Charles Stanley – The Impact of a Godly Influence

 Daniel 6:1-28

Daniel had the rare opportunity to influence four kings and their kingdoms with godly principles. Remaining true to God often meant putting himself in danger, but he never once wavered in his convictions. The record of his life shows us what is required of someone who wants to have a godly impact on those around him.
Complete confidence in the Lord’s ability to protect and provide empowered Daniel to make bold decisions. He delivered bad news to kings, even though such an act could have gotten him killed (Dan. 2:26-44; Dan. 5:17-28). What’s more, he challenged a law requiring him to violate God’s command to worship only Him (Dan. 6:7-11).

Daniel wasn’t intent on being popular; he was committed to doing what was right in the eyes of the Lord. And when he had to face consequences for choosing the unpopular course of action, he did so with a calm and Christ-like spirit. Offering no complaint, Daniel accepted the punishment of being thrown into a den of lions—he had, in fact, broken the law.

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Our Daily Bread — Strangers and Foreigners

Read: Hebrews 11:8-16

Bible in a Year: Deuteronomy 11-13; Mark 12:1-27

He was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. —Hebrews 11:10

I parked my bicycle, fingering my map of Cambridge for reassurance. Directions not being my strength, I knew I could easily get lost in this maze of roads bursting with historic buildings.

Life should have felt idyllic, for I had just married my Englishman and moved to the UK. But I felt adrift. When I kept my mouth closed I blended in, but when I spoke I immediately felt branded as an American tourist. I didn’t yet know what my role was, and I quickly realized that blending two stubborn people into one shared life was harder than I had anticipated.

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Between Shadow and Reality

In an interesting encounter between Jesus and the paralytic given to us by Luke, we see a defining reminder of the relationship between soul and body, the temporal and the eternal. The friends of this paralyzed man did everything they could to bring him within the sight and touch of Jesus.(1) They even disfigured the property of the person in whose house Jesus was visiting in the hope that he would perform a miracle for their friend. I suspect they must have reasoned that if Jesus could make a paralyzed man walk again, then replacing a roof would be a minor problem. But as they lowered this man within reach of Jesus, they were not expecting an apologetic discussion.

“Which of the two is harder,” asked Jesus, “to bring physical healing or to forgive a person’s sins?” The irresistible answer was self-evident, was it not? To bring physical healing is harder because that would be such a miraculous thing, visible to the naked eye. The invisible act of forgiveness had far less evidentiary value. Yet, as they pondered and as we ponder, we discover repeatedly in life that the logic of God is so different to the logic of humanity. We move from the material to the spiritual in terms of the spectacular, but God moves from the spiritual to the material in terms of the essential. The physical is the concrete external—a shadow comparatively. The spiritual is the intangible internal—the objective actuality.

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John MacArthur – Strength for Today – Humility on Display

“Walk . . . with all humility” (Ephesians 4:1-2).

Christ showed us humility by becoming a man and living as a servant.

Humility is not a very popular concept in our society, is it? We are taught to pursue honor and recognition from a young age. When my children were young, they stacked up trophies to the point of absurdity. Award shows are commonplace on television. We seem to have prizes for everything.

Humility is an elusive quality. The moment you think you are humble is the moment you forfeit it. But humility is the heart of the worthy walk; that’s why Paul listed it here first. No matter how elusive it is, we must keep striving for it.

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Wisdom Hunters – Made to Bear Fruit 

And Jesus told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none.” Luke 13:6

Throughout the Bible, God’s people Israel are often referred to as a vineyard. This image can be found in both the Old and New Testaments where the consistent message linked to this image is that healthy vineyards bear fruit! When a vineyard is true to its design and purpose, it overflows with life and fruitful production. Conversely, when they fail to bear fruit, they have rejected their purpose, their mission, and their design.

Though God is patient and merciful, the parable Jesus tells in Luke 13 reminds us that God does indeed expect us to live fruitful lives! How can we say we love God and desire to follow him if that love is not reflected in the way we treat one another? I think of these words from 1 John, “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen” (1 Jn. 4:20). Likewise, John the Baptist invites us to follow Jesus by “bearing fruit in keeping with repentance” (Mt. 3:8).

Love of God and fruitful, faithful living always go hand in hand. You can’t say you love God without living sacrificially for the sake of others. And you can’t truly love without that love being inspired and empowered by Love himself.

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Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – Satan Versus the Church

And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

Matthew 16:18

Recommended Reading

1 Corinthians 3:9-11

Life after death was not clearly defined in the ancient Near East. Mesopotamian worldviews have the dead passing into the netherworld through a series of seven gates. Even in the Old Testament, “gates of death [or Hades or Sheol]” are mentioned often (Job 17:16; 38:17; Psalm 9:13; 107:18; Isaiah 38:10). The most well-known instance is when Jesus says “the gates of Hades shall not prevail against [the Church].”

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Joyce Meyer – Christlikeness

For those whom He foreknew [of whom He was aware and loved beforehand], He also destined from the beginning [foreordaining them] to be molded into the image of His Son [and share inwardly His likeness], that He might become the firstborn among many brethren.—Romans 8:29

The best goal a Christian can have is Christlikeness. Jesus is the express image of the Father, and we are called to follow in His footsteps. He came as the Pioneer of our faith to show us by example how we can live. We have the chance to behave with people the way Jesus did. Our goal is not to see how successful we can be in business or how famous we can be. It is not prosperity, popularity, or even building a big ministry, but to be transformed into the image of Jesus Christ.

Spiritual maturity or Christlikeness cannot be obtained without “dying to self.” That simply means saying yes to God and no to ourselves when our will and God’s are in opposition. Jesus told His disciples that if they wanted to follow Him, they would need to take up their cross daily.

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Girlfriends in God – The Me I Want To Be

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

Galatians 5:16,

Friend to Friend

The apostle Paul wrote a letter to the church at Galatia during his second missionary journey. He was frustrated that many believers were wavering in their faith. Not good.

In Galatians 5, he reminded the believers that Christ died so that they could be free. And he was careful to distinguish that their freedom was not to sin but from sin.

He went on to tell them of the spiritual battle that was taking place between their fleshly desires and their holy desires. Between walking by the Spirit and walking by the flesh.

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – His Power to Change

“But our homeland is in heaven, where our Savior the Lord Jesus Christ is; and we are looking forward to His return from there. When He comes back He will take these dying bodies of ours and change them into glorious bodies like His own, using the same mighty power that He will use to conquer all else everywhere” (Philippians 3:20,21).

George Gallup, Jr., a deeply religious and dear personal friend, has just completed a very important survey asking people, in face-to-face, in-depth interviews, key questions about heaven and hell and other aspects about life beyond death.

One result indicated that two-thirds of all American adults – or 100 million people – believe in an after-life. But what was surprising, said Gallup, was that about 15 percent of those surveyed in one poll indicated they had had an unusual near-death experience – seeing figures or objects that beckoned them to a world beyond life on earth.

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Ray Stedman -The Mindset of Christ

Read: Philippians 2:5-8

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus. Phil. 2:5

Now we come to what I think is the most breath-taking passage in all of Scripture. This passage on the glorification of our Lord Jesus is the Mt. Everest among the mountain peaks of revelation concerning the Person of Christ, the amazing story of how the eternal Son of God stepped out of eternity into time, and became a man as God intended man to be. These few short verses capture some of the most amazing truths that have ever confronted the minds of men.

There is a temptation as we study this passage to remove it from its context and treat it as a passage on Theology. We must never forget that this passage is set against the background of two quarreling ladies in the church at Philippi. That quarrel was threatening to destroy the unity of the whole church. The apostle has made it clear that the secret of maintaining unity is humility. Wherever there is contentiousness, it is a revelation of the presence of pride. Pride, whether in a single individual life, in a family, a church, in government, or a whole nation, always destroys, divides, sets one person against another, perpetuates conflict, breaks up marriages and partnerships and unions of every sort.

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Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – A Second Touch

Read: Mark 8:22-26

Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, and his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. (v. 25)

How observant are you? On a stoplight, which color is on top—red or green? When water in your sink goes down the drain, does it swirl clockwise or counter clockwise? How many matches are there in a standard pack? Sometimes the things with which we are most familiar are the very things we have most difficulty seeing.

Despite decades of reading and studying the Bible, I keep discovering things that I hadn’t noticed before. Only recently did it occur to me that to heal the blind man of Bethsaida, Jesus had to touch him twice. The Gospels record over 30 healing miracles Jesus performed, and in all those miracles one touch was enough. But in this instance healing requires a second touch. This is a two-stage miracle, and Mark doesn’t give us any clue as to why.

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Presidential Prayer Team; C.P. – Destruction

You may have heard the phrase, “Pride goes before a fall.” The actual Bible verse says, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18) Nebuchadnezzar experienced this when he was king of Babylon. God gave him greatness, glory and splendor. Today’s verse gives a description of the power he had over his subjects. Yet when Nebuchadnezzar became proud, God reduced him to an animal-like state for seven years.

Whom he would, he killed, and whom he would, he kept alive.

Daniel 5:19

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Greg Laurie – No Longer on the Outside

Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. . . .—Matthew 27:51

If I could have been present at certain moments in history, one event I would like to have seen was the veil of the temple being torn in two.

In the inner court of the temple in Jerusalem, in the Holy of Holies, was the Ark of the Covenant. That was where the high priest would go once a year to offer atonement for the sins of the people. A veil, a very thick, woven curtain, separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple.

When Jesus died on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins, that heavy curtain was torn from top to bottom. It was not ripped from bottom to top, as though a man were ripping it. Instead, it was ripped from top to bottom, because God was ripping it.

God was saying, “You no longer are on the outside. You can come in. My Son has made a way for you.”

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Kids 4 Truth International – God Forgives Only the Broken and Contrite Heart

“If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” (Psalm 66:18)

Sometimes Dylan told lies. If his parents caught him, they would punish him. They would also encourage him to pray and ask God to forgive him. At first, Dylan really meant what he was praying – sometimes he would pray for God’s forgiveness even when his parents didn’t know about the lie and weren’t making him pray.

Soon, Dylan found himself praying to God all the time, but not for forgiveness! He would pray that his parents wouldn’t find out about what he had done or said. Dylan was more afraid of being punished than he was of being unforgiven. Soon he started to wonder whether God would listen to his prayers at all.

Dylan did not understand very much about Who God is and what God expects of His children. God does not forgive us if we are not truly repentant. He does not forgive us if we are asking for the wrong reason and our hearts are set on sinning again.

Over time, Dylan had let himself start viewing God as someone who does whatever we ask Him to do. But repentance, forgiveness, and salvation all come from the Lord. We cannot just sin, pray about it, and expect that to fix everything. God tells us in His Word that if we regard (or know about and hold onto) sin in our hearts, He will not even listen to our prayers.

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The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Our Sins Hurled Away

Today’s Scripture: Romans 6:14

“For sin will have no dominion over you.”

In Micah 7:19 we find another powerful metaphor of how God deals with our sin through Jesus Christ: “you will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.”

The picture is of God vigorously disposing of our sins by hurling them overboard. He doesn’t just drop them over the side; he hurls them as something to be rid of and forgotten.

God is eager to cast away our sins. Because the sacrifice of his Son is of such infinite value, he delights to apply it to sinful men and women. God is not a reluctant forgiver, but a joyous one. His justice having been satisfied and his wrath having been exhausted, he’s now eager to extend his forgiveness to all who trust in his Son as their propitiatory sacrifice.

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The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Present Fear or Present Faith?

Today’s Scripture: 1 Samuel 27-31

Those who trust in the Lord are like mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people both now and forevermore. – Psalm 125:1-2

There’s something interesting about fear. While you’d think it would diminish with age and maturity, it seems to grow bigger. Maybe it’s because we’re more aware of all the things that could happen.

Take the young guy careening around the streets in his automobile. He doesn’t have a fear in the world. Before I get in the car, I make sure I’ve got the insurance paid up, I fasten my seat belt, and I take a lot of time and trouble to make sure everything is okay.

Today’s Scripture passage begins with David under the control of unwarranted fear. I can hear you saying, Unwarranted? Wasn’t King Saul out to slay him? Yes. Wasn’t Saul’s army much greater in number than the men around David? Yes. Did not Saul’s jealousy and anger burn night and day against David? Yes.

Continue reading The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Present Fear or Present Faith?

BreakPoint – Many Beautiful Things: The Gift of Sight

Suppose you were given the choice between using your God-given gifts in a way that would make you famous, or in a way that would guarantee a life lived in obscurity.

That’s the choice one Victorian-era artist had to make. And her decision is the focus of the wonderful new documentary called “Many Beautiful Things.”

Lilias Trotter had a gift for seeing beauty and for capturing it in exquisite watercolors. Trotter was mentored by the greatest art critic of the period, John Ruskin. He told her that if she would devote her life to her painting, she could become one of the best artists of her time.

Lilias Trotter was torn over this. As tempting as the prospect was, she had other gifts that she felt called by God to use. Her gift of sight involved more than just her art; as one of the experts in the film tells us, she had “a rare gift for seeing a need.” She spent much of her time helping prostitutes and other needy women—time that Ruskin thought should have been spent on her painting.

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Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – JESUS, THE GREATER MOSES

Read Luke 6:20-49

In 1949, one of the leading scholars of Christian liturgy, Gregory Dix, quipped to a colleague, “Our understanding of our forms of worship underwent a radical transformation when it finally occurred to someone that Jesus was a Jew.” Until the middle of the twentieth century, the Jewish context for early Christianity’s faith and practice went largely understudied and underemphasized.

Luke uses his Gospel to situate the biographical details of Jesus’ life and ministry in their Jewish context. In this record of Jesus’ famous sermon, Luke intentionally recalls the Jewish Exodus from Egypt and Moses’ famous final sermon in the book of Deuteronomy. After forty years of wandering in the wilderness, Moses stood before the ancient Israelites and renewed the covenant. He announced blessings and curses, assuring them that if God’s people obeyed His laws they would inherit and live long in the Promised Land. If they did not, God would exile them from the land and scatter them among the nations (Deuteronomy 6–8).

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When the bat flew out of the player’s hands and towards the head of a child, a father knew he only had seconds to respond. Eight-year-old Landon was distracted, sending a picture to his mom of the great view he and his dad had from behind the dugout. But love, taking the form of his father’s now bruised arm, shielded him from the potentially tragic collision.

His dad Shaun Cunningham said: “I saw it heading towards him. I didn’t have a lot of time. Guess I’d call it Dad-mode. Just protecting my son.” An unhurt Landon told a local reporter: “I have a great dad! My dad’s a hero!”

Dads saves son from batThe picture has since gone viral. Everyone else is moving away from the bat, except for the father, who is moving towards it. The picture is an echo of eternity, a shadow of the divine.

You may know Ernie Johnson as the award winning sportscaster for Turner Sports. He was recently featured on ESPN’s E:60. This particular episode highlighted Johnson’s hard work and rise to fame, but the central theme of Ernie’s story was his desire to bless his children. According to Ernie, “There is nothing better a dad can do than bless his son.” His father had blessed him, and now he wants to bless his children. Another echo of eternity, a shadow of the divine.

Abraham Kuyper found that God the Father litters the world with reminders of Himself. These “few precious stones that we discover on earth are merely the scattered signposts of a new Jerusalem.”

Continue reading Denison Forum – DAD SAVES SON AND THE PHOTO GOES VIRAL