Charles Stanley – God Has Time For You

Mark 10:46-52

Time is a precious commodity in our fast-paced culture. Because of this, it is also a tremendously valuable gift that we can give to someone else.

The Lord was the ultimate model of balanced time management. He had critically important business to take care of and was certainly intentional about accomplishing His Father’s work (John 6:38); however, you won’t come across any Bible verse saying that He “ran to Bethany” or “rushed back to Galilee.” Wherever Jesus went, He was sensitive to people’s needs and always reached out in love to help them. He wasn’t so busy that He could not be interrupted.

Right before He went to the cross to accomplish the most important work of His life, Jesus stopped to help a poor blind beggar, who was a nobody in the eyes of society. Although the redemption of mankind was vitally important, the Savior cared enough about the suffering of one person to stop and do what He could to bring the man relief.

If the Lord allowed Himself to be interrupted on the way to the cross, will He not also stop and listen when we call out to Him in our distress? He is never too busy governing the universe to hear His beloved children cry to Him for help.

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Our Daily Bread — The Gallery of God

Read: Psalm 100

Bible in a Year: Judges 13-15; Luke 6:27-49

The Lord is good and his love endures forever. —Psalm 100:5

Psalm 100 is like a work of art that helps us celebrate our unseen God. While the focus of our worship is beyond view, His people make Him known.

Imagine the artist with brush and palette working the colorful words of this psalm onto a canvas. What emerges before our eyes is a world—“all the earth”—shouting for joy to the Lord (v. 1). Joy. Because it is the delight of our God to redeem us from death. “For the joy that was set before Him,” Jesus endured the cross (Heb. 12:2 nkjv).

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Slain and Standing

When the reigning fifteenth century Japanese shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa broke his favorite Chinese tea bowl, the distraught military dictator sent the antique pieces of pottery back to China to be repaired. The bowl was returned to him, repaired using a technique commonly practiced at the time. Metal staples fused the pieces together in a manner that assured the beloved bowl’s function, but the bowl was never the same. In Yoshimasa’s mind, the object was broken first by the fracture and then again by the mending. Disappointed, he called Japanese craftsmen to come up with another way.

What was born was the art of kintsugi, which expresses the Japanese aesthetic philosophy of wabi-sabi, embracing the flawed and imperfect, revealing beauty and strength in what has been broken. Kintsugi literally means golden connection or golden jointing. Broken pottery fragments are fused together using lacquer and gold. The end result is still repair in the deepest sense, but the breakage itself is not erased; in fact, it becomes all the more obvious. Rather than concealing the flaws, cracks are accentuated and highlighted. The repair remains the object of admiration, but the breakage is seen as a part of it, bestowing more value, emboldening strength, esteeming beauty.

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John MacArthur – Strength for Today – Anticipating Jesus’ Death

“‘After two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man is to be delivered up for crucifixion’” (Matthew 26:2).

Jesus adhered perfectly to God’s timetable for His death, which was part of the Father’s larger plan of redemption.

The history of redemption most definitely centers on the cross of Jesus Christ. Hymn writer John Bowring expressed this fact well:

In the cross of Christ I glory,

Tow’ring o’er the wrecks of time.

All the light of sacred story

Gathers round its head sublime.

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Wisdom Hunters – Unheard, But Heard by God 

Do you mean to correct what I say, and treat my desperate words as wind? You would even cast lots for the fatherless and barter away your friend.  Job 6:26-27

We all want to be heard—for our ideas to be valued. But when we feel unheard, especially by friends—our heart can slump into an unhealthy posture of dejection. We ache. From time to time we all need correction, but not to the point of contempt—where it seems like every time we open our mouth, our antagonist attacks us. There was a season in my work where I felt totally unheard. My supervisor acted deaf. The intimidation and innuendos were painful to my heart and sickening to my soul. Eventually, we parted ways—sadly we never fully understood each other.

Job finds himself in a situation where he feels totally on the outside of a relationship that once throbbed with passion and possibilities. He tries to reason with an unreasonable person—Eliphaz—but, Job’s integrity is on the defensive. Like a swirling wind captures a feather, once Job’s words cross his lips, they are swept away and dismissed by a mind already made up. He tries to claw back with a straightforward and stingingly accurate civil discourse. Job learns: unfair accusations need to be addressed with a prayerful, direct response. Integrity hears—then speaks!

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Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – Simple Math

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.

Matthew 12:35

Recommended Reading

2 Corinthians 9:6-15

You get what you put into it. It’s simple math. You can’t plant carrots and expect to harvest watermelon. You can’t fill your piggy bank with pennies and expect a hundred dollar bill to emerge. We may wish for results to magically appear, but the cause and effect principle remains.

Of course there are exceptions. When a child puts his newly pulled tooth under his pillow, a coin appears in its place, as long as his parents didn’t forget. The most important exception is Christ’s gift to us. We surrender our sin and failure to God, and He replaces it with the flawless righteousness of Christ. God’s commitment to us includes an eternal home and purpose for today. He delights in transforming us to bring forth good treasure. We become His lights, impacting and encouraging the people around us.

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Joyce Meyer – Quick to Forgive

And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted…forgiving one another [readily and freely], as God in Christ forgave you.—Ephesians 4:32

The Bible teaches us to forgive “readily and freely.” That is God’s standard for us, no matter how we feel about it. We are to be quick to forgive.

According to 1 Peter 5:5, we can clothe ourselves with the character of Jesus Christ, meaning that we can choose to be long-suffering, patient, not easily offended, slow to anger, quick to forgive, and filled with mercy. My definition of “mercy” is to look beyond what is done to me that hurts and discover the reason why it was done. Many times people do things even they don’t understand themselves, but there is always a reason why people behave as they do. Perhaps they are hurting and in their own pain they don’t even realize they are hurting someone else.

God forgives! We are to be merciful and forgiving, just as God in Christ forgives us our wrongdoing. He not only sees what we do that is wrong, but He understands why we did it, and is merciful and long-suffering. The choice to forgive others is ours. God will not force anyone to do it. Even if you don’t understand it, believe that God’s way is the best. It works. He can take what Satan meant to destroy you and turn it for your good.

We are to forgive in order to keep Satan from getting the advantage over us.

From the book Closer to God Each Day by Joyce Meyer.

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Girlfriends in God – Take Hold of the Faith You Long For

I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

Philippians. 3:12

Friend to Friend

Have you ever watched a circus performer on a flying trapeze? A short horizontal bar suspended by ropes or metal straps dangles high above the crowd. The aerialist grabs the trapeze bar, jumps off of a high platform, and swings through the air. She swings out once, swings back above the platform, and swings out again.

It is during the peak of the third swing where the fun begins for those below. The performer releases the bar mid-air and grabs hold of another bar or second performer hanging from his knees who swings toward her. Once she grabs hold, the crowd remembers to breathe. Somersaults, backflips, and triple twists wow the crowd. And each move requires the performer to let go and grab hold—let go of one bar and grab hold of another. Without the faith to do so, the trapeze artist would simply swing back and forth until the pumping momentum gave way to dangling, or she would hang, stuck in-between two platforms, with hands clinging to both bars. Not the greatest show on earth.

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – His Mark of Ownership

“He has put His brand upon us – His mark of ownership – and given us His Holy Spirit in our hearts as guarantee that we belong to Him, and as the first installment of all that He is going to give us” (2 Corinthians 1:22).

Some time ago, a young Christian came to share his problems. He was very frustrated and confused, and he spoke of the constant defeat and fruitlessness which he experienced in the Christian life.

“You don’t have to live in defeat,” I said to him.

The young man registered surprise.

“You can live a life of victory, a life of joy, a life of fruitfulness,” I assured him. “In fact, by the grace of God – and to Him alone be the glory – for more than 25 years as a Christian I do not recall a single hour of broken fellowship with the Lord Jesus.”

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Ray Stedman – The Need to Belong

Read: Leviticus 1

The Lord called to Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting. He said, Speak to the Israelites and say to them: When anyone among you brings an offering to the Lord, bring as your offering an animal from either the herd or the flock. Lev 1:1-2

There are five offerings in Leviticus: the burnt offering, the meal offering, the peace offering, the trespass offering and the sin offering. All five represent aspects of the work of Jesus Christ. The first offering is the burnt offering. The most important characteristic of the burnt offering is that it had to involve a death. Death in these offerings is always a picture of the death of the Lord Jesus Christ on our behalf. So when these Israelites offered this sacrifice they were learning the great truth that only by means of the death of an acceptable substitute can man ever satisfy this great longing to belong. Only in the recognition of the death of Jesus Christ for you, can you ever satisfy that longing. He is the expression of the love of God. So we must give ourselves to God through Christ, acknowledging that he owns us, that we belong to him: You are not your own; you are bought with a price, (1 Corinthians 6:19b-20a RSV). God does not and will not exploit you and run you like a robot or a slave. He loves you and wants to fulfill you and set you free. But you do belong to him. That is the most basic truth of all.

Continue reading Ray Stedman – The Need to Belong

Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – The Beginning

Read: Mark 1:1

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. (v. 1)

Everything starts somewhere. The gospel did too, and so Mark makes his very first word (in Greek) “Beginning.” If this sounds like Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning . . .” you’re right. This was Mark’s intention. The arrival of God’s Son was an act of new creation, a new Genesis.

But no one is quite sure how much of Mark constitutes this “beginning.” Does Mark mean just Mark 1:1-8? All of Mark 1? Or could Mark mean the whole book is just the beginning? I prefer the latter option because of how Mark also ends in Mark 16:8. Since we just celebrated Easter, we may recall that Mark’s Gospel, at least in its most ancient version, concludes with terrified women fleeing from the empty tomb in silence.

Seems like an odd way to end! Can the gospel end in silence? No! But just before the women flee, they are told to go back to Galilee to see Jesus. But where in Mark is Galilee? Right back in Mark 1. It is as though Mark is saying, “Go back to the beginning. Now that you have seen the cross and the empty tomb, go back and reread my gospel. Because the whole thing is just the beginning. Now the story continues through you. Don’t let it end in silence but tell the whole story of how in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the whole world is being made new!”

Prayer:

Father God, open our lips that they may speak gospel truth.

https://woh.org/

Presidential Prayer Team; A.W. – Christlike

Billy Graham once asked, “Do you want to know what God’s will is for you? To become more and more like Christ. This is spiritual maturity, and if you make this your goal, it will change your life.” And, it can be added, the lives of others as well.

Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Matthew 6:10

In today’s verse, Christ was instructing His disciples how to pray. He emphasized God’s will over their desires. He precisely followed these instructions later as He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. Facing death, Jesus begged, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42) By allowing His Father’s purposes to be accomplished, Christ saved the life of every person on Earth who chooses to believe in Him.

As you pray today and throughout the month of April, ask God to help you become more like Christ and to compel you to seek His will more than your own desires – even when it means strife or struggle for you. Pray, too, for God’s perfect purposes to be carried out in America for its leaders and citizens…so that His kingdom may be fulfilled to His glory!

Recommended Reading: Luke 22:39-46

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

Greg Laurie – The Secret of Christian Joy

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things. —Philippians 4:8

There is something better than pursuing happiness. And there is something that is, in effect, even better than happiness. That something is called joy.

Joy is the theme of the book of Philippians. Now, if Paul had written this epistle while he was sitting on a Mediterranean beach, catching some rays, and sipping an iced tea, that would be one thing. But that wasn’t the case. Paul was incarcerated in Rome when he wrote this letter to the believers in Philippi. Even though he was writing from a place of difficulty, Paul wrote a letter that resonated with joy.

So how could Paul be so joyful and jubilant under such adverse circumstances? And is this joy something that we can experience in the twenty-first century?

Continue reading Greg Laurie – The Secret of Christian Joy

Kids 4 Truth International – God Wants Us To Bear Fruit

“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing…. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” (John 15:5,16)

“These are the best apples in the world!” exclaimed Savannah.

“You like those, eh?” asked Grandpa Gooberman.

“Yes, I do!” replied Savannah, with bits of apple flying out of her mouth.

With a twinkle in his eye, Grandpa Gooberman said, “Yup. Sure was a good harvest. I picked them right off of the pear tree this year.”

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The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – No Exceptions

Today’s Scripture: Psalm 61:5

“You, O God, have heard my vows.”

Commitment to the pursuit of holiness is, first of all, a commitment to God to pursue a way of life that is pleasing to him. It is commitment to a life of obedience. Such a commitment must allow for no exceptions, no secret sins we want to hold onto, no sinful habits we’re unwilling to give up. We must make it our aim not to sin.

This doesn’t mean we can arrive at sinless perfection in this life, for even our best deeds are stained with sin. But it does mean that our firm intention must be not to sin willfully. Commitment to a life of holiness without exception is a requirement for consistently making the right choices. There’s no point in praying for God’s help in the face of temptation if we haven’t made a commitment to obedience without exception.

Continue reading The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – No Exceptions

The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Jehoshaphat’s Example

Today’s Scripture: 2 Chronicles 17-20

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. – Colossians 2:6

When I was growing up on a farm in Iowa, we had a neighbor who, every time something unusual or exciting happened, would shout “Jumpin’ Jehoshaphat!” But a reading of 2 Chronicles 17-20 lets us know that Jehoshaphat was not known for his ability in jumping, but for his walk with God.

He wisely took precautions to fortify the land against invasion. But more than that, he walked in the ways of David, his father. And even here Jehoshaphat was selective, following the positive example of David while avoiding his weakness and sin. When King Jehoshaphat gave himself to the laws of God, the Bible says he put his heart in it. The New Testament describes this as fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.

Continue reading The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Jehoshaphat’s Example

BreakPoint –  Faith Can be Fatal: Pakistani Christians in the Crosshairs

This past Easter weekend, two events in Pakistan served as reminders of the precarious position of Christians living in societies with Muslims majorities.

The first was, of course, the bombing of a park in Lahore, the ancient capital of Pakistan’s largest province, Punjab. On the afternoon of Easter Sunday, while members of Pakistan’s increasingly beleaguered Christian minority celebrated the holiday, a suicide bomber detonated his device, killing at least 70 people and wounding at least 300 more.

Shortly after the attack, a faction of the Pakistani Taliban named Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, which in truly Orwellian fashion means “Assembly of the Free,” claimed responsibility, admitting brazenly that the attack was “aimed at killing members of Pakistan’s Christian minority gathered at the park to celebrate Easter Sunday.”

Since Christians are less than two percent of Pakistan’s estimated 190 million people, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the attack killed Muslims as well as Christians. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was outraged and after visiting victims in hospital, declared that, “Our resolve as a nation and as a government is getting stronger and the cowardly enemy is trying for soft targets.”

While I don’t doubt the Prime Minister’s sincerity, he really has his work cut out for him. As the Canadian Broadcasting Company put it, the jihadist market in Pakistan is “saturated.” And as recent events in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad, demonstrate, there’s no shortage of Pakistani’s eager to victimize its Christian minority.

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Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – SALVATION THROUGH JESUS ALONE

Read Acts 4:1-12

In 2004 the BBC launched a new television show that would become a global phenomenon with nearly twenty different versions produced around the world. Each episode of Who Do You Think You Are? features the family history of a famous person, exploring everything from disappeared relatives to distant royal connections to ancestors’ migrations. Participants often say, “I hope this experience will help me understand myself and my family.”

This month in Today in the Word we are going to explore similar questions: Who are we? What is our true identity? What do we know about our family? Our goal is not just to know ourselves better but also to understand what it means to locate our identity in Christ. And in order to find the answers, we have to know where to begin.

Continue reading Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – SALVATION THROUGH JESUS ALONE

Denison Forum – IS GREAT BRITAIN EXPERIENCING REVIVAL?

“I am optimistic that we will see this nation come back to God.” So states Britain’s Pastor Agu Irukwu of the Redeemed Christian Church of God. His group was founded in Nigeria but now has 600 congregations across the U.K.

Nearly 800 British churches have closed in the last six years, but Pentecostal or charismatic churches are taking their place. For instance, Hillsong Church London holds four services every Sunday, attended by 8,000 people. More than 5,000 churches have been started in Great Britain since 1980. God is moving in a country desperate for spiritual awakening.

Meanwhile in America, Southern governors are facing increased pressure to compromise on religious liberty or lose business for their states. Colleges are spending millions of dollars to deal with an escalation in sexual misconduct cases. And the U.S. government will spend an addition $22 million to fight an epidemic of heroin and painkiller abuse.

Does our nation need moral and spiritual renewal?

Continue reading Denison Forum – IS GREAT BRITAIN EXPERIENCING REVIVAL?