Charles Stanley – The Words We Speak

Read | 2 Timothy 2:23-3:5

Gossip is often regarded as a relatively harmless pastime, particularly when compared to “bigger” wrongs like murder or adultery. Satan has painted idle talk as innocuous, but if we peel away that deception, we discover the ugly truth. In the Bible,

God lists gossip among the most depraved sins (Rom. 1:28-31).

Nothing about gossip is harmless. Whether the talk is intentionally cruel or simply some idle musing, the target of the comments can be embarrassed or hurt. A friend of mine decided to trace a damaging story ab out himself back to the original source. He asked one man after another, “Where did you hear this?” Seventeen pastors later, he finally found the person who had originated the tale. This fellow admitted he had speculated aloud regarding a situation about which he knew little. A destructive chain reaction began with just one man jumping to a false conclusion while chatting with a friend.

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Our Daily Bread — Grandma’s Recipe

Read: Psalm 145:1-13

Bible in a Year: Numbers 28-30; Mark 8:22-38

Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past. Ask your father and he will tell you, your elders, and they will explain to you. —Deuteronomy 32:7

Many families have a secret recipe, a special way of cooking a dish that makes it especially savory. For us Hakkas (my Chinese ethnic group), we have a traditional dish called abacus beads, named for its beadlike appearance. Really, you have to try it!

Of course Grandma had the best recipe. Each Chinese New Year at the family reunion dinner we would tell ourselves, “We should really learn how to cook this.” But we never got around to asking Grandma. Now she is no longer with us, and her secret recipe is gone with her.

We miss Grandma, and it’s sad to lose her recipe. It would be far more tragic if we were to fail to preserve the legacy of faith entrusted to us. God intends that every generation share with the next generation about the mighty acts of God. “One generation commends [God’s] works to another,” said the psalmist (Ps. 145:4), echoing Moses’ earlier instructions to “remember the days of old . . . . Ask your father and he will tell you, your elders, and they will explain to you” (Deut. 32:7).

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – A Crutch or a Cross

In Mere Apologetics, Alister McGrath points out that “one of the most familiar criticisms of Christianity is that it offers consolation to life’s losers.”(1) Believers are often caricatured as being somewhat weak and naïve—the kind of people who need their faith as a “crutch” just to get them through life. In new atheist literature, this depiction is often contrasted with the image of a hardier intellectual atheist who has no need for such infantile, yet comforting, nonsense. This type of portrayal may resonate with some, but does it really make sense?(2)

Firstly, it is helpful to define what we mean by a “crutch.” In a medical setting, the word obviously means an implement used by people for support when they are injured. The analogy implies, therefore, that those who need one are somehow deficient or wounded. In a sense, it is fairly obvious that the most vulnerable might need support, but as the agnostic John Humphrys points out, “Don’t we all? Some use booze rather than the Bible.”(3) As this suggests, it is not so much a question of whether you have one, but it is more of a question of what your particular crutch is. This is an important point to make, as people rely on all kinds of things for their comfort or self-esteem, ranging from material possessions, money, food, and aesthetics to cigarettes, drugs, alcohol, and sex. Rather than being viewed as signs of weakness, many of these are even considered to be relatively normal in society, provided they don’t turn into the more destructive behavior associated with strong addiction. Nevertheless, many of these only offer a short-term release from the struggles of life and they sometimes only cover up deeper problems that a person might be suffering from. To suggest, therefore, that atheists are somehow stronger than believers is to deny the darker side of humanity, which is only too apparent if we look at the world around us. As McGrath explains:

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John MacArthur – Strength for Today – Standing Against the Devil

“Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7b).

Anyone who possesses scriptural humility will take an uncompromising stand against Satan.

The successful diplomat or politician is quite adept at the art of compromise and finding the middle ground on various issues. But such skill is a hindrance when it comes to determining your position before God. If you humbly, by faith and repentance, submit yourself to God’s authority, you will immediately find yourself the enemy of Satan. You are either in God’s kingdom and under His lordship, or you are in Satan’s kingdom and under his lordship. It is impossible to have one foot in each kingdom and to be serving both kingdoms’ rulers.

To “resist the devil” gives us insight into what it means to be an enemy of Satan. “Resist” means “to take a stand against” the person of Satan and his entire system, which includes everything he does and represents. Such resistance is the complete opposite of the position you had before you submitted to God. Ephesians 2:1-2 reminds us of what that position was: “You were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air [Satan].” At that time, you had no power to resist the Devil and no desire to serve God, because you were slaves to Satan and his system (Heb. 2:14-15).

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Wisdom Hunters – Are You Better Than Others? 

No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Luke 13:3

In America we recently wrapped up award season, with the world tuning in to see which film or musical production topped the charts this year. As I observed the nominees for film of the year, I was struck by how several of these films were entirely based on significant and at times unspeakable human failures. Issues of human rights violations, greed and corruption, and abuse and cover-up were all on display for the world to see. And when we see or hear about these types of stories, I think it is our temptation to say, “at least I’m not like that!”

We must never justify our sin and brokenness by comparing it to the failure of others. Yet this is a great temptation in each of our hearts, and it was a temptation in Jesus’ own day. In Luke 13, we see Jesus addressing two well-known scenes in which people’s sins were put on great public display. On the one hand, Jesus speaks of murder and impure sacrifices. On the other, he speaks of eighteen people who were killed in the tower of Siloam. These are “extreme” stories. Stories that would make the evening news for their shock value alone! And yet, with both of these, Jesus says to his followers, “unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Lk. 13:3).

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Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – Remember, Repent, and Return

Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.

Revelation 2:4

Recommended Reading

Jeremiah 2:2-3

Sometimes relationships between people, even between nations, end suddenly because of a single overt act. But most of the time they end slowly. A gradual series of disappointments and unmet expectations produces a downward spiral. Or, as the saying goes, “Death by a thousand paper cuts.” What had been tolerated before now becomes inescapable: The original priorities that led to peace have changed.

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Joyce Meyer – The Foundation of Love

See what [an incredible] quality of love the Father has given (shown, bestowed on) us, that we should [be permitted to] be named and called and counted the children of God! And so we are! The reason that the world does not know (recognize, acknowledge) us is that it does not know (recognize, acknowledge) Him.—1 John 3:1

Many people fail at marriage because they don’t love themselves, and therefore they have nothing to give in the relationship. They spend most of their time trying to get from their spouses what only God can give them, which is a sense of their own worth and value.

In my case, although I didn’t even know what love was, I married a boy of nineteen simply because I was afraid no one would ever want me. He had problems of his own and did not really know how to love me—so the pattern of pain in my life continued. I was repeatedly hurt in that relationship, which ended in divorce after five years.

Receiving the free gift of God’s unconditional love is the beginning of our healing, and the foundation for our new life in Christ. We cannot love ourselves unless we realize how much God loves us, and if we don’t love ourselves, we cannot love other people. We cannot maintain good, healthy relationships without this foundation of love in our lives.

Lord, I am amazed that You love me and desire me to be Your child. I receive Your love today and choose to love myself. Amen.

From the book The Confident Woman Devotional: 365 Daily Devotions by Joyce Meyer.

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Girlfriends in God – The Bottom Line

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.

1 Corinthians 16:13

Friend to Friend

I thought I was so Godly … until we decided to move. If you want to measure your faith, just decide to pack up everything you own, put it in cardboard boxes, and move.

And if you really want to test the strength of your faith, decide to basically gut the house into which you are moving. Yep! That ought to do it!

Paint. I know a fresh coat of paint can make old walls dance with new life, but painting is also messy, time consuming, and the source of total chaos. Icky drop cloths are sprawled everywhere, paintbrushes have to be cleaned in a foul-smelling liquid, cans of paint must be lugged from room-to-room along with paint trays that are guaranteed not to spill … until they do. And don’t get me started on the whole taping thing.

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – The Only Way

“Jesus told him, ‘I am the Way – yes, and the Truth and the life. No one can get to the Father except by means of Me'” (John 14:6).

Dr. Bob Pierce, founder of World Vision, was conducting a great city-wide campaign in Tokyo and asked me to be in charge of the student phase of the crusade. So day after day, for more than a month, I spoke to thousands of students on many campuses, presenting the claims of Christ and challenging the students to receive Him as their Savior and Lord.

Many thousands responded, but occasionally a student would object and say that Jesus had no relevance for the Japanese – that Christianity is for the Westerner, not for the Asian. They were surprised when I reminded them that Jesus was born and reared in and carried out His ministry in the Middle East and that He was in many ways closer to them culturally and geographically that He was to me.

I reminded them, and I want to remind you, that though the Lord Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem and grew up in Nazareth, in what is now Israel, He came to this world to die for all people in all lands.

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Ray Stedman – Love With Knowledge

Read: Philippians 1:7-11

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight… Phil 1:9

Now if you and I were writing a letter to new Christians, wanting to stir them up to activity, what would we say? Would we not probably urge them to witness, because somehow in our day there has come the idea that all Christian life exists for but one purpose — that the believer may be a verbal witness. And if we are fulfilling that job in talking with someone about God, we are fulfilling all that is expected of us in our Christian lives.

But Paul doesn’t say a word about this. Because, of course, love in action is the greatest witness. He says, that your love may abound more and more. That the love of Christ which is in you, and which you can’t help but find there if you are at all a believer, may now find expression in affection. What does that mean? That means there is some resulting activity — love in action! Not promise but performance. I think they needed this in Philippi, and I think we need it wherever we live as well, that our love may abound in activity. Otherwise, it’s as James says, faith without works is dead. If love doesn’t show itself in some action, then it’s not real love.

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Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Faithful Friends

Read: Mark 2:1-12

And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” (v. 5)

There are two ways to get to the top of a tall oak tree—you can roll up your sleeves and start climbing, or you can sit on an acorn. The four friends in the Gospel of Mark, these guys don’t sit on acorns. Unable to get near Jesus on account of the crowd, the four friends scramble up onto the roof and tear open a hole so that they can lower their paralyzed buddy down into the room where the Lord is teaching. Faith always finds the opening that doubt doesn’t think is there.

Surely there is a link between miracles and faith. “All things are possible for one who believes,” said Jesus (Mark 9:23). Again and again in Scripture we hear Jesus say to the person who has been healed, “Your faith has made you well.” But in this miracle it’s also the faith of the friends, apparently, and not just the faith of the paralytic, that moves Jesus to action. The Lord looks up and sees the four hopeful faces looking down, and he looks down and sees the hopeful face looking up, and “. . . when he saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’” When he saw their faith.

Heaven hears the prayers of the supplicant, but the faith of one’s friends is also involved. How many miracles are waiting to happen, waiting for faithful friends to bring the needy to the feet of Christ?

Prayer:

Lord, increase my faith.

Author: Lou Lotz

https://woh.org/

Presidential Prayer Team; C.P. – Proven Truth

“The proof is in the pudding,” says an old idiom. However, the original phrase is, “The proof of the pudding is in the eating.” This dates back to the fourteenth century and it referred to sausage meat inside the casing, not a dessert. The shortened version dates back to the 1920’s and wasn’t used in the United States until the 1950’s. The proverb means that you can’t tell something is a success or not until you see the results.

He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them.

Acts 1:3

Jesus proved He was the Son of God. He healed the sick, raised the dead and He Himself died and rose again. Despite many proofs, people still harden their hearts. Jesus often referred to those who don’t have spiritual ears to hear and eyes to see.

The apostle Paul writes, “The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel.” (II Corinthians 4:4) Ask the Lord to open the spiritual eyes and ears of the leaders and people of this nation to see and hear the proven truth of Christ and His resurrection.

Recommended Reading: John 20:24-29

http://www.presidentialprayerteam.com/index.php

Greg Laurie – The Great Omission

Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.—James 4:17

A Sunday School teacher who was speaking to her class on the topic of sin asked, “Can anyone tell me what the sin of commission is?”

One girl raised her hand. “I know!” she said. “The sin of commission is when you do what you shouldn’t do.”

“That’s right,” the teacher said. “Now can someone tell me what the sin of omission is?”

A boy in the back of the room was anxiously waving his arm, so she called on him. He said, “The sin of omission? Well, those are the sins that you want to do, but you haven’t gotten around to them yet.”

While you can’t help but smile at the boy’s answer, he didn’t quite have it right. The sin of omission is not doing what you should do. And one of the ways we can commit this sin is when we don’t respond to the prompting of the Holy Spirit to share the gospel.

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Kids 4 Truth International – God’s Word Is Our Treasure

“Thy word have I hidden in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” (Psalm 119:11)

Do you have a “treasure-keeper”? Most of us have a place where we keep those things that are special to us. Your special “treasure-keeping” place might be a shoebox on the top shelf of your closet, a locked safebox, a trophy case, a diary, a cookie tin, a dresser drawer–or maybe even under your bed! Our “treasures’ can be all sorts of things: baseball cards, jewelry, a souvenir from a favorite vacation, a photo of your grandpa and grandma on their wedding day, a letter from a friend you met at camp, or maybe a medal you won in a competition. Whatever form your “treasure-keeper” takes, it is the treasure kept inside it that really is special to you.

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The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – The Self-Discipline Approach

Today’s Scripture: 1 Corinthians 3:7

“Neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.”

There’s no doubt that disciplined people, both believers and unbelievers, can effect change in themselves. But in the self-discipline approach to holiness, a major temptation is to rely on a regimen of spiritual disciplines instead of on the Holy Spirit.

I believe in spiritual disciplines, and I seek to practice them. But those disciplines are not the source of our spiritual strength. The Lord Jesus Christ is, and the Spirit’s ministry is to apply his strength in our lives. To paraphrase 1 Corinthians 3:7, we can plant and water, but we cannot make things grow. Only the Spirit can do that. We must plant and water if we’re to make progress in holiness, but only the Spirit can change us more and more into the likeness of Jesus.

Continue reading The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – The Self-Discipline Approach

The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – From the Mouth of God

Today’s Scripture: Psalm 119:137-152

I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word. – Psalm 119:16

There is a worldwide hotel chain that promises “No Surprises.” Every room in every hotel in every city of every country is identical.

It reminds me of my days growing up on a farm in Iowa. When the mailman drove into our farm and parked his Model T Ford by the gate and handed us the package from Sears and Roebuck, we knew exactly what would be inside. Whatever Ma ordered, that’s what came. It was absolutely reliable.

So it is with the Bible. There are two forms of evidence put forth to back up the conclusion that the Bible is the Word of the living God.

The first is what Bible teachers call internal evidence–statements found in the Bible that claim it is the Word of God; the second is external evidence, such as the unity of its message–fulfilled prophecy and the like. Let’s look for a moment at the internal evidence.

Continue reading The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – From the Mouth of God

BreakPoint –  A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War

To Christians, and even to many non-Christians, C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien represent something special—a Christian literary renaissance of the 20th century. These two friends published works of great power and endurance, saturated with a Christian worldview. But was it only faith and friendship that made their work unique and so great? What other factors might have played a role?

My good friend and King’s College history professor Joe Loconte identifies one such factor in his marvelous new book, “A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War.” As the title suggests, Loconte focuses on the life-altering role that Lewis’s and Tolkien’s service in World War I played in both men’s lives. In fact, we can’t fully understand these two writers without knowing something about how this cataclysmic event helped define them and their generation.

And Loconte gives us the background we need. Ironically, Joe says, it was the Myth of Progress—the widely held belief that “science . . . could perfect human nature and thus human societies”—that laid the ground for a war that reached an unprecedented level of destruction. Darwinism, eugenics, industrialism—all these gave rise to a firm belief in “the upward flight of humankind.” Even many Christians went along with this foolish utopianism; those who resisted found the “tide turning against them.”

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Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – JESUS, SON OF GOD

Read Luke 2:1-21

In a twist on the traditional baby shower, gender-reveal parties are the newest trend in gathering friends and family before the birth of the baby. Portable ultrasound machines can be wheeled into the room. Cakes (with blue or pink inside) deliver the awaited news.

Mary had one of the most amazing gender-reveal moments of all time when the angel Gabriel told her that she would have a son (1:31)! That news was delivered to an audience of one; the birth announcement for Jesus, however, was delivered with celestial pageantry by the angelic hosts of heaven to the shepherds. The angels proclaimed the jubilant news of the Son of God’s arrival in Bethlehem, the royal city of David. This news was not a private celebration; the birth of Jesus was good news for the entire world.

In his book Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes, Kenneth Bailey says Mary and Joseph most probably had family connections in Bethlehem, since that was where they were going to register for the census. Bailey describes the construction of a typical village home at that time, which sometimes included a guest room. With the guest room already occupied, the homeowners likely welcomed Mary and Joseph into the area of their home designated for sheltering animals at night. Under that roof, the newborn Son of God was laid in a manger.

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Denison Forum – SAILOR’S MUMMIFIED BODY DISCOVERED IN YACHT

Manfred Fritz Bajorat was a fifty-nine-year-old German sailor. His body was recently discovered in a yacht floating in the Pacific Ocean. Authorities have no idea how long he has been dead. The dry ocean winds and salty air helped mummify his body, which was found slumped over a desk in what seems to be a radio room.

His death was certainly unique, but so was his life. So is yours.

NASA estimates that there are more than one billion “Earth-like” planets in our galaxy. These are rocky planets approximately the size of Earth that orbit sunshine stars in the “habitable zone” where water could be liquid at the surface. This estimate doesn’t include the number of such planets in other galaxies.

And yet, despite all these options, we have yet to discover life on any planet but our own.

Closer to home, scientists have now discovered the specific gene that can lead to gray hair. It is known as IRF4 and relates to the cellular process that produces melanin, the pigment that determines hair color. This gene variant does not guarantee that its owner will have gray hair, but it makes graying more likely.

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