Charles Stanley – Nothing Can Separate Us

Romans 8:32-39

We have been learning about the Lord’s amazing plan to save us for all eternity. A persuasive argument for believing in eternal security is found in two of the apostle Paul’s questions in Romans 8.

Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? The answer is simple: No one can bring an accusation against believers and make it stick. Satan certainly tries, but God has justified us through His Son Jesus Christ—He has declared that we are no longer guilty. No matter what new sin we might commit after we are saved, we can’t be tried in God’s court a second time. If you fall into a stage of unbelief or sinful living, you may lose your reward, but you cannot lose your eternity in heaven with God (1 Cor. 3:12-15).

Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Undoubtedly, there are many experiences that test our faith, but we are ultimately saved by God’s grace. Jesus understands our trials and doubts, and He is not interested in casting us away at our first misstep. God always knew we would make thousands of mistakes after receiving Christ, but He saved us anyway.

Some followers of Jesus Christ worry that embracing eternal security will motivate people to go out and live a life of sin because they have nothing to lose. If we think about the wonder and majesty of our heavenly Father, doesn’t it make more sense that people would be motivated to praise Him for saving them out of the filth of their disobedience? The more we know of Jesus and His love for us, the more we will love Him and want to please Him. Forever.

Bible in a Year: 1 Kings 20-22

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Jesus Wept

Read: John 11:1-4, 38-44

Bible in a Year: 2 Samuel 12-13; Luke 16

The sting of death is sin. . . . But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. —1 Corinthians 15:56-57

I was engrossed in a book when a friend bent over to see what I was reading. Almost immediately, she recoiled and looked at me aghast. “What a gloomy title!” she said. I was reading “The Glass Coffin” in Grimm’s Fairy Tales, and the word coffin disturbed her. Most of us don’t like to be reminded of our mortality. But the reality is that out of 1,000 people, 1,000 people will die.

Death always elicits a deep emotional response. It was at the funeral of one of His dear friends that Jesus displayed strong emotions. When He saw Mary, whose brother had recently died, “he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled” (John 11:33). Another translation says, “a deep anger welled up within him” (nlt).

Continue reading Our Daily Bread — Jesus Wept

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Christ in Public

God has been in the news a lot lately. From Christian prayers in council meetings, to statements from the highest echelons of the Royal Family and the government, discussion of the place of God and in particular the role of Christianity in Britain today has been in the news on a daily basis. Professor Richard Dawkins continues to argue that religion has no place in the 21st century and debates over his anecdotes continue to capture the twittersphere. It seems it is now acceptable to discuss the Christian faith and belief in God in public. From radio studios to the school gate I have enjoyed being a part of this. The role of God in Britain is being discussed up and down the country in government, education, legislation, and community life in a way that I can’t remember in recent history.

While secularism insists that nothing good comes from religion, isn’t it actually the case that it is a Christian heritage that actually provides us with this free and open society—encouraging people to question and reason for themselves? For many, religious faith is a process, a journey of discovery on the basis of evidence, reason, and personal experience. Christianity has provided the foundation in Britain for an open and tolerant society. It was the great Christian leader Augustine who coined the phrase tolerare malus. He claimed that political structure influenced by the Christian faith must tolerate that which it disagreed with and perceived as wrong for the greater good of freedom.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Christ in Public

John MacArthur – Strength for Today – The Centrality of the Resurrection

“‘Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said’” (Matthew 28:5-6).

The fact of Jesus’ resurrection is the culmination of redemptive history and the essential basis of the Christian faith.

Without the Resurrection, our Christian faith would just be a lot of wishful thinking, no better than human philosophies and speculative religions. In fact, the noted seventeenth-century philosopher John Locke, some of whose ideas were incorporated into the Declaration of Independence, wrote, “Our Saviour’s resurrection is truly of great importance in Christianity, so great that His being or not being the Messiah stands or falls with it.”

Continue reading John MacArthur – Strength for Today – The Centrality of the Resurrection

Wisdom Hunters – Thankful Soil Grows Humility 

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Colossians 3:16

By default, I think many of us spend our days focused on our own needs, wants, and desires. From basic health and nutrition to our ambitions and dreams, we are wired to care chiefly about ourselves! As Augustine said, because of sin and brokenness we as human beings are “curved in upon ourselves.” Yet the beauty of the gospel is that when we encounter the love of Christ, not only are we made new but we also learn to turn our focus away from ourselves and onto the needs of others and the worship of almighty God.

One of my favorite quotes comes from 20th century pastor and theologian Michael Ramsey, who once said, “Thankfulness is a soil in which pride does not easily grow.” How true that is! If you struggle, as we all do, with an inflated sense of self-worth or self-interest, rush to plant yourself in the soil of thanksgiving. As Paul reminds us, lift up your heart and soul in thanksgiving and praise to God. Let the love of Christ dwell within you and heal you from the empty love of self.

Continue reading Wisdom Hunters – Thankful Soil Grows Humility 

Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – If She Doesn’t Hurry…

Wait on the LORD, and keep His way, and He shall exalt you to inherit the land; when the wicked are cut off, you shall see it.

Psalm 37:34

Recommended Reading

Matthew 14:22-33

When J. K. Rowling was having trouble finishing her fifth Harry Potter book, her fans grew impatient. One was quoted as saying, “If she doesn’t hurry, we’re going to move on to caring about something else.”

That reflects our age. Our attention spans are short, and we want things in a hurry. Our watchwords are now, instant, quick, fast, rush.

Continue reading Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – If She Doesn’t Hurry…

Joyce Meyer – Decide to Believe

Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations. Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing.—James 1:2-4

Too often people stare at me with a blank look when I urge them to decide to believe. It’s as if I’m asking them to do something they can’t do. Faith comes from hearing the Word of God (see Romans 10:17), but it also involves a decision.

We enter into a relationship with God through believing in Jesus Christ, but that’s only the beginning.

Believing doesn’t end there. As I understand the realm of the Spirit, if we follow the Lord, we live with a growing faith. That means we learn to believe for bigger things. We learn to trust God for things we would never have thought of in our earliest Christian days.

Continue reading Joyce Meyer – Decide to Believe

Girlfriends in God – When You Feel God Has Called You to More Than You Can Handle

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:13

Friend to Friend

In my last devotion, we looked at Moses’ encounter with God at the burning bush in Midian. God began by saying:

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. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them (Exod. 3:7–9, emphasis added).

Continue reading Girlfriends in God – When You Feel God Has Called You to More Than You Can Handle

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – All Men Know What God Wants Them to Do

“But this is the new agreement I will make with the people of Israel, says the Lord: I will write my laws in their minds so that they will know what I want them to do without My even telling them, and these laws will be in their hearts so that they will want to obey them, and I will be their God and they shall be my people” (Hebrews 8:10).

Harry boasted that he was an atheist, that he could not believe in God – that there was no such thing as right and wrong. But as we counseled together, it became apparent that he lived a very immoral life, and the only way he could justify his conduct was to rationalize away the existence of God.

This he was unable to do. As God’s Word reminds us, His law is written in our minds, so that we will know what He wants us to do without His even telling us.

A very honest, frank, straightforward counseling session helped Harry to see that he was living a lie, a life of deceit and shame. All of this resulted in making him a very miserable person until he surrendered his life to Christ and became an honest, authentic, transparent disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Continue reading Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – All Men Know What God Wants Them to Do

Ray Stedman – What Not to Mix Together

Read: Leviticus 19

Keep my decrees. Do not mate different kinds of animals. Do not plant your field with two kinds of seed. Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material. Lev 19:19

How many of you are observing that last law? Almost all garments today are made of mixed stuff, of blends of natural and synthetic fibers. A literal adherence to this stricture is no longer of any significance, because it is dealing with substances which never were inherently wrong. Whenever God employs things symbolically and says that something connected with them is wrong, they are no longer tended to be taken literally but are meant to illustrate attitudes of mind and heart which are dangerous. The Israelites had to obey these literally, because that is how they learned what these attitudes were. But we need to understand that God is teaching in a graphic way here that there are certain unmixable principles which are unalterably opposed to one another and that we are not to try to put the two together.

Continue reading Ray Stedman – What Not to Mix Together

Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Playing Favorites (Part 2)

Read: James 2:8-13

So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. (v. 12)

Kari was shocked when her 27-year-old daughter called her on a Monday last October, and told her that her wedding, scheduled for Saturday, was cancelled. The groom-to-be had called it off. Even though she was heartbroken for her daughter, Kari needed to decide what to do about the reception, which had already been paid for. She quickly made some phone calls, and sent out new invitations—to Sacramento’s homeless shelters. By 7:00 on Saturday evening, more than 90 people—homeless families, single people, grandparents, and children—filled the reception hall and feasted on salmon, steak, and luscious desserts. Among them Rashad and his wife, Erika, came with their five children. Rashad was grateful, saying “When you’ve been going through a hard time, this . . . this is really a blessing.” Erika agreed. “To lose out on something so important to yourself and then give it to someone else is really, really kind.”

Kari and her family truly loved their neighbors as themselves. According to James, this is the royal law that offers freedom—freedom to show mercy, and freedom from judgement. Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” (Matt. 5:7). And, “for with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you” (Matt. 7:2). Show mercy then, because mercy triumphs over judgment!

Prayer:

Lord, teach us to love with mercy and without judgment.

Author: Susan Hetrick

 

https://woh.org/

Presidential Prayer Team; G.C. – Faith Struggle

Last man standing was an early American game of endurance. It usually involved a test like standing in freezing water or holding your hand over hot coals. The idea was to tolerate the pain longer than anyone else.

We endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ.

I Corinthians 9:12

The apostle Paul set a high mark in the area of enduring hardship in the Christian life. In seeking to share the gospel of Christ, he was beaten, stoned, and left for dead, whipped within a lash of his life, shipwrecked, and attacked by an angry mob. Yet after asking God to relieve him of one personal and miserable affliction, the answer was “no.” Instead, God said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (II Corinthians 12:9)

Today you may be facing a significant difficulty in your faith. How are you handling it? Are you gritting your teeth hoping to be acknowledged for your strength, or have you humbly released your will in recognition that God may have a greater purpose at work? Pray for others struggling in their faith in this nation – and especially for those who are in service to America. Ask that they may patiently endure and bear evidence of God’s grace.

Recommended Reading: Hebrews 10:19-25

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

Greg Laurie – Worth the Risk

After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness. —Acts 4: 31

Sometimes we will take a step of faith if there is a backup plan, if there is a safety net. There is a place for caution, a place for prudence, and even a place for seeking the counsel of those who have lived longer than we have. But having said that, there is also a place for faith. There is also a place for taking chances and taking risks.

As we get older, we are less willing to do that. We want everything laid out for us. We want to know what will happen after this and after that. But sometimes God will say, “I am not going to tell you. I want you to just obey Me.” That is why I would rather try something and fail than never try at all. And if you do try and ultimately fail, then learn something from your failure. I would venture to say that any person who has been successful in ministry, in business, or in any other enterprise has had more than his or her share of failures and has learned something from every one of them. It has been said that the doorway of success is often entered through the hallway of failure. So if at first you don’t succeed, relax. You are just like the rest of us.

So take a chance and do something for God. If you have been thinking about starting a little Bible study at work and are unsure whether anyone would show up, go for it. If you are thinking of sharing the gospel with someone, but you don’t know how they would respond, go for it. Try it. Pray about it. Ask the Lord for direction. But take a risk. Take a chance here and there and watch what God will do.

https://www.harvest.org/

Kids 4 Truth International – God meets the needs of His children

“For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.” (Luke 12:30)

Have you ever sat near a window and watched a wild bird for a while? Does a bird have to worry about picking up a job at a fast food restaurant so that it can make money to pay for medical bills? Does the bird ever go out and plow a field, plant seed, and water the ground? Does a bird ever harvest corn and store it in big barns to eat later? Have you ever watched birds do all that? Probably not! It is more likely that you watched a bird flying around a feeder, pecking at a tree trunk, or splashing in a birdbath. Birds do not seem to have a care in the world!

It would be even more ridiculous to imagine a flower, laboring in a cotton field, spinning wool, weaving, or sewing clothes for itself. A flower does not need to work in order to be “clothed” beautifully. God has created a flower so it has everything that it needs to be just as beautiful as He planned. Jesus said that a simple wildflower is even more beautifully clothed than King Solomon was in the richest of his kingly robes.

Continue reading Kids 4 Truth International – God meets the needs of His children

The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – A Dangerous Statement

Today’s Scripture: 2 Corinthians 5:14

“The love of Christ controls us.”

One issue believers frequently struggle with is the relationship between living by grace and obedience to God’s commands. When I state that nothing you ever do or don’t do will make God love you any more or any less, and that he accepts you strictly by his grace through the merit of Jesus Christ alone, such unqualified statements sound exceedingly dangerous—leaving me open to the charge of saying in effect that God doesn’t care whether or not you sin.

But consider the alternative: “God loves you if you’re obedient and doesn’t love you if you’re disobedient. Since God’s love is conditioned on obedience, and you’re never perfectly obedient, God never loves you perfectly or accepts you completely.” Such a bald description puts the issue into focus.

Continue reading The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – A Dangerous Statement

The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Walking in the Way

Today’s Scripture: Jeremiah 4-6

But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. – 2 Corinthians 11:3

If you want to be an effective communicator of the gospel, take a close look at the prophet Jeremiah. Three factors about his life made him a dynamic spokesman for the Lord.

First, Jeremiah heard the voice of God with his soul. In Jeremiah 4:19, he says, “Oh, my anguish, my anguish! I writhe in pain. Oh, the agony of my heart! My heart pounds within me, I cannot keep silent. For I have heard the sound of the trumpet; I have heard the battle cry.”

Christian, when we read the Bible, we need to ask God to speak to our hearts and our souls. It is not our ears that need changing, but our hearts.

Continue reading The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Walking in the Way

BreakPoint – No Tolerance for Religious Tolerance? Denying True Coexistence

You’ve seen those ridiculous “Coexist” bumper stickers, right? You know, the ones where the word is spelled out using religious symbols from Christianity, Islam, Paganism, Gay rights, Judaism, and so on?

I call it ridiculous because, as someone once wrote: “The C wants to kill the E, X, T, and the O. The O offers peaceful non-resistance, which will be ineffective if real trouble breaks out. The E feels like it’s been oppressed, making it intolerant of the C, the X, and the T. The I and the S are numerically irrelevant, but are just necessary to spell out the word. And the sticker is mostly directed at the T (or the Christian), who ironically poses no threat whatsoever to any of the others.”

In other words, the “Coexist” bumper sticker slogan assumes that each ideology be emptied of its actual conviction if its to work. And according to Colson Center board member Jennifer Marshall, that’s what big business is currently trying to sell to the American people.

In a piece for Religion News Service, Marshall says the recent controversies over religious freedom amount to a test of whether those who so loudly proclaim the need for coexistence are prepared to live by it.

Continue reading BreakPoint – No Tolerance for Religious Tolerance? Denying True Coexistence

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – ONE BODY WITHOUT DIVISION

Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-31

Basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski has won five national championships in three different decades. He describes his approach to building a cohesive team with the analogy of a fist: on their own, the five individual players on the court can’t accomplish much. But when they come together and think of themselves as part of one whole, they can be powerful and effective.

We’ve already seen the apostle Paul use the analogy of the body in his letter to the Romans, and he includes it in his letter to the church in Corinth as well. Clearly this is a message that many Christians need to hear!

Notice several consequences that should result from our recognition of being a part of the larger body of Christ. First, our individual gifts matter and are needed by others. A body needs eyes to see and ears to hear; each part is valuable (vv. 15–20). Second, we must understand that none of us can function properly apart from the rest of the body. What good is an ear lying on a table? How helpful is a severed foot? We must be joined to the body for our spiritual health as well as theirs (vv. 21–24).

Continue reading Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – ONE BODY WITHOUT DIVISION

Denison Forum – HOW SHOULD CHRISTIANS RESPOND TO SKIT MOCKING FAITH?

Saturday Night Live has been mocking Christians for years. A 2013 skit likened Jesus to a movie character who murders his enemies. Another mocked Tim Tebow with a sweat-sock-wearing Jesus in the Denver Broncos’ locker room.

Last Saturday, however, the show’s parody of God’s Not Dead 2 was especially horrific. (For more, see Nick Pitts’s Did a SNL Spoof Go Too Far and Mock God?) In a culture where “pro-life” is “anti-women” and “biblical marriage” is “bigoted,” it’s no surprise that believers feel themselves marginalized and worse. The number of Christians who believe we are facing growing intolerance in the U.S. has drastically increased in the last two years. Sixty-three percent now believe we are increasingly being persecuted; sixty percent also believe religious liberty is on the decline.

As our culture continues its moral trajectory, how should followers of Jesus respond? I’ve been thinking lately about five principles:

One: Expect opposition.

In Acts 20 we read that Paul spent three months in Greece, where he wrote the book of Romans. In the midst of such important ministry, however, “a plot was made against him by the Jews” (v. 3). Persecution will not cease so long as we are a threat to the persecutor. I am naïve or egotistical if I think what happened to Paul cannot happen to me.

Continue reading Denison Forum – HOW SHOULD CHRISTIANS RESPOND TO SKIT MOCKING FAITH?