Charles Stanley – Praising the Lamb of God

 Revelation 5:1-14

In today’s reading, John’s revelation of heaven’s throne room is a striking picture of true praise. The place explodes with worship and adoration for Jesus Christ. Those present—the elders and “myriads of myriads” of angels (Rev. 5:11)—are motivated to sing of their love for Christ, because they know who He is. He is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world (Rev. 5:9; Rev. 5:12; John 1:29). And He is the Lion of Judah (Rev. 5:5), the only one worthy to judge the earth and bring forth its renewal. Jesus is wonderful, and these men and celestial beings cannot resist saying so.

What motivates you to worship? Shouldn’t the reason for lifting our hands and voices be to praise our Savior for who He is? To do that, we must take the time to know Him. Opening the Scriptures only on Sundays and praying sporadically are not enough. We have to commit ourselves to discovering Him through regular Bible study, prayer less focused on self, and service to His kingdom.

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Our Daily Bread — Don’t Quit!

Read: Hebrews 12:1-11

Bible in a Year: Deuteronomy 14-16; Mark 12:28-44

Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. —Hebrews 12:1-2

In 1952 Florence Chadwick attempted to swim 26 miles from the coast of California to Catalina Island. After 15 hours, a heavy fog began to block her view, she became disoriented, and she gave up. To her chagrin, Chadwick learned that she had quit just 1 mile short of her destination.

Two months later Chadwick tried a second time to swim to Catalina Island from the coast. Again a thick fog settled in, but this time she reached her destination, becoming the first woman to swim the Catalina Channel. Chadwick said she kept an image of the shoreline in her mind even when she couldn’t see it.

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – An Ordinary Cross

“The cross,” someone once said, “has become so ordinary that we hardly see it anymore.” The thought struck me as I walked through a shop with items to buy stashed in every crevice: frog-shaped garden statues, multi-colored curios, inventive décor made from soda cans, beach glass, and refurbished car parts. Occasionally surfacing through blanketed floors and ornamented walls were cross-shaped or cross-adorned objects, so ordinary in a shop so out-of-the-ordinary, they were almost hard to notice at all. The cross has become so ordinary that we hardly see it anymore. The thought altered the remainder of my browsing. How can this be true? How can an image once shameful enough to bow the proudest heads become ordinary? Could the gallows ever be innocuous? Would the death sentence of someone near us ever fail to get our attention, much less blend in beside earthenware and figurines?

Theodore Prescott is a sculptor who has spent a great deal of time thinking about the cross. In the 1980’s he began working on a series of crosses using different materials, forms, and processes hoping to reconstitute the cultural and scriptural imagery of the Roman cross. In a sense, Prescott attempts to portray the incongruous. The Roman cross was a loathsome manner of execution that inflicted an anguished death; the Cross of Christ held a man who went willingly—and without guilt. Though a reflection of beauty and sacrifice, the cross is also an image of physical torture, inseparable from flesh and blood. There was a body on these beams. Its image bears both startling realities—the presence of outstretched limbs and the mystery of a now vacant cross. These contrasts alone are replete with a peculiar depth. Yet, our daily intake of the cross “precludes contemplation,” notes Prescott. The cross has indeed become so ordinary that we hardly see it anymore.

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John MacArthur – Strength for Today – Understanding Who We Are

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

The first step to humility is understanding our sinfulness.

I’ll never forget a meeting I had at my house with some seminary students. One student asked me, very seriously, “John, how did you finally overcome pride?” I said jokingly, “Well, it was two years ago when I finally licked it, and it’s never been a problem since then. It’s so wonderful to be constantly humble.” Of course, I have not completely overcome pride; it’s a battle I face every day. Satan makes sure we always struggle with it.

Overcoming pride in even one area is difficult, but Ephesians 4:2 requires “all humility.” Having some humility isn’t enough. We must have total, complete humility in every relationship, every attitude, and every act.

So we all have a lot of work to do. But where do we start? How can we become humble?

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Wisdom Hunters – Songs of Deliverance 

And I saw what looked like a sea of glass mixed with fire and, standing beside the sea, those who had been victorious over the beast and his image and over the number of his name. They held harps given them by God and sang the song of Moses the servant of God and the song of the Lamb: “Great and marvelous are our deeds, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are you ways, King of the ages.” Revelation 15:2-3

No Longer Slaves by Bethel has become my favorite praise and worship song. They reference  John 8 and Romans 7 where Jesus and Paul describe our freedom from sin and our sonship in Christ. Toward the end of the song the chorus grabs my heart, “You split the seas so I could walk right through it. You drowned my fears in perfect love. You rescued me so I will stand and say I am a child of God.” As followers of Jesus, we can sing a song of deliverance—for the Lord has liberated us by His love, freed us from fear and adopted us as His beloved child!

John describes with striking imagery the defeated beast who represents our fleshly (beastly) desires and our foe—whom the Lamb defeated with His sacrifice on the cross. Ultimately, we who worship the Lamb will celebrate at the seashore of our salvation—our final deliverance over the beast. We will sing the song of Moses, with lyrics from the Lord who freed His children from the bondage of the beast—Pharaoh. The Red Sea swallowed up the Egyptian army. Any adversaries of Almighty God are destined to defeat. We worship here anticipating our victory party there!

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Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – Nothing Done for Christ Is Small

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

Galatians 6:9

Recommended Reading

Galatians 6:6-10

We aren’t called to greatness, but to faithfulness. Most of our work is unheralded, and we’re often faced with thankless tasks known only to God. No one sees when we wrestle in prayer for a grandchild, when we place our tithes and offerings in the basket at church, when we rake the leaves for an elderly neighbor, or leave a New Testament at the bedside of a hospitalized friend. Even when we stand before others, the group we’re addressing has no idea how much time and prayer went into our preparation.

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Joyce Meyer – Don’t Fret—Rejoice!

Rejoice in the Lord always…again I say, Rejoice!…Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in…everything, by prayer and petition…with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. —Philippians 4:4,6

Twice in this passage the apostle Paul tells us to rejoice. He urges us not to fret or have any anxiety about anything but to pray and give thanks to God in everything—not after everything is over.

If you wait until everything is perfect before rejoicing and giving thanks you won’t have much fun. Learning to enjoy life even in the midst of trying circumstances is one way to develop spiritual maturity.

Live in the fullness of the joy of the Lord by finding something to be glad about besides your current circumstances. You must learn to derive your happiness and joy from the Lord who lives inside you.

Decide you will not fret or have anxiety about anything but will give thanks and praise to God, rejoicing in Him always.

From the book Ending Your Day Right by Joyce Meyer

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Girlfriends in God – Come and Rest in Him

Jesus replied, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’

Matthew 22:37

Friend to Friend

From the moment of birth, we are taught that successful people never give up. Yet, I have discovered the paradoxical secret that true success can only be found in complete surrender.

Dr. Billy Graham tells the story of a little child who was playing with a very valuable vase. The child put his hand into the vase but could not pull it out. His father tried to free the little boy’s hand, but couldn’t. They were thinking of breaking the vase when the father said, “Son, let’s try one more time. Open your hand and hold your fingers out really straight and then pull.” The look of alarm on the boy’s face surprised the dad until the little boy explained, “Oh no, Dad. I can’t hold my fingers like that. If I did, I would drop my penny.”

Many of us are like that little boy – holding onto something that is keeping us from letting go and letting God have His way in our lives. It doesn’t really matter what that something is. If it is keeping us from surrendering to God, it is our jailer, and we are its prisoner.

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Thank Him for Answers

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs and don’t forget to thank Him for His answers. If you do this you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6,7).

Some years ago there was an occasion when my world was crumbling. All that my associates and I had worked and planned for in the ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ was hanging by a slender thread which was about to break.

Because of a series of unforeseen circumstances, we were facing a financial crisis which could bankrupt the movement and result in the loss of our beautiful facilities at Arrowhead Springs, California, acquired just a few years earlier.

Already thousands of students and laymen from all over the world were receiving training which would influence millions of lives for Christ. Now we were in danger of losing it all.

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Ray Stedman – The Way To Peace

A daily devotion for March 11th

From your friends at RayStedman.org

Read: Philippians 2:9-11

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name… Phil 2:9

Our Lord Jesus was given in his resurrection and ascension that name which is above every other name that has ever been given in heaven and on earth. It is the name we call Jehovah. It is translated Lord in our English versions of the New Testament. That is exactly what Paul says: and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Paul says Christ is the one who has won that position because he unhesitatingly and unreservedly committed himself to that attitude of his own heart that led him first to mortality, then to ignominy, and finally to unequalled glory.

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Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Get Out Of the Boat

Read: Matthew 14:22-33

So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. (v. 29)

Ask yourself this question: “Where do I find myself in this sacred story?” Are you sitting in the boat, a place of safety and security? Are you striding boldly across the sea? Or maybe you’ve begun to sink, crying out, “Lord, save me!”

The most decisive moments of life happen when, trusting in Jesus, we step out of the boat. Perhaps you’ve been unhappy in your job for too long, and the time has come to step out of the security it offers and pursue the work you sense you were created to do. Perhaps you’ve avoided speaking up, afraid you might be rejected, or afraid to disagree with a powerful person, and the time has come to tell it like it is. Perhaps your church keeps declining, getting older, getting smaller, afraid to adapt, afraid to step out into the community, and you are beginning to realize that unless you change, you have no future.

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Presidential Prayer Team; J.R. – Focused on Forever

Suppose you go for a checkup and your dentist makes this offer: “Your teeth are just fine,” he says, “but I have a dental student here today, and I would like her to perform a root canal on you so she can get some practice.” You’d surely jump out of the chair and be gone in a flash. But what if the dentist adds, “and we are going to reward you with one million dollars for this experience.” Suddenly, your thinking changes dramatically. Nobody wants a root canal, but for a million bucks? The pain would be short-lived – maybe a few days. But a million dollars would change your life for a long, long time.

For Christ also suffered once for sins…put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit.

I Peter 3:18

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Greg Laurie – Easter Is for Second Chances

But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him. But go, tell His disciples–and Peter–that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.”—Mark 16:6–7

Do you need a second chance today? On the first Easter morning, Peter needed one. There in the Upper Room, he had insisted that he would never deny Christ. But just as Jesus had predicted, Peter not only denied the Lord, but he denied Him three times. The last glimpse Peter had of Jesus before His crucifixion was in the glow of the fire in the high priest’s courtyard, where he actually made eye contact with Jesus. And then he went out and wept bitterly.

What kind of look do you think Jesus gave Peter when their eyes met? Do you think it was one of those I-told-you-so looks? Do you think it was one of scorn, as if to say, “How could you betray Me?” I don’t think it was either one. I think it was a look of love, a look of compassion that said, “I still love you, Peter.” And I believe that is why Peter went out and wept bitterly. He had failed the Lord so miserably. He probably thought there was no hope for him.

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Kids 4 Truth International – God Is Our Stronghold

“Blessed be the LORD my strength…my goodness, and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and he in whom I trust.” (Psalm 144:1-2)

There is a place in Israel near the Dead Sea called Masada (muh-SAH-duh). It looks like a mountain with a flat, square top. Masada was once a huge getaway palace for Herod the Great. In the first century after the time of Christ, Jewish people used it as a fortress. Men, women, and children lived there for three years, hiding from the Romans who had attacked and destroyed their cities. “The Romans cannot get to us here,” they thought. “We are safe in Masada.”

But they were not safe. The Roman army built a siege ramp all the way up the side of the mountain. Day after day, the Jews saw the Romans working on the ramp, and they knew that they had only a little time.

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The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Nehemiah’s Example

Today’s Scripture: Nehemiah 1:4

“I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven.”

Our prayers of dependence should be of two types: planned periods of prayer and unplanned, spontaneous prayer. We see both beautifully illustrated for us in the life of Nehemiah, who was one of the Jews in exile and was cupbearer to the Persian King Artaxerxes. The book begins with Nehemiah learning of the sad state of affairs of the Jews back in Judah and the fact that the wall of Jerusalem was in ruins. Hearing this, Nehemiah sat down and wept, then fasted and prayed for a period of several months.

We can assume Nehemiah set aside a certain time or times of the day during which he earnestly besought God for the welfare of Jerusalem. Most likely he would have had to schedule his times of prayer around his daily duties, just as we have to do. Because he prayed over a period of several months, we can describe this part of Nehemiah’s prayer life as planned, protracted, persevering prayer.

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The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Nothing But God

Today’s Scripture: 2 Samuel 15-18

[I show] love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments. – Exodus 20:6

Have you ever been disappointed by the actions of people you love and depend on, and for whom you have the highest hopes and expectations? It hurts when a friend whispers about you or a child lies to you or a spouse breaks a promise.

But consider the life of David. Today’s passage is filled with his disappointments from family, associates, and friends. God told David He would punish him for his sin in the matter of Uriah by raising up evil against him out of his own household.

Immorality and murder were David’s sins and, although forgiven, those sins occurred among his children years later when Amnon defiled his sister Tamar and Absalom murdered Amnon in revenge.

Continue reading The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Nothing But God

BreakPoint –  Extraordinary Earth

Astronomers have long searched the sky for evidence that we’re not alone. But new research is suggesting we may be one of a kind.

There’s an old joke about Sherlock Holmes and his assistant, Watson.

“Let’s go camping,” Holmes says to Watson one day. “Jolly good!” replies Watson. So the two pack up their gear, head into the woods, set up their tent and by nightfall, are sound asleep. Hours later, Watson is awakened by a nudge from Holmes.

“Watson!” says the detective, “look up! What do you see?” “I see the sky, full of stars,” says Watson, a little annoyed. “And what do you deduce from that?” asks Holmes. Watson thinks for a moment, and replies, “Well, given the thousands of stars, it’s improbable that ours is the only planet capable of sustaining life. Therefore, other beings like ourselves are likely out there somewhere, looking back at us. Is that what it means?”

“No, you nincompoop,” replies Holmes. “It means someone has stolen our tent!”

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

Read Luke 7

Before his death, Steve Jobs was known both inside and outside of Apple for his exacting standards. He involved himself in the design details of Apple products and frequently lambasted employees when their vision and execution fell short of his genius. Jobs may have been a brilliant CEO, but he was also a difficult boss.

As a boss himself, the Roman centurion in today’s story understood the dynamics of power. When he told his servants to come or to go, they obeyed him immediately for fear of reprisal. Strangely, however, though the centurion noted that he had the ability to give orders to his servants, he described himself as “under authority” (v. 8). He seemed to understand his authority less as self-derived power and more as delegated power. Others with greater authority (namely, the emperor) had invested him with his authority to command others.

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Denison Forum – GIRL SURPRISES MAN WHO RAISED HER WITH ADOPTION PAPERS

She wanted to make official what he has been doing unofficially for years. Earlier this week, a video went viral showing a young woman named Misty surprising her father figure, Ryan, with adoption papers.

In her letter to him, she wrote: “You’ve raised me my whole life . . . putting my hair in tight Princess Leia buns . . . I know we are so weird together, but that’s what makes you you, and I cannot imagine not having you in my life. I’m so grateful to be able to call you Dad.”

In the eyes of the state, Ryan may not have been her legal father. But that did not keep him from acting like a father. Such can be said of God.

He is a Father regardless of whether someone acknowledges it or not. As Flannery O’Connor noted, “The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.”

God draws near to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18), extends grace generously (2 Corinthians 9:8), and loves lavishly (1 John 3:1). Contrary to cultural belief, God is not mad at us, but is madly in love with us. He quite literally has loved us to death. And Christ’s death and resurrection is an invitation to be adopted as sons and daughters of the King.

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