Charles Stanley – Qualifications for Sainthood

1 Corinthians 1:1-9

Many people hold an unbiblical view of sainthood. Their idea of a saint is one who has led such an exemplary life that he or she is venerated by the church, but God’s Word presents quite a different picture. The Corinthian church struggled with all sorts of ungodly behaviors, yet Paul describes them as “those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling” (1 Cor. 1:2).

Sanctify means to set apart from common use to a sacred use. Throughout the Bible, the Lord has sanctified days (such as the Sabbath), places (the tabernacle), things (the ark of the covenant), and people. A saint is simply a person whom God has set apart for His purposes. This means that every believer is a saint.

Before you were saved, your position relative to God was one of enmity (Rom. 5:10). But the moment you trusted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, the Lord changed your position and set you apart for Himself. You were born again and are now His child. He forgave your sins and declared you righteous. A saint is not a perfect person but one who is in a right relationship with the heavenly Father. Although our position of sanctification is not predicated on good behavior, the Lord expects us to live in a manner that honors Him.

Just think—God set you apart for a sacred purpose. That means you are here, not to live as you please but to bring glory to Him. He calls us to live according to our new position in Christ. When we accept this responsibility of sainthood with gratitude, we bring joy to the Father’s heart.

Bible in a Year: 2 Kings 1-3

Our Daily Bread — The Spirit Delivers

Read: Romans 8:19-27

Bible in a Year: 2 Samuel 14-15; Luke 17:1-19

The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. —Romans 8:26

Until recently, many towns in rural Ireland didn’t use house numbers or postal codes. So if there were three Patrick Murphys in town, the newest resident with that name would not get his mail until it was first delivered to the other two Patrick Murphys who had lived there longer. “My neighbors would get it first,” said Patrick Murphy (the newest resident). “They’d have a good read, and they’d go, ‘No, it’s probably not us.’ ” To end all this mail-delivery confusion, the Irish government recently instituted its first postal-code system which will ensure the proper delivery of the mail.

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Akolutos

My high school band director was adamant about many things, but none so much as what he called the obligatory rule of good musicianship. That is, the two most important notes in any musical composition are the first and the last. “The audience might forgive you for a bad note that comes in the middle,” he would say, “but they will forget neither your very first impression nor your final remark.”

The last word of the book of Acts in the Greek New Testament is the word akolutos. The word literally means “unhindered,” though many translations render it with multiple words because of its complexity. Others move the word from its final position for the sake of syntax. In both cases, I think something is lost in translation. Luke was intentionally making a statement with this last word of his two-volume testimony to the life of Jesus Christ. I think he intended readers to pause at the conclusion of his words, the very last note in his testimony the provocative thought of the gospel unhindered, the Spirit of God continually improvising with a tune that will not be shushed or silenced. After the stories of Jesus’s ministry were told, after recollections of his death and ruminations of his resurrection, after Jesus’s ascension and the church’s beginnings, after all the resistance, disappointment, and surprises along the way, Luke concludes: “Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, unhindered.“(1)

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John MacArthur – Strength for Today – The Church Testifies to the Resurrection

“Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand” (1 Corinthians 15:1).

The true church has consistently testified to the power of the Resurrection.

Kenneth Scott Latourette observed in his History of the Expansion of Christianity: “It was the conviction of the resurrection of Jesus which lifted his followers out of the despair into which his death had cast them and which led to the perpetuation of a movement begun by him.” This statement was true for the church at Corinth, even with its many problems.

The apostle Paul opens his well-known chapter on the Resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15 by implicitly affirming the Corinthians’ testimony to that doctrine. Simply by receiving the gospel and having their lives transformed, the believers at Corinth demonstrated the reality of Jesus’ resurrection. And that resurrection is what empowered the gospel. Paul did not need to explicitly remind the Corinthians of Christ’s rising to life until verse 4, “He was raised on the third day.” The apostle was confident at the outset that the Corinthians had already believed in the truth of the Lord’s resurrection.

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Wisdom Hunters – Retirement: Not So Fast! 

When Joshua had grown old, the Lord said to him, “You are now very old, and there are still very large areas of land to be taken over.” Joshua 13:1

Christians may retire from their career, but they can still engage as a volunteer or start a fresh, new second career. Simply doing nothing and spending all on self indulgence is not an option for followers of Jesus. “Retirement” as my friend Sonny says, “Is a reallocation of my calendar, cash and expertise”. More time for grandchildren, yes! More time for exercise, sort of. More time for travel, yes but in moderation (maybe take a grandchild with you). But mostly, more opportunity to engage with God’s heart as a: joyful giver, mentor, teacher, server—to be hospitable and pray.

Joshua had grown old and could have faded off into the sunset and died, but the Lord wasn’t finished with him yet. Though he had experienced the miracles of God as Moses’ apprentice and won battles to take possession of the promised land as Israel’s leader—the Lord had another assignment for him. So, Joshua stayed involved in the distribution of land for the various tribes. He established Cities of Refuge, so those who had committed manslaughter could find asylum. Some of Joshua’s best work occurred in his twilight years. His was reallocation not retirement!

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Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – Honor

…for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed.

1 Samuel 2:30

Recommended Reading

1 Samuel 2

Paris was in the grip of a heat wave during the 1924 Summer Olympics, and the Colombes Stadium was like a frying pan. For runner Eric Liddell, heat was the least of his concerns. His best event—the 100-meter—had been scheduled for a Sunday. He withdrew because he didn’t want to run on the Lord’s Day. He set his sights on the 400-meter instead. In the dressing room before the event, the masseur handed him a folded paper. It contained a quotation from 1 Samuel 2:30: “Those who honor Me I will honor.” Inspired by those words, Eric Liddell broke the existing world record and won the gold medal.

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Joyce Meyer – Be Positive

We have thought of Your steadfast love, O God, in the midst of Your temple. —Psalm 48:9

Positive minds—minds full of faith and hope—produce positive lives. Negative minds—minds full of fear and doubt—produce negative lives. In Matthew 8:13, Jesus tells us that it will be done for us as we have believed. This doesn’t mean that you and I can get anything we want by just thinking about it. God has a perfect plan for each of us, and we can’t control Him with our thoughts and words, but if we want His plan, we should think and speak in agreement with His will and plan for us.

I encourage you to think positively about your life and be thankful for the good things God is doing and going to do. Practice staying positive in every situation that arises; even if you’re going through a difficult situation, stand in faith, believing God will bring good out of it as He has promised in His Word.

Prayer of Thanks: Father, help me to keep my thoughts and my words focused on You. I thank You that You have good things in store for my life. I trust You today.

From the book The Power of Being Thankful by Joyce Meyer.

Girlfriends in God – God’s Got It!

When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.

Isaiah 43:2

Friend to Friend

I am an avid reader. In fact, reading is one of my favorite ways to escape the chaotic pace of daily life. I also enjoy browsing through bookstores, especially the ones that provide cushy chairs where customers can sit quietly and read without being disturbed.

It is easy to tune out your surroundings and lose yourself in the pages of a good book. I was doing just that when I heard a familiar voice. Looking up, I spotted one of my friends, Carol, who was asking an employee where she could find a new suspense novel that had just been released. The young man quickly handed Carol the book from his personal stash behind the counter and went back to work. I watched a smile spread across Carol’s face as she examined her new treasure while gently turning the book over in her hands and flipping through pages. Carol then did something I absolutely could not believe. She turned to the last several pages of the book and began reading.

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Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – We Need the Word

“And you will need the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit – which is the Word of God” (Ephesians 6:17).

In my own life, as I have come to know God better and to live more fully in the power and control of the Holy Spirit, my daily devotional Bible reading and study is not a duty or a chore, but a blessing; not an imposition on my time, but an invitation to fellowship in the closest of all ways with our holy, heavenly Father and our wonderful Savior and Lord.

Remember, God delights to have fellowship with us. The success of our studying God’s Word and of prayer is not to be determined by some emotional experience which we may have (though this frequently will be our experience), but by the realization that God is pleased that we want to know Him enough to spend time with Him in Bible study and prayer.

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Ray Stedman – Power To Do

Read: Leviticus 20

I am the Lord your God, who has set you apart from the nations. You must therefore make a distinction between clean and unclean animals and between unclean and clean birds. Do not defile yourselves by any animal or bird or anything that moves along the ground — those that I have set apart as unclean for you. You are to be holy to me because I, the Lord, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own. Lev 20:24b-26

Note how carefully God identifies himself with each one of these instructions. He signs his name, as it were, after each one. He gives us a practical admonition and then says, I am the LORD your God. The name he uses here is his covenant name: I am Jehovah. That is, I am the Living One, the Eternal One, the Sufficient One. I am the God who is Enough. That is what Jehovah means.

What is God trying to impart to us by this format? Two things are involved. The first is authority. This underscores something very important. It is that we must discover how to distinguish between right and wrong, truth and error, on the basis of what God says — if we are in relationship to him. There is a different standard for the people of God.

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Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Stop, in the Name of the Law

Read: James 2:14-19

So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (v. 17)

Jim, a police officer in Kentucky, was called out to a local grocery store with a report of a shoplifting in progress. He arrived just in time to watch the suspect walk out the door. The suspect was a young man, about 19 years old, and Jim was surprised to see that he was pushing a baby in a stroller. Jim rolled up next to the young man and ordered him to stop. The young man stopped, sat down on the curb—and burst into tears.

After Jim interviewed the store manager, he determined that the only things the young man was accused of stealing were a package of diapers and a can of baby formula. After speaking with the young suspect himself, Jim learned that he was a single father, and although he was working, he didn’t have the money that week to feed his six-month-old daughter.

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Presidential Prayer Team; H.L.M.- Wondrous Works

When Brian Barcelona was 16, he thought he didn’t need God. But a friend had been inviting Barcelona to church for months. He finally consented when he was promised a free smoothie! But when Barcelona got to church, he dared God to touch him and prove He was real…and He did. “I felt so overwhelmed with love that I’ve never felt before,” he said. “I just started weeping and in that moment I encountered this God that everyone had talked about, and for once in my life it was actually becoming real to me.”

Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!

II Corinthians 9:15

Two years later Barcelona had a vision that God was going to save the high school students of America. He started preaching in a Bible club of about six students; it quickly grew to 600 teens a month. Then Barcelona started an organization that now helps students start Christian clubs on their campus.

Thank the Lord today…and then daily seek opportunities to express to others the inexpressible gift of His love to you. When you do, pray that, like Barcelona, they would find their life purpose through a personal, genuine experience with the Lord. Then ask God to do the same in the lives of the presidential candidates.

Recommended Reading: I Chronicles 16:8-15

Greg Laurie – Love, Joy, and Peace

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace . . . .—Galatians 5:22

The future is something we all should be thinking about, because we need to plan ahead. Not only do we need to think about what we will do in this life, but also what we will do for all eternity.

An extensive survey conducted in the United States by a leading polling agency distributed questionnaires to people of various ages and occupations, asking, “What are you looking for most in life?” When the results were compiled, the analysts were surprised. Most expected those who were polled to say they wanted to achieve certain materialistic goals. But the top three things that people wanted in life were love, joy, and peace—in that order.

Galatians 5:22 tells us the fruits of the Spirit include love, joy, and peace. Thus, the very things people are looking for today can be found in a relationship with God. Yet some have given up on these things. They say, “Love, joy, and peace? That’s a pipe dream of flower children. Give me a break. You are not going to find love, joy, and peace in this world . . . not in the real world I live in.”

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Kids 4 Truth International – God’s Strong Arm

“For they got not the land in possession by their own sword, neither did their own arm save them: but thy right hand, and thine arm, and the light of thy countenance, because thou hadst a favour unto them.” (Psalm 44:3)

Do you like to have strong friends? Strong friends can really come in handy. A strong friend can help you lift something heavy. A strong friend can hit the ball really far for your team. A strong friend can stand-up for you if a bully is mean to you.

In Psalm 44, the Hebrew songwriter remembers when the Lord God brought the Hebrews into the Promised Land. The songwriter says in Psalm 44:3 that the Hebrews were not able to win the battles by themselves, but God’s strong right arm won the battles for them.

Does God literally have an arm? No, not really. We know that God is a spirit (John 4:24), and a spirit does not have arms or legs that we can actually see. The songwriter is using a word picture to say that the Lord God of Israel is very strong. Think about it. When you see someone who is very strong, what do notice first? Their arms. Sometimes kids want to show off their muscles. Do you flex your leg to show off your muscles? No! You would probably flex your arms to show how strong you are. When the songwriter says that God’s “arm” saved the Hebrews, he is using a word picture to express that God was stronger than all of Israel’s enemies.

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The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – God’s Hatred

Today’s Scripture: Psalm 11:5

“The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked.”

Reconciliation by definition assumes a previous state of alienation and hostility caused by the offensive actions of one or both parties. Our sin has separated us from God (Isaiah 59:2) and caused us to be “God’s enemies” (Romans 5:10, NIV), those hated by God. Does God actually hate people? Yes, the psalmist wrote, “you hate all who do wrong” (Psalm 5:5, NIV). So when Paul described us as God’s enemies, he was describing not our sinful hatred of God but rather his righteous hatred of us because of our sin.

It’s difficult for us to conceive of God’s holy hatred toward people. But this is simply his just and holy revulsion against sin and his holy antagonism toward those who rebel against him.

Continue reading The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – God’s Hatred

The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – This Little Light of Mine

Today’s Scripture: Jeremiah 7-10

“I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.” – Hebrews 6:14

A lot of people look around today and feel like Jeremiah did nearly three thousand years ago. As he watched the moral and spiritual decline of his country, Jeremiah wondered if anything could be done to heal the sin of his people and prevent the judgment of God. Had the darkness become so great that it could not be overcome? Could the condition of the people be set right? The answer to the latter question was yes, and that’s the answer for us today. Something can be done about the darkness if we’re willing to let the work begin in and through us.

Every year a few weeks before Christmas, we have a candlelighting service in our church. The entire sanctuary is dark except for one candle at the front. As a few people light their candles from that one, and then pass the flame to the candles around them, the entire sanctuary is lighted. To me, it’s a beautiful picture of God’s plan for conquering the spiritual darkness of the world.

Continue reading The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – This Little Light of Mine

BreakPoint –  Why Did Adam LaRoche Walk Away from Baseball and $13 Million?

In March, Major League baseball player Adam LaRoche shocked the sports world. LaRoche, a 12-year veteran who averaged more than 20 home runs a year and won many awards for his defensive skills at first base, unexpectedly retired.

By doing so, he walked away from $13 million—the amount left on the final year of a two-year contract with the Chicago White Sox.

Even more shocking than leaving $13 million on the table was the reason he did so: The White Sox had informed LaRoche that his 14-year-old son, Drake, could no longer accompany him in the club house every day.

If you can’t imagine walking away from that kind of money for that kind of reason, you’re not alone.

But then again, a lot of what LaRoche does is peculiar, and I mean that in the best possible way.

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Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word –  UNITED AS HEIRS OF GOD

Read Galatians 3:26-4:7

Inheritance fraud is one of the most common scams perpetrated today. You receive notification that someone with your same last name (perhaps a distant relative?) has died without heirs. The so-called lawyers who sent the letter say that for a small fee to process some paperwork, the vast inheritance can be yours! But they keep requesting fees and bank transfer details and no inheritance ever arrives.

Thankfully, our identity as heirs of God is secure! We are heirs not because of how impressive our accomplishments are or because we have the right genetic profile—we are heirs because we belong to Christ (3:29).

Our passage today is filled with some of the most beautiful and profound statements about our identity. Through faith in Jesus, we are children of God (3:26). This familial relationship is more than just emotional connections of love and care. It also has legal implications; as God’s children, we stand to gain His inheritance (4:7). We have the Spirit of God within our hearts as confirmation of our status as heirs (4:8). Unlike the inheritance fraudsters who just want to take your money, God gives us the Spirit as a down payment on our inheritance. We have the Spirit dwelling within us now, and one day we will dwell with God fully, worshiping in His presence.

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“It is with profound sadness that I am confirming that the legendary, iconic performer, Prince Rogers Nelson, has died at his Paisley Park residence this morning at the age of 57.” So reported his publicist yesterday, news that made instant headlines around the world.

Prince was born on June 7, 1958, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He was signed to Warner Brothers Records as a teenager; his debut album in 1978 put him on the road to superstardom.

He was a singer, songwriter, multiple instrumentalist, producer, and actor. Prince was often compared to Michael Jackson and was considered a musical genius by many. He won seven Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe, and an Academy Award. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.

No stranger to controversy, many of his lyrics were sexually explicit, a fact that prompted a movement encouraging records to place advisory labels on albums with such lyrics. When his death was announced yesterday, CNN reports that fans rushed to buy his albums amid an outpouring of grief on social media.

Continue reading Denison Forum – PRINCE’S DEATH IS PERSONAL TO ME