it will help you step out onto the path of your true life. The life that has been waiting for you since the beginning of time—and the one you may have been missing due to fear and intimidation. Satan is the master of intimidation, but once you realize that he is the one behind all your hesitation, you can take authority over him by simply placing confidence in Jesus Christ and stepping out boldly to be all you can be. God told Joshua, “Fear not, for I am with you.” He is sending you that same message today: FEAR NOT! God is with you, and He will never leave you or forsake you.

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Girlfriends in God – Loving Others in His Name

Today’s Truth

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

1 John 4:11

Friend to Friend

I could not tear my eyes away from the television screen as the 33 miners began to emerge from the depths of what could have been their mass grave. The men had been trapped for more than two months in the collapsed Chilean copper mines nearly half a mile underground. Everything I have read or heard about the tragedy is extraordinary.

The miners survived the early days by rationing food and working together as a team. Each man was assigned a job, one of which was to maintain peace and harmony until they were rescued. The selfless mining supervisor who insisted on being the last to leave his underground prison showed the world what it really means to put others first. I was amazed at the selflessness of the rescue worker who became the initial guinea pig for the rescue capsule, and then chose to stay behind – alone – while the world celebrated above.

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Power to Become Rich

“Always remember that it is the Lord your God who gives you power to become rich, and He does it to fulfill His promise to your ancestors” (Deuteronomy 8:18).

A Christian woman whom I knew, worth many millions of dollars, panicked when the stock market dropped and she lost almost one million dollars. Even though she had tens of millions in reserve, she was filled with apprehension and fear that she would die a pauper. She had never discovered the adventure and freedom of “giving and receiving” in a trust relationship with God.

Conversely, a businessman called me long distance a short time later to tell me how excited he was over the way God was blessing his new business venture. He had decided to give all the profits – potentially millions – toward helping to reach the world for Christ.

“I am sending $50,000 for Here’s Life in Asia,” he said. “And there will be much more later. I don’t want to invest in buildings. I want to invest this money where it will be used immediately to win and disciple people for Christ.”

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Ray Stedman – Extravagant Worship

Read: John 11:55-12:11

Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. (John 12:3)

I believe John chose to include this account in order that we might understand something of what real worship is. Worship is the center of Christian life. Mary took a pound of costly ointment and poured it on Jesus. Later, Judas complains about the extravagance of using what, in effect, was a year’s pay for a laborer, to anoint the feet of Jesus. This account makes clear that she understood the work of Jesus and the change he had made in her heart. She was also deeply appreciative not only of the restoration of her brother Lazarus, but in the magnificent teaching she heard from him as she sat at his feet. This is what accounts for her extravagance here. She spared no expense, she cared nothing for the customs of the day, entering into a supper where women were usually not welcome, letting down her hair in public, an unthinkable act in that culture, and openly expressing her love for Jesus. But that’s how love and worship act. They are uncaring of expense.

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Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – The Way Forward

Read: Matthew 7:24-29

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man

who built his house on the rock. (v. 24 NIV)

These words tell us that Jesus doesn’t mean to frighten us away with his hard words. Rather he wants to encourage us to keep building our lives on his words, even after failure.

Everyone is building a house—a life, a career, a family, a structure of activity and relationships that gives meaning and stability. Everyone builds on something that seems stable to them. Here Jesus invites us to believe that his words and he himself are the rock for all ages.

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Presidential Prayer Team; C.H.- Open Schedule

Did you know the White House receives around 100 written requests to see the president each day? Everyone wants to see the Commander-in-Chief, whether it’s to lobby a cause or snap a photo. Richard Berke of The New York Times once said “it may be easier to get an audience with the Pope, or even Madonna, than to get squeezed onto the calendar of the President of the United States.”

Many seek the face of a ruler, but it is from the Lord that a man gets justice.

Proverbs 29:26

Most want the president to solve a problem, but today’s passage says it’s the Lord, not a ruler, who grants justice. God is available any day, any time. You only have to call His name. He may be the Creator of the universe, but His schedule is always open for you. You can come to Him in boldness and confidence and receive both strength and wisdom for your soul.

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Greg Laurie – Godly Boldness

The wicked run away when no one is chasing them, but the godly are as bold as lions. —Proverbs 28:1

Although she was chosen by King Xerxes to become the queen, Esther was not some vain girl who liked to stare at herself in the mirror. Esther resolved to stand up for the salvation of her people, the Jews. We have to admire her bravery as she approached the king, uninvited—at the risk of losing her life.

In a way, we all have our own king, of sorts, whom we have to deal with. It might be a boss. It might be a husband who doesn’t know the Lord. Maybe it is a Christian friend who is compromising. Maybe it’s someone who needs to hear the gospel.

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Kids 4 Truth International – God Is Just To Forgive Us

“…that He [God] might be just and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” (Romans 3:26b)

Let’s pretend that your brother has done something to hurt you very badly. What if when your parents found out what happened, they said, “Oh, we’ll just let that go – it’s all right. Just forget about it.”

No, you say! You have been hurt. You have been sinned against. Your parents would not be just unless they punished your brother for that sin. Right?

But let’s pretend you stepped in and said, “Punish me for what my brother did. I’ll take the punishment, and he won’t have to.” Then your parents would be just to forgive your brother, right? Someone else would be taking the punishment in his place.

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The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – More Love

Today’s Scripture: Philippians 1:9

“It is my prayer that your love may abound more and more.”

How can we fulfill our responsibility to love “more and more” (1 Thessalonians 4:9-10)? Recognizing that love is an inner disposition of the soul produced only by the Holy Spirit, what can we do to fulfill our responsibility? First, the Spirit of God uses his Word to transform us. If we want to grow in love, we must saturate our minds with Scriptures that describe love and show its importance. First Corinthians 13:1-3, for example, tells us of the emptiness of all knowledge, abilities, and zeal apart from love. First Corinthians 13:4-7 describes love in terms of specific attitudes and actions. Romans 13:8-10 describes love in terms of fulfilling the law of God in our lives.

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The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Devoted to the Word

Today’s Scripture: Numbers 9-12

Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. – Revelation 2:4

Numbers chapter 9 begins with the concerns of certain men that they would not be able to partake in the celebration of the Passover. What a blessing it is in the life of the church when people are eager to be involved in the activities of the people of God! What a blessing to see people hungering and thirsting after God’s Word and concerned about those things that might hinder them from enjoying all that is available from the gracious hand of God.

During the years I was involved in a ministry with cadets at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, we had a team of about forty guys. They were all sharp, but a couple of those guys were especially eager learners. I remember waking up from a nap one Sunday afternoon to find the two of them sitting at the foot of my bed, notebooks and pens in hand, waiting to talk about some aspect of their Christian faith.

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BreakPoint – Garrison Keillor Says Farewell: Lessons from Lake Wobegon

For the past 40 years on National Public Radio, Garrison Keillor has served up a humorous slice of Americana through his Saturday night radio program, “A Prairie Home Companion.” Each episode features live music and amusing skits like “Guy Noir, Private Eye,” plus hysterical promotional spots like the one for Bebop-A-Reebop Rhubarb Pie.

But the highlight of each show comes near the end, when Keillor shares the news and latest gossip from his beloved Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, the men are good-looking, and the children above average.

Now if you know Prairie Home Companion, you also know that Keillor’s worldview doesn’t always line up with a Christian worldview. So it may surprise you that we’re talking about it today on BreakPoint. But I think there are a number of things we can learn from the success of this show.

First, in an age where much of what we call entertainment is all flash and no substance, Keillor has accomplished the extraordinary. His show has become “appointment listening” each week for four million people on almost 700 radio stations. The successful longevity of Prairie Home Companion testifies to the power of great art and storytelling, and it’s a lesson for all of us who are called to share “the greatest story ever told.” As we say often on BreakPoint, Christians should be champions of the arts, especially those that, through story, point to the deep truths about life and the world.

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Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – BEARING SHAME

Read Hebrews 2:5-18; 13:11-16

Family members have profound power both to shame and to honor each other. Children make their parents feel embarrassed or proud, depending on how they choose to act. Older siblings often either defend or oppress their younger ones; little siblings usually either idolize or annoy their older brothers and sisters.

Hebrews gives us a breathtaking glimpse into the dynamics of the relationship between God the Father and God the Son (see Hebrews 1–2). The Father allowed His Son to be made “lower than the angels” and to suffer death (2:9–10). As the perfect Son, Jesus willingly subjected Himself to His Father’s discipline.

Jesus’ submission brought glory to the Father. And the Father’s carefully laid plans for the Son’s humiliation culminated in Jesus’ restoration to His glory.

But the divine circle of mutually honoring relationships doesn’t end there. God reaches out to draw us into His family too. Jesus lowered Himself to struggle and suffer like us so that He could raise us up to share the Father’s love the way He does. Like a good older brother, he proudly identifies with us, coaches us along the way, and intercedes to the Father on our behalf (2:11).

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I watched You, Me and the Apocalypse last night on NBC. The show is based on the premise that an eight-mile-wide comet will annihilate the world in thirty-four days. The greater fiction is not that a planet-destroying comet is coming, but that we have another thirty-four days to live.

The fact is, tomorrow is promised to no one.

Yesterday we observed the thirtieth anniversary of the Challenger disaster. The tragedy still reminds us that life is fragile. President Reagan concluded his tribute to the fallen astronauts: “We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and ‘slipped the surly bonds of earth’ to ‘touch the face of God.'”

Recognizing our mortality leads us to focus on immortality.

We know that we will stand before God one day (2 Corinthians 5:10). But it’s easy to think about that fact later. We’re busy people facing challenging times. Why is our accountability in heaven relevant to us on earth?


Charles Stanley – Why We Need Spiritual Discernment

Phil. 1:1-10

Things are not always what they seem is the mantra of many mystery novels and television shows, but it’s also a wise attitude for successful living. Too many people make decisions based on feelings or judge situations by what appears to be real. God has given every believer a spirit of discernment so we can determine what’s best.

Think about how many decisions a person must make on a daily basis—choices about family, finances, work, and more. Ideally, a decision would have a correct choice and an incorrect one. As a result, the choice would be easy. In reality, what seems right isn’t always what’s best. Some things, while neither wrong nor sinful, are nonetheless outside of God’s will for us.

Scripture doesn’t contain specific directives regarding every possible life scenario. Instead, it’s filled with principles laid down by direct teaching or, at times, through stories. Believers are able to grow in spiritual maturity so that biblical principles coupled with guidance from the Holy Spirit become tools for making godly judgments. The question isn’t whether a certain choice looks good or feels right, but whether it’s God’s will for that point in a person’s life.

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