Charles Stanley – The Privilege of Knowing God

Philippians 3:7-11

While we meet a tremendous number of people in our lifetime, we sometimes feel particularly privileged to know certain individuals, such as a godly role model, a childhood hero, or someone who was there to help in our time of need. Still, as wonderful as it is to have these distinctive people in our lives, the greatest privilege of all is to know God. Even knowing the most exceptional people can never bring us the joy and contentment for which we yearn. And yet, we frequently chase after worldly acceptance because we forget the treasure of truly knowing the living God.

Oftentimes people get saved and remain satisfied with this first step—knowing a few facts about God is enough for them. If they are asked, “Do you know God?” most will say that they do. But there’s a vast difference between knowing facts about God and personally relating to Him. Believers should continually be growing closer to the Father—always learning more about who He is and what He considers important.

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Our Daily Bread — Wisdom and Grace

Read: James 1:1-8

Bible in a Year: Ruth 1-4; Luke 8:1-25

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask of God, who gives generously to all without finding fault. —James 1:5

On April 4, 1968, American civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was assassinated, leaving millions angry and disillusioned. In Indianapolis, a largely African-American crowd had gathered to hear Robert F. Kennedy speak. Many had not yet heard of Dr. King’s death, so Kennedy had to share the tragic news. He appealed for calm by acknowledging not only their pain but his own abiding grief over the murder of his brother, President John F. Kennedy.

Kennedy then quoted a variation of an ancient poem by Aeschylus (526–456 bc):

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Divinity and Dirty Hands

Dirty hands are quickly given a bad rap. Children are born ready to dig into the mess before them, to experience the sandbox by getting it under their fingernails and in between their toes, and to delight in life by generally getting it all over themselves. But it does not take long before we learn that dirty fingers and messy faces are not acceptable, that jumping into mud puddles to experience the rain will probably come with a reprimand, and that finger-painting is for the little ones who have not yet graduated to more refined utensils. Moving from child to adult seems to involve ‘cleaning up one’s act’ in more ways than one.

The earliest Christian disciples utilized metaphors of childhood in their letters to newly believing communities. Paul compares one’s knowledge of God to the process of learning: “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”(1) Peter similarly encourages new believers to grow in love and knowledge: “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.”(2)

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John MacArthur – Strength for Today – The Start of Jesus’ Final Challenge

“Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane” (Matthew 26:36).

The agony of Jesus’ death, beginning with His ordeal in the Garden of Gethsemane, is something finite believers will never fully comprehend.

C.H. Spurgeon, in an 1880s sermon, said this to his congregation: “It will not be enough for you to hear, or read [about Christ]; you must do your own thinking and consider your Lord for yourselves. . . . Shut yourself up with Jesus, if you would know him.” However, even those who most conscientiously follow Spurgeon’s admonition to meditate on Jesus’ Person and ministry find the effort reveals much about Him that is beyond human understanding.

As we continue our study of the events leading up to the Lord’s sacrificial death, we also realize that it’s difficult to grasp the full meaning of many of them. Even with the aid of the Spirit’s illumination, we find the weight of Jesus’ agony and suffering more than our minds can completely fathom. As the sinless God-man, He could perceive the full scope of sin’s horror in a way we never can.

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Wisdom Hunters – Distractions to Discipleship

The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. Luke 8:14

Everyday life is full of opportunities to do God’s will and distractions to miss God’s will. Worry is distracted by issues out of its control—like an unprecedented presidential election year, fear of a global financial meltdown driven by government debt or lackadaisical Christians who are more concerned over their comfort than obeying Christ’s commands. Any distraction that keeps me from maturing in my faith walk with Jesus needs to be dismissed. I am learning that growth in my discipleship is the result of staying focused on engrafting God’s word into my soul.

Jesus paints a familiar canvas to residents of a mostly agrarian community. Uncultivated soil is not ready to grow crops. The few seeds that do germinate and develop into tender plants are soon choked by suffocating thorns. Such is an unbroken heart that hears truth, but the word of life is slowly tortured by fear and distrust, so truth is choked by life’s worries. The prickly thorns of worry have to be carefully cut out by the shears of belief in Christ to bear fruit from an abiding life. When Jesus abides in a life and that life abides in Jesus—a mature disciple is on display!

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Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – The Fruit of Sorrow

Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing.

2 Corinthians 7:9

Recommended Reading

2 Corinthians 7:8-13

Sometimes when a well-known person—athlete, celebrity, politician, religious leader—makes a public apology, it begs the question: Are they truly sorry or sorry they were found out? Only God knows, of course. Said another way, if people (including us) are sorry for sins, shouldn’t they come forth on their own before they are called out?

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Joyce Meyer – Getting Off to a Good Start

Then the Lord said to me,” Arise, begin your journey…”—Deuteronomy 10:11 NKJV

One way to love yourself is to keep your physical body in shape, and one of the best ways to do that is to be committed to some kind of exercise. I often say the toughest part of a new exercise program is getting started. Following are some extremely simple ways to begin exercise programs that stick.

  1. A Daily Walk. Something as simple as walking thirty minutes every day is very beneficial for your health. Do what’s manageable, not what leaves you gasping!
  2. Indoor Exercise. You can exercise in the privacy of your own home using a video, or you can take an exercise class.
  3. Strength Training. Strengthening your muscles can be done quickly and at home, without any special machines. Sit-ups, push-ups, or lifting simple weights doesn’t take long or cost much, but these things are good for you!
  4. Running or Biking. Running and biking are good options, but riding a bicycle is easier on your joints than running.
  5. Swimming. Swimming provides a good, gentle cardiovascular workout and works many muscle groups at once.

Start slowly, do your best, and keep it up. Soon you’ll find yourself in better shape!

Love Yourself Today: Take care of your physical body through regular exercise, and do something to get yourself off to a good start today.

From the book Love Out Loud by Joyce Meyer.

Girlfriends in God – Leaving an Imprint – Part One


So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Genesis 1:27

Friend to Friend

Let’s rewind humanity’s story way back to the beginning. “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.’ … So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Gen. 1:26–27, ESV).

My brain doesn’t know what to do with this. I don’t know how to process this mystery. His image displayed in my life. How can that be? How can there be such a compelling connection between God’s heart and my humanity? Especially when I know me. I know that on my best, most holy day, I don’t come close to being imago Dei, the image of God.

Even so, the Bible says that I am made in God’s image (v. 27), and that Jesus is the “radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature” (Heb. 1:3 ESV). As followers of Jesus, you and I get to share in the glory of God and reflect His nature as well. The apostle Paul wrote it this way:

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Your Joy Restored

“Create in me a clean heart, O God: and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Thy presence: and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation: and uphold me with Thy free Spirit. Then will I teach transgressors Thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto Thee” (Psalm 51:10-13, KJV).

“The Christian owes it to the world to be supernaturally joyful,” said A. W. Tozer.

How do we attain that joy?

When we refuse to exhale spiritually by confessing our sins, we are miserable. On the other hand, when we do confess our sins, we experience God’s complete forgiveness. He removes our guilt and fills our lives with joy, the kind of joy we will very much want to share with others.

The psalmist also knew this when he wrote: “Create in me a new, clean heart, O God, filled with clean thoughts and right desires…Restore to me again the joy of Your salvation, and make me willing to obey You. Then I will teach Your ways to other sinners, and they – guilty like me – will repent and return to You” (Psalm 51:10,12,13).

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Ray Stedman – The Need to Confess

Read: Leviticus 4

Then the priest is to take some of the blood with his finger and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering and pour out the rest of the blood at the base of the altar. Lev 4:30

In the book of Leviticus, the five great offerings specified there set forth for us so clearly and helpfully the basic needs of our humanity, needs which God has built into every one of us, and how these needs can be met — the only way in which they can be met. Here we come to the fourth of these offerings, the sin offering.

Remember that in the previous offerings, just as in the sin offering, blood had to be shed, and a death had to occur. But all the blood of the animal was poured out at the foot of the altar. But with the blood of the sin offering something unusual was always done. The blood had to be sprinkled seven times before the LORD. Then, in the case of the offering for the anointed priest as we see here, it had to be put on the horns of the altar of incense which stood in the holy place, right in front of the veil which guarded the holy of holies — i.e., right before the presence of the LORD.

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Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Authority

Read: Mark 1:21-22

For he taught them as one who had authority. (v. 22)

I once read a story about Pope John XXIII meeting with a group of people one day. Included in the group were a number of mothers with young children. At one point the pope said to one of these moms, “Could you tell me the names of your children? I realize I could get that information from someone else but something very special happens when a mother speaks the names of her own children.” This charming story speaks to the difference it makes when a person talks about someone they know not just well but intimately well.

When Jesus talked about God in the synagogue in Capernaum, people were amazed because he did not talk about God the way the typical religious teachers did. What did the people sense that was so amazingly different about Jesus? Could it be that whereas other teachers talked about God from a distance, Jesus spoke of God as someone who loved the Father and the Spirit intimately and from the inside of their eternal relationship? When Jesus spoke of God, it was like a mother pronouncing her child’s name: you could sense the close connection.

As Christians, we have God’s own Holy Spirit living inside of us. By this Spirit, we too can talk about God and witness to Jesus from the context of a close relationship. When we speak, the world should notice how much love accompanies our words.


May we not just talk about you, O God, but speak our love for you from our hearts.

Author: Scott Hoezee

Presidential Prayer Team; J.K. – Heart Residence

Too ashamed or intimidated in front of others, the student, co-worker or friend will wait until all are gone to ask the question that concerns them. The leader, a Pharisee named Nicodemus, did the same. Coming to Jesus by night, he inquired of Him if He were truly the Messiah sent from God. Belief that it was so would have expelled him from the ruling class. But he had to know.

Unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.

John 3:3

The answer was definite. You must believe in the Savior Jesus; God sent His Son not to condemn the world but to save it (John 3:17). Belief brings about a moral transformation (being born again). This rebirth, Bible commentator Matthew Henry says, brings a new nature, new principles, new affections and new aims. Jesus takes up residence within to guide you to do right, to love others, and to seek purity in your life – and to provide forgiveness when you fall short of these aspirations.

Knowing the Lord and having access to Him through prayer and His Word will guide you to understand His will. Pray that the Word of God will have a place in the hearts of every man and woman in this country, including its political leaders. They have to know.

Recommended Reading: Hebrews 4:7-16

Greg Laurie – Battle of the Gods

And Elisha prayed, and said, “Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.—2 Kings 6:17

I think we would all agree there is a battle going on in the United States today. It’s a battle for our very souls, a battle for right and wrong, a battle over the Bible, a battle over the family. Really, it is a battle over worldviews. And if you want to simplify it even further, it is a battle of the gods.

In the Bible there is only one God; it isn’t multiple choice. God says, “I am the Lord, and there is no other” (Isaiah 45:5). There is the true and living God who is the God of Scripture and the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He is the God who loved us so much that He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross.

Then there are all the other gods. So the battle rages today—the battle of the gods and the battle of the worldviews.

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Kids 4 Truth International – God Wants Us To Obey His Word

“Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go; keep her; for she is thy life.” (Proverbs 4:13)

Pretend you have invented something very special. It took a very long time for you to design, and it is very useful. Let’s say you call it a “Jillipy-Bop.” The Jillipy-Bop is so special and useful that all your friends tell you they want a Jillipy-Bop of their own! Your parents are so impressed with the Jillipy-Bop that they help you get your Jillipy-Bop patented, mass-produced, and marketed. A store in your hometown has agreed to sell your Jillipy-Bops, and you are now in business!

However, your Jillipy-Bops each come with some small parts that the buyer must put together before it works. You must put a set of instructions in every Jillipy-Bop box. You write up the instructions and ship out the boxed Jillipy-Bops. The instructions you wrote up are very simple, so you are sure that no one will have trouble putting your invention together if they follow the instructions.

But soon you receive a letter from a customer that has a problem with his Jillipy-Bop. “This thing doesn’t work!” the customer writes. “I want my money back!” This customer includes his name, address and telephone number, so your parents tell you that, as a businessman, it would be wise if you call and try to find out what happened.

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The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – From Curse to Christ

Today’s Scripture: Galatians 3:24

“The law was our guardian until Christ came.”

The primary purpose of the law is not to curse us but to lead us to Christ (Galatians 3:24). God does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 18:23). Rather, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13). The language is emphatic. Christ literally became a curse in our place as our substitute. He experienced the full fury of the curse that we should have experienced. It’s true he did it for us, but he did so by doing it in our place as our appointed substitute.

Here we see the importance of our legal union with Christ. As our God-appointed legal representative, he was legally qualified to endure the curse in our place as our substitute. There’s no adequate analogy for this union in human experience. One person may pay a financial debt for someone else, but no one can serve a prison sentence as a substitute for another. In human jurisprudence, a moral debt such as a prison sentence can be served only by the person who incurred it.

Continue reading The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – From Curse to Christ

The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Unbroken Fellowship

Today’s Scripture: Jeremiah 50-52

We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. – Hebrews 2:1

In the last chapters of Jeremiah, God is trying to get the attention of Babylon and warn the people that if they continue to follow their current lifestyle, the curtain will fall and the show will be over.

In Jeremiah 51:33, we find an example of God’s warning: “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘The daughter of Babylon is like a threshing floor at the time it is trampled; the time to harvest her will soon come.’” The Babylonians did not heed the warning, and in the years to come, the prophecies of Babylon’s shocking destruction were all fulfilled.

What are the warnings you and I must not ignore in our walk of daily discipleship? What are the signs that we may be getting sidetracked from the Lord’s plan for our lives? Is it getting easier to skip a daily quiet time of prayer and Bible reading? Are we passing up opportunities to share our faith with others? What about our prayer life and our thoughts?

Continue reading The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Unbroken Fellowship

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – CALLED TO BE HOLY

Read 1 Corinthians 1:1-9

Steeplechase runner Tangquy Pepiot learned the hard way about finishing a race well. In a competition in 2015 he was well ahead of the other runners entering the final home stretch. About thirty meters from the finish he began waving his arms for the crowd to cheer his impending victory. But as he slowed to soak in the adulation, another runner, Meron Simon, caught up and passed Pepiot at the finish line. Pepiot lost by .10 seconds.

We’ve seen the importance of basing our identity on being saved in Christ. But being justified isn’t the end of our story; it is not the finish line of our spiritual race. For the rest of the week we’ll examine what it means to know that we are also sanctified in Christ.

The opening verses of our reading today provide us with the simplest understanding of sanctification. It is the work of God to make us holy (v. 2). Being justified in Christ allows us to be in a relationship with God, and being sanctified in Christ transforms our lives to look more like Jesus.

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#PanamaPapers was the top trending topic on Twitter yesterday. It is trending on Facebook and on the front page of reddit.

Why? What is this all about?

Yesterday, news broke of a year-long investigation into offshore shell corporations. These companies have been used by some of the world’s most notable politicians and leaders to hide billions of dollars. The investigation is being called the “Panama Papers” scandal because the information was leaked from a Panamanian law firm, Mossack Fonseca, by an anonymous source.

The data was initially obtained by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). The scope of the leak is massive—11.5 million documents on 214,000 shell companies spanning a period from 1977 to 2015. This may be the largest leak of classified information in history. Nearly 400 journalists in more than twenty-five languages have worked on the story over the last year.

According to the BBC, the leak reveals information about seventy-two current or former heads of state. Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, Egypt’s former President Hosni Mubarak, and Libya’s former leader Muammar Gaddafi were included. According to The Guardian, associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin secretly moved as much as $2 billion through offshore accounts.