Charles Stanley – Living Expectantly

Mark 14:42-46

After the crucifixion, a wealthy Jewish leader named Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate if he could have Jesus’ body to bury it. Surely Joseph grasped the huge risk in requesting Rome’s permission to provide proper burial for a criminal convicted of treason. Undoubtedly he realized that his reputation and status in the religious community would be endangered.

What gave Joseph, a secret follower of Jesus, the courage to come forward while the Lord’s closest friends stepped back in fear? Was it because Joseph had been living expectantly, on the lookout for God? (See Mark 15:43 MSG.)

Christ’s sacrifice changes everything—both our forever destiny and our daily life—allowing us to live with a sense of boundless hope and resolute anticipation. Yet sometimes I wonder, How often do I ignore, overlook, fail or refuse to recognize God’s presence? Am I truly on the lookout for Him? How expectantly am I living, between “the already but not yet”?

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Our Daily Bread — Never Forsaken

Read: Psalm 22:1-10

Bible in a Year: Joshua 22-24; Luke 3

Jesus cried out in a loud voice, . . . “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” —Matthew 27:46

Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky said, “The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.” With that in mind, I read an online article describing “The Top 8 Deadliest Prisons in the World.” In one of these prisons every prisoner is held in solitary confinement.

We are intended to live and relate in relationships and community, not in isolation. This is what makes solitary confinement such a harsh punishment.

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John MacArthur – Strength for Today – Enemies of Humility: The Power Play

“Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to Him with her sons, bowing down, and making a request of Him. And He said to her, ‘What do you wish?’ She said to Him, ‘Command that in Your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right and one on Your left’” (Matthew 20:2-21).

Use of the power play in our personal dealings is incompatible with scriptural humility.

One of the most common tactics people use to get ahead is to draw upon the influence of family and friends. Even professing believers have not hesitated to “play politics” to get what they want. I know of a pastor some years ago who said that for his denomination’s annual meeting he always booked a hotel room near the top leaders’ rooms. He wanted to cultivate their friendships in hopes of receiving consideration for pastorates in larger churches.

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Wisdom Hunters – Suffering Savior 

I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting. Isaiah 50:6

The sufferings of Jesus cannot be totally comprehended. One thing is clear: Jesus experienced voluntary suffering. He offered himself as a sacrifice on behalf of the human race, and it was a volitional act on His part. He willfully submitted to the will of His heavenly Father, which meant suffering. His heartache and mistreatment were the will of His heavenly Father (Mark 8:31-33).

This principle is hard to process for those who want to enjoy problem-free living. The way of the cross is not always a smooth road, for it is marked with its own bumps along the way.

Jesus suffered for the sake of others, and He calls His followers to be willing to do the same. The Bible says, “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him…”(Philippians 1:29). Suffering leads you to your Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.

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Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – Important Church Celebrations: Promotion to Glory

Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.

Revelation 2:10

Recommended Reading

Philippians 1:21-23

After devotional writer Frances Ridley Havergal passed away at the age of 42, her sister recalled her last days. “Almost the last time we walked to church together, she turned round to me and said, ‘Marie, I’ve come to the conclusion it will be very nice to go to heaven!’”

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Joyce Meyer – Read and Reap

[Things are hidden temporarily only as a means to revelation.] For there is nothing hidden except to be revealed, nor is anything [temporarily] kept secret except in order that it may be made known. —Mark 4:22

The Word has tremendous treasures, powerful life-giving secrets that God wants to reveal to us. They are manifested to those who ponder, study, think about, practice mentally, and meditate on the Word of God.

There is no end to what God can show you out of one verse of Scripture. You can study a scripture one time and get one thing, and another time you’ll see something else you did not even notice before.

The Lord keeps revealing His secrets to those who are diligent about studying the Word. Don’t be the kind of person who always wants to live off of someone else’s revelation. Study the Word yourself, and allow the Holy Spirit to bless your life with truth.

Power Thought: Revelation is available to me when I study God’s Word.

From the book the book Power Thoughts Devotional by Joyce Meyer.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Cheer Up; He Has Overcome

“I have told you all this so that you will have peace of heart and mind. Here on earth you will have many sorrows and trials; but cheer up, for I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

I know of few promises in all the Word of God that offer more assurance and encouragement than this one.

The apostle Paul was an aggressive soldier of God who carried the gospel far and wide throughout the known world. He was greatly used of God to expand the territorial borders of Christendom. All that Paul did, he did in the name of Christ and through the power and control of the Holy Spirit.

But there was great opposition to Paul’s ministry. Consequently, he always seemed to be in the center of spiritual warfare. He knew his enemies, Satan and the world system, and their subtle, deceiving devices.

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Ray Stedman – The Cure to Conflict

Read: Philippians 4:2-5

I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Phil 4:2

In these few verses he turns the spotlight on the problem that has been dimly discernible all along in this letter. There were in the church at Philippi two lovely ladies who were quarreling with one another. They were in some kind of disagreement and the quarrel had spread to others in church. Some were taking sides, and it was beginning to threaten the unity of the church. They hadn’t divided yet, it wasn’t a church split, but they were on the verge of it.

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Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Deliver Us

Read: Luke 23:32-33, 39-46

Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. (v. 32)

The first asks, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” The first man wants a Savior on his own terms. A Savior who lets sin go without consequence, making life easier and happier.

But the second criminal sees the truth: “We are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” The second criminal leaves the result up to Jesus with these words, “Remember me.” How you will, what you will, when you will, Jesus. Just please remember me.

The first man wants god as much of the world wants god. A god who is grandfatherly and kindly. A god who looks the other way with a wink.

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Presidential Prayer Team; C.P.- Stay Awake

Wake up! Sometimes that’s hard to do – particularly if you go to bed late or sleep sporadically during the night. You keep hitting that snooze alarm, hoping that you’ll eventually feel like you haven’t been run over by a truck.

I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead.

Revelation 3:1

Today’s verse is Jesus speaking to the church at Sardis. He continues in the next verse by saying, “Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.” (Revelation 3:2) In the verse after that, He concludes: “Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent.”

Is there anything you know to do but are not doing? One good check-off list is in today’s recommended reading, which includes such things as respecting spiritual leaders, praying without ceasing, and doing good to others, even those who hurt you. Then take time today to pray for God’s Spirit to move in this country and turn hearts to Him. Pray that Christians will stay awake in this election season, remembering and applying those things received and heard from the Lord as they speak with others about their views and faith.

Recommended Reading: I Thessalonians 5:12-22

Greg Laurie – Some Thoughts on the Love of God

“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”—John 15:13

What a contrast the love of God is to the so-called “love” of our culture.

Our world loves you when you are young and beautiful; God loves you when you are old and not so attractive.

Our world loves you when you are famous and a celebrity; God loves you when you are unknown and a complete nobody.

Our world loves you when you are rich and powerful; God loves you when you are penniless and weak.

Our world loves the extraordinary. God loves the ordinary. People like you and me.

And God has demonstrated this love for us in a tangible way. Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13 NKJV).

Kids 4 Truth International – God Wants Us To Bind Ourselves To Him

“Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.” (Psalm 27:14)

Have you ever seen a vine twisted tightly around a tree? I recently saw a big vine as I was in the woods enjoying a picnic. When I first looked at the big tree, it was difficult to tell the vine from the tree itself. But as I looked more closely, I began to see the outline of a vine that had grown higher and higher by wrapping itself tightly around the tree and growing up as the tree grew up. I went over and tried to rip the vine away from the tree, but it was no use. The vine had twisted around and bound itself into the strong trunk of the tree. That vine was not going anywhere, except where the tree was going!

The word “wait” in Psalm 27:14 has the idea of binding together by twisting. God wants us to wrap our hearts and minds around Him through His truth – just like a vine wraps itself tightly around the giant tree. God is like the firm, unmovable tree that grows high. We should be like the vine that grabs hold of God so tightly that we only go and grow in the direction He wants us going and growing!

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The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Set Free

Today’s Scripture: 1 Peter 1:18

“You were ransomed.”

We associate the word ransom with kidnapping, but this hasn’t always been its primary association. Centuries ago, ransom was the payment given an enemy country to secure the release of prisoners of war. In Bible times a ransom was the price paid to gain freedom for a slave. To pay a ransom was to purchase back someone from captivity or slavery.

Jesus said, “The Son of man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28, NIV). To fully understand his meaning we must examine the related word redeem, which means to buy back or release someone from slavery or captivity by paying a ransom. Redemption, then, is the action to secure release; while ransom is the price paid to effect the action.

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The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Avoiding Slow Leaks

Today’s Scripture: Leviticus 18-20

Avoid every kind of evil. – 1 Thessalonians 5:22

A quick read through Leviticus 18-20 raises some questions: How low can society go? How deep into sin? How polluted can the human spirit become? How degraded the human race? There are laws and commands in this passage that stagger the mind, and the Lord speaks plainly and bluntly to His people. “You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. Do not follow their practices. You must obey my laws and be careful to follow my decrees. I am the Lord your God” (Leviticus 18:3-4).

So they were neither to retain the idolatry of Egypt nor take on the moral standards of the land to which they were going, and they were to abstain from the corruption of their own fleshly desires.

Continue reading The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Avoiding Slow Leaks

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.”

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

Read Luke 20

Students of American history know John Wilkes Booth assassinated President Abraham Lincoln. They may not be as familiar with George Azterodt, who was part of Wilkes’s conspiracy. Wilkes had instructed Azterodt to kill Vice President Andrew Johnson—but Azterodt lost his nerve and went out drinking instead. He was still convicted as an accomplice of Wilkes and executed by hanging in July 1865.

In our text today, Jesus had entered Jerusalem and the plot to kill Him intensified. The Pharisees and religious leaders were looking for a way to accuse Him; they were afraid of the crowd’s reaction if it seemed they were attacking Jesus for no reason. First, they tried to entrap Him on religious grounds: By what authority did He teach in the temple (v. 2)? Second, they tried to entrap Him on political grounds: Should faithful Jews pay taxes to the Romans (v. 22)?

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