Charles Stanley – What Will You Do With Jesus?

John 10:22-30

Jesus is the most important and controversial person in all of history; His name stirs up virulent hatred in some people and radical devotion in others.

Jesus claimed to be the Son of God. As a result, every person on earth must decide what to do with Him. He didn’t leave us the option of ignoring Him or washing our hands of the matter. There are really just two choices: Believe Him or reject Him. Rejection will result in judgment and eternal separation from God (John 3:18), but eternal life is promised to whoever trusts in Him.

Believers must also decide what they will do with Jesus after salvation. Faith in Him isn’t just the way to eternal life in heaven; it is also to be our way of life here and now. If we believe in Jesus, we will:

Follow Him. Christ’s sheep hear His voice and submit to His leadership.

Worship Him. As we grow in our love for and trust in the Savior, our natural response will be to adore and praise Him. Continue reading Charles Stanley – What Will You Do With Jesus?

Our Daily Bread — Chameleon Crawl

Read: Acts 2:42-47

Bible in a Year: 2 Samuel 1-2; Luke 14:1-24

Every day they continued to meet together. —Acts 2:46

When we think of the chameleon, we probably think of its ability to change color according to its surroundings. But this lizard has another interesting characteristic. On several occasions I’ve watched a chameleon walk along a pathway and wondered how it ever reached its destination. Reluctantly, the chameleon stretches out one leg, seems to change its mind, attempts again, and then carefully plants a hesitant foot, as if afraid the ground will collapse under it. That was why I couldn’t help laughing when I heard someone say, “Do not be a chameleon church member who says, ‘Let me go to church today; no, let me go next week; no, let me wait for a while!’”

“The house of the Lord” at Jerusalem was King David’s place of worship, and he was far from being a “chameleon” worshiper. Rather, he rejoiced with those who said, “Let us go to the house of the Lord” (Ps. 122:1). The same was true for believers in the early church. “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. . . . Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts” (Acts 2:42, 46).

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John MacArthur – Strength for Today – Supernatural Darkness

“Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour” (Matthew 27:45).

The darkness over the land while Jesus bore our sin was an indicator that the cross was a place of divine judgment.

The biblical phenomenon of light was not associated with Christ’s death. Instead, as today’s verse says, “Darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour [3:00 P.M.].”

Scripture says little about that darkness. Ancient historical reports mention an unusual, worldwide darkness that seemed to coincide with the date of Christ’s death. Astronomical records indicate that the sun and moon were too far apart that day for a normal solar eclipse. Therefore, the darkness had to be caused by God’s intervention.

Continue reading John MacArthur – Strength for Today – Supernatural Darkness

Wisdom Hunters – Pure Joy 

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.    James 1:2-3

Pure joy is the position and privilege of the person who follows Jesus Christ. Ironically, Jesus-generated joy is discovered and developed in the face of trials. Trials are designed to bring out God’s best and, consequently, your best as well. You’re going through your current trial by fire so that your faith can become more sincere and real during the affliction of adversity. This is your time to experience God’s faithfulness, for His joy and contentment are calming. The presence of Christ gives you reassurance and peace. He is the joy-giver, while Satan is the joy-killer.

Therefore, you can smile because your smile while enduring a trial is the result of pure joy. It’s pure joy because God can be trusted. It’s pure joy because your faith is real and robust and Christ is faithful. It’s pure joy because you will persevere by faith. Indeed, untested faith is a naïve faith. Until your faith has been refined through various trials, it will remain immature and judgmental. You can understand others’ perspectives and respect them more when you have been broken over your own inadequacies and sins. Trials slow you down enough to allow you to look into the mirror and ask what needs to change. How can you lead and serve your family and friends during this time of unprecedented turmoil and tentativeness? Pure joy comes as a result of your faith changing and growing.

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Joyce Meyer – Help Hurting People

He who despises his neighbor sins [against God, his fellowman, and himself], but happy (blessed and fortunate) is he who is kind and merciful to the poor. —Proverbs 14:21

Helping the poor and those who are less fortunate than we are is not only a nice thing to do, but according to the Bible, it is our responsibility. God cares deeply for the poor and needy and seems to have a special place in His heart for the widow and the orphan because they are alone and unable to meet all their needs. God gives us hearts of compassion, but when needs arise we can’t close our hearts—we need to open our hearts and our hands wide to help the poor.

When we give to the poor, the Bible says that we lend to the Lord. Anything we give to help hurting people, God will always return many times over. Not only will He meet our needs, but our joy will increase as a result of giving in love. I urge you to share what you have with those who are less fortunate than you are.

Power Thought: I am always merciful and generous to the poor.

From the book the book Power Thoughts Devotional by Joyce Meyer.

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – He Listens and Answers 

“Mark this well: The Lord has set apart the redeemed for himself. Therefore He will listen to me and answer when I call to Him” (Psalm 4:3).

My 93-year-old mother has known and walked with the Lord since she was 16. In all the years that I have known her, now more than 60, I have never known her to say an unkind or critical word or do anything that would be contrary to her commitment to Christ, made as a teenage girl.

Hers has been a life of prayer, study of God’s Word and worship of Him. The radiance and joy of her godly life has inspired not only her husband and seven children, but also scores of grandchildren and great and great-great grandchildren, and thousands of neighbors and friends.

A few days ago I invited her – for the hundredth time, at least – to come and live with us, knowing that all the rest of the children have made similar invitations. She responded, “No, I prefer to live alone. But I am not really alone, for the Lord Jesus is with me, comforting me, giving me His peace and assurance that He will take care of me.”

Continue reading Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – He Listens and Answers 

Ray Stedman – Dealing with the Discharges of Life

Read: Leviticus 15

When a man is cleansed from his discharge, he is to count off seven days for his ceremonial cleansing; he must wash his clothes and bathe himself with fresh water, and he will be clean. On the eighth day he must take two doves or two young pigeons and come before the Lord to the entrance to the tent of meeting and give them to the priest. Lev 15:13-14

The unavoidable diseases, afflictions, and discharges mentioned in this chapter are of a much less serious nature than the leprosy with which we have been dealing in previous chapters. You remember that when the leper was cleansed he had to go through a much more rigorous ceremony which included several offerings. But here the very simplest of the offerings is prescribed — two turtledoves or two young pigeons: one for a sin offering, one for a burnt offering — the cheapest, the most available of the offerings. Yet God never once sets aside the requirement for the blood of an innocent substitute to be shed in the place of one who is defiled for any reason whatsoever. By this means he underscores the great fact that human nature needs to be dealt with by blood. It is a deep and complicated problem. It cannot be solved by a mere rearrangement of surface symptoms. God is constantly underscoring that for us in these offerings.

Continue reading Ray Stedman – Dealing with the Discharges of Life

Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Fleeting Beauty

Read: James 1:9-15

For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. (v. 11)

I live in Arizona where we have magnificent displays of wildflowers in the spring. Some of the most beautiful flowers are found on the spinystar cactus. Spinystars are small; only six inches tall and hard to see amid the surrounding grass. That is, except for one day each summer. On one day, all of the spinystars bloom at the same time, and the desert is dotted with spectacular flowers! The spinystar blossoms are hot pink with bright yellow centers, and fully two inches across! Yet, their beauty only lasts for a single day.

James reminds us that our lives are fleeting too. We are like cactus blossoms in the desert. James also reminds us that no matter what our economic situation is, all human beings face the same troubles and temptations. When trials come, we must see them for what they are—universal. Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NIV). How we deal with our trials—whether with humility and prayer, or with temptation and sin—is a test of our faith.

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Presidential Prayer Team; J.R.- Ballpark Variety

At a grand dedication ceremony on the afternoon of April 16, 1964, New York City’s Mayor Robert Wagner praised William Shea, a lawyer who had helped bring a National League baseball team back to the city and was now having the brand new, state-of-the-art ballpark named in his honor. The mayor proclaimed it the “world’s greatest stadium” and said that with his name on it, Shea was now “practically an immortal.”

His disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!”

Mark 13:1

To paraphrase baseball great Yogi Berra, immortality ain’t what it used to be: Shea Stadium, old and outdated, was demolished in 2009 and replaced with a parking lot the city needed for the newer, adjacent Citi Field. Last year, the new park hosted the World Series.

Jesus understood, better than the disciples, that “wonderful buildings” have limited and distinctly short-term utility. “Do you see these great buildings?” He responded, “There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” (Mark 13:2) What are you building today? As you pray for America’s leaders, may you be focused on immortality – not the ballpark variety, but that offered by the eternal and loving God who offers those who love Him a hope and a future.

Recommended Reading: II Corinthians 4:13-18  Click to Read or Listen

 

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Kids 4 Truth International – The Sacrifice of a Broken Heart

“The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” (Psalm 34: 18)

Abby was reaching to get a cereal bowl out of the cupboard when—CRASH!—she accidentally knocked a glass of orange juice off the counter and onto the kitchen floor. What a mess! Her mother had to pick up the large pieces of glass, mop up the spilled juice, and vacuum for any tiny shards that could cut someone’s foot. No one would ever drink from that glass again. It would have to be replaced.

Sometimes broken things can be fixed, but often they are useless.

Is breaking something ever a good thing? Yes! An egg, for instance, has to be cracked before it can be eaten. We have to untie or cut the ribbon on a present to open it. A plank of lumber must be cut the right size before it can be used to build a table.

One broken thing that is very valuable to God is a broken heart. When we are truly sorry for our sin, God accepts our broken heart as a sacrifice. No other sacrifice that we can offer will please Him—not even gifts of money or special acts of kindness.

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The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Growing in Grace

Today’s Scripture: 2 Peter 3:18

“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

The term growing in grace is most often used to indicate growth in Christian character. While I think that usage has merit, a more accurate meaning is to continually grow in our understanding of God’s grace, especially as it applies to us personally, to become progressively more aware of our own continued spiritual bankruptcy and the unmerited, unearned, and undeserved favor of God. May we all grow in grace in this sense.

As we grow in grace this way, we will grow in our motivation to obey God out of a sense of gratitude and reverence to him. Our obedience will always be imperfect in performance in this life. We will never perfectly obey him until we are made perfect by him. In the same way, our motives will never be consistently pure; there will frequently be some “merit points” mentality mixed in with our genuine love and reverence for God.

Continue reading The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Growing in Grace

The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Our Transformation

Today’s Scripture: Matthew 16-19

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. – 2 Corinthians 4:6

What’s the most mind-boggling experience you’ve ever had? For me, I think it was my first trip to the Holy Land, where I actually looked at things Jesus saw and walked to places where He walked. But just think of the way Peter, James, and John must have felt as they were with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration (see Matthew 17:1-2). Jesus’ glory, which was usually veiled, was briefly displayed for the disciples to see. I’m sure their minds were boggled when they were permitted to see Him as He really is.

Did you know that you and I, as followers of Christ, are involved in a process of transfiguration as well? The word transfigured is the same word used by the apostle Paul in Romans 12:2, where he exhorts us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. We are not to be conformed to the world but transformed more and more into the likeness of Christ. In 2 Corinthians 3:18, we read that this is accomplished by the Spirit of the Lord as the new nature of Christ is manifested in us. For us as believers, this is a gradual experience. And although it happens over a period of time, the results are clearly evident as we grow toward maturity in Christ.

Continue reading The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Our Transformation

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – FREEDOM OF THE NEW COVENANT

Read 2 Corinthians 3

A country’s constitution is the document that describes how the government will work and details the rights and protections enjoyed by citizens. After a two-year process, in 2014 Tunisia adopted a new constitution that protects freedom of religion, banning apostasy campaigns that previously permitted a death sentence for any Muslim charged with apostasy. The constitution also protects the rights of women under the law.

Believers in Jesus have been given the new covenant, which brings life and freedom through the Spirit. We are no longer bound by an old regime of sin and death. In the same way that a change in the Tunisian constitution enacted more freedoms for its citizens, the new covenant guarantees spiritual freedoms for believers in Christ.

The apostle Paul uses a rhetorical device in this passage that we might call “from good to great” or “good compared to best.” The old covenant, established by God with His people through the Mosaic Law, was good. It was given by God (see Exodus 19). In receiving the Law, Moses also received part of the glory of God and had to veil his face in order for others to be able to look at him (vv. 7, 13). If the old covenant was good, then, we have confidence that the new covenant is even better.

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