Charles Stanley – The Message of a Lifetime

 Job 23:10-14

Imagine going to a nice restaurant for dinner. The table is set with linens, fine china, and crystal glasses. The waiter delivers your plate with a flourish. In the middle of that exquisite plate is a single marshmallow. What a letdown! Instead of receiving a nutritious, meaty meal, we are left with a puff of sugar and no satisfaction.

If we become lax, our lives can resemble that disappointing meal. Instead of being believers with a weighty message full of hope, we can find ourselves with nothing to offer but a bit of fluffy sweetness. God’s message is meant to nourish and sustain; our family, our friends, and even we ourselves cannot be satisfied by meager provisions. Our Father wants us to have such impact that people will never be the same after we arrive.

If the Lord is building a valuable message into our lives, we must receive everything that comes our way as from Him. When a bad event passes through God’s permissive will to affect us, He will bring good from it. (See Rom. 8:28.) Truthfully, a person can share a message of hope more effectively if he or she has first suffered. When we are hurting, we seek comfort from people who have faced similar hurt. Likewise, others will trust our comfort if we have known pain.

Whatever the circumstances, we should be evaluating what God is doing in us. Like a gem polisher, He will work off our rough edges by running us up against tough experiences and people. When we look for His purposes and lessons, we hasten the time when our life message reflects the hope that is available in Christ Jesus.

Bible in a Year: Joshua 10-12

 

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Our Daily Bread — Abundant Supply

Read: Psalm 36:5-12

Bible in a Year: Deuteronomy 5-7; Mark 11:1-18

You give them drink from your river of delights. —Psalm 36:8

We have a hummingbird feeder in the garden, and we love to see the little birds come and drink from its sugary water. Recently, however, we went on a short trip and forgot to replenish its contents. When we came back, it was completely dry. Poor birds! I thought. Because of my forgetfulness, they haven’t had any nourishment. Then I was reminded that I am not the one who feeds them: God is.

Sometimes we may feel that all of the demands of life have depleted our strength and there is no one to replenish it. But others don’t feed our souls: God does.

Continue reading Our Daily Bread — Abundant Supply

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Stronger Than Fear

I remember a cerulean, cloudless sky. It was an extraordinarily beautiful, fall day, unusually so for a city with poor air quality most days of the year. The air was still warm, but the cloak of heat and humidity so common in the south, had been taken off and hung up for repose during the season of cooler weather. It was a day much like other days until the unimaginable happened.

At first, rumors circulated quickly about planes, buildings, and New York City. I assumed a private plane had lost its way and flown into the side of the Trade Center tower. But, then, our normal workday routines ended. We all ran to the youth building at the church and watched on the big-screen television, not one, but two planes crash into the Twin Towers. The rumors continued… there were other planes. I panicked—what if we were under attack? What if countless commercial airplanes had been co-opted as weapons of mass destruction? What if my city was next?

Like many others, I watched the Twin Towers collapse and fall to the ground. Like others, I went home that day and sat in my backyard and looked into that same cerulean sky and was scared by the silence. I did not know if I would ever have another restful night of sleep again, and I felt regret over taking for granted something as simple and as lovely as peaceful sleep. At the end of the day, more than three thousand persons, representing countries all over the world, were dead, including one of my high school classmates. I remember the numbness that I felt, followed by a heightened sense of caution, and then outright fear at every stranger, in every public place.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Stronger Than Fear

John MacArthur – Strength for Today – Realizing the Need for Seriousness

“Let your laughter be turned into mourning, and your joy to gloom” (James 4:9b).

The humble individual will come to see that sin is not a laughing matter.

Humor has always had a place in popular culture. But in recent decades a more worldly side to humor has emerged. Situation comedies dominate the list of top-rated TV shows, but many are far from what’s really best for people to view. The shows’ contents so often pander to the immoral and tend to put down scriptural values. Meanwhile, the world also runs headlong after activities that stress fun and self-indulgence. Most people just want to enjoy life and not take anything too seriously.

God’s Word acknowledges that there is a proper time and place for joy and laughter: “a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance” (Eccles. 3:4). The psalmist tells of one appropriate time for laughter and happiness: “When the Lord brought back the captive ones of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with joyful shouting” (Ps. 126:1-2).

Continue reading John MacArthur – Strength for Today – Realizing the Need for Seriousness

Wisdom Hunters – The Message of a Lifetime

Read | Job 23:10-14

Imagine going to a nice restaurant for dinner. The table is set with linens, fine china, and crystal glasses. The waiter delivers your plate with a flourish. In the middle of that exquisite plate is a single marshmallow. What a letdown! Instead of receiving a nutritious, meaty meal, we are left with a puff of sugar and no satisfaction.

If we become lax, our lives can resemble that disappointing meal. Instead of being believers with a weighty message full of hope, we can find ourselves with nothing to offer but a bit of fluffy sweetness. God’s message is meant to nourish and sustain; our family, our friends, and even we ourselves cannot be satisfied by meager provisions. Our Father wants us to have such impact that people will never be the same after we arrive.

Continue reading Wisdom Hunters – The Message of a Lifetime

Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – Stand Up!

…and having done all, to stand.

Ephesians 6:13

Recommended Reading

Ephesians 6:10-20

Dudley Tyng preached at a Philadelphia rally on March 30, 1858. Looking over the crowd, he declared, “I would rather this right arm were amputated than that I should come short of my duty to you in delivering God’s message.” Over a thousand men were converted that day. Two weeks later Dudley was visiting the countryside, watching a corn-thrasher. His sleeve got caught, and his arm was torn from his shoulder. When it appeared he was dying, Dudley told his father: “Stand up for Jesus, father; and tell my brethren of the ministry to stand up for Jesus.”

Continue reading Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – Stand Up!

Joyce Meyer – Positive Minds

Jesus said, Go; it shall be done for you as you have believed.…—Matthew 8:13

Sometimes when I stand behind the pulpit, and before I speak, I pause and my gaze sweeps across the audience. I look at the faces of the people. I love to see the bright smiles and expressions of anticipation, but there are always a few who look downtrodden and discouraged. I don’t know anything about them and I don’t want to judge them, but their faces look sad. They look as if they have lost hope and expect nothing positive to happen—and too often, they get exactly what they expect.

I understand those discouraged people; I was once one of them.

Here’s a simple fact I’ve learned: Positive minds produce positive lives, but negative minds produce negative lives. The New Testament tells the story of a Roman soldier whose servant was sick, and the soldier wanted Jesus to heal him. That wasn’t uncommon—many wanted Jesus to heal them or their loved ones in those days. But this soldier, instead of asking Jesus to come to his servant, expressed his belief that if Jesus would just speak the word, his servant would be healed (see Matthew 8:8). Jesus marveled at his faith and sent out His word to heal the servant. The soldier’s positive mindset—his faith—brought positive results. He expected healing, and that’s exactly what happened.

Continue reading Joyce Meyer – Positive Minds

Girlfriends in God – An Honest Woman

The LORD does what is right, and he loves justice, so honest people will see his face.

Psalm 11:7

Worship is a word we often use but something we rarely experience. Oh, we say we are going to a worship service each Sunday, but do we really encounter the living God? Or do we merely participate in another weekly religious gathering?

When was the last time you walked away from a worship service – eternally changed because God met you there? We misunderstand what true worship is and fail to recognize the requirements of worship.

A preacher, out for a walk, noticed a group of boys standing around a small stray dog. “What are you doing, boys?” he asked. “Telling lies,” one young man explained. “The one who tells the biggest lie gets the dog.” The minister was shocked and said, “Why, when I was your age I never even thought about telling a lie.” The boys looked at each other and their faces fell in disappointment. Finally, one young man shrugged and said, “I guess he wins the dog.”

Continue reading Girlfriends in God – An Honest Woman

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – You Can Bear It

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able: but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13, KJV).

I find great comfort and encouragement in this promise from God, one of my favorite Scriptures. Believing in this promise has saved me from falling into sin more times than I could ever begin to count.

As Christians, we are on the offensive. We do not have to cringe, trembling in our boots, wondering when Satan is going to attack again and what form it will take. We are the ones on the move. We are to be the aggressors, for we have God’s promise that the gates of hell shall not prevail against us (Matthew 16:18).

There is no stronghold of Satan that cannot be recaptured for our Lord, who promises to fight for us. God’s Word reminds us that all authority in heaven and on earth is given to the Lord Jesus, and He promises always to be with us, never to leave us.

Continue reading Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – You Can Bear It

Ray Stedman – The Privilege of Suffering

A daily devotion for March 8th

From your friends at RayStedman.org

Read: Philippians 1:28-30

For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him… Phil 1:29

Remember, the Lord Jesus himself said, He who saves his life shall lose it. But he who loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s shall save it. We continue to try to hold on to our lives, to enjoy the things we want and insist on satisfying our desires and pleasures without realizing that inevitably and irresistibly that life is slipping through our fingers and we are losing it. The one who is willing to abandon it, throw it away if need be — waste it, seemingly — on those concerns that involve the cause of Christ and the gospel, has saved that life. If you are not prepared to suffer, then just forget about being a Christian, for the Word warns us that they who would live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer some degree of persecution, and the Lord said, In the world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. Inevitably in the Christian life there will be some degree of putting up with misunderstanding, patronizing pity, ridicule or scorn and the like. Someone has well said when we appear before the Lord he doesn’t look us over for medals, but for scars. They may not always be physical scars. It is the trials and suffering we go through that deepen our lives.

Continue reading Ray Stedman – The Privilege of Suffering

Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Try the Other Side of the Boat

Read: John 21:1-14

Children, do you have any fish? (v. 5)

“Children, do you have any fish?” I think a lot of us, like the disciples, would answer: “No. I’ve been fishing all night, but I don’t have anything to show for it.” Some of us have been plodding along in our jobs, year after year, with no sense of reward, and no feeling that we are getting anywhere, or getting anything, except a paycheck. Some of us have been coming up with empty nets in our personal relationships, or in our spiritual efforts. “Children, do you have any fish?” No.

“Cast your net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” Whatever side we’ve been fishing on, Jesus invites us to try the other side. Which is what the disciples do, and they are swamped with fish. It’s a miracle!

Continue reading Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Try the Other Side of the Boat

Presidential Prayer Team; H.L.M. – Love Crowds Evil

Seventeen-year-old Ryan had recently graduated from high school and planned to enter college in the fall. He was a handsome, loving and talented young man. But one day Ryan became the fatal victim of a robbery. Ryan’s grandfather believed this senseless murder was not part of God’s plan.

The woman whose son was alive said to the king…“Oh, my lord, give her the living child.”

I Kings 3:26

As he tried to process Ryan’s death, he asked, “What led the killers to tear a hole in the glory of God’s world? The only answer that came to me was that evil had taken root in their lives because love was not there to crowd it out. Many people who commit crimes against their neighbors have not experienced God’s love through their interactions with others. Much of the violence in life can be prevented if we Christians extend love to all people.”

If people never experience the love of a parent, a kind neighbor, a loving church family, or even the kindness of a stranger, it’s difficult for them to understand the Lord’s love. Take opportunities to reach out and be the hands and feet of Jesus to others. Pray that Christians also demonstrate God’s love to America’s leaders through their words, actions and prayers.

Recommended Reading: Romans 13:8-14

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Greg Laurie – New Life for Us All

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. —1 Peter 1:3

A couple from Chicago was planning a vacation to a warmer climate, but the wife couldn’t join her husband until the next day, because she was on a business trip. Her husband scribbled down her e-mail address on a little scrap of paper, but upon his arrival, he discovered that he had lost it. He wanted to send off a quick e-mail to let her know he had arrived safely. So trying his best to remember her e-mail address, he composed a brief message and sent it off.

Unfortunately, his e-mail did not reach his wife. Instead, it went to a grieving widow who had just lost her husband, a preacher, the day before. She had gone to her computer and was checking her e-mail when she let out a loud shriek and fainted on the spot. Her family came rushing in to see what was on the screen: “Dearest wife, I just checked in. Everything is prepared for your arrival tomorrow. P. S.: It sure is hot down here!”

Continue reading Greg Laurie – New Life for Us All

The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – The First Last, the Last First

Today’s Scripture: Matthew 20:13

“Friend, I am doing you no wrong.”

The parable of the generous landowner in Matthew 20 is sandwiched between two almost identical statements from Jesus: “But many who are first will be last, and the last first” (Matthew 19:30). “So the last will be first, and the first last” (Matthew 20:16). How should we understand these words?

I believe Jesus is asserting the sovereign prerogative of God to dispense his favors as he pleases. I don’t think his words are meant to be taken in an absolute sense, as if this would always be the case; rather, there’s often no apparent correlation between what one seemingly deserves and what he or she receives. The whole point of the parable was to respond to the attitude Peter expressed to Jesus in Matthew 19:27: “see, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” R. C. H. Lenski summarized Peter’s assumption with this statement: “The more we do, the more we earn, and the more God owes us.”

Continue reading The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – The First Last, the Last First

The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Faith That Defies Reason

Today’s Scripture: Joshua 6-8

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6

It may often appear to us that God is leading in a direction that doesn’t make any sense at all. But God is not a combination of theology and logic. He is God.

A case in point is the crossing of the Jordan River, recorded in today’s passage. To the mortal mind, God’s timing was all wrong. Actually, it was the perfect time. If they had crossed when the river was normal, the landing probably would have been opposed. Crossing at harvest time, there was plenty of food for the millions of Israelites. And the miracle of crossing a flooded river would cause the enemy to tremble at God’s power.

Continue reading The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Faith That Defies Reason

BreakPoint –  Social Media and Original Sin: The Temptation of Anonymity

Chances are, you’ve never heard of Pfeiffer syndrome. It’s a rare genetic disorder that’s characterized by the “premature fusion of certain bones of the skull.” This fusion “prevents further growth of the skull and affects the shape of the head and face.”

This rare condition was the subject of a recent episode that raised important questions about our fallen human nature and how social media can be the occasion for sin.

AliceAnn Meyer’s four-year-old son Jameson was born with Pfeiffer syndrome. For the past several years Meyer has been chronicling her experience with Jameson in a blog entitled “Jameson’s Journey.”

Two years ago she posted a photo of a happy Jameson with his face smeared with the remains of s’mores. To Meyer’s horror, people posted the picture on sites such as Instagram, Tumblr, and Facebook with the caption “Your pug . . . is amazing.” Almost as bad as that were the thousands of “likes” the picture and the caption received.

Meyer asked the social media sites to remove the picture and caption and they complied. But like a demonic whack-a-mole, no sooner would one site remove the picture than it would appear somewhere else.

Continue reading BreakPoint –  Social Media and Original Sin: The Temptation of Anonymity

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – JESUS, THE GREAT PHYSICIAN

Read Luke 5

General George Washington was not keen on becoming the first American president. Just as he served his new country militarily in the Revolutionary War, however, he also chose to serve politically. Nevertheless, after two presidential terms, Washington humbly retired to his country estate, refusing what could have easily become unilateral power.

Jesus was a humble man, living among common people. In a single chapter of Luke’s Gospel, we see the variety of settings for His ministry and the diversity of people with whom He interacted. From a boat, He taught a gathered crowd on the shore of the Lake of Gennesaret. He helped a group of fishermen make a surprise catch. He attended a banquet hosted by an unseemly group of tax collectors. Jesus’ good-news campaign wasn’t launched from afar. He walked among people and touched even the most untouchable.

The crowds continued to flock to hear Jesus’ authoritative teaching and be healed, and Jesus, eager to perform physical and spiritual miracles, did both—albeit in unexpected ways. For example, when a paralyzed man was lowered from the roof by faithful friends, Jesus first pronounced the forgiveness of his sins. Then, when the Pharisees accused Him of blasphemy, He demonstrated His authority to forgive sin by exercising His power to heal.

Continue reading Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – JESUS, THE GREAT PHYSICIAN

Denison Forum – WOMEN’S DAY, NANCY REAGAN AND THE POWER OF GRACE

“We still think of a powerful man as a born leader and a powerful woman as an anomaly.” So said acclaimed novelist Margaret Atwood back in 1939. But is this true today?

Today is International Women’s Day. On this day, we collectively look back on the contributions of women in the past. We also set our hopes on creating a brighter and more equitable tomorrow. For me, I would not be half the man I am today were it not for the women in my life.

Looking back, it is quite clear: we are better today because of their contributions from yesterday and their visions for tomorrow. Whitney Houston may have sung she is every woman, but it took a variety of women—young and old, single and married—to bring us to this point.

Rosa Parks courageously refused to move to the back of the bus and in turn moved the civil rights movement forward. Two-time Nobel Prize winner Marie Curie laid the groundwork for the development of the X-ray, among many other contributions. Nancy Reagan redefined the role of First Lady because of her advocacy work (for more, see my article Nancy Reagan: President’s Wife, King’s Daughter). And Mary Magdalene was first entrusted with the greatest message of all: He is risen.

Continue reading Denison Forum – WOMEN’S DAY, NANCY REAGAN AND THE POWER OF GRACE