Charles Stanley – The Effectiveness of God’s Way

Exodus 3:1-22

Yesterday we observed how ineffective Moses’ self-reliant actions were. Today we will see what God can do in the life of someone who is fully submitted to Him. If we let Moses’ example teach us about the dangers of self-sufficiency and the advantages of depending on the Lord, we’ll save ourselves a lot of hardship.

When we submit to God’s way, He’ll do amazing things in and through our life. Despite past failures, Moses was still used in accomplishing the divine plan, but only after he became usable—that is, humbled and broken of his self-will. Just consider what God achieved when Moses relinquished control.

  • He showed He could do great things through a yielded person.
    • He got more done in less time and with fewer resources. There was no insurrection or lengthy war—just a dramatic display of His power.
    • He proved the superiority of His way by freeing over two million people without the loss of a single Hebrew life.
    • He sent slaves out of bondage with their captors’ riches (Ex. 3:21-22).
    • He proved to both the Israelites and the Egyptians that He alone is the God of heaven and earth.
    • He received all the glory.

Our past failures never prevent God’s willingness or ability to use us. In fact, our weakness is a great opportunity for the display of His power. In our own strength, we are totally ineffective. But when we submit to the Lord’s authority in our life, we can experience His victory in whatever He calls us to do.

Bible in a Year: Leviticus 18-20

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Our Daily Bread — Hidden Treasure

Read: Proverbs 2:1-5

Bible in a Year: Exodus 34-35; Matthew 22:23-46

Search for [insight and understanding] as for hidden treasure. —Proverbs 2:4

My husband and I read in different ways. Since English is a second language for Tom, he has a tendency to read slowly, word-for-word. I often speed-read by skimming. But Tom retains more than I do. He can easily quote something he read a week ago, while my retention can evaporate seconds after I turn away from the screen or book.

Skimming is also a problem when I’m reading the Bible—and not just the genealogies. I’m tempted to skim familiar passages, stories I’ve heard since I was a child, or a psalm that is part of a familiar chorus.

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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.

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John MacArthur – Strength for Today – God Is One

“‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!’” (Deuteronomy 6:4).

There is only one true God.

When God freed Israel to take her to the promised land, He said: “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Ex. 20:3). Later Moses told the Israelites, “The Lord, He is God; there is no other besides Him” (Deut. 4:35) and “The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!” (6:4). Israel was to believe in the one and only God.

But Jesus claimed to be God. Is He God number two? Not at all. In Mark 12:29-30, Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 6:4-5: “‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’” If Jesus were another God He might have said, “Split your allegiance between the two of us.” But Jesus says we are to love God with undivided commitment. Therefore He agrees with Moses that there is only one God. However, He also says, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30).

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Wisdom Hunters – The Gift of Work 

The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. Genesis 2:15

Recently, the United States saw one of the largest jackpots in lottery history. A married couple from a small town in Tennessee found themselves the overnight winners of more than half a billion dollars. As you can imagine, reporters flocked to this couple’s doorstep to hear the countless ways the family would spend the money and indulge. Would they see the world? Move into a mansion? Buy a fleet of luxury cars? No, no, and no. Their plan was to simply return to work on Monday morning!

This story surprises us, because by and large, our culture views work as a necessary evil, something to be avoided if at all possible.

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Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – One Light at a Time

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.

Ephesians 5:8

Recommended Reading

2 Corinthians 4:3-6

Imagine walking into a pitch-dark room—no windows, no lamps, no shadows, no light of any kind. You light a single candle and hold it over your head. When your eyes adjust, you can see a bit of what’s in the room. Now imagine that same room with five people with candles—the overall light is brighter. Then imagine ten people with candles, then twenty-five, then fifty. At some point the darkness is overcome by the light.

Continue reading Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – One Light at a Time

Joyce Meyer – Known by Our Fruit

[Jesus said] Either make the tree sound (healthy and good), and its fruit sound (healthy and good), or make the tree rotten (diseased and bad), and its fruit rotten (diseased and bad); for the tree is known and recognized and judged by its fruit. You offspring of vipers! How can you speak good things when you are evil (wicked)? For out of the fullness (the overflow, the superabundance) of the heart the mouth speaks.—Matthew 12:33-34

A woman I’ll call Dorothy knew more about the church and every member and visitor than anyone else did. She was fairly well-known as the church gossip. “One thing about her,” a friend said, “she’s not prejudiced; she talks about everyone,” and he laughed. He also added, “She’ll probably get into heaven, but God may have to cut off her tongue first.”

One day as I stood near the front door, I heard Dorothy telling several people about one of the deacons, “But it isn’t up to me to judge him,” she said. The venom poured from her mouth, and she went on to mention several others. Of course, she was critical of each one.

Continue reading Joyce Meyer – Known by Our Fruit

Girlfriends in God – Man’s Best Friend

The LORD God said, ‘It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’

Genesis 2:18

Friend to Friend

For thirteen years, our family was blessed with a golden retriever named Ginger. We gave her to our son, Steven, for Christmas when he was five-years-old and she still holds the blue ribbon as the best present ever. I can still remember the look of surprise on Steven’s cherub face when the “stuffed” animal began to move. “It’s a puppy!” he exclaimed. “It’s not a toy!”

And while Ginger was officially Steven’s dog, and I was unofficially her primary caretaker, it was my husband who held a special place in her heart. From the very beginning, Ginger loved my husband the best.

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Underneath: Everlasting Arms

“The eternal God is your Refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. He thrusts out your enemies before you…” (Deuteronomy 33-27, LB).”…with us is the Lord our God to help us, and to fight our battles” (2 Chronicles 32:8, KJV).

Susan was broken-hearted. She had just lost her first child at birth. The trauma of that experience had affected her relationship with her husband and with everyone else around her. She had become cynical and moody. She blamed God for what had happened and said, “I hate Him. Why would this happen to me? Where was God when I was going through the birth pangs, the excruciating pain of giving birth to a stillborn child? Why didn’t He give me a healthy baby?”

I was reminded of a statement that I had heard in response to a similar anguished plea: “Where was God when I lost my son?”

Continue reading Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Underneath: Everlasting Arms

Ray Stedman – Go!

Read: Isaiah 6:8-13

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, Whom shall I send? And who will go for us? And I said, Here am I. Send me! He said, Go and tell this people: Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving. (Isaiah 6:8-9)

When Isaiah hears the call of God his heart is instantly responsive. By now he has believed what God said. He no longer feels undone and defiled. He believed that when God said he was forgiven he really was forgiven. No longer does he feel unworthy or unable to serve. He is eager to go, Here am I, send me.

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Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – In the Likeness of God

Read: 2 Corinthians 4:1-12, Colossians 1:15

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image.” (Gen. 1:26)

When a child is born, someone inevitably will say, “He’s the spitting image of his dad.” In terms of physical appearance the boy is a lookalike. But as a child grows, someone might remark: “He’s a hard worker like his mom” or “She is gentle, just like her dad.”

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Presidential Prayer Team; H.L.M. – An Eternal Ride

During a recent visit to New York City, 2016 presidential candidate Rick Santorum and two associates were riding in a cab on Manhattan’s west side. Kenneth, the cab driver, looked at Santorum in the rear-view mirror and said, “I know you. You’re Rick Santorum.” Richard, one of the two men with Santorum, was a pastor. He asked Kenneth, “What do you think of Jesus?” Kenneth responded, “Oh, that’s not for me.”

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.

Psalm 16:5

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Greg Laurie – A Model of Prayer

Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart.—Luke 18:1

Why should we pray? The simple answer is because Jesus told us to. Jesus himself was a model of prayer. He was always praying.

In the Garden of Gethsemane as Jesus contemplated the horrors of the cross, He prayed, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will” (Matthew 26:39).

On the cross, Jesus prayed for His enemies, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46).

Before Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, we read that He lifted up His eyes to heaven and prayed (see John 11:41–42).

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Kids 4 Truth International – God Allows Evil for His Reasons

“But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.” (Genesis 50:20)

Thrown into a pit.

Bound with rope and sold into slavery in a far-off land.

Sentenced to life in prison for something you didn’t do.

Forgotten for two years by the man who promised to help you.

You would probably have a hard time rejoicing if these things happened to you. In fact, you would probably wonder why God allowed all these horrible things to take place in your life.

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The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Lost Years Restored

Today’s Scripture: Zechariah 9:17

“How great is his goodness!”

Joel prophesied God’s judgment upon Judah through a plague of locusts that would devour all the trees and plants, resulting in widespread famine. Then, in the midst of a prophecy of restoration, God made the following promise: “I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you” (Joel 2:25).

Consider the amazing generosity of God. He did not limit his promise merely to restoring the land to its former productivity. He said he’ll repay them for the years the locusts have eaten, years they themselves forfeited to the judgment of God. God could well have said, “I’ll restore your land to its former productivity, but too bad about those years you lost! They are gone forever. That’s the price you pay for your sin.” He would have been generous just to have restored them—but he went beyond that. He would cause their harvests to be so abundant they would recoup the losses from the years of famine. He said he’ll repay them, though he obviously owed them nothing.

Continue reading The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Lost Years Restored

The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Widening the Fellowship

Today’s Scripture: Joshua 18-21

“I tell you…there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” – Luke 15:7

I attended a Christian conference where two men gave a testimony on the subject of evangelism. The first man told of a meeting at which the speaker asked everyone to jot down the names of five friends who were nonChristians, and then begin praying for them on a regular basis. He and his wife just stared at each other. They didn’t have five nonChristian friends.

They began to look for ways to meet nonChristians. The husband went to the local gym and met a worldly young lawyer, who was quite skillful in asking argumentative questions. The Christian was quite skillful in answering them from the Scriptures. The lawyer eventually came to Christ, and these two men now were telling their story.

Continue reading The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Widening the Fellowship

BreakPoint –  Putting Your Christian Worldview to Work with the Colson Fellows Program

by Eric Metaxas (Editor’s Note: Today’s commentary first aired January 19, 2016).

Imagine having dozens of new friends come into your life this year—friends who are, like you, committed Christians. These friends have the capacity to change your life forever, and help you develop your own ministry, using your own vision and your own God-given gifts. Plus, they’re a lot of fun. Wouldn’t you gladly embrace new friends like these?

Well I think, folks, you’d be crazy not to. Because these new friends are the leaders and participants of the Colson Fellows Program, formerly known as the Centurions Program.

As a Colson Fellow in training, you’ll spend nine months reading the best books, participating in teleconferences with the best thinkers, and attending three residencies with the best teachers of Christian Worldview—people like Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family; Joni Eareckson Tada; Sean McDowell of Biola University, Nabeel Quereshi of the Ravi Zacharias Institute, and our own Colson Fellows National Director, Dr. Bill Brown, former president of Bryan College and Cedarville University. And yes, of course John Stonestreet and I will be speaking to you as well!

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Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – JESUS THE WEARY (PART 2)

Read John 4:27-38

The lyrics to the song “Sometimes by Step,” written by Rich Mullins and David Strasser, describe what it often feels like to labor for the Lord: Sometimes the day could be so hot / There was so much work left to do / But so much You’d already done. Ministry is work, and work can make us weary. Although Jesus was weary from the journey to Samaria, He was eager to explain the gospel to a woman who came there for water.

Jesus’ disciples had gone to find food. When they returned, they urged Him to eat, perhaps because they saw the people of the town approaching (vv. 30–31). The disciples’ reaction to Jesus’ statement is almost humorous. They interpreted it literally when He replied, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about” (v. 32). Jesus explained that He was sustained by doing the will of the Father. Ministry is hard work—but God is able to sustain us even when we are weary.

Continue reading Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – JESUS THE WEARY (PART 2)

Denison Forum – JOEL OSTEEN ON STEPHEN COLBERT’S ‘THE LATE SHOW’

It sounds like the beginning of a bad joke: “A televangelist and a Catholic Sunday school teacher were talking one day . . .” But Tuesday night it really happened: Pastor Joel Osteen appeared on Stephen Colbert’s The Late Show to discuss Osteen’s latest book, The Power of I Am.

Colbert, one of the most biblically literate Hollywood celebrities, noted God’s description of himself as the “I Am” (Exodus 3:14). It turned out, the book is about something else entirely.

Osteen explained to Colbert that he wrote about what follows the words “I am” in a person’s mind. He illustrated: Sometimes we say “I am slow” or “I am unlucky” or “I am not attractive.” Instead, he wants us to say “I am blessed” or “I am strong” or “I am talented.” According to Osteen, “We don’t realize how many times we speak negative things about ourselves.” To which Colbert responded with his typical wit: “I do that all the time. I’m so stupid.”

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