Charles Stanley – Weathering the Storms of Life

Matthew 9:18-33

The disciples experienced many “mountaintop moments” in their time with Jesus: The synagogue ruler’s daughter was brought back to life; two men had their sight restored; the mute were enabled to speak; and the demon-possessed man was set free. But when the storm came that day on the sea, fear invaded their hearts. Their minds could not recollect the lessons they had learned about the power and purposes of the One they followed. Even the appearance of Jesus walking on the water did not bring them immediate relief (Matt. 14:26).

When adversity strikes, we sometimes forget our knowledge of God, too. We struggle to recall past answers to prayer, specific guidance provided by the Holy Spirit, and lessons learned in prior crises. Only the present situation seems real. As our minds spin with future implications, troubled emotions can inhibit clear thinking.

Reading Scripture regularly is a key to remembering biblical truths. Another important resource is a spiritual journal. As a written record of your pilgrimage with the Lord, it will contain the specifics of how He has previously worked in your life. It serves as a map to trace where you’ve been and how He has helped you along the way. While your current trial may be a new one, you can look back to see the Lord’s unchangeable nature over the years.

As Christians, we have an enemy who wants our focus diverted from the Lord Jesus. Let’s thwart the adversary’s strategy by spending time in the Word and by keeping a journal. Doing so will help us remember how Jesus has provided for us personally and protected us with His divine power.

Bible in a Year: 2 Samuel 10-12

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Our Daily Bread — His Plans or Ours?

Read: 1 Chronicles 17:1-20

Bible in a Year: 1 Samuel 7-9; Luke 9:18-36

“Who am I, Lord God . . . that you have brought me this far?” —1 Chronicles 17:16

When my husband was 18 years old, he started a car-cleaning business. He rented a garage, hired helpers, and created advertising brochures. The business prospered. His intention was to sell it and use the proceeds to pay for college, so he was thrilled when a buyer expressed interest. After some negotiations, it seemed that the transaction would happen. But at the last minute, the deal collapsed. It wouldn’t be until several months later that his plan to sell the business would succeed.

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – So Much More

In philosopher Colin McGinn’s intriguingly titled article “Something Is Wrong and Somebody Is To Blame,” he observes, “[T]he modern world has produced an abiding sense that there is something deeply wrong with our lives. We want to be better and freer from guilt, but the old ways of escaping guilt are gone. Officially we no longer believe in original sin, but we are haunted by its secular progeny…. I would characterize it as a kind of precarious shadowy unease, and a felt poverty of spirit. The more comfortable we become on the outside the more this elusive guilt gnaws on the inside.”(1)

Why do we do what we ought not to do and why don’t we do what we ought? Why, with all the scientific advances and advantages of living today, are we still confounded by not only widespread hate and evil but also the malevolent inclinations in our own hearts—even towards those we claim to love?

Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Annie Dillard attributes our malady to the loss of shared values once firmly held:

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John MacArthur – Strength for Today – The Sinful Captors

“. . . A great multitude with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and elders of the people” (Matthew 26:47).

The crowd that captured Jesus at Gethsemane illustrates the world’s sinful, hateful rejection of Jesus Christ.

A crowd can have a positive, uplifting influence, as when a large group of neighbors bands together to help someone in need. But crowds can also have a negative impact, such as when they incite riots or heckle someone who is trying to give a speech.

The multitude that came to the Garden of Gethsemane to capture Jesus is a prime example of a crowd that formed for an evil purpose. That throng was not at all like the spontaneous groups of admirers that often sought the Lord. Instead, it was a carefully selected group whose only purpose was to arrest Jesus and ensure that He was executed.

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Wisdom Hunters – Jesus Serves Breakfast 

Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead. John 21:12-14

In this Easter season, we as Christians spend a lot of time talking about resurrection, and for a very good reason. However, I sometimes hear the topic discussed in remarkably disembodied ways! We may speak, for example, of resurrection as a generic spiritual value, such as “discovering your own personal resurrection.” Likewise, Jesus’ own resurrection is sometimes seen as nothing more than a powerful spiritual analogy of conquering your demons or overcoming trials and adversities. May this never be so!

When we look to the resurrection of Jesus, we must wholeheartedly embrace the mystery and wonder of the physical, bodily resurrection of the Son of God. Just as he humbled and emptied himself, becoming fully incarnate as a human being, so too did Jesus physically die, yet all the more gloriously defeated death by rising again in triumphant glory.

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Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – Orange You Glad!

…the truth of the gospel, which has come to you, as it has also in all the world, and is bringing forth fruit.

Colossians 1:5-6

Recommended Reading

Colossians 1:1-8

As a young man, Anthony Rossi emigrated from Italy. He sailed into New York harbor, but his plans were to move to the South and become a farmer. One day he visited the library at 42nd Street and 5th Avenue and found a book on agriculture. He sat down to read it at one of the long tables. Another book was sitting there, entitled The Life of Christ. Rossi, who knew little about Christ, began reading it and was transfixed. The next day he purchased a Bible and became engrossed in its message.

Continue reading Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – Orange You Glad!

Joyce Meyer – Don’t Let Stress Get the Best of You

I know what it’s like to live under the burden and pressure of stress, and I know what it’s like to have God’s peace. I can honestly say that I will do whatever I have to do to have God’s peace in my life, because it is not God’s will for us to live with stress all the time.

It’s easy for us to feel like we can’t avoid being stressed-out because it’s just the way the world is today. But the truth is just because stress is a disease of our culture doesn’t mean we have to adopt the ways of our culture and live the same way.

We have two options: We can continue to be stressed-out until we fall apart, or we can learn how to receive the peace Christ gives in every circumstance, rather than letting stress get into us.

The Cure for Stress

Continue reading Joyce Meyer – Don’t Let Stress Get the Best of You

Girlfriends in God – Let Go of The Old You, Take Hold of the New

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

2 Corinthians 5:17

Friend to Friend

Do you remember the day you came to saving faith? Perhaps you’re still considering a relationship with Jesus. Perhaps you can’t even remember a time when you didn’t know Him. For me, it was on a summer night when I was fourteen years old.

When I think about how God brought me out of a home filled with alcohol, rage, and hostility into this wonderful relationship with Jesus, I’m amazed. The sheer wonder of it stokes my passion for Jesus and gratitude to God every time I tell it.

Continue reading Girlfriends in God – Let Go of The Old You, Take Hold of the New

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – One More Reason to Praise 

“His presence within us is God’s guarantee that He really will give us all that He promised; and the Spirit’s seal upon us means that God has already purchased us and that He guarantees to bring us to Himself. This is just one more reason for us to praise our glorious God” (Ephesians 1:14).

To me, this wonderful verse means that, as children of God, we have the ability to obey God’s laws if we are filled continually with the Holy Spirit and refuse to obey the old evil nature within us.

In order to live the supernatural life which is available to us through the indwelling Holy Spirit, we must know our rights as children of God. We need to know our spiritual heritage. We must know how to draw upon the inexhaustible, supernatural resources of God’s love, power, forgiveness and abundant grace.

Continue reading Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – One More Reason to Praise 

Ray Stedman – The Secret of Peace

Read: Leviticus 7

The meat of their fellowship offering of thanksgiving must be eaten on the day it is offered; they must leave none of it till morning. Lev 7:15

Isn’t that strange? You could eat the flesh on the day you offered it if it was an offering of thanksgiving for some particular thing. Or if it was just a general expression of your gratitude toward God you could save some of it for the second day. But under no circumstances were you ever to eat of the flesh of that peace offering on the third day. It had to be burned with fire. If you tried to eat any of it, that was an abomination unto God.

Now, what is God saying here? Well, it is a very practical truth. He is saying that there must be no separation between the peace that you feel and the source of that peace, the sacrifice which provided it. You must not separate the two. In other words, you must not depend upon the feelings of peace that are given to you. Don’t try to live on those. Once peace is given as a result of trusting the work of Jesus Christ on your behalf don’t just say, Ah, now I feel much better! I think I can go on now, and tomorrow I’ll just expect this peace still to be here and I’ll reckon on that. Don’t shift your dependence from the One who gives peace, to the feeling that is produced.

Continue reading Ray Stedman – The Secret of Peace

Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Upside Down

Read: Mark 3:20-22

And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.” (v. 21)

Mark 3 is disturbing. How hurtful it must have been for Jesus. Sometimes we forget that Jesus’ feelings could be hurt same as anyone else, and if so, then having his own family call him crazy had to sting. To add insult to injury, the religious leaders then turn around and accuse Jesus of being Satan’s little helper. Most of us probably have never had the experience of being called insane by our family and then being labeled evil by others all in one day. But if it ever did happen, it would count as one of our worst days ever.

What brought about these accusations? Well, Jesus was talking about the kingdom of God, about how living for God would look upside-down in a world that was itself already turned upside-down by sin. When all around you are crooked, it is the person who stands up straight who seems to be the odd one out. Here, then, is yet another reminder of how the world resists God’s message.

But thanks be to God, none of this stopped Jesus. He would keep talking and living in ways that seemed backwards right up until that moment when he turned a bloody cross into the gateway to new life. The gospel will always look funny to people. But believers know it is the path to life abundant!May we not try to make the gospel fit our world, O God, but bring the world into the gospel.

Prayer:

May we not try to make the gospel fit our world, O God, but bring the world into the gospel.

Author: Scott Hoezee

https://woh.org/

Presidential Prayer Team; A.W.- Course Change

Elisabeth Elliot, wife of martyred missionary Jim Elliot, continued her late husband’s work with the Auca tribe in Ecuador. She said that the will of God “is not something you add to your life. It’s a course you choose. You either line yourself up with the Son of God…or you capitulate to the principle which governs the rest of the world.” Elisabeth could have easily listened to others and condemned the tribe whose members murdered her husband and left her widowed – but she sought God’s will, returned to their village, and eventually led many of them to Christ.

Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus.

I Corinthians 1:1

Paul was once known as Saul…the murderer of Christians…until he met Jesus on the road to Damascus. Then he changed course and came into line with God’s will for his life. He could have listened to his Pharisee friends; instead, he listened to Jesus’ voice and reached out to Gentiles, leading them to Christ then – and even today with his recorded words in the Bible.

What areas of your life need to be lined up with Jesus and His Word? Pray for yourself, and the citizens and leaders of the nation, to see the light of Christ and change course.

Recommended Reading: Acts 9:1-8, 20-22

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Greg Laurie – A Faithful Messenger

And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word.” —1 Kings 17:1

Elijah had a message that wasn’t an easy one to deliver: Go tell Ahab it isn’t going to rain for a long time. Go tell Ahab there’s going to be a drought. Yet Elijah faithfully delivered the message that God had given to him.

In the same way, God has given us a message that isn’t the easiest one to deliver. The fact that we Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He is the only way to God isn’t a popular thing to say in our culture today. But we’re only the messengers. And it’s our job to declare the whole counsel of God.

Now, we should deliver the message with as much compassion and grace as we can. Colossians 4:6 says, “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” But the truth is that “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). People will take it out on the messenger.

Continue reading Greg Laurie – A Faithful Messenger

Kids 4 Truth International – God Tells Us To Wait on Him

“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)

Adele’s pet dog Molly is so smart. Molly seems to be aware of everything that goes on. She hears everything! Adele has to spell words out when she talks about F-O-O-D or a S-Q-U-I-R-R-E-L, so Molly will not understand her. But it is very hard to trick Molly, even when you spell words out! She is so smart, it is easy to think of her as a human being rather than a dog. And Adele loves Molly dearly, but Molly does have one fault. There is one thing that Molly has never learned. For the past eight years she doesn’t quite understand what is meant by the word “wait”!

Adele knows that she has probably not helped Molly learn the meaning of “wait!” because Adele is always quick to get Molly whatever she acts like she wants. Molly stares at Adele for a long time if she wants some food. If Adele sits on the couch, Molly will sit right in front of her and stare and stare. Not just for a short time. It is an actual staring contest, as far as Molly is concerned! And Adele gets “out-stared” every single time. Exasperated, Adele finally gets up and goes to get Molly’s food. Molly has no concept of “wait,” and she has found a way to get what she wants when she wants it!

Continue reading Kids 4 Truth International – God Tells Us To Wait on Him

The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Who Was Paid?

Today’s Scripture: 1 Timothy 2:5-6

“Christ Jesus . . . gave himself as a ransom for all.”

If Christ paid our ransom price, to whom was it paid? Some have thought it was paid to Satan, who holds unbelievers captive, but this cannot possibly be true. If it were, there would be a sense in which Satan was victorious over Christ. If we think of the ransom in terms of money, Satan would be “laughing all the way to the bank.” The better answer is obviously that the ransom was paid to God acting in his capacity as Judge. It was God’s justice that Jesus satisfied, his cup of wrath that Jesus emptied, and his curse that Jesus bore as he paid our ransom price.

Once again, a human analogy of biblical truth ultimately breaks down when pressed to every detail. In human experience a ransom is paid to an adversary—a kidnapper, an opposing army, or a slaveholder. But God both demanded the ransom price and paid it in the death of his Son. In human experience we also recognize a distinction between the ransom price paid and the redeemer who pays it. Jesus, however, was both redeemer and ransom as he laid down his life in our place.

Continue reading The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Who Was Paid?

The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Leaving the Light

Today’s Scripture: Hosea 7-8

“This is the verdict: Light had come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.” – John 3:19

For those people who think that the God of the Old Testament is a God of wrath and judgment, with no mix of compassion and love, I recommend reading the book of Hosea. Admittedly, God does eventually unleash His wrath on those who disobey, but it is not His first impulse.

Day after day, sometimes year after year, He pleads with His people to repent and turn to Him. But finally the day of reckoning comes. In the section of Scripture before us, we find these words: “I wrote for them the many things of my law, but they regarded them as something alien” (Hosea 8:12). God had become a stranger–an alien–among His own people. Hosea records that the Word of God did not fit the people’s lifestyle. They were glued to their idols. Sin and immorality were the order of the day. At long last these people had made their final decision: sin, rather than God.

Continue reading The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Leaving the Light

BreakPoint –  Should Christians Cremate or Bury Their Dead?

Nearly nine years ago, Chuck Colson told BreakPoint listeners about a company in Virginia that “for as little as $4500,” would place your loved one’s ashes in a “bio-degradable urn” and bury these ashes alongside a tree.

What made the company’s offering more than just another expensive burial plot was what happened afterwards. The ad said, “As the urn decomposes, you ‘will become one’ with your ‘personal’ tree.” As Chuck noted at the time, “since up to 15 family members can be ‘become one’ with a particular tree, the concept of a ‘family tree’ will take on a whole new meaning.”

While the idea appealed to a certain post-Christian, Gaia-worshipping sensibility, $4,500 was a lot of money. So a company trying to raise money on Kickstarter is now offering to do it for less than $500.

The way it works is that you first select what kind of tree you want your loved one or pet to be in the afterlife: beech, ash, ginkgo, or pine. You then place their cremated ashes in their biodegradable “bio-urn,” and, in turn, place the bio-urn in their new “Incube,” a high-tech planter’s pot.

Continue reading BreakPoint –  Should Christians Cremate or Bury Their Dead?

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – GODLINESS AND PERSECUTION

Read 2 Timothy 3

British teacher Olive Jones offered to pray for an ill student, but the student declined and Jones did not pray aloud. That seemed to be the end of it—until Jones discovered that the student’s mother filed a complaint that Jones had bullied her daughter, and she was fired. A director of the Christian Legal Centre said, “Olive Jones had compassion for her pupil and finds herself without a job because she expressed the hope that comes with faith.”

Frequently, the culture around us opposes Christian values—and this has been true since the birth of the church. Paul wrote the second letter to Timothy while he was incarcerated in Rome. When he described opposition and persecution, he wasn’t being theoretical or abstract—he had experienced tremendous suffering (vv. 10–11).

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Denison Forum – I’VE NEVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE THIS

In 1976, Rocky won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Happy Days was the highest-rated show on television. Apple Computer was formed by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. And I voted in my first presidential election.

In the forty years since, I’ve never seen anything like this.

There have been forty-nine presidential primaries and caucuses so far, with 1,574 delegates awarded to Republican candidates and 4,380 to Democratic candidates. There are twenty-four primaries left, with 769 Republican and 1,977 Democratic delegates remaining. In other words, more than two-thirds of the delegates available have now been determined.

By this point in the 2012 race, Mitt Romney was the consensus Republican nominee; his remaining challengers would win a total of seventy-five delegates the rest of the way. In 2008, John McCain clinched the Republican nomination on March 4. In 2004, John Kerry clinched the Democratic nomination by March 11. In 2000, George W. Bush and Al Gore had each clinched their party’s nomination by March 15.

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