Charles Stanley – “Hosanna!”

Mark 11:7-10

“Hosanna to the Son of David,” the people called out as Jesus rode by on a donkey. “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest!” (Matt. 21:9). They scampered in their worship, making a road of coats and tree branches before Him.

It was the day we know as Palm Sunday. But for the Jews packed in Jerusalem, the Sunday before the feast of Passover was the day each family would choose their lamb to sacrifice for the annual time of remembrance. Years before, when His people were still in Egypt’s shackles, God warned that death was on its way and no one—neither the righteous nor the wicked—would be spared. But the Lord provided a way, a covering. All who took shelter under the spilt blood of a perfect lamb would live.

“Sin costs blood,” God was communicating. And every spring, His people remembered.

by Laurin Greco

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — When the Water Blushed

Read: John 1:1-14

Bible in a Year: Joshua 4-6; Luke 1:1-20

In the beginning was the Word . . . . Through him all things were made. —John 1:1, 3

Why did Jesus come to Earth before the invention of photography and video? Couldn’t He have reached more people if everyone could see Him? After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.

“No,” says Ravi Zacharias, who asserts that a word can be worth “a thousand pictures.” As evidence, he quotes poet Richard Crashaw’s magnificent line, “The conscious water saw its Master and blushed.” In one simple line, Crashaw captures the essence of Jesus’ first miracle (John 2:1-11). Creation itself recognizes Jesus as the Creator. No mere carpenter could turn water to wine.

Another time, when Christ calmed a storm with the words, “Quiet! Be still,” His stunned disciples asked, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” (Mark 4:39, 41). Later, Jesus told the Pharisees that if the crowd did not praise Him, “the stones will cry out” (Luke 19:40). Even the rocks know who He is.

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John MacArthur – Strength for Today – No Pride of Position

“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped” (Philippians 2:5-6).

Christ’s coming to earth is the supreme example to us of humility.

We can usually identify with what someone else has experienced when we have gone through the same thing. Even if we haven’t been through what the other person has, we can perhaps relate because we might someday have a similar experience.

However, it is much harder to comprehend what Christ experienced when He stooped from His lofty position at the right hand of God to come to earth as a man. We’ll never understand the magnitude of that descent because we never were and never will be God. Nevertheless, today’s passage presents, as a pattern for us, Jesus’ attitude in coming to this world.

As a Spirit-filled believer (Eph. 1:3-5, 13), the Lord has lifted you out of your sin and given you the privilege of being His adopted child. He thereby allows you to recognize and appreciate a little more what humility is all about. Like Jesus, you will have to descend from an exalted level when you reach out in humility to those who don’t know Him.

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Wisdom Hunters – Leadership Void 

The idols speak deceit, diviners see visions that lie; they tell dreams that are false, they give comfort in vain. Therefore the people wander like sheep oppressed for lack of a shepherd.      Zechariah 10:2

People wander aimlessly due to lack of leadership, though they want to be led. They want to be led by loving leaders who listen to the Lord and listen to them. Look for leaders like Solomon, who petitioned the Lord on how to lead: “Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?” (2 Chronicles 1:10). This is God’s design, for He has wired people to resist wandering and to want leadership. You are followers of Jesus Christ and followers of those He has placed in authority over your life. Yet, if someone who is in a position of leadership does not lead, there is doubt and confusion. People wander around, disconnected and disinterested, because they are unsure of where to turn. But eventually, someone will fill the leadership void by default.

Some ambitious soul will fill the empty shoes of leadership even if he or she is unable to lead effectively. A silent coup takes place when the responsible leader abdicates their leadership. An uncalled character, backing into leadership by default, is worse than no leadership at all. The followers can easily lose perspective and settle for less, because their hunger for a leader can cause them to use poor judgment. This happened to the people who begged Samuel for a King, then later regretted their request (1 Samuel 8:4-21).

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Joyce Meyer – Life Is a Journey

. . . But when the cloud was taken up, they journeyed; whether it was taken up by day or by night, they journeyed. —Numbers 9:21

Thankfully, our enjoyment in life is not based on always having enjoyable circumstances. It is an attitude of the heart, a decision to enjoy everything because all things—even little, seemingly insignificant things—have a part in the overall “big picture” of life.

Life is a journey. Everything in it is a process. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end. All aspects of life are always developing. Life is motion. Without movement, advancement, and progression, there is no life. In other words, as long as you and I are alive, we are always going to be going somewhere.

If you have not been enjoying the journey of your life, it is time to start. If you have been enjoying your life, then thank God and look for ways to enjoy it even more.

Prayer of Thanks: I thank You, Father, that my life is a journey. I’m not going to stay stuck in a difficult or trying situation forever—You are taking me through it. Help me to experience Your joy regardless of my surroundings. Help me to enjoy my life today!

From the book The Power of Being Thankful by Joyce Meyer.

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Praise Brings Blessings

“Go through His open gates with great thanksgiving; enter His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and bless His name. For the Lord is always good. He is always loving and kind, and His faithfulness goes on and on to each succeeding generation” (Psalm 100:4.5).

I would like to suggest several reasons why I believe praising God is so important in the life of the believer.

First, God is truly worthy of praise. He is worthy of praise because of who He is and because of all He has done for us. The psalmist reminds us, “Praise the Lord! Yes, really praise Him! I will praise Him as long as I live, yes, even with my dying breath” (Psalm 146:1,2).

We praise God for who He is and for His attributes – His love, His sovereignty, His wisdom, His power, His greatness, goodness and compassion, His faithfulness, His holiness and His eternal, unchanging nature.

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Ray Stedman – Dangerous Confidence

Read: Philippians 3:4-7

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. Phil 3:7

What was the ground of Paul’s confidence that he could achieve his mission? He could be confident in four things: his ancestry, his orthodoxy, his activity and his morality. But it is important to see how and when Paul changed his mind about these matters. Most commentators suggest the change came in the dust of the road on the way to Damascus, when he was converted in that remarkable encounter with Jesus Christ. I don’t think that is true. Only one of these values was changed at that time.

When Saul of Tarsus, the persecutor, blinded by the light, was led captive into Damascus, he immediately got busy in another direction and substituted another form of activity in which he took great pride. For at least five to ten years after his conversion, Paul was just as confident in the flesh as before his conversion. His life was therefore as barren and ineffective as when he was Saul of Tarsus and persecuted the church, with one exception: he was born again, and the indwelling Holy Spirit was teaching him what he needed to become an effective minister for Jesus Christ.

Eventually, Paul learned that all his background, training and education, his ancestry and morality and activities, added not one thing to God’s purpose in him. He came to the place that he could write, But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ (Phil. 3:7).

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Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Holy Week Begins

Read: Luke 19:41-44

Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! (v. 42)

Jesus began to weep, not a few polite tears, not a sentimental knot in his throat, but crying as though his heart would break—for the city that would not recognize him . . . for the crowd that would turn glory and adulation into the pounding of nails into wood . . . for his disciples who talked a good game when it was easy.

How far do you suppose the disciples got before realizing that Jesus wasn’t leading the procession anymore? On this mountaintop outside Jerusalem, Jesus was not yet speaking to the crowds amassed in Jerusalem. He was not talking to the fickle fans with the palm branches or to the religious pilgrims or the Roman power players. Here Jesus spoke with his disciples. He’s talking to us.

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Presidential Prayer Team; C.H.- See and Believe

David Copperfield is hailed as one of the greatest magicians of all time. He has grossed over $4 billion, more than any other solo performer. People are amazed at his ability to seemingly defy the laws of nature before their very eyes. Onlookers are left scratching their collective heads and saying to themselves, “How can it be?”

But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it.

Mark 16:11

The disciples in today’s passage surely asked the same question when Mary Magdalene arrived to tell them Jesus was alive. They wanted to see it with their own eyes because seeing is believing. No magic was necessary to bring Jesus back from the grave. God doesn’t seemingly defy the laws of nature – He actually literally controls them.

Until Jesus returns, no one on Earth will see His physical body like Mary and later the disciples did that day. But when you serve and love one another, you are the hands and feet of Christ. When others see the love of God through you, they, too, may come to see and believe in Him. Pray for Americans and your national leaders to see Jesus in the lives of believers and come to know Him as well.

Recommended Reading: Luke 24:1-12

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Kids 4 Truth International – God Is Honest with Us about the Christian Life

“Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” (2 Timothy 2:3)

What if you were sitting at your desk one day and your teacher said: “Class, tomorrow you will have a test. Be sure to study hard and be prepared for it.” That would be a good enough reason for you to start some serious thinking. But what if the teacher stopped her announcement right there? What if she would not tell you what subject your test would be in? How would you know whether to study Math, English, Science, History, or Geography? How would you know what books to take home or what chapters to review?

If your teacher announced only that you needed to prepare for a test, but she did not tell you important things about that test, her announcement would not really be very helpful to you, would it? In fact, it might be scary and frustrating!

I’m so glad that God tells us exactly what is expected of us as His children. First, He honestly tells us that the Christian life isn’t easy. In James 1:2 it says to “count it all joy when you fall into various trials.” It doesn’t say IF, it says WHEN. That tells us that we should expect difficult times. But praise God that in verse 5 He says that if we lack wisdom, we can ask Him for it and He will give it to us! He doesn’t just tell us what to expect: He also helps us to be prepared for what comes!

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The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – The Sin of Self-Sufficiency

Today’s Scripture: Psalm 62:7

“My mighty rock, my refuge is God.”

I believe one of the chief characteristics of our sinful nature is an attitude of independence toward God. Even when we know and agree that we’re dependent on him, we tend out of habit to act independently. Undoubtedly, one of the reasons God allows us to fall before temptation so often is to teach us experientially that we really are dependent on him to enable us to grow in holiness.

One of the best ways, apart from those painful experiences of failure, to learn dependence is to develop the discipline of prayer. This forces us in a tangible way to acknowledge our dependence on the Holy Spirit. Whatever else we may say about prayer, it is a recognition of our own helplessness and absolute dependence on God.

It’s this admission of helplessness and dependence that is so repugnant to our sinful spirit of self-sufficiency. If we’re prone by temperament to be disciplined, it’s more difficult to acknowledge that we’re dependent on Christ and his Spirit instead of on our self-discipline.

Continue reading The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – The Sin of Self-Sufficiency

The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Jesus Is God

Today’s Scripture: John 17

Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” – John 20:28

A friend’s cat came home one day proudly carrying a chipmunk in its mouth. My friend grabbed the cat and forced it to drop the chipmunk. She then picked up the poor animal, stroked it gently, said some soothing words, and put it into a box for recovery.

After an hour or so, the chipmunk seemed alert, so my friend reached in to check, and the chipmunk bit her finger to the bone! Why? Because my friend couldn’t communicate with chipmunks! While this lady had saved its life and meant it only good, the chipmunk didn’t get the message.

That’s why Jesus became a man–to communicate with us and be the bridge between God and man. Jesus Christ is God. He claimed to be, and those who knew Him best said He was. He did the things that only God can do. But He was also man. The Bible says He was God in the flesh, God’s son, a descendant of David on the human level, but the Son of God.

Continue reading The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Jesus Is God

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word –JESUS, THE BROTHER

Read Luke 15

When William Penn designed Philadelphia, the “City of Brotherly Love,” he envisioned a more humane setting than the overcrowded streets of London. Penn wanted every family to have room for a garden, and he widened city thoroughfares and promoted religious freedom. No doubt he would be disappointed by the homicide rate, which is hardly evidence of “brotherly love”; in 2014, Philadelphia counted 248 murders.

The parable of the prodigal son depicts little brotherly love between the two sons, despite the gifts of a loving father and stable home. The younger brother demands a share in the family estate before his father’s death. The older brother labors for his father and yet resents that his hard work isn’t sufficiently repaid. The younger brother leaves the family estate for a “distant country,” where he squanders his inheritance (v. 13).

The older brother remains dutifully at home—although he is no less estranged from his father than his younger brother. He may not be corrupted by parties and prostitutes, but his sins of bitterness and self-righteousness are no less scandalous. He resents that his father would generously forgive his younger brother, whom he has regarded as unworthy (vv. 28–30).

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