Charles Stanley – David: A Model of Servanthood

2 Samuel 7:8-17

From his days as a simple shepherd boy to the time he was a heroic ruler, David served God in many capacities. By looking at the various stages of his life, we can clearly see how his godly devotion allowed the Lord to use him mightily.

Shepherd. David was anointed as king long before commanding anything other than sheep (1 Samuel 16:1-13). Shepherding was a job he took so seriously that he even killed a lion and a bear to protect his flock. During those days, he learned to be strong and brave, and to take care of creatures weaker than himself. An early life of obedience to his earthly father taught him the humility he would later need in order to depend on his heavenly Father.

Psalmist. David’s writings reveal his hunger for God. He is open about issues such as fear, depression, defeat, loneliness, and sorrow. By describing valley experiences and communing with the Lord in the night watches, David provided us with intimate glimpses of the God he knew so well.

Leader. Following his encounter with Bathsheba, David’s life was plagued by heartache, suffering, and conflict. He’d sinned greatly, but God forgave him and continued to use him as king and military commander. He ruled Israel for 40 years, and his people called Jerusalem the “City of David.” His restoration teaches us about sin’s consequences and God’s limitlessness grace. Continue reading Charles Stanley – David: A Model of Servanthood

Our Daily Bread — Unconventional Tactics

Read: 2 Chronicles 20:1-13

Bible in a Year: 2 Samuel 3-5; Luke 14:25-35

We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you. —2 Chronicles 20:12

In 1980, a woman hopped on a subway during the Boston Marathon. No big deal, except for one small detail. She was supposed to be running the marathon! Later, witnesses saw her jump into the race less than a mile from the finish line. She finished well ahead of all the other female runners, and oddly, she wasn’t winded or even sweating much. For a brief time she looked like the winner.

In a conflict long ago, a people who were losing a battle found a more honorable way to win. When messengers told King Jehoshaphat, “A vast army is coming against you from Edom,” he was terrified (2 Chron. 20:2-3). But instead of turning to typical military tactics, Jehoshaphat turned to God. He acknowledged God’s supremacy and admitted his own fear and confusion. “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you” (v. 12). Then the king chose singers to lead the army into battle. Instead of a war cry, they sang of God’s love (v. 21). The result was startling. Their enemies turned on each other (vv. 22-24). In the end, “The kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side” (v. 30).

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Power, Truth, and Beauty

Whether in conversations with Christians, skeptics, or firm-believers of other religions, the issue of truth is often in the forefront of my mind. As I engage with questioners who want to know how I can trust the Bible, or how anyone could believe the resurrection was an actual event, or how on earth a man who lived two millennia ago could have anything to do with us today, the question that comes to mind as I listen is similar to theirs, yet asked with the wonder of a witness: Is it true? Can it be true that God has come so near, that Christ is so loving, that God reigns and has opened wide the doors to the kingdom? Can it be true that the power of the gospel is such that I can be called a witness? It is an inquiry that orients me as I engage in conversations that otherwise reduce matters of faith and religion to personal preference.

Is it true? In fact, even Jesus in his conversation with Pilate couched his identity in the authority of truth: “You are right in saying that I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me” (John 18:37). In our current religious context, where preference and choice are often played as trump cards, reintroducing truth as a category is often necessary.

And yet, communicating the gospel isn’t only about communicating the truth. This is not to say, of course, that the gospel is untrue or that truth is not one of the most significant factors in my decision to follow Christ. Far from this, the truth of the gospel is indeed one of the reasons why I believe it is good news. But it is Christ himself who is in fact the news! Whether the apostle Paul was wearing the hat of preacher, prisoner, nurse, or mentor, the content of his message was always Christ; he knew that even truth can be made an idol if lifted above Christ himself. In fact, the most distinctive quality of Paul’s ministry is that he believed himself a witness standing at the scene of God’s kingdom testifying to all that he saw—not a detective or prosecutor or whistle-blower trying to expose the truth at all costs.

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John MacArthur – Drawing Near – Entering the Kingdom

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matt. 5:8).

There are basically only two kinds of religion in the world: those based on human achievement and those based on divine accomplishment.

Religion comes in many forms. Almost every conceivable belief or behavior has been incorporated into some religious system at some point in time. But really there are only two kinds of religion: one says you can earn your way to heaven; the other says you must trust in Jesus Christ alone. One is the religion of human achievement; the other is the religion of divine accomplishment.

Those who rely on their achievements tend to compare themselves to others. But that’s a relative, self- justifying standard because you can always find someone worse than yourself to base the comparison on.

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Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – Our Kinsman-Redeemer

Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”).

Galatians 3:13

Recommended Reading

Ruth 2:19-20

Israel had statutes that provided for stability in society: regulation of debt, slavery, poverty, the transfer of property, and the preservation of families and clans. The story of Ruth is an example. When she found herself a young widow, one of her former husband’s relatives—Boaz, known as a kinsman-redeemer—stepped in to marry her and purchase her former father-in-law’s property.

Continue reading Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – Our Kinsman-Redeemer

Joyce Meyer – Break Free from Other People’s Expectations

Jesus Christ (the Messiah) is [always] the same, yesterday, today, [yes] and forever (to the ages).—Hebrews 13:8

Studies show that 10 percent of people will never like you. This means we won’t have a perfect record with everyone and we should celebrate who we are. A person who knows how to do this does not allow the moods of other people to alter theirs.

A story is told of a Quaker man who knew how to live independently as the valued person God had created Him to be. One night as he was walking down the street with a friend he stopped at a newsstand to purchase an evening paper. The storekeeper was very sour, rude, and unfriendly. The Quaker man treated him with respect and was quite kind in his dealing with him. He paid for his paper, and he and his friend continued to walk down the street. The friend said to the Quaker, “How could you be so cordial to him with the terrible way he was treating you?” The Quaker man replied, “Oh, he is always that way; why should I let him determine how I am going to act?”

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Girlfriends in God – When You Wonder if God is Concerned About You

The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering.

Exodus 3:7

Friend to Friend

Moses was on the far side of the wilderness when God spoke to him through the burning bush. He had failed in Egypt and bailed to Midian. Yep, failed and bailed. He ran away to the wilderness where he stayed for the next forty years.

And friend, sometimes it is only on the far side of the wilderness where God can get our attention. Sometimes it is when we feel alone, abandoned, and forgotten that our ears are pricked to hear. Isolation is often God’s place of invitation.

Now that you know the backstory, let’s join Moses at his wakeup call.

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Source of Joy 

“So you became our followers and the Lord’s; for you received our message with joy from the Holy Spirit in spite of the trials and sorrows it brought you” (1 Thessalonians 1:6).

Mary was so radiant it was as though she had swallowed a light bulb. Wherever she went, there was the radiance of the Lord’s presence about her. She literally bubbled over with joy, and whenever she talked about the Lord her words came so quickly they practically tumbled over each other. She was an exciting, contagious person to be around, and many nonbelievers inquired of her, “Why are you so happy? What makes you so different?”

To which, of course, she would always respond by telling them about our wonderful Lord and how He had filled her heart with His joy.

The verse for today clearly indicates that joy comes from the Holy Spirit, who came into this world to glorify Christ. We are told in Galatians also that the fruit of the Spirit is joy, among other things.

Continue reading Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Source of Joy 

Ray Stedman – The Day of Atonement

Read: Leviticus 16

When Aaron has finished making atonement for the Most Holy Place, the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall bring forward the live goat. He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites — all their sins — and put them on the goat’s head. He shall send the goat away into the wilderness in the care of someone appointed for the task. The goat will carry all their sins on itself, to a remote place; and the man shall release it in the wilderness. Lev 16:20-22

All the iniquities, all the transgressions, all the sins were placed upon the head of this goat. The goat is a picture of Jesus: He is represented as satisfying the heart of God for us and rendering God free to love us without any restraint at all by his justice. God’s justice has been satisfied. He is free to forgive us at any time and to love us. Christ also bears the whole weight and load of our guilt, all that which the Devil tries to use as a basis upon which to ground his accusations against us. All this is to be sent back to him from whence it comes. When our Lord died he went into the wilderness of death like this goat, and returned to Satan all the accusations which he has against any believer at any time.

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Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Just Hush!

Read: James 1:16-21

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger. (v. 19)

When I was about seven, my entire extended family was gathered for a holiday dinner. Parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins were talking all at once, and the noise at the dinner table was deafening. I looked at my grandfather, leaning back in his chair. He hadn’t said a word all day. I remarked, “Grampa, you’re so quiet! Why aren’t you talking?” He replied, “I’m listening. You learn more this way.”

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Presidential Prayer Team; J.K.- Genuine and Unifying

An American walking one evening in Warsaw passed a Polish man walking the other direction. Struck by the Christian hymn he was whistling, the English-speaking gentleman turned and whistled the same tune. The Polish man abruptly faced him and the two embraced. Unable to speak the other’s language, they were unified in their common belief in the Lord.

Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.

John 17:11

In Jesus’ high priestly prayer found in John 17, He prayed for the disciples who knew and believed in Him that God would guard and keep them in the truth they had learned. Then He prayed for you and all future believers, “that they may all be one…in us.” (John 17:21) It is fellowship with the Lord – likened to the unity of the Father and Son – that gives you deep joy. It is also relational link between other believers…a bond of peace giving singleness of mind and judgment.

God desires that you be a witness to those around you. Live your faith – one that is genuine, lasting and unifying. Intercede for this nation and its leaders that they may be convinced of His truth and seek to know Him and do His will.

Recommended Reading: John 17:6-8, 17-23  Click to Read or Listen

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Greg Laurie – A Dying Conscience

For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just and holy man, and he protected him. And when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.—Mark 6:20

It has been said that conscience doesn’t always keep you from doing wrong, but it does keep you from enjoying it. The Bible tells the story of a man with a very guilty conscience, a conscience that ultimately went dead. He knew what was right, but he simply refused to do it. His conscience was captive to his own whims and moods.

He was without excuse however, because he had as his personal preacher the greatest of the Old Testament prophets, John the Baptist. Despite hearing countless messages by John, this man did what was wrong. His name was Herod, often known as Herod Antipas.

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Kids 4 Truth International – God Wants Us to Love His Word

“But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth he meditate day and night.” (Psalm 1:2)

Jared had never been good at memorizing. He had trouble remembering what order to write the letters in the words on his spelling tests. Learning the names of the presidents was the hardest thing about fifth grade for him. But it was summer now, and the only memory project he had was the verse list for Bible Club. He had worked hard, and he knew three verses perfectly.

Now he stood in line and rehearsed them in his head. He was afraid that his mind would go blank when it was his turn to recite. So he thought about what the verses meant, as his mother had taught him. He thought about the promise that the Lord would never leave him nor forsake him. He remembered that God gives grace to those who are humble. “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me,” he whispered to himself.

As he meditated on the verses, the Lord calmed his heart. When it was his turn to recite, he was able to say them with only one help from the teacher. The girl next in line rattled off twelve verses perfectly, but Jared did not feel put down. He was grateful for the truths he was learning about God.

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The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Treating Others Gently

Today’s Scripture: Matthew 11:29

“Learn from me, for I am gentle.”

A profile of gentleness as it should appear in our lives will first include actively seeking to make others feel at ease, or “restful,” in our presence. We should not be so strongly opinionated or dogmatic that others are afraid to express their opinions in our presence. Instead, we should be sensitive to others’ opinions and ideas. We should also avoid displaying our commitment to Christian discipleship in such a way as to make others feel guilty, taking care not to break the bruised reed of the hurting Christian or snuff out the smoldering wick of the immature Christian.

Second, gentleness will demonstrate respect for the personal dignity of the other person. Where necessary, it will seek to change a wrong opinion or attitude by persuasion and kindness, not by domination or intimidation. It will studiously avoid coercion by threatening, either directly or indirectly (as Paul, for example, avoided it in his appeal to the Corinthians).

Continue reading The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Treating Others Gently

The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Hearing God’s Call

Today’s Scripture: Isaiah 5-8

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. – Romans 5:1-2

“Here am I, send me.” The prophet Isaiah first spoke those words in the year King Uzziah died. King Uzziah was a man greatly used of God, until pride captured his heart and the Lord set him aside. It was after his death that Isaiah saw the Lord, high and lifted up, surrounded by angels who were saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory” (Isaiah 6:3, KJV).

When Isaiah found himself in the presence of the holy God, his heart melted within him, and he cried, “Woe to me! I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty” (6:4). Isaiah was overwhelmed by God’s sovereignty, power, and holiness.

Continue reading The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Hearing God’s Call

BreakPoint –  How Christian Camps are Changing Kids’ Lives

Anyone who follows the news knows that our urban youth face huge challenges. Many of them come from broken homes. Their neighborhoods are unsafe. The only sense of belonging comes from street gangs. The schools fail to educate them. These young people, their worldviews constricted by what they see in front of them, cannot imagine a better way. But there is, and it starts with summer camp.

Let me tell you a story. When 15-year-old Ray came to a camp ministry in Branson, Missouri, called Kids Across America, his counselor, Richard Marks, described him as disobedient and rebellious. “If I told him to go right, he would go left,” Richard says. “If I told him to go up, he went down. Ray was determined then to be a knucklehead. I had to discipline him several times, but I could tell he was hungry for something.”

Indeed. For more than 30 years, Kids Across America has been responding to that hunger, which only Jesus can satisfy, in kids like Ray, who otherwise would be left by the spiritual wayside.

Continue reading BreakPoint –  How Christian Camps are Changing Kids’ Lives

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – JESUS, THE VINE

Read Galatians 5:1-15

The 1995 film Braveheart portrayed a fictionalized version of William Wallace, a leader in the thirteenth-century Wars of Scottish Independence. Wallace rallies clans and armies in Scotland for the cause of freedom to repel the invasion of King Edward of England. At his execution in London, Wallace was given the opportunity to beg for mercy, but instead he roars the word most important to him: “Freedom!”

In our passage today, the apostle Paul is nearly roaring to the church in Galatia about the importance of freedom. If they don’t understand that they are free in Christ, they risk being “burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (v. 1).

Continue reading Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – JESUS, THE VINE

Denison Forum – WHY IS MORGAN FREEMAN’S ‘THE STORY OF GOD’ SO POPULAR?

Morgan Freeman is one of my favorite actors. Clearly I’m not alone—the Academy-Award winning actor has made at least forty-five movies. However, his faith is not the reason I admire his work. When asked if he would consider himself an atheist or agnostic, he replied, “I think we invented God. So if I believe in God, and I do, it’s because I think I’m God.”

Now Freeman is making headlines with “The Story of God,” one of the highest-rated programs in the history of National Geographic Channel. His goal is to unite people of different religions, showing that “we’re all seeking the same thing . . . and basically coming up with the same ideas about who we are, what we are, and where we are going.”

Welcome to the age of relativism, where “all roads lead up the same mountain” and truth is whatever we say it is. Except when our “truth” is biblical. Then we’re intolerant if not dangerous.

Consider the furor that erupted recently when Hillary Clinton told a television interviewer that “the unborn person doesn’t have constitutional rights.” Pro-life supporters obviously disagreed. But the surprise was that pro-abortion forces criticized her statement as well. That’s because Planned Parenthood refers to the “unborn person” as a “fetus” or even “uterine contents.”

Continue reading Denison Forum – WHY IS MORGAN FREEMAN’S ‘THE STORY OF GOD’ SO POPULAR?