Charles Stanley – Intimacy With Our Heavenly Father

John 1:12-13

From the very beginning, God intended to have an intimate, loving relationship with His children. What evidence do we have that this is His desire?

His Son. One reason that Jesus Christ came to earth is for us to know and relate to God the Father. The Bible tells us that Jesus is His exact representation; His words and works were the same as God’s (John 5:19; John 12:50). Therefore, when we look at the Son, we are seeing the character of our heavenly Father.

Invitation. Through the Scriptures, God invites us to join His family. He took care of all the arrangements; the only thing we have to do is say yes (John 3:16).

Adoption. The closest tie we can have with one another is family. At salvation, we are adopted into the Lord’s family. This relationship with our heavenly Father lasts for an eternity and provides us with support, encouragement, and love.

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Our Daily Bread — Surprised by Grace

Read: Acts 9:1-19

Bible in a Year: Judges 9-10; Luke 5:17-39

I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace. —Ephesians 3:7

A woman from Grand Rapids, Michigan, fell asleep on the couch after her husband had gone to bed. An intruder sneaked in through the sliding door, which the couple had forgotten to lock, and crept through the house. He entered the bedroom where the husband was sleeping and picked up the television set. The sleeping man woke up, saw a figure standing there, and whispered, “Honey, come to bed.” The burglar panicked, put down the TV, grabbed a stack of money from the dresser, and ran out.

The thief was in for a big surprise! The money turned out to be a stack of Christian pamphlets with a likeness of a $20 bill on one side and an explanation of the love and forgiveness God offers to people on the other side. Instead of the cash he expected, the intruder got the story of God’s love for him.

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The Dead Don’t Bleed

For one family in Venezuela, the space between death and life was filled with more shock than usual. After a serious car accident, Carlos Camejo was pronounced dead at the scene. Officials released the body to the morgue and a routine autopsy was ordered. But as soon as examiners began the autopsy, they realized something was gravely amiss: the body was bleeding. They quickly stitched up the wounds to stop the bleeding, a procedure without anesthesia which, in turn, jarred the man to consciousness. “I woke up because the pain was unbearable,” said Camejo.(1) Equally jarred awake was Camejo’s wife, who came to the morgue to identify her husband’s body and instead found him in the hallway—alive.

Enlivened with images from countless forensic television shows, the scene comes vividly to life. Equally vivid is the scientific principle utilized by the doctors in the morgue. Sure, blood is ubiquitous with work in a morgue; but the dead do not bleed. This is a sign of the living.

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John MacArthur – Strength for Today – God-Centered Teamwork

“He who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow-workers” (1 Corinthians 3:8-9).

Humble teamwork in ministry gives God all the glory and promotes humility.

Paul’s agricultural illustration of planting and watering makes it clear that the ministry works best in a team concept and that all credit for results must go to God. Paul (the one planting) and Apollos (the one watering) had done their God-appointed work faithfully and well, but they had to wait on the Lord for whatever was accomplished.

Paul mentions just two kinds of ministry in today’s passage: planting the seed of the gospel by evangelism and watering it by further teaching. However, the apostle’s point applies to every kind of ministry you might engage in. You might be tempted to think that your ministry is glamorous or significant and that everything revolves around your efforts. Or you could be envious of another believer who has a more public ministry than you. But all God’s work is important, and Paul is reminding us that whatever work He has called us to is the most important ministry we can have.

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Wisdom Hunters – God’s Dwelling Place 

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. Revelation 21:1-3

Millions of dollars can design and build a luxury resort fully adorned with exotic spas, private pools, the finest of foods and a service experience full of adult pampering. Human attempts to create environments that exclude any angst or effort are temporary at best. Like Cinderella who experienced a magical night with the Prince at his palace, she eventually went back to her real world. Fortunately for followers of Jesus there is eternal extravagance to anticipate- created by the Creator. Heaven is more than absence of sin, it is the presence of God—His dwelling place.

John’s description of heaven depicts the Old Testament tabernacle—God’s dwelling place—a place of worship. But instead of giving just the priest limited access—all who worship Jesus the great High Priest have unlimited access to God’s dwelling place. In heaven the purified bride of Christ—His church—is qualified to experience the pure presence of the Lord at all times. He dwells with heaven’s inhabitants and they dwell with Him. Christ dwells with His children on earth, but one day His children will dwell with Him in heaven: perpetual, perfect and pure!

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Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – Home Safe

But when the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us…

Titus 3:4-5

Recommended Reading

John 14: 1-6

The crowd erupts as the baseball player runs across the home plate. He is safe, and his team is a point closer to winning. Having a home is an important value of most societies, and we pity those who are forced to live on the street. The ideal home is a sanctuary: a place where we are accepted, secure, and loved.

While we may struggle to find such a home in the world, this promise remains. Our faith and trust in Christ declares us “home safe,” and Jesus is preparing an eternal home for us. This promise is not just for the future, but for today. Because He has declared our worth and purchased our souls with Christ’s sacrifice, we are free.

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Joyce Meyer – Ready Minds

Now these [Jews] were better disposed and more noble than those in Thessalonica, for they were entirely ready and accepted and welcomed the message [concerning the attainment through Christ of eternal salvation in the kingdom of God] with inclination of mind and eagerness, searching and examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.—Acts 17:11

One of my much-published writer friends taught a series of classes at a writers’ conference on beginning writing. He wanted to reach people who felt God had called them to write and show them how to get their articles and books published.

At the beginning, he asked the attendees how long they had been writing and if they had ever been published. Two women, who sat in the front row, said they had both been writing for almost twelve years, but had not yet published anything.

At the end of the first lecture, my friend overheard one of the women say to the other, “Oh, we know all of that. We don’t need to come back to this class.”

Continue reading Joyce Meyer – Ready Minds

Girlfriends in God – When God Says No

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Proverbs 3:5, 6

Friend to Friend

Like any good parent, God’s answers to our requests are not always “yes.” When God says “no,” we must accept the fact that our Father knows best.

In my own life, my desire was to have three or four children. I conceived my first child with no problem. Little did I know at the time that Steven would be my only child. For years my husband and I prayed for more children. We traveled down the road of infertility doctors, diagnostic procedures, and timed intimacy, which is anything but intimate. As hard as it was for me to accept, God said “no.”

Do I understand God’s decision completely? No, I do not. But I’ve come to realize that He doesn’t owe me an explanation. God is God. He does what He pleases and I must trust Him. When we can’t see His hand, we must trust His heart. I so know this: “One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving,” (Psalm 62:11,12). God is strong – He can do anything. God is loving – He will always do what is in our best interest.

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Rivers of Living Water

“For the Scriptures declare that rivers of living water shall flow from the inmost being of anyone who believes in me” (John 7:38).

I was explaining to a group of Christians the meaning of Proverbs 15:13-15, “A happy face means a glad heart, a sad face means a breaking heart. When a man is gloomy, everything seems to go wrong and when he is cheerful everything seems to go right.”

God’s Word reminds us that the source of joy is the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 1:6). So if a man is filled with the Spirit, he will have a joyful heart. When we are filled with the Spirit, we will express love by singing and making melody in our hearts to the Lord. A happy heart will inevitably produce a joyful countenance (Ephesians 5:18-21).

If we do not have a joyful, peaceful countenance, there is reason to question whether we have a loving, joyful heart. And if we do not have a loving, joyful heart, it is not likely that we are filled with the Spirit.

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Ray Stedman – Why Give?

Read: Philippians 4:14-18

I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. Phil 4:18

Here we have an expression of warm and fragrant thanks for the gifts these people had sent to him by the hand of Epaphroditus, yet he is quick to point out that he is far more interested in what their giving does for them than what it does for him. You remember the Lord Jesus said, It is more blessed to give than to receive. This is what the apostle is saying, not that I seek the gift; but I seek the fruit which increases to your credit. These are really financial terms. The word fruit here is a common word in the business world of that day for interest. What Paul is saying is I don’t desire the capital. I only want the interest, and it is continually increasing to your account. That is, as you give to me there is a blessing you receive which is continually building up for your own enjoyment. That’s what he is after; not that he needs the gift. He wants them to be blessed in the giving, and that is why he so gladly receives these gifts from them.

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Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Experiencing God at the Table

Read: Luke 24:13-35

They rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem . . . Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread. (vv. 33, 35)

They must have been devastated. Who knows what they had taken on or what they had left behind to follow Jesus? They had put all their eggs in this one basket. They had bet the farm on a dream. And Friday afternoon, just two days ago, their dream was hung on a cross like so much criminal trash. Jesus died. “But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel” (v. 21). This is the most heartbreaking line in the whole account.

When you are deeply disappointed, or on the road to Emmaus, you need more than words. The disciples did too. They sat down at table with their strange, insightful companion. The Table is not a life-as-normal moment. It is an anchor in turbulent seas. It is a glimmer of hope when we had thought our time of hoping was all dried up. There they see Christ for who he really is.

Stuffing bread hastily into their pockets, the men sprinted out the door, back to Jerusalem. A journey made with leaden feet was reversed because, when the risen Lord appears to you, life as normal is no option.

Prayer:

Risen Christ, we are a people with disappointed hopes. Minister to us in meals shared with friends and in the most important meal of all. Reveal your presence with us at the Communion Table. Amen.

Author: Meg Jenista

https://woh.org/

Presidential Prayer Team; A.W. – Do You Recognize Him?

Prosopagnosia, also known as face blindness, is a neurological disorder that impairs one’s ability to recognize faces. In extreme cases, the sufferer has difficulty recognizing family members and sometimes even their own reflection.

They came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive.

Luke 24:23

The individuals speaking in today’s verse may not have had prosopagnosia, but they had difficulty recognizing the risen Savior. Mary Magdalene, Joanna and Mary the mother of James found His tomb empty and told the disciples. That same day, some were traveling to Emmaus discussing what had transpired. Jesus joined them on their walk, but they were prevented from recognizing Him. They recounted the week’s remarkable events…and eventually Christ revealed Himself to the travelers. They remembered their hearts burning within them while they walked and talked with the risen Lord.

You’ve had moments where you didn’t recognize the presence of Christ? Ask God to help you to see Him more in your everyday circumstances and life events. Pray also for the country’s leaders to hear His voice, realize He is alive, and allow Him to guide and direct them.

Recommended Reading: Luke 24:13-15; 22-32

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

Greg Laurie – Go-for-Broke Faith

So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus.—Matthew 14:29

Peter is often used as an example of what not to do and what not to say. But Peter also provided us with an exemplary and amazing display of faith.

We find the story in Matthew 14, when the disciples were out on the Sea of Galilee and a storm came up. They panicked and thought they were about to drown, but then Jesus showed up, walking toward them on the water. The disciples thought He was a ghost, but Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid. Take courage. I am here!” (verse 27).

Then Peter said, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water” (verse 28). So Jesus said come, and Peter went. He walked on the water.

Continue reading Greg Laurie – Go-for-Broke Faith

Kids 4 Truth International – We Cannot Hide From God

“Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD.” (Jeremiah 23:24)

There is no place we can go to hide from God.

When God told Jonah to go to Ninevah, Jonah disobeyed and “rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.” He boarded a ship headed for Tarshish, but God saw him even there. You probably know the rest of the story. God sent a mighty storm. Knowing that the storm was meant for him, Jonah told the sailors to throw him overboard. He was swallowed by a huge fish, and was carried in the fish’s stomach for three days. He repented of his sin, prayed to God, and God answered his prayers, causing the fish to spit Jonah out onto the land.

God sees our disobedience.

Sometimes when we do wrong, we try to hide it from our friends, our parents, and even God. But it doesn’t work. God sees us no matter where we go. He always knows what we are doing and what we are thinking. Jonah couldn’t leave God’s presence by going to Tarshish. God is everywhere.

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The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Why the Curse?

Today’s Scripture: Deuteronomy 12:28

“Be careful to obey all these words that I command you.”

Why was it necessary for Christ to give his life as a ransom to redeem us from the curse of the law? Why are we under a curse from which we need to be redeemed? In Galatians 3:10, Paul wrote, “all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, ‘cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the law, and do them.’” Mankind was under a curse because we had not perfectly obeyed the law of God—either in Adam or as individuals.

The curse falls on everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the law. This is an impossibly exacting standard. No college demands a perfect 4.0 GPA for graduation. If it did, only a scant few would graduate. But Paul tells us this is what the law of God demands.

Continue reading The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Why the Curse?

The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – A Parent’s Legacy

Today’s Scripture: 1 Kings 1-4

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. – 3 John 4

What are you hoping to pass on to your children? In 1 Kings 2:2-3 we read the charge David gave Solomon: “I am about to go the way of all the earth,” David said. “So be strong, show yourself a man, and observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in his ways, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and requirements…so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go.”

The Scriptures tell us that Solomon loved the Lord and walked in the statutes of David, his father. Solomon was a wise man, a rich man, the leader of a powerful nation, and yet he was a humble man before God.

Continue reading The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – A Parent’s Legacy

BreakPoint –  The NFL, the NBA, and Big Bucks

Last week, North Carolina lawmakers—led by the Lt. Governor and leader of the house, ran a backdoor play of sorts to overturn a new Charlotte ordinance known as “the bathroom bill.” As you can probably guess, the bill mandated that Charlotte businesses allow individuals access to the restroom of their choice.

In a specially called session, lawmakers not only overturned Charlotte’s ordinance, they mandated that any public multiple occupancy restrooms and changing rooms in the state be designated for those of the same biological sex, while also allowing accommodation for transgender persons in single-occupancy facilities.

In just about any other time or age than ours, bathroom policies would be an unnecessary area for government involvement. And this particular bathroom policy would seem like common sense for the protection of women and children. And yet it was quickly labeled “anti-LGBT legislation.”

Among those using that nomenclature is the National Basketball Association. On Thursday, the league announced they may reconsider hosting 2017 All-Star Weekend activities in Charlotte, because of their commitment to “equality and mutual respect.” They apparently missed the irony in taking this moral stand, given that the NBA and WNBA are separate leagues, but Ryan Anderson of the Heritage Foundation didn’t, observing on Twitter: “Hey @NBA, you’re against bathrooms based on biology, but think basketball should be?”

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Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – JESUS, KING OF THE JEWS

Read Luke 23

On February 27, 2015, Boris Nemtsov was another critic of Russian president Vladimir Putin found shot to death in Moscow. Although the Kremlin has denied any involvement, a growing number of journalists, aid workers, and political opponents have been arrested or assassinated in Russia. Nemtsov had spoken publicly about corruption within the government and had been preparing a paper documenting the experiences of Russian soldiers in Ukraine.

When corrupt political leaders want either to seize power or to protect it, they consider the strategy of assassination. We see this in our reading today. Though the Jewish religious leaders wanted Jesus dead, they had to make a political case for His execution. They had to prove that Jesus wasn’t just a religious problem that threatened their regime of temple worship. They needed to paint Jesus as an insurrectionist and a threat to Roman rule. He had to be portrayed as a self-appointed candidate for king, who refused to bow the knee to Caesar.

And they were right, of course, about the radical nature of the message that Jesus preached. When Jesus announced the coming of a new kingdom, He wasn’t simply speaking about how people get to heaven when they die (although this is important). He was proclaiming a transfer of power. He was saying that He deserved worship and allegiance—not Caesar.

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Denison Forum – ISIS GROUP HAS KILLED MORE THAN 650 IN EUROPE

ISIS “built the machinery of terror under Europe’s gaze,” according to The New York Times. This groundbreaking article reports that a unit within ISIS was dedicated to terrorizing Europe at least two years before the Paris attacks that left 130 dead last November. The Times estimates that this group has now killed at least 650 people.

How did authorities miss them? Local officials often did not communicate with each other when they discovered specific plots. And they dismissed ties to ISIS even when evidence was clear. Only now are we discovering the group’s existence. No one knows what will come next.

But there’s a component in the fight against ISIS that many policy leaders continue to overlook: the religious motivations behind radical Islam. To you and me, it is obvious that religious beliefs drive these jihadists. Tragically, to many leading the fight against them, this fact is not as obvious.

Why?

Yesterday I participated in a conference call on Islamic radicalization and terrorism. The conversation was sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations and featured Ed Husain, senior advisor and director of strategy at the Tony Blair Faith Foundation. Husain founded the world’s first counter-extremism think tank and writes regularly for global publications.

Continue reading Denison Forum – ISIS GROUP HAS KILLED MORE THAN 650 IN EUROPE