Charles Stanley – The Cross: Symbol of Supreme Love

Read | John 10:18

Many people wear a cross because it symbolizes the Christian faith. But few fully grasp the depth of love that it represents.

The cross stands for what is arguably history’s most painful method of execution. Crucifixion usually began with two soldiers flogging the criminal from the front and back. They used a strap with three leather cords, each containing a piece of embedded bone that tore flesh to ribbons. No wonder Jesus fell and struggled to carry His cross after such treatment.

The soldiers then hammered a long square nail into the hands or wrists; this shape would heighten the already excruciating pain. Another nail was driven through the ankles into the wood. Raising the cross, executioners would then drop it into a hole in the ground; the thud from it falling into place would further tear the flesh. In order to breathe, the convicted man had to push up on his bloody ankles.

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Our Daily Bread — Taking Notice

Read: Job 40:1-14

Bible in a Year: Numbers 17-19; Mark 6:30-56

“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?” —Job 38:4

When I clean my house for a special event, I become discouraged because I think that guests won’t notice what I clean, only what I don’t clean. This brings to mind a larger philosophical and spiritual question: Why do humans more quickly see what’s wrong than what’s right? We are more likely to remember rudeness than kindness. Crimes seem to receive more attention than acts of generosity. And disasters grab our attention more quickly than the profound beauty all around us.

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John MacArthur – Strength for Today – God’s Glory

“The heavens are telling of the glory of God, and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands” (Psalm 19:1).

God’s glory is the radiance of all He is.

In Isaiah’s vision of Heaven, angels called out, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory” (Isa. 6:3). What exactly is the glory of God? It encompasses all that He is, the radiance of His attributes and divine nature.

Moses said to God, “I pray Thee, show me Thy glory!” (Ex. 33:18), and the Lord answered, “I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the Lord before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion” (v. 19). Moses was not allowed to see God’s face, which is the essence of His being: “You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!” (v. 20). But Moses was allowed to see God’s back, which represents the afterglow of His glory.

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Wisdom Hunters – Praying Husband 

Isaac prayed to the LORD on behalf of his wife, because she was barren. The LORD answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant. Genesis 25:21

A praying husband appeals to the Lord for the sake of his wife. He bombards heaven on behalf of his bride with big things like having babies, and he is consistent in praying for his wife every day for important matters such as peace and security. Prayer is one of God’s select weapons that a husband can wield in defense of his woman. God has called you to be the spiritual warrior of your home, and prayer is your first line of defense. If prayer is compromised, then you have no air support from your heavenly Father.

Without prayer covering your home and wife, you and your family are open to blistering assaults from the devil and his demons. So pray for God’s hedge of protection (Job 1:10). The strategy of the stealth enemy is to keep you busy with only a token of prayer on your breath. An overly active man is probably a prayerless man; a man consumed with his own deal is probably a prayerless man; a man absorbed by pride is probably a prayerless man; a man who serves a small God is probably a prayerless man; a man angry at his wife is probably a prayerless man. A husband whose prayers are hindered is a man who knows he needs to pray for his wife but doesn’t. He is a man powerless as a spiritual leader (1 Peter 3:7).

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Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – Love Languages: Give Your Love

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

John 3:16

Recommended Reading

2 Corinthians 8:7-9

First John 4:8 says, “God is love.” And John 3:16 says, “God gave.” God’s loving nature was the reason for more than just giving—He created, He redeems, He provides, He forgives, He restores, and more. Yet almost everything God does can be put under the heading of giving.

Everything we have comes from God and comes to us because He has given. As David noted in his prayer, “For all things come from You, and of Your own we have given You” (1 Chronicles 29:14, italics added). David’s response to God’s giving was to give back to Him as an act of worship. In fact, the apostle Paul said that giving (to others) is a test of the sincerity of our love (2 Corinthians 8:8). And what example of giving did he cite? The fact that Christ gave (became poor) to us so we might receive (become spiritually rich), (2 Corinthians 8:9).

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Joyce Meyer – Fellowship with the Lord

Then you will seek Me, inquire for, and require Me [as a vital necessity] and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.—Jeremiah 29:13

No matter how many principles and formulas you and I learn, we will never have lasting victory in our Christian life without spending time in personal, private fellowship with the Lord. The victory is not in methods; it is in God. If we are to live victoriously, we are going to have to look beyond ways to eliminate our problems and find the Lord in the midst of our problems.

The good news is that when we set aside time with God, He meets with us. We can be grateful, knowing that when we seek Him, we will find Him. God has a personalized plan for each of us, a plan that will lead us to victory. That is why principles, formulas, and methods are not the ultimate answer, because they do not allow for the individual differences in people. As good as all these things may be as general guidelines, they are not substitutes for personal fellowship with the Living God.

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – The End Will Come

“And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it, and then, finally, the end will come” (Matthew 24:14).

I applaud every effort to warn Christians and nonbelievers to be ready for our Lord’s return, as Scripture clearly teaches that He will come again and has delayed His return in order that more people might have a chance to hear the gospel. To this end, we must give priority to taking the gospel to all men everywhere throughout the world.

However, we dare not wrongly interpret the Scriptures, as so many in previous generations have done, resulting in a lack of concern for the souls of men and a failure to correct the evils of society.

God expects us as His children to be His representatives here on earth. We are to love with His love, sharing the message of salvation with all who will listen and helping to meet the needs of widows, orphans and prisoners in His name.

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Ray Stedman – Silent Witness

Read: Isaiah 53:7-9

He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. (Isaiah 53:7)

Scripture preserves carefully the sinlessness of Jesus himself. He was without sin, but he bore the sins of others. That is why he did it in silence. He had no interest in defending himself, so he never spoke in his own defense. It is a striking thing that in the gospel accounts of the trials of Jesus he never spoke up on his own behalf or tried to escape the penalty. This amazed both Pilate and Caiaphas. When our Lord stood before the High Priest, he was silent until the High Priest put him on oath to tell them who he was. When he stood before Pilate, he was silent until to remain silent was to deny his very Kingship. Then he spoke briefly, acknowledging who he was. When he was with the soldiers, they smote him and spat him and put the crown of thorns on his head, yet he said not a word. Peter says, When they hurled insults at him, he did not retaliate. (1 Peter 2:23). When he went before contemptuous, sneering Herod, he stood absolutely silent. He would not say one word to him. He was returned at last to Pilate because Herod could find nothing wrong with him.

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Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Sin and Evil and the Levite’s Concubine

Read: Judges 19:1-30

Such a thing has never happened. (v. 30)

Sin and evil are not the same thing. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23), but not all sinners practice evil. The world is full of good and decent people, sinners one and all. Sin is directed at God. It is being out of right relationship with God and violating his law. Evil is directed at God’s creation, harming or destroying what God has made.

The story of the Levite’s concubine is pure evil. It is an illustration of how low Israel has sunk. There are parallels in the story of Sodom, found in Genesis 19. But Sodom was not Israel. This is. The exodus and giving of the law have happened, but Israel has no moral compass.

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Presidential Prayer Team; H.L.M. – Take Hold

Dr. Mitch Land and his wife were on their way to the airport to pick up his son’s family joining them at their home for a delayed Christmas celebration. Suddenly he got a startling text from his daughter back at the house. It read, “Tornadoes have taken our house.” A terrible feeling gripped Land’s heart, similar to the one he had several years earlier when his son was killed by a drunk driver. Over 20 family members were waiting at the house, including his 82-year-old mother. The tornado ripped off part of the roof and shattered windows while four generations of family crammed themselves into a 15-foot-long hallway between the kitchen and the garage.

Hope in the Lord from this time forth and forevermore.

Psalm 131:3

“Driving in the car I didn’t know how many were going to be alive, or how many were going to be dead or injured,” Land said. “When we got to the house, we wept with joy that God had spared them.”

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Greg Laurie – Unconventional Evangelism

“I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it.”—Revelation 3:8

Know this: it’s not always easy to bring people to Jesus.

Don’t expect a standing ovation in hell when you bring your friends and family to Jesus. Expect and prepare for radical satanic opposition! You must be prepared for the difficulties, and be ready to overcome them. No half-hearted attempts will succeed. No “spiritual wimps” need apply!

There was a man who brought his demon-possessed son to Jesus in Mark 9. “When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth” (verse 20 NIV). In the same way, the devil will throw a fit when we try to bring our friends to Jesus!

That man got his son to Jesus and Jesus delivered that boy. The takeaway truth for us is we must do all we can to get others to Jesus. The business of bringing others to Jesus is so important, that when it seems you can’t find a way, you can often make one! Seize the moment!

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Kids 4 Truth International – God Wants Us To Trust Him

“And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.” (John 10: 4-5)

Mary had a little lamb, her fleece was white as snow, and everywhere that Mary went, the lamb was sure to go. This nursery rhyme meant quite a bit to Mary, because she really did have a lamb that wanted to follow her everywhere. Her father wasn’t exactly a “shepherd,” but he was in charge of a ranch that raised sheep. Mary loved to go with her father whenever he would check on the flocks. One day, he asked Mary if she would like to help him take care of a special little lamb.

This little lamb’s mother had died, and the lamb had also been born blind. Mary’s job was to feed the lamb with a bottle every day. She also checked his coat too make sure it was not scratched or dirty. Mary named the lamb “Fluffy.” Soon, Fluffy learned to recognize Mary’s voice. Even though Fluffy was blind, as long as he could hear Mary, he would follow her anywhere she went.

Some of the ranch workers would try calling to Fluffy, to see if he would follow them, but he never did. He listened only to Mary, and he really did follow her voice anywhere. Once, Mary and Fluffy even got in trouble with Mary’s mom, because they came walking into the living room where Mary’s mom was having a meeting with some other ladies in the neighborhood!

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The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – The Scapegoat

Today’s Scripture: Leviticus 16:22

“The goat shall bear all their iniquities on itself to a remote area.”

The greatest scapegoat in all of history is the Lord Jesus Christ.

The word is never used of him in the Bible, but it is used of a male goat in the Old Testament sacrificial system which pictured the one great sacrifice of Jesus in his death. Each year this elaborate system of sacrifices reached its climax on the great day of atonement, when two male goats were selected.

One was to be killed and its blood sprinkled on and before the mercy seat in the Most Holy Place where God symbolically dwelt (Leviticus 16:15-19). This goat’s death as a sacrifice to God symbolized our Lord’s propitiatory sacrifice for us on the cross.

The priest would lay his hands on the head of the second goat “and confess over it all the iniquities of the people of Israel, and all their transgressions, all their sins.” Then the goat would be led “away into the wilderness,” never to be seen again. This goat was called the scapegoat because all the guilt of the people was symbolically transferred to it, and their sins carried away into the desert (verses 20-22).

The death of the first goat symbolized the means of propitiating the wrath of God through the death of an innocent victim substituted in the sinner’s place. The sending away of the second goat set forth the effect of this propitiation, the complete removal of the sins from the presence of the holy God and from his people.

Since both goats represented Christ, we may say Christ became our scapegoat, bearing the guilt of our sins in his propitiatory sacrifice and by that act bearing them away from the presence of his holy Father. (Excerpt taken from The Gospel for Real Life)

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The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – God’s Unfailing Love

Today’s Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 4:1-11

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! – 1 John 3:1

Bible scholars and theologians usually list the attributes of God under two headings: His natural attributes and His moral attributes.

His natural attributes tell us of a God who is all-knowing, all-powerful, ever-present, eternal. His moral attributes tell us of a God who is holy, righteous, faithful, full of mercy and kindness, and who is love. To contemplate any one of these attributes by itself staggers us. But it is His undying love for us that thrills our hearts.

Some years ago my wife and I were visiting the home of friends who live in Oklahoma City. We arrived midafternoon, and my wife went into the living room to join a ladies’ Bible study. I went into the back bedroom to prepare a message I was to give that night at a church banquet.

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Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – THE DISCIPLES’ FOOLISH REST

Read Matthew 26:36-46

Many churches observe an Easter vigil. This service is usually held at night after sunset on Holy Saturday and before sunrise on Easter Sunday. In some, the mood is somber as believers reflect on Christ’s death and burial. In others, the mood is celebratory as they serve communion and practice baptism.

In today’s text the disciples observed a different kind of vigil. On the night of His betrayal, Jesus asked the disciples to “keep watch” with Him as He prayed in Gethsemane (v. 38). The mood just prior to this was unsettling, as Jesus celebrated His last Passover with them. The disciples bickered amongst themselves about which of them was the greatest (see Luke 22:24). Peter argued with Jesus when He washed his feet (John 13:8). They were deeply disturbed when Jesus told them that one of them would betray Him (Matt. 26:22). It must also have unnerved them when Jesus changed the traditional Passover liturgy and instituted the Lord’s Supper (Matt. 26:26–29).

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