Charles Stanley – The Wine

Matthew 26:28

Editor’s Note: The devotions for March 21st, 22nd, and 23rd focus on elements of Passover, which Jesus celebrated with His disciples the night before His crucifixion.

During that initial Last Supper, Jesus took the wine and declared, “This is the blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matt. 26:28). Once again, those words would have stunned Jesus’ original hearers. Every Jew knew about a long story of covenants in which God repeated, I will be your God and you will be My people. It sounded good in theory, but one side of that covenant—our side, in case you’re wondering—perpetually botched the deal. So throughout the Bible, God kept promising there would be one more covenant, not to abolish but to fulfill the old one.

Now, with the cup of Passover wine in His hand, Jesus declared the unthinkable: That new covenant was here, right now, in Him. Jesus summarized that covenant in His micro-sermon—“This is My blood … poured out for many.” It is for you and for me and “for many”—just as Jesus is the lamb “who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

Continue reading Charles Stanley – The Wine

Our Daily Bread — Stories in a Cabin

Read: Hebrews 9:11-15

Bible in a Year: Joshua 13-15; Luke 1:57-80

[Christ] went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands. —Hebrews 9:11

The vintage cabin, expertly constructed from hand-hewn logs, was worthy of a magazine cover. But the structure itself was only half the treasure. Inside, family heirlooms clung to the walls, infusing the home with memories. On the table sat a hand-woven egg basket, an ancient biscuit board, and an oil lamp. A weathered pork pie hat perched over the front door. “There’s a story behind everything,” the proud owner said.

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – God in a Body

 

The question at the time caught me off guard. As a student of theology and religion, I was used to being asked to defend and explain my theology, but this was something different. I had been talking to someone about some old fears, a battle with disordered eating and a hauntingly skewed image of body. I was explaining that what had helped me to move past some of these fears was a faith that gave me hope in a world far beyond them, where wounds would one day be healed and tears would be no more. His response pulled me down from my seemingly hopeful, ascended place. “What is your theology of the body?” he asked. “How does God speak to your physical existence right now?” I didn’t know how to respond. How had my body accompanied me in life and faith? I wasn’t quite sure that it had.

The physical isn’t a matter the spiritual always consider. But for the Christian, they are severely and mercifully united and there is a world of hope in the considering. What does it mean that Christ came in the flesh, with sinew and marrow? What does it mean that the terrible events of Holy Week upon us this week were enacted in a body? Perhaps more importantly, what does it mean for us today that Jesus is vicariously human, the risen Son of God a corporal being who now sits at the right hand of the Father? What does Christ’s wounded body have to do with our own? These are the questions the church holds physically and attentively close this week, though the modern divorce of the spiritual and the physical, heaven and earth, what is now and what will be, has made them difficult questions to consider.

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John MacArthur – Strength for Today – Jesus’ Humble Identification with Sinners

“. . . Emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:7-8).

Except for sin, Jesus experienced the everyday things of a normal man; but He was often not appreciated as the God-man.

Jesus could understand what people around Him were dealing with because He lived under the same conditions. He can also identify with us today. It is true that He never married, never went to college, and never used a computer or a VCR. But He still has perfect knowledge about such things, and more. The point is, Christ knows firsthand about our basic physical and emotional needs because He actually lived and worked in a world affected by the Fall.

Continue reading John MacArthur – Strength for Today – Jesus’ Humble Identification with Sinners

Wisdom Hunters – Holy Spirit Unleashed 

Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. Revelation 5:6

The Holy Spirit assumes a variety of roles in support of those surrendered to their Savior Jesus and experience the fullness of God. They include: the Spirit of wisdom and revelation to know Christ better, the Spirit of truth to guide in all truth, the Spirit of holiness to live in the power of the resurrected life of Christ, the Spirit of self-control to resist temptations and to remain resilient through trials, the Spirit of love to receive strength and security from above—and to exercise patience and offer peace below. A diversity of applications, but only one Spirit distributes them.

The Lamb of God—Jesus—was the final sacrifice for sin; that sacrifice unleashed the power of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The cross was a catalyst for the Spirit’s manifest power throughout the ages. The seven horns represent perfect power and the seven eyes express the explosion of the Spirit throughout the world as prophesied by Zechariah. What the apostle John envisions is a global outpouring of the Holy Spirit to draw the lost into the light of salvation, to heal the broken hearted, and for the Church to worship in the Spirit’s power. The Holy Spirit is unleashed to empower!

Continue reading Wisdom Hunters – Holy Spirit Unleashed 

Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – An Appropriate Response

The twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne . . . .

Revelation 4:10

Recommended Reading

Revelation 7:10-12

It hasn’t been seen much since the 1950s and 1960s—teenage girls swooning and fainting at the sight of certain pop music idols—but it happened a lot back then. There is such a thing as an involuntary response in the presence of an adored figure.

Continue reading Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – An Appropriate Response

Joyce Meyer – Blessed Are the Kind

Webster’s Dictionary defines mercy as “kindness in excess of what might be expected or demanded of fairness.”

Mercy is not fair, but it’s godly. Not fair, but powerful. Not fair, but Christlike. And when we do what God leads us to do, He always brings justice into our life. To honor God in this area, we need to learn to trust Him more fully. Every single one of us has opportunities to do that each day…with friends and family, coworkers and even the clerk at the grocery store.

Whenever people hurt or disappoint us, our human nature leads us to dislike them because of their shortcomings. But God’s desire for us is to love all people, including our enemies (see Matthew 5:43-48).

If they can see love in your heart…instead of anger and judgment…that shows them “kindness in excess of what might be expected.” More importantly, it gives them hard evidence that Christ is working in you! I believe one of the greatest privileges we have in life is to follow His example, and we can do that by being generous in spirit, giving mercy to others, as they need it.

Continue reading Joyce Meyer – Blessed Are the Kind

Girlfriends in God – Remembering to Forget

Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:13-14

Friend to Friend

As humans, we tend to remember what we need to forget and forget what we need to remember. God, on the other hand, forgets what He promises to forget and remembers what He promises to remember. God said, “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more” (Hebrews 10:17).

Paul tells us one of the secrets to his success as a Christian and in life. “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13,14).

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Loving and Kind

“But His joy is in those who reverence Him, those who expect Him to be loving and kind” (Psalm 147:11).

Can you imagine an intelligent person saying no to Christ if he fully understood how much God loves him and if he realized that when he receives Christ his sins are all forgiven and he is given eternal life together with new meaning and purpose for his present life?

The non-believer who does not know all these things continues to live in disobedience, rejecting God’s love and forgiveness. Why? Simply because he does not understand; he lacks information.

It is difficult to imagine a person saying no to such a wonderful life of challenge and adventure with the risen Christ if that person knows all the facts about who Christ is and why He came to this world. It is the same with the Christian who is living in spiritual poverty. He often continues to live a frustrated, fruitless life, simply because he just does not understand who the Holy Spirit is and what the supernatural life is all about. But lack of knowledge is not the only obstacle to enjoying the supernatural life.

Pride: Pride, which is an exaltation of self instead of God, is the root cause of all sin. This defeating aspect of our human nature has kept many Christians from living supernaturally. Pride is not the same as a God-given healthy love and acceptance of oneself. Continue reading Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Loving and Kind

Ray Stedman – The Great Motive

Read: Philippians 3:12-14

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Phil 3:12

Paul says this is the great motive of his life. He is not referring to the resurrection, he is referring back to verse 10. Not that I have exhausted the riches of knowing Christ. Not that I yet know all the power of his resurrection, or have been perfected so that I no longer need the fellowship of his sufferings. No, but I press on to lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has laid hold of me. What he literally says, as the Phillips translation renders it is: grasping ever more firmly that purpose for which Christ grasps me. Laying hold of that for which he laid hold of me.

This was Paul’s mighty motive, to achieve all that Christ desired when he laid hold of him on the road to Damascus. Paul is saying, I want so to lay hold of him that he might use my life as an instrument to lay hold of everything he had in mind when he arrested me on the Damascus road, hoping it might fulfill the purpose of his coming and we might all be together at the resurrection of the dead.

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Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Your Kingdom, Your Will

Read: Luke 22:39-46

Not my will, but yours, be done. (v. 42)

“God’s will be done.” That’s what people say. When the diagnosis comes, when the child is killed in a playground accident, when natural disasters strike people who have no resources to start with. “God’s will be done” can be said so glibly, used as a way to circumvent our own pain or self-righteously avoid the pain of others. Jesus wrestled within himself and with God to get to that conclusion.

As a general rule, I don’t think we should try to be holier than Jesus. And, when Jesus prayed “your will be done” (see Matt. 6:10), it wasn’t as though he immediately stood up, shook the dirt out of his robes, dusted his hands off and put his game-face on. Jesus wrestled in the garden. This is good news for any of us who have struggled to find peace with God in terrible disappointment.

Continue reading Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Your Kingdom, Your Will

Presidential Prayer Team; H.L.M.- Tireless Prayer

In his first season at the University of Alabama, football player Derrick Henry won several awards, including the college’s second Heisman Trophy. Today, the star running back has foregone his senior year to play as a professional in the National Football League. In his acceptance speech for the Heisman, Henry encouraged all of the young people who were watching.

While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept.

II Samuel 12:22

“Don’t be afraid to pray. He always hears your cry. If you have dreams, go chase them. If you believe it, you can achieve it, and God will be there every step of the way. I am a living testament, man. Growing up, having this dream, I am so nervous. I never thought I would be up here. But God is good and I get on my knees every night and thank Him for everything,” Henry said. “So keep God first. Always pray. And always chase your dream.”

Just as David in today’s verse prayed for his child as long as was possible, pray tirelessly for the children in your life to come to know Jesus as Savior. Intercede also that America’s future leaders will embrace godly values and seek His wisdom for all of their decisions.

Recommended Reading: II Samuel 12:13-22

http://www.presidentialprayerteam.com/index.php

Greg Laurie – Surrender at Gethsemane

Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch.”—Mark 14:34

Have you ever felt lonely? Have you ever felt as though your friends and family had abandoned you? Have you ever felt like you were misunderstood? Have you ever had a hard time understanding or submitting to the will of God for your life?

If so, then you have an idea of what the Lord Jesus went through as He agonized at Gethsemane.

Hebrews tells us, “This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it” (4:15–16 NLT).

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Kids 4 Truth International – God Is Glorified in Life or Death

“Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:20-21)

John and Betty Stam were missionaries to China in the 1930s. China was a dangerous place to be. The Communist army did not want foreign people in the country, and they did not like Christians. One day the Communists captured the Chinese city where the Stams lived. They took John, Betty, and their baby girl, Helen, captive.

That night, John, Betty, and Helen were locked in a room together. Sometime during the night, Betty found a way to leave baby Helen some things she would need if they were separated. She tucked a clean nightdress, diapers, and two five-dollar-bills into the blankets where Helen slept.

The next morning, John and Betty Stam were led outside the city and killed by Communists. They became martyrs, people who lose their lives because of their faith in Christ. Baby Helen was left alone in that little room. But God had not forgotten the baby. A whole day and night passed. The next day, Christian friends of the Stams found Helen after she had been left alone for thirty hours! The money that her mother had hidden in her blankets was enough to provide for these Chinese Christians to carry her to safety.

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The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Commit Yourself to God

Today’s Scripture: Psalm 37:5

“Commit your way to the Lord.”

When Paul turned his attention from his masterful exposition of the Gospel in Romans chapters 1?1 to practical issues of Christian living, the first thing he did was call for commitment: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship” (Romans 12:1, NIV).

As we look at Paul’s call to commitment, we can see one obvious difference between the commitment of the devoted athlete and the commitment Paul called for. The athlete’s commitment is to himself or herself or perhaps to the team. The commitment Paul urged upon us is to God. Commit yourself to God. Offer your body to him as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to him.

Continue reading The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Commit Yourself to God

The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – The Holy Spirit’s Mission

Today’s Scripture: John 16:5-16

And [Christ] is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. – Colossians 1:18

One summer my wife and I attended an opera in the magnificent opera house in Vienna, Austria. We arrived early to take a look around, then the usher showed us to our seats way up in the third balcony, practically to the roof.

To be honest, I wasn’t enjoying the opera that much. It was sung in German–which I didn’t understand–and the plot was hard to follow. When I heard some movement behind me, I glanced over my shoulder and saw the spotlight operator, whose job was to follow the lead character with this huge, thousand-watt light. He never let the spotlight stray from the central figure, who moved back and forth on the stage or among the rest of the characters in the story.

Continue reading The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – The Holy Spirit’s Mission

BreakPoint –  Marriage and Nominal Christianity: A Match Made, Well, Not in Heaven

In Ezekiel 5, the prophet laments that not only had Jerusalem become wicked and idolatrous—she had become an embarrassment to even her pagan, Baal-worshiping neighbors.

Well, professing Christians today may find themselves in a similarly embarrassing spot. When it comes to marriage and family, the nation is doing poorly. But it turns out one group is doing worse than the whole: Christians who don’t go to church.

First, some background. According to the Pew Research Center, in 2015 the U.S. marriage rate had fallen to an all-time low of 6.74 per 1,000 people and is expected to keep dropping.

That’s bad news for kids, increasing numbers of whom are being raised in single-parent households and by unmarried couples. As W. Bradford Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project, notes, “marriage provides a unique level of emotional security and stability” for kids.

Continue reading BreakPoint –  Marriage and Nominal Christianity: A Match Made, Well, Not in Heaven

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – JESUS, THE RIGHTEOUS JUDGE

Read Luke 18

In ancient society, a widow was one of the most powerless members of society. Without a man to speak for her in the public square, she had no voice and no recourse against injustice. When her husband died, his property passed to the nearest male relative. Apart from family charity, the widow was almost assuredly cast into poverty.

Jesus tells a story about a widow pleading her case before an unjust judge (vv. 1–8). It’s likely that this judge had refused to grant the widow justice in her case because she was too poor to pay the necessary bribe. Because of her persistence, however, he finally ensured that justice was done, and the case was resolved. If even a corrupt, unjust judge would eventually do the right thing, how much more will our perfect Judge, who hears our cry and delivers us.

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Denison Forum – EXPLAINING THE ATTACKS IN BRUSSELS

When you heard about the ISIS attacks on Brussels yesterday, what was your first response? Horror as the crisis unfolded? Grief for the victims? Fear of more attacks? Immediately after your first impressions, did you think something like, “Here we go again”?

If so, you’re like the rest of us. The greatest tragedy of yesterday’s bombings is, of course, the lives lost and city shattered. I have traveled in the beautiful city of Brussels and grieve for what its people are facing today. But another tragedy is that terror attacks have become the “new normal” for so much of the world.

If these bombings had occurred in Syria or Iraq, they would not be headline news. The recent attacks in Turkey and Pakistan also feel to most Americans like something happening “over there.”

Continue reading Denison Forum – EXPLAINING THE ATTACKS IN BRUSSELS