Charles Stanley – The Precious Blood of Jesus

Read | 1 Peter 1:17-21

Many churches today have erased all mention of the blood of Jesus Christ from their worship services. But the shedding of blood is essential to the Christian faith—without a sacrifice, no one can have a relationship with the heavenly Father. For that reason, the Lord wove the story of death, renewal, and reconciliation like a red thread through the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation.

What do you have if you remove the blood from a body? You’re left with a lifeless corpse, right? The same is true of the Bible. Scripture would be no more than historical literature if we edited all the “unpleasant” parts regarding animal sacrifice, Jesus dying on the cross, or the power of His blood.

God designed the redemption system in such a way that anyone could understand the connection between shed blood and freedom from sin. The Lord gave detailed instructions for offering a perfect animal sacrifice so that His holiness would be satisfied. God also wanted His followers to understand that sin brought terrible consequences and resulted in death. The first fatality in Scripture was the animal whose skin was used to cover Adam and Eve’s nakedness (Gen. 3:21). Every time an Israelite brought a lamb or a pair of doves to the priest, he recognized that “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23).

God chose a graphic solution to the world’s sin problem. Therefore, believers cannot be squeamish about explaining what truly happened at Golgotha. The words that we choose influence listeners. “Jesus shed His blood for you” is a powerful statement, which is also the message God repeats throughout His Word.

Bible in a Year: Joshua 1-3

Our Daily Bread — Forward to God

Read: 2 Kings 19:9-20

Bible in a Year: Numbers 34-36; Mark 9:30-50

Give ear, Lord, and hear; open your eyes, Lord, and see. —2 Kings 19:16

In the days before telephones, email, and mobile phones, the telegram was usually the fastest means of communication. But only important news was sent by telegram, and such news was usually bad. Hence the saying, “The telegram boy always brings bad news.”

It was wartime in ancient Israel when Hezekiah was king of Judah. Sennacherib, king of Assyria, had invaded and captured the cities of Judah. He then sent a letter to Hezekiah, a bad-news “telegram” urging his surrender. Hezekiah described the moment as “a day of distress and rebuke and disgrace” (2 Kings 19:3).

Continue reading Our Daily Bread — Forward to God

John MacArthur – Strength for Today – The Nearness of God

“He will draw near to you” (James 4:8).

God will come near to the truly humble, who have by faith sought to be close to Him.

One of the greatest promises in the Bible is that God responds to the humble and draws near to them. Such people will yearn for a closeness to God by which they can know Him, love Him, learn His Word, praise Him, pray to Him, and fellowship with Him. In summary, the humble will be true worshipers, those who “worship the Father in spirit and truth” (John 4:23).

John 4:23 concludes with the statement, “for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.” This strongly implies that God wants to have a relationship with the humble, which means He will respond to us. This idea of the Lord reaching out to us and responding to our humble obedience is also found in the Old Testament, when David instructed Solomon: “As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever” (1 Chron. 28:9).

Continue reading John MacArthur – Strength for Today – The Nearness of God

Wisdom Hunters – Bad to Worse 

It will be as though a man fled from a lion only to meet a bear, as though he entered his house and rested his hand on the wall only to have a snake bite him.  Amos 5:19

Sometimes, things have to get worse before they get better. Your finances, relationships, job, and health may all have to get worse before they get better. This is not fun, but it is reality. The wheels of God’s will are in motion and this is part of the process, but a better day is coming. Adversity can be agonizing but it does not have to be forever. Indeed, it is hard to follow hard after God when times are hard. You want to take matters into your own hands and fix them, but you can’t do it alone. You need God and you need others. Use this time in the downward spiral to look up to your Savior, Jesus. Let go, and allow Him to love you. Search your character and see what needs to change for the better. It is during this time of crumbling circumstances that dependence on Christ needs to be front and center.

Yes, fear may be pursuing you like an uncaged lion. In your mind, there is a lion behind you and a bear in front of you. There is nowhere to turn; it seems you have used up all of your options. Your home was a sanctuary of peace, but now its serpents of insecurity attack you. People are more patient when things are going well, for they overlook indiscretions or idiosyncrasies during the good times. But now things are in the process of going from bad to worse. People’s patience is wearing thin, and they are looking for a scapegoat. So surrender to your Savior during this surreal time.

Continue reading Wisdom Hunters – Bad to Worse 

Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – Important Church Celebrations: Baby Dedication

Then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray….

Matthew 19:13

Recommended Reading

1 Samuel 1:24 – 2:1

Every church should rejoice in life’s mile markers, starting with birth, as we dedicate our children to the Lord. This is a biblical practice. In the Old Testament, Hannah brought her boy, Samuel, to the temple. There she dedicated him to the Lord, saying, “For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition… I also have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives he shall be lent to the Lord” (1 Samuel 1:27-28).

In the New Testament, Joseph and Mary did the same. In Luke 2:22-32, they brought Him to the temple in Jerusalem to consecrate Him to the Lord.

Continue reading Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – Important Church Celebrations: Baby Dedication

Joyce Meyer – Tell God How You Feel

…Do not ever let your wrath (your exasperation, your fury or indignation) last until the sun goes down.—Ephesians 4:26

Anger expressed inappropriately is a problem, but so is repressed anger. Anger that is stuffed inside and not dealt with properly will eventually come out one way or another. It may show up in depression, anxiety, or any of a variety of other negative emotions—but it will come out. It can even manifest in sickness and disease. If we don’t deal with our anger quickly, we will eventually either explode or implode.

The right way to express anger is to talk to God. Tell Him all about the way you feel and ask Him to help you manage the feelings properly. Talk to a professional or a mature friend if necessary, but do not pretend you’re not angry when you are. That’s not managing your emotions—that is ignoring them, and it is dangerous.

One thing that helps me deal properly with anger is to realize that sometimes God permits people to irritate me in order to help me grow in patience and unconditional love. None of the fruit of the Spirit develops without something to make us exercise them. Ouch! I wish I could magically have all these wonderful fruits working full force in my life without any effort on my part, but that is just not the way it works.

Continue reading Joyce Meyer – Tell God How You Feel

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – How Dearly God Loves Us

“…we are able to hold our heads high no matter what happens and know that all is well, for we know how dearly God loves us, and we feel this warm love everywhere within us because God has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love” (Romans 5:5).

For years I had often spoken on the subject of love – the greatest privilege and power known to man. But, as in the case of most sermons on love, something was missing.

Then many years ago, in an early hour of the morning, I was awakened from a deep sleep. I knew that God had something to say to me. I felt impressed to get up, open my Bible and kneel to read and pray.

What I discovered during the next two hours has since enriched my life and the lives of tens of thousands of others. I learned how to love. With this discovery, God gave me the command to share this wonderful truth with Christians around the world.

There are five things every person needs to know about love.

Continue reading Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – How Dearly God Loves Us

Ray Stedman -Rejoicing in Our Rivals

Read: Philippians 1:15-18

But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Phil 1:18

It’s evident in this passage that certain Christians were jealous of Paul. These are not Judaizers. These are not false teachers. They are preaching a true gospel. They were genuine Christians, but they were jealous of Paul. Evidently they felt they were there first and they felt he had perhaps usurped some of their positions. There is always readiness for envy. But many false doctrines had fallen before the Spirit of power and the cool logic and authority of the Apostle as he ministered to them. Now they see a chance to regain their popularity. They begin to plan extensive campaigns in Rome and surrounding cities, hoping thereby to eclipse the apostle in their activity and zeal for the gospel. They are hopeful that when the word gets back to Paul of how much they are doing he too might feel some of the jealous pain they feel. But the prisoner couldn’t care less. The magnanimous spirit he has in Christ only make him rejoice in the fact that Christ is being preached. He says it doesn’t matter whether they are doing it to make me feel bad or not — Christ is being preached, and in that I rejoice.

Can you take the success of others? That’s one of the hardest tests of Christian maturity, isn’t it? I don’t think there is a clearer mark of Christian maturity than to be able to genuinely rejoice — not just say pious words — but genuinely rejoice in the success of another. Most of us react like the Christian I heard of in the mountains of West Virginia who, when asked how things had been going that year, said, Oh things have been terrible. We’ve had an awful year. Things have never been worse. Instead of having any progress in the church we’ve had setbacks, we’ve lost people. But then he smiled and said, But thank God, the Methodists haven’t done any better. That spirit is the counterpart of what Paul reveals here. Rivalry caused him to rejoice.

I confess, Lord, that I often have not rejoiced in the success of others, and have seen it as a threat to my own sense of worth. Teach me, like Paul, to rejoice even in the success of my rivals.

Life Application

Christian envy is an oxymoron! Are we among those who dishonor Christ by competitive envy? Or do we share the Apostle Paul’s joy when the Good News is spread by whatever means?

Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand

Read: John 6:1-15

There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many? (v. 9)

When I was a child I had a Bible coloring book. One picture showed a boy with a wicker lunch basket, his eyes bulging with wonder as a grinning Jesus gestures to a pile of loaves and flopping fishes. The caption read, “Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand.”

Today’s children may learn a somewhat different lesson. One contemporary explanation is that the boy’s generosity inspired the crowd to share food they’d had all along, but were selfishly hiding from one another. This was no miracle; Jesus merely guilt-tripped the crowd into sharing with one another.

Jesus performs a miracle, and we are embarrassed, some of us. Too many believers, nowadays, feel they must explain away anything in the Bible that smacks of the supernatural, lest our culture think we are foolish and naive.

Continue reading Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand

Presidential Prayer Team; G.C.  – Treatment

Are you up for a turpentine spa? Or how about a live leech detox? A sobering statistic for Americans shows that approximately 39.6 percent of adults will be diagnosed with cancer at some point during their lifetime. In response, a massive preventative health care industry has sprung up with an exhaustive and sometimes bizarre array of treatments.

All the prosperous of the earth…shall bow…even the one who could not keep himself alive.

Psalm 22:29

While you may spare yourself from physical illness, there is one disease you cannot successfully treat on your own. In the book of Romans it say’s all people have sinned and come short of God’s holiness. The consequence of your sin is death and separation from God. Yet some people claim you can earn spiritual acceptance by being super good, joining a special group, or by believing that you are actually in control of the universe.

The Bible is very clear that Creator-God alone provides the remedy for your problem with sin. He allows Jesus to cover your malignant sin-disease with His perfect sacrifice. In compassion, God exchanges Jesus’ life for your death. Today, pray for leaders across America to acknowledge God’s treatment plan for their sin to discover eternal life and hope in Christ.

Recommended Reading: Romans 5:5-9

Greg Laurie – The “Crown Jewel” of Scriptures

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”—John 3:16

One of the greatest verses in all of the Bible is John 3:16. It gives us the gospel in a nutshell. Let’s break it down:

“For God so loved . . .”

Many picture God as some kind of “cosmic killjoy” out to ruin our lives. But the reality is that God loves you! He misses you. He wants a relationship with you. Look at the Lord in the garden after Adam’s fall, calling, “Adam, where are you?” (Genesis 3:9).

“. . . the world . . .”

The world? That includes dictators and criminals. It includes adulterers, cheats, liars, even murderers.

Continue reading Greg Laurie – The “Crown Jewel” of Scriptures

Kids 4 Truth International – God Loves the World

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

Victoria put her arms around Aunt Grace and hugged her as hard as she could. “It’s so hard to say good-bye, Aunt Grace,” she said. “I wish you could stay with us instead of going back to Africa.”

Aunt Grace set her suitcase on the floor and knelt down to look right into Victoria’s eyes. “It’s hard for me to say good-bye too, Torybell,” she said. Torybell was the special name that only Aunt Grace called her. “I love you, and I’ve had so much fun staying at your house and playing with you. But you know something? I love Jesus even more. And Jesus loves the people in Cameroon that I work with. He wants them to have the Bible in their own language. That’s why I have to go back. Jesus has called me to learn their language and translate His Word so they can read it and know of His love. And when Jesus calls, I have to follow. You understand, don’t you?”

Victoria nodded. She closed her eyes to squeeze back the tears, and Aunt Grace gave her one more quick hug. “I’ll pray for you, Aunt Grace.”

“Thanks, Torybell.”

Continue reading Kids 4 Truth International – God Loves the World

The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Grace for the Unworthy

Today’s Scripture: Luke 17:10

“We are unworthy servants.”

God often blesses those who, in our opinion, seem most unworthy. We see this demonstrated forcefully in Jesus’ words in Luke 4:25-27: “But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were shut up three years and six months, and a great famine came over all the land, and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”

Luke then recorded, “When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath” (verse 28). Why were these Jews so enraged that they wanted to kill Jesus (verse 29)? The widow of Zarephath and Naaman the Syrian were despised Gentiles—and therefore unworthy, in the Jews’ opinion. How could God bless those Gentile dogs instead of more deserving Jews?

Continue reading The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Grace for the Unworthy

The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Time for a Growth Spurt?

Today’s Scripture: Hebrews 5-7

I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings. – Philippians 3:10

One Sunday evening years ago, I went with Dawson Trotman, the founder of The Navigators, to a church where he was speaking. In his usual no-holds-barred manner, Daws began to talk about spiritual maturity. Right at the end he made a startling statement.

“Folks,” Dawson said, “If some of you were as immature physically as you are spiritually, you would fall off the pew you’re sitting on.” Many of the congregation had known the Lord for twenty, thirty, even forty years!

Dawson often said things like that because he loved people and wanted them to wake up and become all that God wanted them to be. He closed his message by quoting Hebrews 5:12-14: “Though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”

Continue reading The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Time for a Growth Spurt?

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

Read Luke 3

Many readers skim over the word famine in the Bible. Few of us have any real experience of hunger. We might complain of “starving” when our blood sugar crashes, but this is not the desperate condition of mothers and fathers around the world before whose eyes children languish and die.

The Bible describes two kinds of famine: one is physical, and the other is spiritual. We can be famished for lack of food, and we can also be hungry for a word from God, especially when He seems to have long been silent.

Spiritual famine was the context for the nation of Israel when John the Baptist and Jesus arrived on the scene. It had been 400 years since a prophet of God had spoken words of hope, and hope was exactly what God’s people needed in their political wilderness. No Son of David ruled on the throne. Instead Caesar, Pilate, Herod, and Philip had consolidated political power, ruling the Jewish land and people to further their own interests. Had Israel, because of sin, been forgotten by God?

Continue reading Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – JESUS, SON OF ADAM