Charles Stanley – What Do You Desire?

Read | John 16:23-24

If I were to ask you to name the desire of your heart, would you have an answer? How long would it take you to express your deepest, most genuine yearning?

Of course, most of us have a seemingly endless list of things that we want, whether it be a big screen TV, a new car, a promotion at work, or the respect we think we deserve. Things are added to and removed from our want list every day; our wants are frequently dictated by what those around us have. Sometimes simply seeing a friend’s new vehicle will give us “car fever,” even if we have a perfectly fine automobile sitting in the driveway.

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Our Daily Bread — Lifeblood

Read: Hebrews 9:19-28

Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. —Hebrews 9:22

Mary Ann believed in God and His Son Jesus, but she struggled with why Jesus had to shed His blood to bring salvation. Who would think of cleansing something with blood? Yet the Bible says, “The law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood” (Heb. 9:22). That, in Mary Ann’s opinion, was disgusting!

Then one day she had to go to a hospital. A genetic condition had altered her immune system, and doctors became alarmed when the illness started attacking her blood. As she was in the emergency room she thought, If I lose my blood, I will die. But Jesus shed His blood so I can live!

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Resonate Gifts

There are a few great lines I know by memory simply because my boss is fond of repeating them. Ravi Zacharias often quotes a song titled The Lost Chord, which was penned by Adelaide Proctor and later set to music by Arthur Sullivan. It is a hymn that describes a moment of transcendence, a hint of wonder that appeared momentarily and left the narrator yearning for more. The song tells her story:

Seated one day at the organ

I was weary and ill at ease,

and my fingers wandered idly

over the noisy keys.

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John MacArthur – Strength for Today – God’s Glory in Christ

“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

Christ displayed God’s glory on earth and will again when He comes back. After seeing His glory in Scripture, we should respond in worship and righteousness.

From eternity past Christ had the glory of God. He “is the radiance of [God’s] glory and the exact representation of His nature” (Heb. 1:3), and He prayed, “And now, glorify Thou Me together with Thyself, Father, with the glory which I ever had with Thee before the world was” (John 17:5).

Christ also displayed God’s glory on earth. Most often He looked like an ordinary man, but one night He appeared in great glory to Peter, James, and John (Luke 9:28-36). “While He was praying, the appearance of His face became different, and His clothing became white and gleaming” (v. 29). Moses and Elijah came and spoke to Him, and the disciples “saw His glory” (v. 32).

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Wisdom Hunters – Keep Faith in Jesus 

I [Jesus] am coming quickly. Hold tight what you have, so that no one will take your crown [by leading you to renounce the faith]. Revelation 3:11, AMP

I’m a former 10K runner and a one time half marathoner (13.1 miles). I trained for the longer race with a friend. We of course, enjoyed the camaraderie and provided for each other needed accountability and encouragement. The preparation for the half marathon was hard, but fulfilling. On race day we were in our best shape. The weather, though a chilly 35 degrees, was sunny with a brilliant blue sky—there was only one problem: I was very sick with the flu. The first ten miles went fast. The last three miles were as slow as molasses. My friend waited on me and helped me finish well.

Jesus reminds the church and individual believers to keep their faith in Him. Christ instructed His bride to hold onto the hope of His return, not allowing individual naysayers or the cynical culture to cause the Christians to renounce their reliance on God. The race of faith requires preparation, perseverance and other faithful friends to help us finish well. The victor’s crown is not royalty, but a wreath of righteousness given by the Righteous One—Jesus. Yes, when we faithfully hang onto Jesus—we experience joy—in anticipation of His eternal joy unspeakable!

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Joyce Meyer – A Spiritual Sabbath

Let us therefore be zealous and exert ourselves and strive diligently to enter that rest [of God, to know and experience it for ourselves], that no one may fall or perish by the same kind of unbelief and disobedience [into which those in the wilderness fell]. —Hebrews 4:11

If you read the entire fourth chapter of the book of Hebrews, you will find it speaking about a Sabbath rest that is available to God’s people. Under the Old Covenant, the Sabbath was observed as a day of rest. Under the New Covenant, this Sabbath rest spoken of is a spiritual place of rest. It is the privilege of every believer to refuse to worry or have anxiety. As a believer, you can enter the rest of God.

The only way to enter that rest is through believing. You will forfeit it through unbelief and disobedience. Unbelief will keep you in the wilderness, but Jesus has provided a permanent place of rest that can be inhabited exclusively through living by faith.

From the book Ending Your Day Right by Joyce Meyer.

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Girlfriends in God – The Waiting Room

We can rejoice when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us – they help us develop endurance.

Romans 5:3

Friend to Friend

My daughter and I are exactly alike, which means that we can really push each other’s buttons. Danna is now a grown woman and an amazing wife and mom, so the button-pushing phase is pretty much something we laugh about. We were recently on a shopping trip when we saw a mom and her teenage daughter arguing about an outfit. Danna and I looked at each other and burst out laughing. Ah, sweet memories.

I remembered a particularly rough day when Danna was in high school. Everything was a battle, none of which I seemed to win. My patience was wearing thin. Everything I asked her to do was met with opposition and multiple reasons why she did not want to comply with my wishes. I finally threw up my hands in total frustration and announced, “Fine, Danna! Just do whatever you want. Now let me see you disobey that!” As I realized the absurdity of my words, I burst out laughing. The look of surprise on Danna’s face was priceless as was the lesson I learned that day. Pick your battles and save your energy for the big ones.

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – How to Love the Unlovable

A special leap-year Promise excerpted from Dr. Bright’s book, The Greatest Lesson I ever Learned.

“By this all men will know you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35)

I have made many important discoveries and learned many valuable lessons in the course of my nearly 80 years.

I could write about about my days of agnosticism when as a happy pagan I finally heard the Good News for the first time and fell in love with Jesus Christ. I could have told about the days when I first experienced the reality of the person of the Holy Spirit. I could share my discovery of how to introduce others to Christ as a way of life, or my realization that everybody hungers for God, even so-called atheists, because God created us that way. (Romans 1:19, 20)

However, having considered all of these possibilities, [the greatest lesson I ever learned is how to] love people who sometimes are difficult to love.

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Ray Stedman – Why Doesn’t God Do Something?

Read: Isaiah 61

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God… (Isaiah 61:1-2)

Luke’s gospel records that Jesus went into the synagogue at Nazareth on one occasion, as was his custom, and asked for the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled it until he found the place where these words are written. Turning to this very spot, he read this passage about the Spirit coming upon him, anointing him, and that he was called to preach the gospel, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives, etc. He stopped reading in the middle of a sentence, after the comma following the words, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. Then he closed the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, sat down, and said, This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your hearing.

Note carefully where he stopped reading. He did not go on to read, and the day of vengeance of our God, because when he first came he introduced the day of God’s favor, the day when God withholds his judgment.

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Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – The Final Word

Read: Judges 21:25

Everyone did what was right in his own eyes. (v. 25)

I would define the prevailing moral ethos of our current cultural moment as: “No one else can decide right and wrong for you.” How different is that from “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes”? In reality, Judges 21:25 is the best one-sentence definition of sin ever written.

Israel lost its way. The nation’s unity was tenuous, especially without a king or central government. Kings would come later, but Old Testament history shows that they didn’t solve Israel’s problems, either. A new covenant with God was needed, made through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

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Presidential Prayer Team; G.C.- Peace

If you tapped open your news feed and read “Peace Declared upon Earth,” would you immediately think it was a joke or maybe some kind of advertising? World peace is almost unimaginable today, but someday that headline will be the truth.

He makes peace in your borders; he fills you with the finest of the wheat.

Psalm 147:14

Jesus’ birth marked the point in history when such peace became possible. The angels even advertised it by crying, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace.” (Luke 2:14) God’s Son born under that proclamation will one day rule as king over the people and nations of Earth and establish global peace. The prophet Isaiah foretold of that magnificent time saying that the government will be “upon his shoulder” as He leads the people as their counselor, Lord, and “Prince of Peace.”

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Greg Laurie – How Will They Hear?

But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?—Romans 10:14

Have you ever led someone to Christ? If not, why not? Maybe you think that God can never use you in this way, that you’re just not gifted in that regard, and it is only for a privileged few to lead others to Christ. But if this were the case, why was the Great Commission given to every Christian? Every believer is called to “go and make disciples of all the nations . . . ” (Matthew 28:19). That means we are all called to evangelism. We all have a part to play.

I must admit that it’s a mystery to me that God has chosen to use people as the primary communicators of His truth. An interviewer once commented to me that I seem to be very natural when I speak, that it must come easily to me. “Nothing could be further from the truth,” I said. “Before I was a Christian, I wasn’t a public speaker.”

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Kids 4 Truth International – God Requires Perfection

“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)

What if your teacher told you that you could not move up to the next grade unless your work in her class were absolutely perfect? You would not be allowed to miss a single math problem or misspell one word on a spelling test. You would not be allowed to forget a single fact in your history book or make even one small slip-up when reading out loud. No mistakes allowed! Even your handwriting would have to be perfect!

This sounds impossible to you, doesn’t it? And it is. But in Matthew 5, Jesus tells the people of Israel that this same kind of perfection is required in keeping the Law if they are to enter the kingdom of heaven. Not only does God require them not to murder; they are not even allowed to be angry with someone else without a cause! Not only are they to stay true to the man or woman they marry; they are not even to look at another man or woman with sinful ideas in their minds. Not only are they to love their neighbors; they are even to love and pray for their enemies! This is the kind of righteousness that characterizes God. He is absolutely perfect and holy. And we are to be like Him.

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The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Grace or Duty?

Today’s Scripture: Psalm 37:5

“Trust in him, and he will act.”

There’s no question that we’re responsible to pursue holiness with all the intensity the word pursue implies. Every moral imperative in the Bible addresses itself to our responsibility to discipline ourselves unto godliness. We aren’t just to “turn it all over to the Lord” and let him live his life through us. Rather, we’re to love one another, to put to death the misdeeds of the body, and to put off the old man and put on the new man.

If we’re to make any progress in the pursuit of holiness, we must assume our responsibility to discipline or train ourselves. But we’re to do all this in total dependence on the Holy Spirit to work in us and strengthen us with the strength that is in Christ.

Continue reading The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Grace or Duty?

The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Striking It Rich

Today’s Scripture: 1 Chronicles 1-9

Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel. – Ezra 7:10

A friend of mine was sorting through a box of old financial records several months after his father died and came across copies of his parents’ income tax returns for the past thirty years. One year his father had earned less than $200. His mother’s salary from teaching school had been their only income. If my friend had read that income tax return as a child, it would have meant nothing to him. But as an adult, those records were a revelation, filled with deep meaning.

A lot of people would put the genealogies of 1 Chronicles 1-9 in the same category as old income tax returns. Some would question the value of lists of names and a discussion of who were the parents of whom. But a lot of what we see in the Bible depends on our maturity and perspective. After reading the Scriptures several times, we should begin to recognize names and recall incidents from their lives. But if we confine our Bible reading to favorite portions of Scripture, we will miss much of the blessing of the entire Word of God.

Continue reading The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Striking It Rich

BreakPoint – Zika and Abortion Part II: is History Repeating Itself?

More than fifty years ago, doctors in the U.S. and Western Europe prescribed the drug thalidomide to their female patients for, among other things, nausea and morning sickness in pregnant women.

The drug had tragic outcomes whose effects are still being felt today.

In the late 1950s, reports of abnormalities in children whose mothers had used the drug during pregnancy began to come in. The best-known and most heartbreaking of these abnormalities was missing limbs.

Not surprisingly, within a few years the drug was taken off the market, but the tragic story of thalidomide doesn’t end there. As historian Daniel K. Williams tells us in his new book, “Defenders of the Unborn,” the thalidomide tragedy opened the door to legalized abortion in the United States.

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Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – FINAL REST

Read Revelation 14:1-13

Many funeral homes are decorated to look like a living room in a home, probably a remnant of the days when those who died were laid out at home. The typical modern coffin resembles a bed with cushions and a pillow. The result gives onlookers the impression that the deceased is merely sleeping. Sleep is also the euphemism that the Bible frequently uses to refer to death (see 1 Cor. 11:30; 15:6, 18, 20; 1 Thess. 4:13–14; 5:6, 10).

Sleep is an apt metaphor for death for someone who has trusted in Christ. For those who die in Christ, death is a gateway to eternal rest (v. 13). New Testament scholar John Walvoord notes that this chapter is pivotal in the book of Revelation: it is the culmination of the two preceding chapters and sets the stage for the climax in chapter 15. It provides us with a series of statements about the future and the ultimate triumph of Jesus Christ. Among these statements is the promise that those who die in the Lord “rest from their labor” (v. 13).

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Denison Forum – JOHNNY DEPP TO SPEAK AT ATHEISTS’ CONVENTION

Actor Johnny Depp has agreed to speak at the Reason Rally. This is an event sponsored by atheist, humanist, and other secularist organizations scheduled for June 4 at Washington’s Lincoln Memorial.

If you were invited to address the crowd that day, would you?

Last Friday we explored the priority of sharing Jesus with those who need salvation. How does this subject make you feel? If you’re like most of us, there’s a nagging fear in the back of your soul: What if you fail? What if you’re rejected? What if you hurt more than you help?

It’s better to leave ministry to the “ministers,” it seems.

What is behind our fear? We’re not afraid to tell people about our children (or grandchildren!) or the last movie we saw. But souls are eternal and we are fallen. We don’t want to make things worse. The medical oath, “First, do no harm,” seems to apply here. If another person’s eternity is up to us, they’re in trouble.

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Charles Stanley – The Cross: Symbol of Forgiveness

Read | Matthew 20:27-28

Have you ever wondered why God didn’t decide to save us without having His only Son die the gruesome death of crucifixion? Surely, you think, the Lord could do anything, right? Yes, He can do anything, but He cannot violate His own character.

God is holy. We know that all people have disobeyed His law and fellowship with Him has been broken. Romans 3:23 tells us, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” From the beginning of time, He has required a penalty for disobedience to His commands. In fact, our sin actually deserves payment of our own life. (See Gen. 2:17; Ezek. 18:4; Rom. 6:23.)

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Our Daily Bread — Growing Up

Read: Ephesians 4:1-16

Bible in a Year: Numbers 20-22; Mark 7:1-13

From him the whole body . . . grows and builds itself up in love. —Ephesians 4:16

Watching my young grandson and his friends play T-Ball is entertaining. In this version of baseball, young players often run to the wrong base or don’t know what to do with the ball if they happen to catch it.  If we were watching a professional baseball game, these mistakes would not be so funny.

It’s all a matter of maturity.

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