Charles Stanley – The Cross of Christ

Hebrews 10:1-14

In Old Testament times, people atoned for sin through repeated animal sacrifices. But that was a temporary measure, since the blood of bulls and goats covered sin without removing it (Heb. 10:4). The offering of animals, however, pointed to the ultimate solution: Jesus’ shed blood on the cross—the perfect once-for-all sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins.

Calvary wasn’t some improvised fix to correct the original system; Jesus giving up His life for us had been the plan all along (Matt. 20:28). Scripture reveals that God was never fully satisfied with burnt offerings, no matter how much they cost the person seeking forgiveness (Heb. 10:5-7). To eradicate sin, absolute perfection had to be offered. That’s why Jesus came (Phil. 2:7-8)—and why the cross is a reminder of the greatest sacrifice love has ever made.

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Our Daily Bread — Three-Word Obituary

Read: Romans 8:28-39

Bible in a Year: Joshua 19-21; Luke 2:25-52

Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God. —Romans 8:34

Before Stig Kernell died, he told the local funeral home that he didn’t want a traditional obituary. Instead, the Swedish man instructed them to publish only three words noting his passing: “I am dead.” When Mr. Kernell died at age 92, that’s exactly what appeared. The audacity and simplicity of his unusual death notice captured the attention of newspapers around the world. In a strange twist, the international curiosity about the man with the three-word obituary caused more attention to his death than he intended.

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The Absence of Beauty

 

I stood in front of the painting long enough that my neck hurt from craning upward, long enough to make the connection that onlookers that day likely held a similar stance as they watched Jesus of Nazareth on the cross. Francisco de Zurbarán’s massive 1627 painting The Crucifixion hangs in gallery 211 of the Chicago Art Institute. Viewers must stand back from the piece and gaze upward in order to take it all in. Zurbarán depicts the point just before Christ takes his last breath. His body leans forward from exhaustion; his head hangs downward. All details of any background activity are absent, the black backdrop a jarring juxtaposition beside his pale, bruised skin. The artist’s use of light intensifies the stark pull of sympathy towards a body that is both clearly suffering and yet somehow beautiful. At the time, I wasn’t sure what I believed about Christianity. But there was something about the painting I couldn’t stop trying to grasp.

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John MacArthur – Strength for Today – Practical Humility

“Let your forbearing spirit be known to all men” (Philippians 4:5).

Real humility will have a forbearance that is gracious toward others and content with its own circumstances.

Some Greek words have various meanings that are hard to translate into just one English word. This is true of “forbearing” in today’s verse. It can refer to contentment, gentleness, generosity, or goodwill toward others. Some commentators say it means having leniency toward the faults and failures of others. Other scholars say it denotes someone who is patient and submissive toward injustice and mistreatment—one who doesn’t lash back in angry bitterness. It reminds us very much of what we have been considering for the past week—humility.

The humble believer trusts God and does not hold a grudge even though others have unfairly treated him, harmed him, or ruined his reputation. Such a person does not demand his rights. Instead, he will pattern his behavior after his Lord Jesus, who in supreme humility manifested God’s grace to us (Rom. 5:10).

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Wisdom Hunters – Good Friday 

So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). Here they crucified him… John 19:16b-18a

Good Friday is really good for those who have come to the foot of the cross of Jesus in repentance and faith. It is a commemoration for Christians of the ultimate and final sacrifice for the sins of the world. Through a cruel and grueling death, Christ gave His life—His body wreathed in pain, so the sick could be healed. He was abandoned, so the rejected could be accepted. He knew no sin, but became sin, so sinners could be forgiven.

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Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – Christ’s Cure for the Soul

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.

Ephesians 1:7

Recommended Reading

1 John 1:5-10

The Huffington Post recently ran an article by a woman who opened up about her struggle to forgive herself. Her husband battled cancer, and she had been his caregiver. As his situation grew worse, the stress intensified on her. She often became angry and yelled at him. Now that he’s gone, she feels damaged, guilty, and unable to find peace.

Every human is a sinner, and sometimes we fail at the worst moments. Our sin leads to guilt, and that leads to shame.

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Joyce Meyer – Give What You Have

They said to Him, We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish. He said, Bring them here to Me. Then He ordered the crowds to recline on the grass; and He took the five loaves and the two fish, and, looking up to heaven, He gave thanks and blessed and broke the loaves and handed the pieces to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. — Matthew 14:17-19

One of the biggest mistakes we can make in life is to focus on what we don’t have or have lost and fail to take an inventory of what we do have. When Jesus desired to feed five thousand men—plus women and children—the disciples said all they had was a little boy’s lunch, which consisted of five small loaves of bread and two fish. They assured Him it was not enough for a crowd the size they had. However, Jesus took the lunch and multiplied it. He fed thousands of men, women, and children and had twelve baskets of leftovers (see Matthew 14:15-21).

If we will just give God what we have, He will use it and give us back more than we had to begin with. The Bible says that God created everything we see out of “things that are unseen,” so I have decided that if He can do that, surely He can do something with my little bit—no matter how unimpressive it is.

Lord, thank You for all You have given me. I ask You to use it for Your glory and to provide all that I need. Amen.

From the book The Confident Woman Devotional: 365 Daily Devotions by Joyce Meyer.

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Girlfriends in God – No More Shame

I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

Isaiah 61:10

Friend to Friend

Debbie’s paternal grandparents had both a housekeeper and groundskeeper who lived in their basement apartment. Nina and Silas were like part of the family and had lived with the grandparents for as long as Debbie could remember. On many occasions, when Debbie’s parents and grandparents went out to dinner, she and her older sister were left in the care of Silas and Nina. The girls’ parents had no idea that Silas was molesting their precious children time and time again.

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Our Hearts’ Desires

“Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them” (Mark 11:24, KJV).

Jesus, assuming that our lives are pure and we are Spirit-filled, declares that our heartfelt desires will be God-given. When God gives us those desires, He then gives us the power to fulfill them (Philippians 2:13). Sometimes when God gives you a desire that is based upon Scripture, one that springs from pure motives and a desire to glorify Him, that desire may continue over a period of time as you continue in the spirit of prayer and seek counsel of other godly people who also walk in the Spirit, but you can be assured that whatever God has placed in your heart, He will do.

For example, one of the great desires of my heart as a new Christian was to produce a film on the life of Jesus. I contacted and sought the counsel of the late Cecil B. De Mille who produced the magnificent “King of Kings,” which, after more than fifty years is still being viewed by millions of people each year throughout the world. I continued to pray and many years later discussed with members of our Board of Directors whether or not we should produce such a film. They encouraged me to do whatever God led me to do, but made it clear that funds would have to be available before we could produce the film. The years passed – more than thirty years, in fact. Then miracle of miracles, in a marvelous way at Arrowhead Springs God brought together John Hyeman, a well-known film producer and director, and Bunker and Caroline Hunt to provide the finances, and the film, Jesus, became a dramatic reality.

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Ray Stedman – Standing While Running

Read: Philippians 4:1

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends! Phil 4:1

Paul begins this fourth chapter with what looks like a very mixed metaphor. The therefore refers back to what he has written about in chapter 3. There he is talking about running a race, seeing life as an obstacle course. He writes how he runs this race by pressing on to the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. He is urging others to run with him. But in the opening verse of chapter four he now says, stand firm. It sounds confusing as to which he means for us, whether to run the race or to stand firm. One is a picture of extreme effort, the other of immobility, inaction. How can we then follow this call to standing and yet running?

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Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Forgive Us

Read: Luke 22:54-62

And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. (v. 61)

Trapped in a lie. Saying a cruel word with the victim standing within earshot. Who of us doesn’t know that flood of shame, the creep of embarrassment, the panicked hope that the floor might swallow us up rather than have to face up to our own unfaithfulness.

I wonder how often Peter remembered that moment in the courtyard with Jesus’ eyes upon him. I wonder how often Peter remembered the forgiveness Jesus extended to him personally a few days later (see John 21). How much of that failure and forgiveness informed the grace he was equipped to extend to others?

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Presidential Prayer Team; J.R.- Family Tree Trouble

Thanks to technology, it’s easier than ever to research family ancestry. Without even leaving your home, it’s possible to dig up a wealth of information about your long-ago relatives – discovering where they lived, their occupations, and much more. Now, suppose you are researching, hoping to discover you have royal blood in your veins, only to stumble upon a matriarchal relative who was a notorious prostitute who lived in the worst scumbag of a town known only for one thing: debauchery. Your family research project might come to an abrupt and disappointing end.

But Rahab the prostitute and her father‘s household and all who belonged to her, Joshua saved alive.

Joshua 6:25

Did you know that Jesus was a direct legal descendent of Rahab? Some commentators have tried to “correct” the record by suggesting the Hebrew term translated “harlot” really could be interpreted as “hostess” or “tavern keeper,” but the weight of scholarship is conclusive that Rahab was, in fact, a prostitute.

It is not your past but your future that matters! Rahab was “saved alive” because she turned from her wicked ways and followed God. Just as redemption was possible for her, it is possible for the nation’s citizens and leaders. Today, pray that they will turn to the Lord – and that America’s future will be blessed.

Recommended Reading: Exodus 6:1-8

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

Greg Laurie – Finished!

When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and released his spirit.—John 19:30

The cross was the goal of Jesus from the very beginning. His birth was so there would be His death. The incarnation was for our atonement. He was born to die so that we might live. And when He had accomplished the purpose He had come to fulfill, He summed it up with a single word: “finished.”

In the original Greek, it was a common word. Jesus probably used it after He finished a project that He and Joseph might have been working on together in the carpentry shop. Jesus might have turned to Joseph and said, “Finished. Now let’s go have lunch.” It is finished. Mission accomplished. It is done. It is made an end of.

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Kids 4 Truth International – God Gives New Strength

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

The phrase “renew their strength” in Isaiah 40:31 means that God will exchange (swap, or trade) their strength. Just like you might change the old tires on a car, or change into clean clothes after playing in the mud, God will change the strength of those that trust in Him through His Word. What kind of strength does God give? God’s Word says it is the kind that causes us to “mount up with wings as eagles.”

Did you know that eagles molt (lose or shed) their feathers as the old feathers get worn out? New feathers replace the old ones, increasing the eagle’s ability to do what it was created to do! When those new feathers grow in, the eagle has more power for flight, because its feathers are new. If the eagle did not molt its worn-out feathers and get new feathers, eventually it would not be able to fly at all.

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The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Decisive Dedication

Today’s Scripture: Romans 6:13

“Present yourselves to God.”

How did the apostle Paul approach the subject of commitment and discipline? Paul’s letter to the Romans is the foundation for the Bible’s teaching on salvation; in it, the teaching of justification by faith in Jesus Christ alone is set forth most cogently and completely. However, Paul wrote the letter to people who were already believers. He referred to them as those “who are loved by God and called to be saints.” He thanked God that their “faith is proclaimed in all the world,” and he longed “that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith” (Romans 1:7-8,12). Clearly he was writing to believers.

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The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Pride’s End

Today’s Scripture: Leviticus 8-10

There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers. – Proverbs 6:16-19

In Leviticus 8-10, we see that the consecration of the priests contained a strange ritual. God instructed Moses to kill a ram, take the blood, and put it on the ears, hands, and feet of Aaron and his sons. They were set apart for God through this anointing, and dedicated to His service in all they did.

Soon after this, Leviticus 10 records that Aaron’s sons are killed for offering strange fire before God. God had not authorized them to burn incense on the solemn day of inauguration. That was to be performed by the high priest alone; they were to assist him. We know from the New Testament that the priests were to burn incense only when it was their lot, and this was certainly not Nadab and Abihu’s.

Continue reading The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Pride’s End

BreakPoint – Maundy Thursday and the Marriage Battle

You’re on the wrong side of history.” “Not fully affirming LGBT rights is unloving.” “Jesus loved everyone; why do you hate gays and lesbians?”

The constant refrains directed at proponents of one-man, one-woman marriage warn that to oppose so-called same-sex “marriage” is to be relegated to history’s ideological dustbin along with those who resisted civil rights for African-Americans or the vote for women.

And over the last few years, more and more self-identifying evangelical voices have joined the chorus. Like Rev. Danny Cortez, whose church was expelled from the Southern Baptist Convention, told the Huffington Post, “I believed for years,” Cortez said, “that marriage should only be between one man and one woman. But as I began relationships with LGBT persons, I saw that my beliefs had been destructive and not in line with the teachings of Jesus Christ.”

Of course, the media makes much over any church or self-proclaimed evangelical who declares that they’ve “evolved” on any of the hot-topic issues of gender, marriage, or sexuality.

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Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – HOSANNA IN THE HIGHEST

Read Luke 19:28-48

At the Berlin Conference in 1884–1885, the continent of Africa was carved up between European colonial powers. The new arbitrary boundaries did not reflect natural tribal divisions. When African nations began achieving independence in the 1950s and 60s, long-simmering tribal and ethnic conflicts often erupted, destabilizing the new governments with military coups, civil wars, and ethnic genocide.

Since Luke 9:51, Luke’s narrative has described Jesus’ resolute march toward Jerusalem—and some still expected that He would lead a violent coup and take political power. Jesus had often told His disciples that He expected to suffer and die in Jerusalem, but they did not grasp the significance of His words. And no doubt Jesus’ words were often strangely confusing—even in the closing of yesterday’s reading, we read the politically charged story of the king who intends to slaughter his enemies.

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Denison Forum – A GOOD FRIDAY QUESTION I’VE NEVER CONSIDERED BEFORE

I almost always begin my daily column by interacting with the day’s news. However, Good Friday is unlike any other day. And the two questions I’d like to explore with you this morning deserve our full attention. The first is one I’ve been asked often. The second is one I’ve never considered before today.

Our first question is both simple and profound: “Why did Jesus have to die?” The fact that he died to pay for our sins is not in question. Rather, why did God require that he do so? If I run into your car in the parking lot, I assume someone doesn’t have to die for my debt to be paid. Why did God require the death of his Son to pay ours?

The answer is that sin separates us from the holy God who is the only source of life (Isaiah 59:2; John 14:6). That’s why the Lord warned Adam that if he ate the forbidden fruit “you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:17). That’s why “the soul who sins shall die” (Ezekiel 18:20). That’s why “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).

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