Charles Stanley – Prayer in the Believer’s Life

Isaiah 57:15

The two most important disciplines in the life of a believer are Bible study and prayer. It is impossible to grow continually in Christ without practicing both.

Prayer is the primary means by which we talk to God, and it is also a way He teaches us. When we pray, we’re petitioning the Lord and trusting Him for the answer. In doing so, we learn to listen to Him, just as we learn to wait for His response. And He loves for us to honor Him through this spiritual act of worship called prayer.

Indeed, prayer is one of the best ways to honor God. When we pray to our heavenly Father, we are acknowledging that He is God, that He truly is “the high and exalted One who lives forever, whose name is Holy” (Isa. 57:15). God alone deserves glory, and we ascribe honor to Him when we “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17). That is, we are to maintain a God-focused attitude throughout the day—continually asking Him to govern every detail of our lives.

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Our Daily Bread — Secret Menu

Read: John 4:31-34

Bible in a Year: Leviticus 6-7; Matthew 25:1-30

I have food to eat that you know nothing about. —John 4:32

Meat Mountain is a super-sandwich layered with six kinds of meat. Stacked with chicken tenders, three strips of bacon, two cheeses, and much more, it looks like it should be a restaurant’s featured item.

But Meat Mountain isn’t on any restaurant’s published menu. The sandwich represents a trend in off-menu items known only by social media or word of mouth. It seems that competition is driving fast-food restaurants to offer a secret menu to in-the-know customers.

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Encouragement for Conflict Avoiders

I am what you might call a classic conflict avoider. At even the hint of disagreement with a friend or colleague, I become like Ferdinand Magellan steering a course of circumnavigation rather than risking a direct hit. Searching for seas of common ground, rather than rift valleys, I employ all the strategies and techniques I can think of to mediate a conflict–including giving way on opinions or convictions in order to maintain the peace. I do not confess this with any sense of pride. While negotiation is a valuable skill, I too often err on the side of compromise. More times than I care to admit, I believed that saving the relationship required giving way and giving in.

It came as something of a revelation, therefore, when I began to notice how much conflict is at the center of the Judeo-Christian tradition. The Jewish tradition, in particular, understands that wrestling with God—questioning God, disagreeing with God—is a sign of the health of the relationship. Indeed, Israel gets its name from the famous all-night wrestling match between Jacob and an unknown figure. At the end of the match, Jacob’s name is changed to Israel, which means ‘one who has striven or wrestled with God and prevailed.’

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John MacArthur – Strength for Today – The Joy of God’s Peace

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:2).

Nothing you face today is beyond the purview of God’s grace and peace.

Paul’s wonderful benediction for grace and peace was ever on his heart. He offered it in each of his epistles and expounded on it throughout his writings.

Grace is the outpouring of God’s goodness and mercy on undeserving mankind. Every benefit and provision you receive is by God’s grace. That’s why Peter called it “the manifold grace of God” (1 Pet. 1:10). Just as your trials are manifold or multifaceted, so God’s multifaceted and all-sufficient grace is correspondingly available to sustain you.

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Wisdom Hunters – God Uses Ordinary People Just Like You

For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10

Last summer, while I pondered the problem of depending on ourselves more than we depend on Christ, I scribbled the following notes in my journal. I hope they are an encouragement to you and a reminder that God uses ordinary people just like you.

Self-sufficiency is the enemy of grace. If we believe we are able to do everything on our own, why do we need God? Our inadequacies are an opportunity for Him to show Himself sufficient. In this there is grace, a gift we could never receive if we could solve our own problems. God’s grace, and therefore His power, aren’t made manifest in those who believe they have no need for help. It doesn’t shine most brightly in the “I-can-do-it-myself” types. It shines in the inadequate, in those who know they need God’s power to succeed and endure. It shines when we are unable to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. This is when He can show up to do great things in our impossible situation. This is when He is glorified and we are strengthened in our faith and hope by watching Him work. He moves in—and through—ordinary people. He always has and always will.

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Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – Established in Eden

But from the beginning of the creation, God “made them male and female.” For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.

Mark 10:6-8

Recommended Reading

Genesis 2:21-25

As it relates to human sexuality and marriage, no human government can define its terms. Not even the church can do that. Human sexuality and marriage were determined and defined by God before the church came into existence, before the Jewish nation was formed, and before human government was established. The biblical definition of marriage goes back to the Garden of Eden in Genesis 2, and it was set by God. It was already in place when human government was ordained, when the Jewish nation was established, and the church was born.

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Joyce Meyer – Defeating Discouragement

Why are you cast down, O my inner self? And why should you moan over me and be disquieted within me? Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him, my Help and my God. —Psalm 42:5

In today’s verse, the psalmist is clearly discouraged. Discouragement destroys hope, so naturally the enemy tries hard to discourage us. Without hope we give up, which is exactly what the devil wants us to do.

The Bible repeatedly tells us not to be discouraged or dismayed. God knows that we will not be strong or victorious if we lose our courage, and He wants us to be encouraged, not discouraged. When discouragement tries to overtake you, the first thing to do is to examine your thought life. What kinds of thoughts have you been thinking? Have they sounded something like this? I am not going to make it; this is too hard. I always fail; I may as well give up. God probably doesn’t answer my prayers because He is so disappointed in the way I act.

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Girlfriends in God – How To Avoid Crashing in Turbulent Emotions

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

James 1:5

Friend to Friend

On July 16, 1999, John F Kennedy Jr., his wife, Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, and his sister-in-law, Lauren Bessette, met their death in a watery grave in the Atlantic Ocean. John was piloting the single-engine aircraft and was only a few miles from their destination when something went terribly wrong.

The plane left New Jersey en route to a family gathering in Massachusetts in the dark of night, and while crossing a thirty-mile stretch of water to make its final descent, the plane began a series of erratic maneuvers. John’s descent varied between 400 and 800 feet per minute, about seven miles from shore. The plane began an erratic series of turns, descents, and climbs. Its final descent eventually exceeded 4700 fpm, and the airplane nose-dived into the ocean. Other pilots flying similar routes on the night of the accident reported no visual horizon while flying over the water because of haze. They couldn’t see a thing. The watery grave swallowed the plane and the three passengers on board.

Continue reading Girlfriends in God – How To Avoid Crashing in Turbulent Emotions

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – The Heavens Declare God’s Glory

“The heavens are telling the glory of God; they are a marvelous display of His craftmanship” (Psalm 19:1).

When King David was a small lad, his father assigned him the care of the sheep. Day after day, night after night he cared for his sheep as a loving shepherd. No doubt on numerous occasions he would lie on his back and look up at the sun and the vastness of space, during the daytime. At night, the stars and the moon would seem so close that he could almost reach them, as he would talk to the God of his fathers.

The vast expanse of creation captivated him, and instinctively he knew that God, who created it all, was his God and he could trust Him with his life, so that just before he went against the giant Goliath he could say to King Saul, “When I am taking care of my father’s sheep and a lion or a bear comes and grabs a lamb from the flock, I go after it with a club…I’ve done it to this heathen Philistine too, for he has defied the armies of the living God.

Continue reading Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – The Heavens Declare God’s Glory

Ray Stedman – The Origin and Nature of Sin

Read: Isaiah 14:3-23

How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of Dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, I will ascend to heaven, I will raise my throne on high above the stars of God… But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit. (Isaiah 14:12, 13a, 14)

These verses describe a supernatural figure who, in the invisible world of the spirit, is behind the earthly kingdom of Babylon. We are here looking at what has been called the fall of Satan. Lucifer, the brightest and most beautiful of the angels of God, the nearest to his throne, became so entranced with his own beauty that he rebelled against the government of God and thus became the adversary, Satan. Here he is seen as brought, at last, to the bottomless pit.

We are clearly looking beyond the events of earth to that spiritual world which governs those events. Paul told us that we do not wrestle with flesh and blood, but with wicked spirits in high places. (Ephesians 6:12) The great king of evil is behind all human wrong. This is why the nations rage, why we cannot achieve peace among men at the level of human counsel. We must reckon with these supernatural beings who are behind the mistaken deeds of men.

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Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Training for the Good and Beautiful Life

Read: 1 Corinthians 13:1-13

No matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love. (v. 3 The Message)

This beautifully written passage is revered by many Christians. However, it may be so familiar we do not notice that Paul pulls no punches here. He says that it doesn’t matter how much we believe, how generous we are, how articulately we express our faith, or even how willing we are to die for that faith. My kindness may be based on self-interest; my helping may be a hidden plea for approval; my service may come from feeling superior; my leadership may be a bid for control. No matter what I say, what I believe, or do, I am “bankrupt” if love is not behind it all.

Paul feels so strongly about this (perhaps based on sad memories of his own former persecution of Christians) that he carefully describes how the virtue love is demonstrated. Among other traits, it never gives up, struts, has a swelled head, flies off the handle, or keeps score of the sins of others. It cares more for others than for self, puts up with anything, trusts God always, looks for the best, never looks back. These characteristics make up the primary virtue of a good and beautiful life.

The world of spiritual formation teaches that we must be in lifelong training with the Holy Spirit to create love, faith, and hope in our lives; they don’t come by sitting on a church pew. They come with practice.

Prayer:

Lord, save me from bankruptcy of spirit.

https://woh.org/

Presidential Prayer Team; C.P.- Desperation

Droughts in the western states can become so severe that animals abandon their babies because they are unable to care for them. One doe in Texas, though, was particularly resourceful; she led her fawn to a kiddie pool in a nearby yard. Thirst is a powerful force.

As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.

Psalm 42:1

The Psalmist uses it in today’s verse to describe not only his desire and motivation, but deep need for the Lord. The Bible promises that those who seek God will find Him. Are you as determined to find God as someone dying of thirst is to find water? Sometimes it takes a great need to stir up that level of motivation. But you don’t have to wait until you are in a desperate situation to seek God desperately.

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Greg Laurie – How Unforgiveness Hurts You

Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.—Ephesians 4:32

If you’re someone who holds grudges, if you keep score and can’t let things go, then you need to know something: You will suffer in life. You also will see your prayer life come to a screeching halt.

Forgiveness is the key to all healthy, strong, and lasting relationships. That’s why we must realize how important it is to forgive. Jesus said, “So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God” (Matthew 5:23–24).

Maybe you’ve decided that you won’t forgive someone who has wronged you. Guess who will be the one to get hurt? You will. Harboring resentment and unforgiveness will hurt you more than the person you’re refusing to forgive. If you want to be healthy and vibrant spiritually, then you must learn to forgive.

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Kids 4 Truth International – God Gives Good Gifts

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (James 1:17)

Have you ever heard someone say, “I’m so lucky?” Have you ever said it yourself? The truth is, there is no such thing as luck. Whenever something good comes your way, it’s not luck; it’s a gift from God.

God delights to give His children good gifts. What kind of good gifts has the Lord given you? A warm house? A spot on the basketball team? A family vacation or a trip to camp? I’m sure you can think of many good gifts that God has given you, but maybe you hadn’t thought about the fact that those things came from Him.

When you are playing outside on a sunny day, it may seem to you that the sun is changing its position throughout the day, because your shadow will fall in different directions at different times. But it hasn’t – the earth is what’s moving, not the sun.

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The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – God’s Necessary Wrath

Today’s Scripture: Colossians 3:6

“The wrath of God is coming.”

The wrath of God is a subject ignored by most believers. Perhaps we shy away from it because of the violent emotions and behavior we frequently associate with the word wrath when used of sinful human beings. We’re reluctant, rightly so, to attribute that same attitude and activity to God.

I suspect, however, that the more basic reason we avoid or ignore the subject is that we simply don’t think of our sinfulness as warranting that degree of judgment. Frankly, most people don’t think they’re that bad. A divine reprimand or an occasional slap on the wrist may be needed—but an outpouring of divine wrath? That’s much too severe. Perhaps another reason we avoid the subject is that we don’t want to think of our nice, decent, but unbelieving neighbors and relatives as subject to God’s wrath.

Continue reading The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – God’s Necessary Wrath

The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – The Good Seed

Today’s Scripture: Matthew 12-15

For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. – 2 Corinthians 2:15

I am convinced that lay men and women need to recapture a biblical view of their role in the kingdom of God. In Matthew 13, Jesus uses a parable about sowing seed to introduce a tremendous concept concerning the kingdom of God. “The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom” (13:38).

Here Jesus points out the magnitude of the job: “The field is the world”–a world of people who need the message of the gospel. And what is the Lord’s plan for accomplishing this? Planting good seed that will be fruitful and multiply throughout that needy world.

Continue reading The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – The Good Seed

BreakPoint –  Human Dignity and Justice Reform: The Colson Task Force

In 2014, in an all-too-rare case of bipartisan cooperation, Congress created the Charles Colson Task Force on Federal Corrections to tackle what many have called a crisis in the federal prison system.

Why they named it after Chuck was pretty clear. In the words of the Task Force: “Chuck Colson, who served time in federal prison and upon release founded the world’s largest prison ministry, was a vigorous advocate on behalf of the incarcerated at a time when criminal justice reform had virtually no support on either side of the aisle. We salute his leadership and we are grateful for the chance to move the cause forward with our efforts.”

Those efforts come at a critical time. According to the Task Force, “About 40 percent of those who leave federal prison are re-arrested or have their supervision revoked within three years. And inside federal prisons . . . overcrowding [is] a particular challenge . . . [T]he system operates at 20 percent above rated capacity. Such overcrowding presents serious challenges … jeopardizing the safety of both correctional officers and those they oversee.”

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Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – REST WRECKERS: FEAR

Read Psalm 3:1-8

In an article titled “Surviving Anxiety” published in The Atlantic, author Scott Stossel describes his lifelong battle with fear. Stossel was so anxious at his wedding that he sweat through his clothes and had to lean on his bride in order to stay upright. When his first child was born, he passed out from fear. “I’ve abandoned dates; walked out of exams; and had breakdowns during job interviews, plane flights, train trips, and car rides, and simply walking down the street,” Stossel writes. “On ordinary days, doing ordinary things—reading a book, lying in bed, talking on the phone, sitting in a meeting, playing tennis—I have thousands of times been stricken by a pervasive sense of existential dread and been beset by nausea, vertigo, shaking, and a panoply of other physical symptoms.”

Few things are as destructive to rest as fear. Today’s psalm describes how David overcame his battle with fear: by relying on God’s power and protection. David describes a variety of circumstances that would normally be grounds for fear (vv. 1–3). Anxiety often causes us to magnify our problems. Instead of focusing on all the possible terrible things that could happen, David chose to meditate on the blessing of God’s presence. He was able to escape the anxiety of the present by focusing on how God had helped him in the past and on what God had promised for the future.

Continue reading Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – REST WRECKERS: FEAR

Denison Forum – BRONCOS WIN SUPER BOWL 50:WHAT YOU MAY NOT KNOW

A Doritos advertisement made the Top Five Super Bowl ads in USA Today’s poll. It depicts a pregnant mother getting an ultrasound. The father holds a bag of Doritos chips. Each time he eats one, the baby in its mother’s womb reacts. I thought it was the best Super Bowl ad this year.

ot everyone agrees. NARAL Pro-Choice America immediately tweeted their complaint about the ad’s “antichoice tactic of humanizing fetuses.” Their strategy is logical: when people realize that a fetus is human, they are less likely to support abortion.

So here’s the science. At the moment the sperm penetrates the egg, the twenty-three chromosomes of the sperm unite with the twenty-three chromosomes of the egg, producing a new forty-six chromosome cell. It has the human chromosome pattern with all inheritable factors and can never grow into anything but a human. Its chromosomal uniqueness is immediately distinct from the mother.

Continue reading Denison Forum – BRONCOS WIN SUPER BOWL 50:WHAT YOU MAY NOT KNOW