Charles Stanley – Judgment for Believers

2 Corinthians 5:1-10

As believers in Christ, we are assured of our salvation. We need not fear eternity, because we know we will dwell with the heavenly Father forever in paradise. What blessed assurance!

But salvation is about more than just getting into heaven. It’s about the process of becoming increasingly like Jesus while living on earth. In fact, we’ll someday be asked to account for the way we used our opportunities, abilities, and resources.

In His parable of the talents, Jesus shared the importance of investing wisely all that our Father has bestowed on us. (See Matt. 25:14-30.) God gives His children different types and amounts of wealth, gifts, blessings, and circumstances. What matters to the Lord is the way we make use of them, not how much we have. Do we take what He has given and selfishly utilize it all for our own good and protection? Or do we generously and cheerfully use those gifts and talents to serve Jesus Christ? These are the questions that Christians will answer at the believers’ judgment.

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Our Daily Bread — Resisting the Trap

Read: Genesis 4:1-8

Bible in a Year: 1 Samuel 19-21; Luke 11:29-54

Sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it. —Genesis 4:7

A Venus flytrap can digest an insect in about 10 days. The process begins when an unsuspecting bug smells nectar on the leaves that form the trap. When the insect investigates, it crawls into the jaws of the plant. The leaves clamp shut within half a second and digestive juices dissolve the bug.

This meat-eating plant reminds me of the way sin can devour us if we are lured into it. Sin is hungry for us. Genesis 4:7 says, “If you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you.” God spoke these words to Cain just before he killed his brother Abel.

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Salt and Bread

Every year Time magazine publishes its list of the world’s one hundred most influential people.(1) Of these “influencers” the magazine’s editorial staff groups them into categories of influence—from leaders and revolutionaries to builders and titans, from artists and entertainers to heroes and icons, scientists and thinkers. Interestingly enough, the magazine even includes those whose influence is deemed wholly negative. Past and present ‘honorees’ included Bernard Madoff, who stole a reported sixty billion dollars from investors and bankrupted many charitable organizations; Joaquin Guzman, the Mexican druglord behind the horrific violence that has claimed well-over fifteen thousand lives in his home country and abroad; and Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram that has killed ten thousand people in Nigeria and neighboring countries.(2)

Defining influence seems a tricky business and the editors of Time admit this: “What is influence and how can we possibly compare the influence of an underworld druglord, for example, with a heroic 21 year old soldier who saved his company of Marines while he almost bled to death?”(3) The etymology of the word gives us some understanding of its use and of this kind of comparison. Originally, the word was used as an astrological term, denoting “streaming ethereal power from the stars acting upon the character or destiny of men.”(4) Ultimately, influence is a force or substance flowing from someone or something, which moves the heart or actions of someone else—whether for good or for evil.

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John MacArthur – Strength for Today – Peter’s Repentance

“Peter remembered the word which Jesus had said, ‘Before a cock crows, you will deny Me three times.’ And he went out and wept bitterly” (Matthew 26:75).

Even when a believer sins greatly, God is there to forgive and restore.

Peter’s denial of the Lord Jesus was a great tragedy. But Peter had already taken a number of steps toward denial before uttering a single word that repudiated Christ. First, he presumptuously boasted that he would never fall away (Matt. 26:33). Second, Peter was insubordinate to Jesus and blatantly refused to accept the Lord’s prediction of his disloyalty (v. 35). Third, he was prayerless in the Garden of Gethsemane (vv. 40-41). Fourth, he foolishly and unnecessarily wielded the sword to defend Jesus (vv. 51-52). Finally, Peter compromised himself and willfully went to a place (the high priest’s courtyard) of spiritual danger (v. 69), where his faith could be tested beyond its endurance.

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Wisdom Hunters – Why Desperate Leaders are Winners

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16

Everyone is a leader. You may not lead a company, a classroom, a boardroom, or a sports team, but you are a leader. Maybe you are a mom who leads her children, or you are a leader for the guy who sits next to you in the office just because you he looks up to you. Perhaps you lead a little league team. Everyone is a leader somehow, sometime.

It’s unfortunate, but sometimes when we start wearing the “leader” label, we also start wearing the “perfection” label. We believe that we must have it all together and be strong, because that’s what leaders are, right? We wrongly believe we always have to be postured, perfect, and never struggle. Anyone who has tried to bear this weight can testify to how heavy it is. But there is good news! God provides grace for all who lead—for all who look to Jesus.

Jesus led his disciples in many ways. In Luke 19:28, he led the disciples by walking in front of them. In John 13:3-5, He led them by demonstrating servant leadership when he washed their feet. And in Matthew 4:19 He led them by inviting them to follow Him. But most importantly, while He was leading his disciples, he was pressing into His Father out of need. When He needed to be strengthened, He spent time alone in prayer (Luke 5:16), when He grieved over Lazarus’ death He wept, He called out to God for help (John 11:1-44)  even on the cross, and cried out to His Father in His greatest time of need.

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Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – God of Second Chances

Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment (for he had removed it), and plunged into the sea.

John 21:7

Recommended Reading

2 Samuel 12:18-25

Radio humorist Garrison Keillor is fond of saying there is nothing like a slice of rhubarb pie to wipe the taste of shame and humiliation out of one’s mouth. That is funny, but not true. Yet everyone longs for a way to have the past wiped clean; everyone longs for the innumerable second chances life seems to require. Fortunately, God is the God of second chances.

Continue reading Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – God of Second Chances

Joyce Meyer – High Praises of God

Let the saints be joyful in the glory and beauty [which God confers upon them]; let them sing for joy upon their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their throats and a two-edged sword in their hands.—Psalm 149:5-6

We should form a habit of thanking and praising God as soon as we wake up each morning. While we are still lying in bed, let’s give thanks and fill our minds with Scripture.

Praise defeats the devil quicker than any other battle plan. Praise is an invisible garment that we put on and it protects us from defeat and negativity in our minds. But it must be genuine, heartfelt praise, not just lip service or a method being tried to see if it works. We praise God for the promises in His Word and for His goodness.

Worship is a battle position! As we worship God for Who He is and for His attributes, for His ability and might, we draw closer to Him and the enemy is defeated.

We can never be too thankful! Thank God all day long and remember the many things He has done for you.

God never loses a battle. He has a definite battle plan, and when we follow Him, we will always win.

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

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Girlfriends in God – How to Find Your Missing Peace

I’m sure you have heard about the Good News for the people of Israel – that there is peace with God through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.

Acts 10:36

Friend to Friend

I love the story of the little girl who was working very hard on her homework one night. As the hours went by, her parents became very curious and asked her what she was doing. “I’m writing a report on the condition of the world and how to bring peace,” she replied. Her parents were impressed! “Isn’t that a big assignment for just one person?” her dad asked. With complete confidence the little girl responded, “Don’t worry, Dad. There are three of us in the class working on it.” Wouldn’t it be wonderful if finding and experiencing peace was that easy?

We work hard at peace – in our world, in our homes, in our relationships, and in our hearts. Yet, so many of us struggle to actually experience or even understand true peace. It occurs to me that in order to understand what peace is, we must first understand what it is not.

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Without Me – Nothing 

“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me. 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” (John 15:4,5, KJV).

As a young man in college and later in business, I used to be very self-sufficient – proud of what I could do on my own. I believed that a man could do just about anything he wanted to do through his own effort, if he were willing to pay the price of hard word and sacrifice, and I experienced some considerable degree of success.

Then, when I became a Christian, the Bible introduced me to a whole new and different philosophy of life – a life of trusting God for His promises. It took me a while to see the fallacy and inadequacy of trying to serve God in my own strength and ability, but that new life of faith in God finally replaced my old life of self-sufficiency.

Continue reading Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Without Me – Nothing 

Ray Stedman – The Intent of the Law

Read: Leviticus 10:11-20

Aaron replied to Moses, Today they sacrificed their sin offering and their burnt offering before the Lord, but such things as this have happened to me. Would the Lord have been pleased if I had eaten the sin offering today? When Moses heard this, he was satisfied. Lev 10:19-20

Do you see the problem here? There were two kinds of sin offering, as explained in the law of the sin offering in Chapter 6. In one the blood was to be carried into the inner sanctuary, into the holy place, and there it was to be sprinkled on the horns of the golden altar of fragrant incense. That was required as a picture of the depravity of man’s evil. And because of that depravity no part of the animal was to be eaten but it was all to be taken outside the camp and burned.

But there was another kind of sin offering in which the blood was sprinkled on the horns of the brazen altar in the outer court. There the flesh of the animal was to be eaten by the priests as a picture of their understanding of the nature of their evil and as a token of their acceptance of the forgiveness of God.

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Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Two Entries

Read: Mark 11:1-19

As it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve. (v. 11)

Palm Sunday was celebrated a few weeks ago. But in Mark’s telling of that event, Jesus did not stay in Jerusalem after he rode the donkey to shouts of “Hosanna!” He left. And when he came back the next day, it was very different. If the first entry seemed “triumphal,” the second entry was angry, and it upset a whole lot of folks!

Jesus tore into the temple and began shaking up everything. He saw how little room there was left for outsiders to come for prayer. He saw how people who lived pretty rotten lives would come to the temple and pretend as though just being there meant they were still in good with God. So he cleared space for all people to pray and condemned those who treated the temple like a hideout for robbers.

The first entry was about what people wanted to see: an earthly king who would do nice things for them. The second entry was about Jesus’ true mission: to seek the lost and lonely, to bring all people to God, to provide forgiveness through his shed blood. It is fine to get caught up in the palm-waving excitement of Palm Sunday but for that celebration to have any meaning, we have to reenter the city with Jesus the next day, too, and understand the depths of what he really came to do.

Prayer:

Help us to follow you, O Christ, not just when it’s convenient but when you confront us with the truth.

Author: Scott Hoezee

https://woh.org/

Presidential Prayer Team; C.H.- Much More

If you were granted one wish, what would it be? Better health? More money? World peace? King Solomon was given one wish from God Himself – and he didn’t ask for health, wealth or possessions. He asked for wisdom. God recognized the pure motivation of Solomon’s response and granted his request…and much more.

Be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.

Colossians 1:9

Wisdom is important for all mankind, but not many ask for it. Many search for answers instead, asking God, “Which way do I go?” or “What is your plan for my life?” But when you simply ask for wisdom alone, today’s verse shows that it grants you knowledge and understanding of God’s will. Like Solomon, you get His wisdom for your specific request…and much more.

So what are you waiting for? Ask God to grant you wisdom as you seek to follow His will. Listen and respond as He leads. Pray, too, for the presidential candidates to be given the wisdom required to run this country and make changes to better this great nation. As He always has, the Lord will honor your faithful prayers for America.

Recommended Reading: II Chronicles 1:7-13

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

Greg Laurie – Lord’s Coming Draws Closer

Knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.’—2 Peter 3:3–4

We know what is right, but yet we choose to do certain things that are wrong. We know what the Bible says, but somehow we think that we are above it. Or it won’t happen to us. Therefore, we play around with sin. And sin ultimately plays around with us.

There are many people today that know that Bible prophecy is true. They know that God has foretold many of the events that are happening around us. But yet they continue to live as they please. The attitude is, “Hey, everything is the same.”

Continue reading Greg Laurie – Lord’s Coming Draws Closer

Kids 4 Truth International – God Knows Our Ways

“Thou compasseth my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.” (Psalm 139:3)

The Matthews household was in an uproar. No one had seen the family cat all day, and it was almost time for bed. Aaron thought he had heard a faint “meow” a couple of times, but when he called, “Here, Kitty, Kitty,” Angel did not come.

The family had tried all the usual tricks, to no avail. Even the sound of the can opener and the smell of tuna had not coaxed Angel out of hiding. Their beloved cat had been with them for six years and had never gone away for more than a few hours. Whatever could have happened to her now?

Anna had an idea. She opened her closet door, and sure enough, out ran Angel, her eyes wide and black. “Meow!” she cried, and Anna followed her to the kitchen to set out the tuna and some fresh milk.

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The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – In Everything

Today’s Scripture: Colossians 1:10

“Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him.”

We should commit ourselves to doing everything we do, not in the way that might seem to best accomplish our personal objective, but in the way that will be most pleasing to God.

This principle applies to the way a student approaches his or her studies, to the way we do our shopping and buying, to the way we compete in games and athletics, to the way we decorate our houses and keep our lawns, and even to the way we drive.

The city where I live attracts a lot of visitors in the summer, and the road I used to drive to our office is frequently crowded at that time with tourists. Being unfamiliar with the city and sometimes unsure of their directions, tourists often tend to drive more slowly than we locals. It’s easy in such a situation to become impatient with them and to show that impatience in the way we drive. Sometimes, after I’d “whipped around” someone while driving to work, I found myself hoping that person didn’t see me turning into the driveway of a Christian organization.

Continue reading The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – In Everything

The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Making Disciples

Today’s Scripture: 1 Kings 5-8

“Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full.’” – Luke 14:23

Most Old Testament Jews failed to grasp God’s vision regarding their places of worship. But King Solomon had a clear understanding of the temple and its purpose. Here is Solomon’s prayer in 1 Kings 8:27: “Will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!” Solomon also had no desire to monopolize the knowledge of God and have this knowledge confined to Israel. His prayer in 1 Kings 8:43 is that “all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you.”

Solomon did not pray that all the nations of the earth might be subject to Israel and that he might reign over them, but that they might be subject to God and that God might reign over them. This ministry of making the Lord known to all people was to be the great destiny of the Jewish nation. Somehow, they completely missed the boat.

Continue reading The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Making Disciples

BreakPoint –  Contentment and the Hippy Hippy Shake: A Rock and Roller Who Loves Jesus

In Rock and Roll lore, February 3, 1959, is known as “The Day the Music Died.” On that day, a small airplane carrying Buddy Holly, J.P. Richardson, better known as the “Big Bopper,” and Richie Valens of “La Bamba” fame crashed, killing all three of the men as well as the pilot.

Among the people who took the news hard was a teenager in Billings, Montana, named Chan Romero. Romero and Valens had some important things in common: They were both seventeen years old and they shared a Latino heritage.

This, in addition to Romero’s musical talent, caused many people to view Romero as Valens’ successor. It didn’t turn out that way, but as Romero would tell you, his life turned out very well, indeed.

Shortly after Valens’ death, a recording of Romero’s music made it into the hands of Valens’ manager, Bob Keane. Keane liked what he heard and saw, and invited Romero to move out to Los Angeles where he signed him onto Valens’ old label.

Continue reading BreakPoint –  Contentment and the Hippy Hippy Shake: A Rock and Roller Who Loves Jesus

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – MADE ALIVE IN CHRIST

Read Ephesians 2:1-10

Many pregnant women crave unusual food combinations such as pickles and ice cream. But many also suffer from pica, the desire to eat nonfood substances like ice, chalk, clay, or laundry powder. One Russian woman ate a box of chalk from the local elementary school every day; some 50 percent of Kenyan women eat clay; and many pregnant American women report overwhelming cravings for ice. Experts think pica likely stems from nutrient or mineral deficiencies like anemia.

Just as pica during pregnancy can reveal underlying health problems, so too our spiritual cravings reveal whether we are healthy spiritually. Are we “gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts” (v. 3)? Or are we living in a way that reflects the life we have in Christ?

Continue reading Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – MADE ALIVE IN CHRIST

Denison Forum – IS FAITH IN GOD DYING IN AMERICA? NOT YET

When James Ross Clemens fell seriously ill in London, some newspaper accounts confused him with his cousin Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twain. The writer reportedly responded, “Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”

God can say the same in America today.

In 1965, a Harris poll announced that ninety-seven percent of Americans believed in God. In a 2014 Gallup poll, the number had fallen to eighty-six percent. Twelve percent of Americans claimed they had no belief, while two percent had no opinion. Such surveys fuel the persistent claim that faith is in serious decline in the U.S.

However, these numbers don’t tell the whole story.

Frank Newport, Gallup’s editor-in-chief, tells Time magazine that responses to faith surveys reflect changes in our culture. There was a time when “Americans felt obliged to say they were religious, but nowadays a lot of those same people feel more comfortable telling the interviewer, ‘No, I don’t believe in God’, or ‘I have no religious affiliation.'” In other words, the data may not reflect a decline in faith but rather a culture in which it is easier to be honest about doubt.

Continue reading Denison Forum – IS FAITH IN GOD DYING IN AMERICA? NOT YET